I have to question your criteria for hiring music writers. It seems that you have one too many young punks whose heads are still stuck in the Seattle grunge phase and who apparently know squat about good rock music. As a longtime U2 fan, I have to take issue with Rob Harvilla's short-sighted preview of the Elevation tour [Nightwatch, May 3]. I was at the concert. It was one of several U2 concerts I've attended, and I can assure you that the band is better than ever, and Bono is still a rock and roll god.
I suppose we can't expect much from a writer whose favorite bands while growing up included Hall & Oates, M.C. Hammer, and yes, even Vanilla Ice. But it's particularly disturbing to me, since I bought Rob's very first concert ticket. At the age of 14, he went to see U2 and thought they were "the bomb." As parents, we do the best we can, but we can't control the direction our kids take when they grow up.
This too shall pass. We'll still set a place for Rob at Thanksgiving dinner.
Barb Harvilla (Rob's mom)
Take a number
Unfortunately, I have to respond angrily to Mr. Harvilla's column on U2 [Nightwatch, May 3]. Does he have a grudge against them, and is he out to ruin their career? I'm sorry, but U2, arguably the best band in the world, just put out a masterpiece album, and maybe if he would listen to what it says, he would discover how much it inspires fans all over the world. I don't know how U2 can win three Grammys and take over the Brits with an awful album. Harvilla didn't seem to like any of the songs, but he never mentioned one song and why he didn't like it. If he is going to write a column, I wish he knew what he was talking about.
Apathy begins at home
Erick Trickey's "Where The Levy Breaks" [April 26] gives the controversy surrounding Issue 14 a very human face. It is, after all, these interviewees' own community. Once upon a time, the community school was important to people. Maybe Erick should go back and clarify some of the replies he received.
He should ask Dennis Persaud, who said that his kids don't complain that their school is raggedy, but do complain about the curriculum and teachers, what the "raggedy" school is doing about his property values. He should ask Mr. Persaud what his children's complaints are about the teachers. Are they too young? Do they not give homework? Do they not give enough tests? Are they slovenly? And has Mr. Persaud made an appointment with any of those teachers to follow up on his children's complaints? What did he find out? He said that the school had not improved since he was there. When was that? Are they the same teachers? If it is the same curriculum, then he should be able to help his kids with their homework. Does he?
Does he belong to the PTA? Has he formed a delegation and toured the school with the principal to check out what needs to be changed? Did he attend the last school board meeting? Does the board of Jefferson School (which his children attend) support Issue 14? What would Issue 14 mean to Jefferson School? A new gym? A football field? Better windows in the library? And where did these awful politicians who keep throwing away money come from? Was Mr. Persaud one of the 5 percent of voters who turned out to vote the politicians into office? He pays the salary of those icky politicos. Maybe they are relying on his apathy to stay in office and draw that paycheck. Can he name names?
I don't understand where the money for education comes from, if the community, as Mr. Persaud states, "don't vote for tax increases."
I have a message for Margie Ramos, who said, "I would like the schools for the kids to be better." Sorry, Ms. Ramos. You have it wrong. The schools are not for the kids. They are for you. They are there to make your life better. They are there to get kids ready to be engineers, mechanics, farmers, airline pilots, police officers, and the newspaper reporters who keep evil politicians in line.
We all have a stake in our schools. They are the lifeblood of our country. And go to the next school board meeting.
Dr. R.K. McGaha
The first race was great; next year's will be Greater
Thanks to Scene and the organizers of the Greater Cleveland Marathon for the wonderful event. The course was the star of the show and really highlighted the great things about Cleveland. Though the field of runners was small, the organization was great. I hope this event becomes a regular part of Cleveland's spring calendar. We had a wonderful time.
Bono dry-humps monitors for everyone who can't
I disagree with Jeff Niesel's opinion of U2's concert at the Gund [Soundbites, May 10]. It wasn't enough that Scene dismissed the band and the new album in the May 3 issue.
Jeff, I'm sorry the band didn't play Boy in its entirety, ignored October, and touched on War only twice. I'm also sorry that you're disappointed with All That You Can't Leave Behind. But your taste for vintage U2 doesn't justify the write-up you gave my mates.
You're damn right Bono played the star. Duh! I didn't pay big bucks to hear or see anything else. Sure, he pontificates. Yeah, he shined a spotlight on himself and dry-humped video monitors. Fact is, people wanted to pay attention to Bono and spent their hard-earned cash for that rare opportunity. Rock concerts are all about escapism, my friend, and I'm grateful Bono let me live vicariously through his insanely talented and wealthy rock star persona for a couple of hours.
I'm sorry that Bono and Edge aren't 19 anymore. Truth is, the guys in U2 are pushing 40 and have evolved as a band. They've done the sociopolitical awareness and rebel stuff. They've done the moody Americana-roots rock and Euro-techno shit. They've seemed to defy categorization over the years, have eschewed predictability, and kept the public guessing -- which is more than can be said for most rock groups today.
Bono's rapport with the crowd was great. So what if he mugged for the cameras? Is it so wrong to help out a local cameraman -- or was Jeff merely upset Bono didn't extend the same courtesy to the Scene photographer, whose grainy headshot of Bono and Edge failed to capture the color and excitement of that night?
Funny how every dig in your review was trailed by a "but . . ." As in, "Bono was full of himself, but gave tons of high-fives" and "Bono was an arrogant prick, but let a girl from the floor share the spotlight for an entire song." Sounds like uncertainty to me, as in "This was a great show, but I'm still so goddamn smitten with 'Out of Control' and 'Gloria' that I didn't want to hear or recognize the merit of anything else."
I concur with Jeff's opinion that War was and remains a masterpiece. However, I, for one, am glad that U2 isn't compelled to repeat itself ad nauseam in some bid for faux rock relevance in 2001. My suggestion would be to either put your War disc on repeat play for all perpetuity or invent a time machine, revisit the Reagan era, and convince Bono he hasn't gotten all his anger out yet and should sing about the oppression of humanity forever.
Scene music reviewer, 1996-1998