To the editors:
Let’s start with “umpteenth.” Since Bill Wyman [Letters, February 14] also uses his mouth to communicate, many of his slams against Dick Holliday have been verbalized to people I know: writers, bar owners, booking agents, fellow musicians. Unfortunately, most of what he says gets back to me; in my letter, I lumped all of his abuse together.
Not long ago, in an article ravaging Jae-Ha Kim, Bill mentioned a number of critics he respected, including Greg Kot and Don McLeese. Let’s see what these two writers say about the “nightmarish frat-band” I’m in: Don McLeese: “The band’s self-marketed debut album (‘Everybody Knows’) shows a lot of craft and care. . . . The band could be as big a hit with radio as it has been in the clubs. The combination of the band’s overwhelming local support and its studio polish should take the Gang national before long.” Greg Kot: “‘Everybody Knows’ affirms the Bamboo Gang’s party band reputation with its splendid mix of breezy Caribbean rhythms and hot dance floor workouts. . . . Its sharp production, tight arrangements and tuneful vocals also indicate they’re much more than a club act. ‘Such a Fine Love’ practically screams for top 40 airplay.” I wonder if all three are talking about the same band.
Bill then refers to a “cold cocking” I received from the New Duncan Imperials in the Reader’s letters section a few years ago. Despite his seeming lack of interest in the set-to, Bill managed to mangle the facts of the case sufficiently to practically demand a retelling. I wrote a letter containing a series of Bill Wyman quotes from a Reader’s Critic Choice that ended with the claim that the band in question was the best live band in Chicago. My only contribution to the letter was the word Bullshit; I thought the review of the band was lame, listing peripherals which I felt had nothing to do with any band’s worth. I also felt that it was silly to claim any band is the “best live band” in the city. When the band in question, the New Duncan Imperials, took exception, evidently feeling that I was slamming them, I wrote immediately, apologizing that I was slamming the reviewer and not the reviewed. Having boxed in the Chicago Athletic Association, my concept of a cold-cocking must differ from Bill’s.
As for my friend’s remark, Bill doesn’t seem to have any question about his own role in the world: I do it, he watches.
PS: Everybody knows Spies Who Surf is the best live band in the city.