To Monica Kendrick:
I am writing in response to your scathing little blurb in Spot Check on Moxy Fruvous [June 12]. I am curious to know if you have even seen them live. You sound like you’ve only ever heard their latest album. I would like to argue against your depiction of the Fruvous following–you have tagged Moxy Fruvous fans as pseudo Deadheads who stumble around in search of the band, devoid of identity and direction when, in truth, it takes a certain sardonic wit to appreciate both their lyrics and, generally, what they stand for. Every Moxy fan I’ve met has been bright and capable of intelligent conversation and understands more about the world than you seem to.
You could have compared them with They Might Be Giants or might have mentioned that their tried-and-true formula for pretty, mainstream pop songs is not unpleasant, especially when experienced in person. I found out about Moxy Fruvous from my brother, who saw them during a cross-country bicycle trip at the Winnipeg folk festival. Because of his rantings and his birthday I got us two tickets for the Thanksgiving show and to my true surprise had an absolute blast. You can say what you will about them, but they have a way with the audience–and with song–that is infectious and heartrending but hysterically funny at the same time.
For you to say it is an “amalgamation of bad stand-up and stiff sing-along rock” is just typical adherence to what seems to be the Reader’s rule of employing critics who write petty, pompous, and insulting reviews. You have no right to degrade the integrity of Fruvous’s audience or to deny their talent and deserved popularity to illuminate your arrogant, self-appointed sophistication. You have completely overlooked the easy rapport between the band members, their interplay and refreshing outlook on life and society. Before you pass judgment and fling negative adjectives carelessly, you should certainly consider the entire extent of their work on its own terms. When you consider Moxy Fruvous’s music in terms of its generational relevance, it is not so much a digression as it is a nod to all the rock conventions of the past–except that it is played by four left-wing guys that studied drama together in the same school. And they are goofy–I’ll admit that–but I won’t accept the stereotyping and downplaying of their unique qualities. When evaluating Moxy Fruvous you have to take into account that their major airplay is on National Public Radio–they are satirical, mainly, and politically motivated. As a matter of course their audience would be considered cultish and their fans perceived as strange. But certainly not sheep.
Their knack for incorporating improv–albeit vaguely silly–into their performances is undeniably different–and fresh. Mentioning Poi Dog in the same breath is tantamount to–well, stupidity. In closing, I’d just like to reiterate that negative, smirking reviews are rude and discouraging, while considerate reviews leave room for the readership to take a chance with buying a ticket and–despite your literary sourpuss–enjoy themselves with Moxy Fruvous at the helm.
Diane K. Stojentin