Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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A Double Vision of Classic Rock

Styx & Foreigner at Cherry Festival

Rick Coates - June 24th, 2013  

Classic rock dominates this years National Cherry Festival with six of the eight nights featuring bands rooted in that old time rock and roll. There really is something for everyone musically with the blues and country tossed into the mix.

The National Cherry Festival Bay Side Music Stage continues to be the best music value in Northern Michigan with an eight-day general admission pass for $50, individual tickets for each show are also available.

Styx in the Mix Saturday, June 29 It has been 40 years since Styx released their first album and the band finds themselves at the top of their game, filling arenas. They plan to pack their suitcases with all their hits including “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “Fooling Yourself,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man,” and “The Best of Times,” kicking off the National Cherry Festival on Saturday June 29.

Styx got its start in the Chicago area. The original incarnation formed in 1968 with the band taking the name Styx in 1971.

Guitarist, songwriter and vocalist JY Young has been there every step of the way. Intimately involved, the mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate is very analytical about Styx’s success and staying powers for the past 45 years.

“I think there are several factors. Certainly our songbook is strong and continues to resonate with our fans and now a whole new generation of fans,” Youn said. “Our songs are being used by professional sports teams and in the movies, guys like Adam Sandler are huge fans and use our music in their movies. Plus, classic rock radio is very strong right now as well so we get a lot of radio airplay. I also believe that we work really hard and this is a very talented group of musicians on stage right now.”

Young is now 63 and is closing in on retirement age, but with Tommy Shaw just turning 60 this year, as is Ricky Phillips (the rest of the band is younger) there appears to be no retirement on the horizon.

“No I don’t think so. I know people I went to college with who are retired because they were tired of their jobs or others who have lost their jobs or no longer needed at their place of employment. I feel fortunate not to be in that position and I know the rest of the guys feel the same way,” said Young. “I am so lucky to be doing what I do and it is very rewarding going on stage every night and playing our music to thousands of people. I like looking out at the crowd and see what these songs mean to the people. So I don’t see us retiring.”

Styx has played Northern Michigan a few times over the past 40 years. Do they have any recollection of the very first show they played at the Glacier Arena in TC in 1975?

“We have played so many shows over the years but that is one you remember and occasionally people remind us of it,” said Young.

“Rush went on stage followed by us with Kiss going on next. But the power went out at the end of our show and Styx never made it on.”

Styx played the Cherry Festival in 2001 with Bad Company and Billy Squier at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds and most recently Interlochen last summer. They just wrapped up a tour with Ted Nugent and REO Speedwagon for the second year in a row and are touring solo for the summer.

The band called it quits in 1983 to pursue other projects and for Styx fans, a big thank you for their return is owed to the band’s manager.

“We took about a 13-year hiatus from the band. I did some solo work; Tommy did the Damn Yankees,” said Young. “Then our band manager came to us and said that we should start touring again, that people wanted to hear our music live. He was right and I see us doing this until we are so old they have to scrape us off the stage.”

There won’t be any “scraping” the band off the stage on Saturday June 29 when Styx plays the Bay Side Music Stage at the National Cherry Festival. After their concert, a night time air show will take place -- a Cherry Fest first.

Foreigner Rocks July 1 On Monday night July 1, classic rock fans will be back in full force as Foreigner takes the stage. Since their first release in 1977, Foreigner has sold more than 60 million albums behind such hits as, “Cold As Ice,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Hot Blooded,” “Double Vision,” “Dirty White Boy,” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You.” In all, 20 of their songs reached the Billboard Top 20.

Guitarist, lyricist and co-founder Mick Jones has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the music business. He is the only original member left in the band. Along with Lou Gramm (now on a solo career) Jones penned the hits of Foreigner; they both were just inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a respected producer in the business and when Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth, Van Halen asked Jones to produce their “5150” album.

The group is touring in support of their first studio album in 15 years, “Can’t Slow Down.” Jones explains the hiatus was due to the band going through some transitions.

“There were several reasons for the delay between albums; certainly the personnel changes were part of it,” said Jones. “I kept putting off recording. It was a little bit scary after awhile as well. You start to wonder if people will accept your music. But finally I felt we needed to take the plunge, this lineup had been together for a few years and I thought we were ready. What I like is that when people listen to ‘Can’t Slow Down,’ they recognize it as a Foreigner record.”

Considering Jones is the only original member of Foreigner that formed in 1976, the band still maintains that signature sound.

“It is a testament to these guys in the band. They are very conscientious and respectful of the past. They have a tremendous amount of dedication to the catalogue of songs the made Foreigner,” said Jones.

“For me this has been a blessing. I got caught up with the demons of this business and left for awhile and really felt I was done for good. But eventually I came back and these guys in this band have really inspired me and I have people tell me I am playing better now than I ever did in the past.”

Despite the fact that Jones and Gramm have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the band had not received the invitation in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I think a lot of us are confused over the criteria to get in. Look, I have no problem with Madonna being in but there are a lot of rock bands -- again, emphasis on rock -- that are not in,” said Jones. “My sense is that there is a small club of decision makers who want to seem cool with who they select to get in. I am not sure that those making the selection have a very good handle on the last 35 years of rock music. There seems to be a lot of bands that had a major impact on rock music who are not in. I do not know if we will get in or not, it would be a nice honor and certainly, Lou Graham, myself and others from the original band would go and perform.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials will not be necessary for Foreigner to pack the Bay Side Music Stage on Monday July 1.


Other acts for the week include: • Country legend Montgomery Gentry on Sunday, June 30.

• Blues Rocker Duke Tumatoe on Tuesday. • Country superstar Aaron Tippin on Wednesday.

• Simon and Garfunkel Tribute on July 4. • Edgar Winter and Rusted Root Friday, July 5.

• Closing out the Festival, 1964 the Tribute on Saturday.

Ticket options may be found at cherryfestival.org.


Sign up for the new Express Extra email publication to be in a prize drawing for a pair of VIP tickets to Foreigner at the National Cherry Festival on Monday, July 1.

To enter, go to www.northernexpress.com and click on the sign-up link at the top right of our website.

The Extra is emailed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and includes the latest from the Express, including our “Buzz” column, Weekend Planner, and videos.

Deadline for entries: Thursday, June 27.

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