No Phony Dude

Letters published August 4, 2004

Romeo & Juliet Presented by the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival at the Tri-C West Campus and Wade Oval Amphitheatre Through August 14; 877-280-1646,
No Phony Dude
David Allan Coe frees his mind:
Your recent article comparing me to Merle Haggard was uncalled for, full of lies, and total bullshit [Soundbites, July 21]. I'm disappointed in your treatment of me, a native Ohioan. To have stayed out of prison since 1967 and to have accomplished all I have accomplished is truly a miracle. I don't mind your criticisms. However, let's get the facts straight.

I do not own or have anything to do with the more than 20 or so websites that use my name. I've never seen a website, and I'm not into selling any kind of merchandise, nor do I receive money for anything sold on these websites.

I've never sung or recorded any song in my life called "My Wife Ran Off With a Nigger" or "Nigger Hatin' Me." That is an outright lie. I wrote a song called "If That Ain't Country" with the line "Workin' like a nigger for my room and board," and I wrote a song called "Nigger Fuckers."

However, I have written songs for Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker, Kid Rock, and Uncle Kracker, along with many others. I own my own record label called Coe-Pop Records, which is based in Cleveland.

As for my Rebel guitar, it was given to me by Dimebag Darrell of Pantera for my 62nd birthday. Merle Haggard and I are friends, and had he shown up for this show, I'm sure he would have felt the same disgust I felt after reading your article.

David Allan Coe
ex-convict from Akron

Morning Glory fan gives thanks: Despite the fact that I am a white 18-to-34-year-old female, I am completely addicted to Rover's Morning Glory ["Rover Unleashed!," July 14]. I work nights at a hospital, so I'm pretty wasted on my drive home. At times the only thing that keeps me from falling asleep at the wheel is the fact that I am laughing so much at Rover and his crew. Great article, and yes, Kevin Hoffman, Cleveland loves you too.

Maryclaire Grigson

Rover Shmover -- the music still sucks: Not only can I not bear to listen to Rover's voice in the morning, I couldn't get through Scene's article thanking him for his contribution to Cleveland radio. I tried and tried, but found my hands crumpling the pages in frustration. He's having trouble with the FCC? I'm having trouble staying interested.

I'm smack in the middle of 92.3's target market as a 25-year-old male, yet I have replaced the station on my car radio tuner. My friends have done the same. Is it because of Rover's over-the-top high jinks? No, I switch to Stern for that. Is it because of his lisp? No, but it makes it that much easier. It is, however, directly reflected in the music that is played during and after his show. This goes for WMMS and others in Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland radio is nothing more than your hipster teenage sister who raids closets in search of something cool. And now she's looking for Trucker hats and vintage tees, so that she can join the newest crowd. She waits to see what everyone else is wearing before trying it on herself. God forbid she should try something new. God forbid Cleveland radio should break an act.

These past few years have been amazing. Buzz bands play the Beachland Ballroom and the Grog Shop weekly, if not daily, yet these acts are never promoted on the air. Yes, we know the Vans Warped Tour [just came]. Tell me about the independent group that's passing through. You know, the one that you will have in heavy rotation in six months.

The only radio I listen to now is internet stations, save for select shows from John Carroll and Case Western Reserve universities.

Rover and the rest of Cleveland's DJs should go after the real glory and take a fucking chance. The city did it in the '70s and '80s, and became recognized nationwide. I know it sounds "Xtreme," but Clevelanders will love you for it.

Greg Boose
Cleveland Heights

Recognizably Rover: In response to "Rover Unleashed!": Perceptive, interesting, and accurate. Good work. Regards to Scene.

Jerry Leyden

Bye-Bye, Boozer
Some hogs get slaughtered: It still seems to me that Gund and Paxson have gotten undue credit for trying to do Boozer a "favor" by letting him out of his contract ["Something About Boozer," July 21]. In fact, they were trying to lock him up for six years at substantially below-market rates -- hardly a favor.

Boozer's agent hasn't gotten enough grief either. Clearly, Boozer himself did not call Utah and negotiate a deal with the Jazz. If there was really an "understanding," why did Pelinka even call the Jazz, let alone negotiate a deal with them? It seems to me the height of hypocrisy to fully negotiate a contract for your client and then "fire" him for accepting it.

Gund and Paxson tried to manipulate Boozer's genuine affection for Cleveland and lock Boozer up on the cheap. We have a saying down here -- pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. They were too greedy.

Larry Humphrey
Atlanta, Georgia

Give the kid a break -- he's earned it: Boozer really isn't a bad person. In light of his background (not having much money when he was young), his having the ability to make sure that his family will be able to have whatever they want is for sure not a sin. He has achieved the dream that he has had since he was eight years old. How many of us can say that? Who would work for $20 an hour when they can do the same job for twice as much? Yes, Cleveland embraced him and gave him a chance, and he did his best.

Juli Jackson-Hamilton
Destin, Florida

"Boozer-loser" refuser rebukes easy cues: Kudos to Pete Kotz for his level-headed assessment of the sordid Boozer affair. Considering that the brain trust over at The PD noted that Boozer rhymes with loser and went with it, it's good to know there are still writers in town whose writing isn't based on playground catcalls.

Miles Budimir

Generalizing -- that's what's stupid:
In "The Men of Wal-Mart" [June 30], Pete Kotz wrote, "If you've ever needed help at Wal-Mart, you know that finding someone with enough brain activity to qualify as a living human is an expedition in itself." I interpreted this condescending statement as an effort to demonstrate your superiority to such brainless Wal-Mart workers as myself.

I attend the University of Akron as a Buckingham Scholar. I will graduate with two degrees, one in history and one in social-studies education. Over breaks I work as a lawn-and-garden cashier at the Medina Wal-Mart. Could I find a more intellectually stimulating job if I tried? Of course. But could I find a more intellectually stimulating and economically feasible job if I tried? Not likely.

Paid history internships (the term is practically an oxymoron) are few and far between. In fact, I turned one down because the pay was only five cents more an hour than I make at Wal-Mart. I fully agree that if "you buy poverty-level managers, you buy poverty-level thinking." However, if you are going to lambaste Wal-Mart for its wages, then you must include every other service-sector company that pays its employees similar rates.

Wal-Mart is not the only company to pay its workers poverty-level wages; it is simply the largest and therefore has become a scapegoat for a problem society does not want to address because it would cost those at the top too much. Millions of people are forced into low-paying jobs because of the cost of obtaining an education beyond high school. These workers may be brainless, but at least they are employed. In fact, they are taking the jobs that educated people who do not hesitate to shop and save at Wal-Mart would never dream of taking -- until their company downsizes and Wal-Mart starts looking pretty good.

Attempting to degrade others with inaccurate and oversimplified generalizations only degrades you.

Jillian M. Hinegardner

Billions for Sex and Death
But reps don't give a buck for the truth:
Excellent article ["The Media's Liberal?" July 14]. I know the story well, but you did a great job of expressing it.

Bill Moyers spoke about the media on C-Span "Booknotes" last night. I was both enthralled and disgusted. The right wing has spent billions of dollars developing this media dominance. I think media dominance is our most important activist struggle at this time.

Tom Pirko

Kiss Army Tramps On
Fans line up for the new lineup:
What an entertaining article Geoff Harkness wrote to preview the Kiss concert ["Kiss, Me," June 30]. I could relate to his Kiss Army anecdotes all too well. I also have a sneaking suspicion that, despite the heavy sarcasm, Harkness still is a fan.

I first saw Kiss, my middle-school heroes, in 1978. Most of my original collection of posters was destroyed by too much masking tape. What that stuff now gets at Kiss conventions is mind-boggling. I lost interest for a while, but was very excited when the original band reunited in 1996.

Their recent show at Blossom on July 6 was absolutely fantastic! The set featured many rare songs, in a beautiful new stage show. New members Eric Singer (from Cleveland) and Tommy Thayer were a huge part of why this concert rocked so much. Although the reunion was great, Peter Criss just wasn't playing like his old cat self and Ace Frehley was starting to look bloated even in makeup.

This is where Harkness missed the point, because these two new members were anything but robotic. In fact, they rejuvenated the band and made them sound better than they had in years. During a Thayer guitar solo, fans started to boo, and I was thinking it's uncanny how this guy sounds like Frehley. By the end of the solo, Blossom was cheering loudly for the new spaceman. I'm glad Harkness turned in his Kiss army card, or he might have booed too.

The bottom line is that almost every classic-rock band has had a revolving door of lineup changes. Some work, and some don't. When they capture the original spirit of the band, it is a success. Who would have believed this possible -- that the hottest band in the world could do that without its original four? By the way, I'm looking forward to the new greatest-hits CD. What member of the Kiss Army isn't?

Brad Schreiber
Richmond Heights

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