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Letters to the Editor 

Small-Town California Über Alles; Brighter Lights, Bigger City; Cease and Desist This!; Off on a Tangent

Small-Town California Über Alles
"The Modesto Invasion" (June 28) by Mark Athitakis must be acknowledged as one of the finest pieces to date with regards to the San Francisco alternative rock marketplace. As publicist for the modern altrock band Redline from the Sonoma County city of Petaluma, I could very well relate to the dynamics of Athitakis' well-researched journalistic piece. One of the more obvious advantages of all of our bands being from smaller rural towns is the bands' ability to create and perfect an indigenous style of music. It is here where we can define and redefine what our musical formula is. And that is what regional and national radio industry looks for. When music and program directors at stations look for new product to air, the first question they ask is, "Is it radio-user friendly?" The chances of a band from small-town California getting played are remarkably high.

This is because of the simple fact that we are too busy focusing on our music to be worried about what the expectations of the San Francisco marketplace are. We are miles away from the sometimes brutal realities of the city's commercial rock radio scene for airplay, the broken promises of record promoters, and venues whose only interest is high-priced admission at the door and overinflated prices for drinks. When Redline released its first CD in January 1999 we were played on 103 stations in 14 states. We felt a part of this was due to the strong musical definition of the band's unique approach to having honed its craft.

All bands from small-town California share this common trait. It is what truly makes us unique and special in the West Coast evolution of modern alternative rock. We are the wave of both the present and future of real music from the heartland of rural, small-town California. Mark Athitakis must be considered one of our most important writers to date. His timely and well-researched piece gives all of the real-world dynamics of what really is happening in regional marketplaces. Congratulations to SF Weekly and to Mark Athitakis. This has to be one of the finest stories of the year.
Michael Ali

Brighter Lights, Bigger City
What happened to The Man Who Came to Dinner? Every week I see that he's "on assignment." Is he coming back? Negotiating a new contract? Food poisoning?
We miss him dearly.
Aura Smithers
Via Internet

Editor's Note: Barry Levine, who in his non-column-writing life is an actor (perhaps you caught his gig on Nash Bridges?), has been on tour with a production of Metamorphoses that landed him in Los Angeles. Though he swears he will eventually return to San Francisco, we suspect the smog, glamour, and acting opportunities in the southland are going to his head; unfortunately, he won't be back in our pages any time in the foreseeable future.

Cease and Desist This!
In response to the letter to the editor ("Hey, If It's So Easy, You Write It," June 28) written by the Partygoers in response to the Dog Bites column "Ken! Again!" (May 31):

Any group which describes itself as "a troupe of visionaries whose mission it is to make San Francisco a better place through the spontaneous visitation of social gatherings and celebrations," yet still has the time and interest to write newspaper columnists asking that they refrain from using a word of not uncommon parlance (i.e., "partygoers"), probably needs to get out more often. What other bons mots would these self-appointed lexical legislators have us strike from our non-copyrighted vocabulary? "Fun lovers"? "Beer guzzlers"? "TV junkies"?
Neil Berg
Richmond District

Off on a Tangent
I am writing to support Mark Athitakis' article "Left Of(f) the Dial" (Riff Raff, June 21) in which he referenced the cancellation of the Tangents radio show. As Mark noted, Tangents is not another dumb radio show, but an intellectually stimulating musical experience which sends the listener on a magical musical journey around the world. Please do what you can to convince KALW to reconsider canceling the show and put Tangents back on the air.
Gary Jones
Redwood City


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