I'm so appreciative of Brian Smith’s eloquence in writing the story about my former husband, David Gilbert ("Rocket to the crypt," Metro Times, July 31-Aug. 6). He really captured the truth and emotions of David's life! I'm grateful that he wrote with honesty and dignity, and he didn't misconstrue any of the facts. He has given an incredible homage to David. I believe this documentation is imperative for the Gilbert lineage. He helped keep David's spirit alive! Thank you so very much. —Terry Valdez, email@example.com, Redford
I thought Brian Smith did a reasonable job detailing the history of The Rockets. There are a few points I feel need clarification. In regard to "Bee" wanting Dennis Robbins out of the band, Mr. Smith fails to mention why. By that point in time, Robbins was so high he could barely stand up. The whole band was fed up and felt he had to go. When it came down to the wire, Bee was the only one who remained adamant about the original decision.
As to Robbins’ version of why the band didn’t record "Fire" by Bruce Springsteen, Gary Lazar, manager of The Rockets, was in touch with Jon Landau, Springsteen’s manager. Bruce had promised to write a song for The Rockets. Landau suggested a Springsteen tune ("Fire") that had already been recorded by Robert Gordon. The whole band decided to wait for the promised new tune from Bruce as opposed to covering an older song.
Concerning the "scarcely regarded" hard-rock band Cactus, in the past five years, I have received more worldwide royalties from sales of Cactus CD’s than from The Rockets, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels put together. Apparently someone must be "regarding" the band, Mr. Smith. —Jim McCarty, Sterling Heights
Tremendous. I never knew Dave Gilbert was Richard and the Young Lions. I still think "Open Up Your Door" (the door?) is one of the great lost Detroit treasures. This is all very overwhelming; I know Bee and Jimmy very well, of course, from Wheels days, but never knew Dave, never knew this sad story. Thanks to Brian Smith for doing it. He did a great job. —Dave Marsh, firstname.lastname@example.org, Norwalk, CT, formerly of Pontiac
Talented and tortured
I just wanted to thank Brian Smith for the piece on Dave Gilbert. The first concert I ever went to when I moved to Detroit in 1976 was the Kiss show at Olympia with The Rockets as the opening act. I was a Rockets fan immediately. During the time, I was known as Zak Burns at WABX. We worked fairly often with The Rockets, and Dave was always a lot of fun to be around. Smith’s story captured a talented but tortured soul beautifully. —Tom Force, Oldies 104.3, TOMFORCE@WOMC.CBS.COM
Robert Hyde ("Hyde & seek," Metro Times, Aug. 7-13) is also currently part of the "On the Spot/Dancing Paint" exhibit at Zeitgeist Gallery, where he is still known to head "toward the bar, not engaging in much of the perfunctory art small talk."
The Michigan Gallery, as much as Glen Mannisto may wish it not so, no longer exists. The Zeitgeist has proven to be a very worthy replacement, showing the best artists in the metro area working in the "raw/outsider" tradition, if such a "thing" exists, many of whom used to show at the old Michigan Gallery. Zeitgeist also has a wonderful collection of European artists working in this "tradition." However, from reading recent stories in your paper, one could never know that the Zeitgeist even exists. I hope Mr. Mannisto and others will take time to visit this gritty little gem, if not to see the collaborative work currently on the walls, then for the "Kids Show" featuring works by young people who are tutored by artists, which opens in August, or for the Sherie Hendrick/Robert Sestok show that is scheduled for early September. —Senithia Brown-Marino, Center for Urban Studies, WSU, Detroit
Regarding Jack Lessenberry’s column "The cows come home" (Metro Times, July 17-23): Wonderful! Keep up the terrific reporting. If you media guys don't do it, it won't get done. Democrats are truly spineless. You will be my hero! (screw the police and firemen, damn rednecks ...). —Diane DeMeyer, Bettendorf, IA