Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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The Lucas Paul Band

Kristi Kates - May 16th, 2011
The Lucas Paul Band: Michigan Made
By Kristi Kates
The Lucas Paul Band are Ann Arborites at heart, but often make Traverse City their temporary home away from home, at least on stage.
“We have and always will have plans to come up to Traverse City frequently because we get the best love up here of anywhere,” says the band’s namesake Lucas Paul, “hands down.”
The band is comprised of Pete Birchler on lead guitar, Bobby Streng on sax, Mark Damian on drums, Matt Henninger on bass, and Paul on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, 
In early 2006, Paul explains, he was a “lost soul” - freshly out of college, but with no job prospects and no band.
“I would frequent Goodnite Gracie’s in downtown Ann Arbor every Wednesday and Thursday to watch local blues prodigy Laith Al Saadi,” he explains, “and every night found myself staying until last call because his band was that good.”
After months of persistent begging to Gracie’s manager, Terry Martin, Paul got a shot to perform before one of Al Saadi’s shows.
“Eventually, Laith handed me a few gigs of his own that he couldn’t take,” Paul says, “so I put a band together. After getting our foot in the door, other nightclubs became interested in what we had to offer.”
Paul’s band quickly became a popular draw - as a cover band, playing other musicians’ songs. But, as he says, it soon became apparent that “something was missing.”
   
HELLO AGAIN
“I had done some songwriting slowly but surely over the years,” Paul says, “so I approached my guitar player, Pete (Birchler), about the tunes. He committed to the production aspect of the album, and I was in charge of songwriting.”
Recorded and mixed at Birchler’s own home in Detroit, that delegation resulted in the band’s first album, Hello Again, which was released in December of last year. Paul describes it as a “mash up of Paul Simon, The Beatles, Maroon 5, and maybe a touch of Stevie Wonder.” A quick listen confirms most of Paul’s take on his band’s sound, although perhaps more leaning toward the Maroon 5/Paul Simon side of things, with Paul’s vocals being most reminiscent of Aussie musician Ben Lee. It’s quite a pop sound for a musician who says his own skills were honed via one of country music’s best-known artists.
“I have to admit that I learned to play the guitar by playing along with Garth Brooks’ music back in grade school,” Paul chuckles, “but I am also hugely influenced by the Nirvanas and Pearl Jams of the world. In college I was on the Dave Matthews Band wagon, and as of late have been listening to anything from Mumford and Sons to bluegrass and folk.”

TOUR ENERGY
Currently promoting Hello Again with a small lineup of original shows - including a stop at TC’s Union Street Station - The Lucas Paul Band may venture out of state to play a few shows one of these days, but don’t count on that being any time soon. They’re perfectly happy in Michigan.
“Home base is and always will be Ann Arbor for us,” he says, “three out of the five of us went to school here and live here, and all of us have roots here. It is such a diverse, vibrant town with great food, entertainment, and art. We have not made a big push to tour - yet - as we are all very busy. It’s a tough thing to do, and I praise all musicians that go on the road to get their music out there; I’m hoping someday we’ll be able to do this.”
Now that they have the record finished, Paul continues, they need to actually do something with it, hence the live shows. While he jokingly fears what he calls the “train wreck” on stage - that familiar band-mistake phenomenon that happens occasionally during a live performance - Paul still looks forward to showcasing the band’s new music in front of the band’s fans, old and new.
“I think we’re all still in shock that it actually got done,” he laughs, “but nothing makes me happier on stage than when the crowd reacts with the same or greater energy than we are giving them through music.”

The Lucas Paul Band will be performing at Union Street Station in TC this weekend, May 20 and 21 at 10 p.m.. For more info on the band, visit www.lucaspaulband.com.
 
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