Letters 04-27-2015

Benishek’s Costly Tax Representative Dan Benishek announced in his latest bulletin a vote to repeal the “Death Tax.”

Unsafe In The Lanes As I drive a lot each workday, it is common to see a car carrier truck setting in the center turn lane in front of Fox Motors on US-31. The drivers unload cars for the dealerships along the road.

Message From Mother Earth At over 4 billion years old, I’ve been feeling my age. My lungs hurt, probably due to destruction of my forests, which act as my lungs. Why are you doing this?

Benishek And Income Disparity  I wrote a letter to Rep. Dan Benishek regarding economics and middle-class income stagnation and asked, “What are you going to do about this inequality that is stymying the general welfare of our citizens?”

The Value Of Unions As a retired, 40-year member of Sheet Metal Workers 80, a building trades union, I truly appreciated Stephen Tuttle’s “How Ironic” column.

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Modern Rock

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Pumpkin Mash

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Following rumors that Smashing Pumpkins had booked a slot to play at this year’s Coachella Music Festival, more info on the Pumpkins’ possible reunion has surfaced this week.  The pending performance at Coachella has now been scuttled, to be replaced with the news of Pumpkinhead Billy Corgan’s signing with a new management company, and his bringing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin into the studio to begin work on a new Pumpkins studio album, which would be the first since the band’s 2000 farewell disc, MACHINA. The band is also being considered for a headlining spot at this year’s Lollapalooza, which is now scheduled for August 4 through 6 in Chicago.  So far, original Pumpkins members James Iha and D’arcy are not set to participate in any of the above - but the way things keep changing, who knows - as Corgan himself said on his MySpace site, “...don’t you just love the suspense?”...
Thursday, February 9, 2006

Flight of the Pumpkins

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Rumors are flying all around regarding the Smashing Pumpkins, mostly because of Pumpkins  singer Billy Corgan’s recent proclamation that he wants to reform the band, which split up in 2000.  (Following the Pumpkins’ demise, Corgan formed the band Zwan, which had a short-lived, one-record career and then also broke up.) The most likely new rumor involves the Pumpkins embarking on a summer tour, info supported by the fact that Smashing Pumpkins have already reportedly booked a performance slot at the hot California music festival Coachella, at which they’ll appear live on April 30...
The rest of that aforementioned Coachella lineup has just been announced, too. The festival, which is held out in the desert inIndio, California each year, always boasts an eclectic range of modern rock bands and solo artists, this year being no exception.  The 2006 Coachella event will host sets from the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, Bloc Party, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Danger Mouse, Devandra Banhart, Stellastarr, Paul Oakenfold, Scissor Sisters, Mogwai, Imogen Heap, and James Blunt...
Thursday, February 2, 2006

Modern Rock

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Beth Orton spent a mere two weeks in New York recording her fourth album, dubbed Comfort of Strangers, with producer/composer Jim O’Rourke (yes, of Sonic Youth), and the result is 14 tracks that will hit stores on February 7 via Astralwerks Records. Songs set to make the tracklist include “Heartland Truckstop,” “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Shopping Trolley,” “A Place Aside,” “Countenance,” and, of course, that title track. Orton is also finalizing plans for her 2006 Spring Tour, which will kick off on March 12 and on which she’ll bring along special opening act Willy Mason. Orton’s stops on the tour will include San Diego (3/23), Vancouver (3/29), Minneapolis (4/1), Chicago (4/3), Detroit (4/5), and Toronto (4/6)...
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Go, Johnny, Go

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The Golden Globe Awards have arrived and left, complete with the requisite glittering celeb appearances and a plethora of awards that are said to be indicators of what will happen at this year’s upcoming Academy Awards ceremonies. Perhaps the biggest winner of the evening was the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, which won for Best Musical or Comedy Film, while the film’s star actors, Joaquin Phoenix (as Johnny Cash) and Reese Witherspoon (as June Carter Cash) won for Best Actor and Best Actress; both Phoenix and Witherspoon did their own singing in the critically and fan acclaimed film. Meanwhile, the movie’s soundtrack was just certified gold for having sold half a million copies. In other Golden Globe music news, Jonathan Rhys Meyers won Best Miniseries or Television Movie Actor as Elvis Presley in Elvis, John Williams won Best Original Score for Memoirs of a Geisha, and Gustavo Santaolalla and Bernie Taupin snagged Best Original Song for “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” from Brokeback Mountain...
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Weezer‘s last Weeze

Modern Rock Kristi Kates With Weezer having wrapped up promo and tour duties for their 2005 album Make Believe - and frontman Rivers Cuomo set to return to Harvard University next month (with plans to finish his English degree this June - after an eight-year break from college) - Weezer the band is set to finally take a break. But don’t dismay, Weezer fans - the band is going to have a Weezer DVD released in their temporary absence. The disc, with footage filmed by over half a dozen cameras last month during the band’s Japanese tour dates, will feature plenty of both concert and behind-the-scenes clips, although a title and release date have yet to be announced. The band won’t be completely idle, though - they do plan on continuing to write music, and may even let the tour bug re-bite them every once in a while during Cuomo’s college breaks...
Thursday, January 12, 2006

Strokes get stoked

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The Strokes, just starting to do promotional work for their new album, First Impressions of Earth, which is newly out this week, have announced that they’ll be playing a short run of small-venue U.S. shows, but fans will have to pay close attention in order to snag tickets.  The New York band is planning to play live shows in Chicago, Seattle, L.A., and Atlanta, but the venues for these shows won’t be revealed until a few days prior to each show - and many of the tickets will have to be won through Modern Rock radio stations.  Keep your eyes out, though - some of the tickets will be sold, with the ticket on-sale info to be revealed by those same radio stations - Q101 in Chicago, KNDD The End in Seattle, 99X in Atlanta, and KROQ in Los Angeles.  But don’t despair if you miss these shows - a full North American tour is in the works for The Strokes, and is set to run from late February through spring...
Thursday, January 5, 2006

Back to Folsom Prison

Modern Rock Kristi Kates It was nearly 40 years ago that Johnny Cash recorded his live album at Folsom Prison, and now, things are coming full circle.  20th Century Fox is screening the Johnny Cash biopic film “Walk the Line” at the California prison facility on January 3, and Joaquin Phoenix - who just received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Cash - will be attending.  The film studio and the directors of the nonprofit Prison Fellowship organization agreed that showing the film at Folsom will share “the lesson of Johnny Cash” - that being the fact that “it’s never too late for a man to turn his life around.”  It’s a great continuing legacy for the Man in Black, who believed in using music to connect to all people...
Thursday, December 29, 2005

Moby: first pop star in space

Modern Rock Kristi Kates In some space-meets-music news, electronica guru Moby is set to become the first pop musician in space now that he’s shelled out $207,000 for a ticket on the premiere flight of Richard Branson’s upcoming Virgin Galactic spaceliner.  Set to depart somewhere between 2008 and 2010, the first trip of Branson’s rocket will fly a limited number of passengers 70 miles into space to orbit the Earth.  Other musicians are looking to follow suit, too - Jane’s Addiction guitarist/INXS Rock Star “judge” Dave Navarro has signed up for a later flight, and Britpop star Robbie Williams has also expressed interest.  For those who also have the rock-star-level budget (or are at least willing to save up), the philosophy of Virgin Galactic is “space tourism for everybody,” so check out the details (and info on their first spacecraft, dubbed the “VSS Enterprise,” of course) at www.virgingalactic.com ...
Jeff and Tim Buckley will be the subjects of a mostly indie-band Rykodisc tribute album called Dream Brother: The Songs of Jeff & Tim Buckley that will include 13 tracks by the talented son and his father as interpreted by other musicians, mostly American and UK bands. Among those covering the songs of Jeff will be Adem (“Mojo Pin”), King Creosote (“Grace”), and Matthew Herbert with Dani Siciliano (“Everybody Here Wants You”), and among those covering Tim’s songs will be The Magic Numbers (“Sing a Song For You”), Engineers (“Song to the Siren”), and Michigan’s own Sufjan Stevens (“She Is”).  Dream Brother... will hit stores on January 31...
Another tribute disc is due out on January 31, too - this one paying homage to the songs of now-defunct influential Chicago band Smashing Pumpkins. Originally released through online retailers, the set has done so well on the internet that it’s now being released on CD.  Most of the songs are interpreted by heavy rock bands such as A Static Lullaby (“The Everlasting Gaze”), Vaux (“1979”), 32 Leaves (“Zero”), Armor For Sleep (“Today”), Poison The Well (“Soma”) and Hopesfall (“Eye”) -  you’ll be able to pick up The Killer In You: A Tribute To Smashing Pumpkins in stores the end of next month...
Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dylan goes DJ

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Dylan goes DJ
Beginning in March of 2006, Bob Dylan fans will be able to check out the singer-songwriter in something of a new venue - XM Radio, that is. Dylan has agreed to begin hosting a new weekly one-hour music show for XM Radio’s “Deep Tracks” channel this upcoming spring. It’s the first radio show that Dylan has ever hosted, he’ll be playing an eclectic mix of tunes hand-picked by none other than himself, and he’ll also comment on the tracks and interview guests. If you’re an XM subscriber and you’re lucky, you might even be able to get Dylan to respond to an email of yours; but with 5 million subscribers logging on to the satellite music system, it might take a while...
Thursday, December 15, 2005

There‘s no doubt about Gwen Stefani

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Rumors have been flying that singer-songwriter-fashionista Gwen Stefani is recording a second solo album, but according to Stefani herself, it’s not happening - at least, not just yet.  Stefani, formerly known for her work with ska-rockers No Doubt and now an even bigger pop force on her own, says that she went from No Doubt’s Rock Steady Tour to making No Doubt’s greatest hits disc to touring on No Doubt’s greatest hits tour to making her own album, followed by her acting work in The Aviator and launching her first New York fashion show, so she’s tired.  No wonder.  She does, however, already have several great tracks that weren’t included on her first solo album - including “You Started It,” which was recorded by Pharrell Williams, “Fine By You,” on which she collaborated with Linda Perry, and several additional tracks produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, so when she’s ready to get back in the studio - which she says will likely be early next year - she’ll already have a head start...
Thursday, December 8, 2005

Rob Thomas to play Soaring Eagle

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Singer-songwriter Rob Thomas is right in the middle of his Something To Be tour, which he began in early October, and which he plans to stick with through mid-December of this year. Following shows in Texas, Massachusetts, California, and Nevada, he’ll be swinging through the Midwest, making stops in Chicago (12/5), Toronto (12/9), and Detroit (12/10). On this, his first solo tour, Thomas is touring with a full backing band, performing songs from his new album (titled the same as the tour), including tracks “Lonely No More” and “This Is How a Heart Breaks,” as well as some Matchbox Twenty faves (“3 A.M.,” “Push,” and “Smooth” have all reportedly showed up in his set) and several surprise covers.
Northern Michigan fans will be glad to find out that Rob will also be appearing at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant, just a short road trip away and sure to be a great show in their spacious new concert hall - for tix and info, just hop online and check out www.soaringeaglecasino.com...
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Here come the dream robots

Modern Rock Kristi Kates You might have seen news releases about these little fellas earlier this year - called QRIOs, or “dream robots,” the ‘bots were developed by Sony Japan, and are now quietly taking on roles in the latest music video for singer-songwriter Beck. The robots aren’t due to be on the market for another three-four years, but Beck - being Beck, of course - was able to pull some strings to get them to appear. Director Garth Jennings, who earlier this year directed the big-screen adaptation of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, took on directing duties for the unique Beck video, which was shot with four of the QRIOs in Los Angeles. Beck and the director worked with Sony Japan to program elaborately choreographed numbers for the robots - which, although very robot-like in surface appearance, look remarkably human in movement - and they also decided to relegate Beck’s own appearance in the video to nothing more than a ghostly (but, of course, hip) hologram. Look for Beck and the QRIOs’ “Hell Yes” video to hit MTV and similar music video outlets soon...
Thursday, November 24, 2005

50 Camera Response

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The Beastie Boys have announced plans to release a concert documentary in spring of 2006, directed by none other than Nathaniel Hornblower (The Beasties’ own M.C.A./Adam Yauch). The majority of the footage was shot on 50 cameras that the Boys handed out to audience members at their October 2004 performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and that same footage was compiled by THINKFilm to make up the finished product. Now scheduled for wide release in the U.S. next spring, the film will also be screened at several major film fests early in the year; and the Beasties will preceded their film release with a little something this week, namely the release of their 15-track collection of previously released material that they’ve dubbed Solid Gold Hits...
Thursday, November 17, 2005

And the winner is....

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The 12th Annual MTV Europe Music Awards just wrapped in Lisbon, Portugal, with Coldplay and Green Day sharing top honors as the big winners of the night. Coldplay snagged Best Song (for “Speed of Sound”) and also Best UK & Ireland Act, while Green Day was awarded Best Rock Act and saw their CD American Idiot win Best Album - both bands also performed at the event. Several other modern rockers won, too, including Robbie Williams (Best Male), Gorillaz (Best Group), and Bob Geldof (the mastermind of the Live 8 concerts) who was honored with the Free Your Mind Award. Nigerian artist 2 Face Idibia won the inaugural Best African Act award, which reflected MTV’s recent launch of their African MTV channel. Also performing at the event were the Black Eyed Peas, Shakira, and Madonna...
Thursday, November 10, 2005

Concert for Bangladesh, redux

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Last week saw the Los Angeles pre-miere of the film version of The Concert for Bangladesh - George Harrison and Friends, at which the likes of Ringo Starr, UNICEF ambassador Alyssa Milano, Angelica Huston, Tea Leoni, and, of course, George Harrison’s wife, Olivia,
and son, Dhani, all made appearances. Harrison’s wife said to the press at the event that George had been wanting to reissue the film, which documents the first ever charity concert event, for its 20th anniversary, and that they got to sift through performance footage in order to put some terrific extras on the DVD that weren’t in the original concert, which is great news for fans.
The concert, which is being released by Warner Music and is available in both DVD and CD formats, hit stores last week as an impressive 2-disc package, including a revitalized version of the original 99 minute film plus over an hour’s worth of bonus footage, including a documentary and some groovy previously-unseen cuts that include rehearsals and sound checks. The concert also featured many of George’s pals, including Ravi Shankar, the aforementioned Ringo Starr, and Bob Dylan; the original event generated millions of dollars for its charitable cause, and all artist royalties from the sales of these DVDs and CDs will also go to UNICEF...