Bootman! Bootster! Bootmeister!
Re: Your article on Bootsey X ("Ballad of Mr. X," April 14), the Boot! Oh, man, first time I encountered this rascal was on a beach on Lake Huron somewhere around 1970. He had his band honking up the street in Alpena. We began yakking about how we were crazed by the Five, the Stooges and the Flaming Groovies. Then he began to hep me to Archie Shepp, Sun Ra and Coltrane. At the time, jazz was not in my skull. Thanks, Boot!
Five years or so later, I'm at a party in a basement in Detroit making noise with the Urbations, and up walks a skinny hep cat who says he wants to "beat the shit out of those drums." He sat down and proceeded to beat the bejeezus out of those drums. Horn player told me his name was Mulrooney. I looked for him, but he was gone. The Bootmeister! Over the years, Mr. Mulrooney and I have yakked about how much we admired or idolized Peter Wolf, Ig, Jagger and James Brown — and shiny suits and pointy-toed shoes.
Years later, when I formed the Stomp Rockets (fun for the whole fuckin' family), I got Gerald Sho'Nuff and Vito, and with them came all kinds of stories on the legacy of the Bootster. I was scared when I heard he was illin' and was afraid we'd lose that rascal. Then the Boot party came up and I said I gotta go say howdy-doody to this cat. Then I came down with some sick that wouldn't let me outta the house. Couldn't make it. But I'm doin' my damnedest to go to the next Boot wing-ding. So many cats are fallin' in Detroit in the last few years. It would be terrible if we lost Bootsey. He's always been very encouraging and I know he's gonna be awright, 'cause he's a stone soul survivor, a solid-gold oh-daddy-ooh from the planet Neptune. Best wishes and health to you, man. —Dan Mulholland, Ypsilanti
Saved by rock 'n' roll
Just picked up Don Waller's Runaways piece ("Neon angels," April 7). You just can't get more original than this. He was there through it all. Great article — an amazing history of that moment in time. —Carol Lynn, Glendale, Calif.
PS — Rock 'n' roll saved my life too.
I am disappointed by this week's Jack Lessenberry column, "Truth and Tea Baggers" (April 14). It seems like a wasted opportunity.
For one thing, John Nichols, in a blog on The Nation's website, did a far better job of admonishing us liberals for getting our uncareful wish that Bart Stupak just go away. While I don't have any regrets about his decision not to run for re-election, I did see Mr. Nichols' points, which included Mr. Stupak's no vote in Congress's authorizing Shrub's rush to war in Iraq. It does seem ironic, however, when Mr. Lessenberry says in the column that "The wacky Catholics are in a class by themselves," distinguishing them from Bart Stupak. Did he forget that Bart Stupak is a Catholic?
Far more importantly, Mr. Lessenberry, in attacking the Tea Party, does little to undercut their arguments. Rather than expose the Astroturf aspect of the group and call them names, it would have made for better reading had he questioned their patriotism. Paying taxes is a patriotic duty, avoiding your fair share of taxes isn't. If ours is a government "Of the people, by the people and for the people," then what does it say about an organization that has threatened their fellow citizens, simply for enacting a law that they, a minority, didn't agree with? Furthermore, why are the tea partiers all of a sudden worried about the deficit? They didn't speak up when Shrub gave away the surplus to his wealthy brethren, then saddled us with debt by paying for the war on Iraq with a credit card. They don't see the connection between the deregulation of the financial industry and the bottoming out of the economy. Finally, he didn't mention the hypocrisy of many tea partiers who are receiving government subsidies, such as unemployment insurance.
Hopefully the next time Mr. Lessenberry takes on the Tea Party, he'll focus his attention more on substance. —Don Handy, Mount Clemens
Erratum: A Best of Detroit item involving the Detroit City Council's vote on a strip club ordinance ("Best Escape from Theocracy") misattributed remarks from Councilmember Andre Spivey to Councilmember James Tate, and misidentified Tate as an ordained minister. Spivey is an ordained minister, and it was he who said: "I'm not just a City Council person to Christians in this city. I'm a City Council person for Christians, Muslims, Jews, those who have no faith at all and those of any other ethnicity or faith that may be represented in Detroit." Tate is a former Detroit Police spokesperson.
Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598; e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.