Friday, August 17, 2007

Michael Stanley reads our Raspberries story, decides it sucks

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2007 at 4:53 PM

Below is an actual letter -- yes, Mike, it's unedited -- from the great Michael Stanley. And above, in case you somehow blocked Stanley from your memory, is a little reminder of who he is, in the form of a a video promoting a musical about him that ran last year. To whom it may concern ... Obviously I'd like you folks to print this letter but, if you're going to edit it, I'd rather you just forget it entirely. Justin Farrar's recent article ["Why the hype," August 15] on how The Raspberries are overrated was certainly a bi-polar bit of writing and another in the storied tradition of our town's music writer's continuing quest to disparage anything that doesn't happen to be called Pere Ubu. Were The Raspberries a "success" Let's see... First of all, The "Berries" could (and still did on their reunion tour and album) back it up live which, unfortunately, seems to have become a lost art. Four top forty singles, two top twenty singles, one top ten single, millions of albums sold and the ability to impress both Springsteen and John Lennon? That pretty much works for me! Were the matching suits a good idea? Not exactly my cup of tea but if you had to choose between those suits and wearing red plastic flowerpots on your head which way are you going? Years on the road have convinced me that the ladies tend to gravitate more toward the suits! Any guitar player worth his salt would kill to have played Wally Bryson's intro to "Go All The Way" (and any other number of great guitar parts!).?No guitar player I know owns the first eight bars of a song like Wally! Did they make great albums? Definitely not; too much filler. But back then it was all about "singles" and, in that regard, these guys were masters. "Tonight", "Ecstasy", "Let's Pretend" and "I Wanna Be With You" are almost perfect records and "Go All The Way" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" are! As music lovers (and I fully realize that we're into "to each his own" terrritory here) we ought to just be proud of the fact that Cleveland gave the world such a great "power-pop" group (a term that was lovingly coined by the strangely critic-proof Pete Townsend), one of the all-time great power trios, The James Gang and, in Eddie and the late Gerald Levert, two of the greatest R&B singers of all time. I never wanted to have The Raspberries pick out my wardrobe, tell me how to end the war, or mine my soul; I just wanted to turn 'em up and make the dashboard shake! That was more than enough for me and for that I thank them! And how did your band do? Michael Stanley Cleveland

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