To the editors:

The letter from Dylan Posa printed in the August 9 Reader is all too typical of so-called “progressive music” advocates. They want more free and open musical expression on the radio; but only on their own terms. If it doesn’t fit their trendy, P.C. notions of what music should be, then they have to put it down. What motivated me to write was what Mr. Posa said about the “Blaze.” “God help us all.” Why call to God on this matter? What’s wrong with the “Blaze,” that divine intervention is necessary?

Oh. I know. It’s that young-white-male-heavy-metal-hard-rock stuff–who wants to hear that stuff? There’s too much of it being played anyway. Despite the fact that the “Blaze” and WVVX are the only stations playing that style of rock, it’s just too much. Well, of course, it would be too much for a hypocrite who talks about opening up the radio waves with one face, but closing them for certain “types” of music with the other. While I’m not happy that radio isn’t more open and progressive, I don’t see this need to slap at hard/metal rock. It seems to me to be only because young white males are the main listeners/players (or are perceived as such) that it must be held up to ridicule.

Well, I don’t fit the demographics. Sorry. I’m black, male and 35 years old, and I prefer Queensryche and Metallica to Babyface and Ralph Tresvant, and I’m not repentant about it. The Blaze has a spot on my car radio right alongside WXRT. I do not care what anyone thinks of what I listen to; I never have, and I never will. And I have absolutely no patience with hypocrites like Posa, who try to sneak their secret bigotry in under the disguise of musical “freedom.” Dylan Posa wants musical progressiveness, but only on his own terms and prejudices. So you can keep that noise, Mr. Posa. Your call to avoid the Big Lie is only a cover to tell your own Big Lie. Everything that is new or unusual is not good. After years of hearing from fools like you, I thought I’d developed a more tolerant attitude, but apparently not!

After years of hearing that what I liked was “too weird, too white,” I tuned out all those voices except for the one inside me, that said, “If you like it, listen to it!” Music can lift your spirit or make your loins dance, but I don’t worship any kind of music; I just enjoy it. I can remember staying up late to hear TRIAD radio; this was what I’d been looking for! And my musical taste remains eclectic as a result. So I know about Primus, Fugazi and other, more “underground” musical forms. But I don’t think everything that is “new, progressive,” is more worthy than everything that is “commercial.” And as far as “being financed by a beer conglomerate” is concerned, if a band is worthless, they will be worthless with or without sponsorship. You can’t use that as an excuse to explain away crappy music.

One side point: I notice that no one criticizes WGCI or WVAZ. These “urban” (read: black) stations might well be called the inner city counterparts of WLUP/WCKG. Perhaps some writer is afraid of offending these operations, but I have no such fear, and will speak freely. These “urban” stations play the same thing, over and over, and anything that doesn’t fit their playlist won’t get airtime, despite the image that these stations try to portray, that they are bringing their listeners the best in “black music.” You won’t hear Living Colour, Taj Mahal, the Neville Brothers, Joan Armatrading, Marcia Griffiths, Fishbone, Defunkt, Valerie Wellington, Vanessa Davis Band, or anything that won’t fit their playlist. They say that they only play what their listeners want to hear, but you can’t develop an appetite for something unless you taste it, and young blacks are being denied this chance by the radio stations that claim to serve them.

I know many young whites who have a more varied musical diet than most young blacks. Please don’t waste time writing and saying that’s not so, because I’ve seen it for over 30 years . . . but it’s not really their fault. WVAZ and WGCI together don’t play as much jazz, blues or reggae in a month as WXRT does in a week. So anything that’s too “off center” won’t even make a showing.

I don’t want to wander too far off the subject, so I’ll conclude by saying that Mr. Posa ought to enjoy WCKG. You have the same basic philosophy: They think it’s only worth playing if it’s “classic”; you think it’s only worth playing if it’s “progressive.”

Sounds like the same philosophy to me!

Michael Reese

South Lawndale