Thanks. Now he'll want a bigger office: Dan Strachota's Pop Philosophy column is succinct, informative, and often quite witty, a nice contrast from the prevailing cynicism and dour prose that imbues the writing of most Bay Area critics. Strachota's recent candor regarding Chris Knox's dot-com company double-standard was greatly appreciated ("Buddy, Can You Spare Some Change?," Sept. 20). In another issue, it was refreshing to learn of Aquarius Records' 30th anniversary ("What's your sign?," Oct. 4). The shop has been cited by more than one friend as a transforming experience in the search for pop nirvana, and such longevity is a notable achievement in a business littered with chain stores.
We'll forward this to our Seoul bureau: A great new column. It's nice to read someone whose finger is on the pop pulse of the city I love. How about more international coverage for us expats overseas? Keep up the good pop.
Chonan City, South Korea
Punk Is Dead
Somebody tell these guys: In Fred Medick's article on the East Bay punk label Adeline Records ("Sweet Adeline," Music, Oct. 4), he states that punk started in England. No! It started in New York, and the term "punk" originally came from the New York Punk magazine. The entire punk name and aesthetic was stolen from the New York scene by people like Malcolm McLaren (who started the Sex Pistols) and British youths who saw bands like the New York Dolls and Ramones play live. So, perhaps you should make sure people get their facts straight on something so simple.
Fred Medick responds: Punk bands began forming all over the world during the '70s -- New York, London, Berlin, D.C., L.A. The genre didn't start with the Sex Pistols or the Clash, in London or anywhere else. What did start -- in London, with the Sex Pistols and their impresario manager, Malcolm McLaren -- was the punk phenomenon, the media blitz, the smashing together of anti-establishment, fuck-you kids and fat cat record label executives. The result would shake the entertainment industry to the core and forever change the landscape of popular music. The Sex Pistols didn't invent punk, but they made punk popular. Good or bad, that's what happened.
A Whole New Avenue for Country Music
Great: Enjoyed your article "Blood, Sweat, and Money?" about the positive effect of dot-coms on the credit ratings of music dweebs like me (Music, Sept. 13). I worked in radio for 25 years, beginning with Gilroy's progressive country KFAT-FM in the '70s and ending with a 10-year run of my show All Kinds of Country on local commercial country stations. But commercial broadcast properties are so expensive now owners won't make risky programming choices. The music knowledge I have is too obscure to be of use to them.
So I was floored to discover that Internet companies actually value in-depth knowledge of music! A dozen of my old radio pals are now working at dot-coms. (I myself program the country-related channels at Spinner.com in San Francisco.) This is good news for all musicians. It means their CDs will be heard by music lovers rather than by people who are more expert in the business side of the music business.
As far as "selling out" -- oh, please, what year is this? If my brain could understand computers I would have sold out years ago. I'm just so happy that there's a place in the world for people like me, besides record stores.