Got his Irish up
I felt I had to write and point out the inaccuracies of the short listing of the Irish pubs for St. Patrick's Day celebrations (Short Order, "Irish blessings," March 10). I realize the information comes from the pubs themselves, but I thought your editorial interns would have corrected these mistakes while carrying out their "research." These may be minor issues, but to a true Irishman, who is sick of seeing these "plastic paddy" pubs blazing adverts about being the best "Irish" bar for St. Patrick's Day to celebrate in, they make my stomach churn reading them.
Firstly, the Gus O'Connor's in Rochester; "rashers" are English bacon, not Irish; there's a big difference, not that you would know or care, as their map of Ireland on their wall only depicts 26 of the 32 counties — at least it did the last time I was there.
Secondly, the Old Shillelagh downtown, supposedly one of the "meccas" for celebrating on St. Paddy's Day, claims to have the "world's hugest St. Patrick's Day party," no small feat for a pub so small. Anyway, the "Irish flag shot" they advertised — which resembles the "green, white and red flag" — that would be an Italian flag, as our Irish flag is green, white and orange. Being an "Irish" bar, I would at least expect them to get the flag of Ireland correct; maybe they need someone to point out where Ireland is on a map for them also. (Editor's note: Actually, MT can take responsibility for failing National Flags 101.)
Also, any bar that advertises or has hanging on their walls leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows, etc., deserves a wide berth. The same goes for any bar that doesn't know how to serve a true pint of Guinness, or even worse, doesn't sell it!
Oh, yeah, on the use of Scottish bagpipers to celebrate St. Patrick's Day: Please! Half of Scotland doesn't even celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and these pipers don't even play Irish songs half the time. Too many Irish cop funerals have been seen in movies, and hence the association of the Scottish bagpiper with Ireland. A true Irish piper would play real Irish pipes, i.e, the uilleann pipes, the national pipes of Ireland, and they sound much better than bagpipes, which sound like a bag full of cats being drowned!
OK, done with the corrections, hope you print this before next St. Patrick's Day, so everyone can know a true Irish bar when they see one, and not just fall into anywhere claiming to be "Irish" for a day. —Pearse McMahon, St. Clair Shores
Driven to distraction
In response to Brett Callwood's article, "Motor City's greatest 'bar band' ever?" (March 17), I think he really sold the Hell Drivers short.
I'm not sure what bars Mr. Callwood hangs out at, but I would be hard put to find many bands in L.A. or N.Y., let alone Detroit, that rock like the Hell Drivers! Which just goes to show what Detroit bands are up against. In any other city in America, let's not even mention Europe, this band would be revered.
In Detroit, the media just say most likely the band will stay in Detroit and play the bar scene. And with local media support like that I guess it is likely.
It is pretty sad local media rarely get behind Detroit talent till out-of-town people say it's OK to do so. Go to SXSW or Nashville or L.A. or England, get famous, and, yes, then our media love you. How many good reviews did you ever see about Bob Seger or Eminem till they had million-sellers. When Motown Records had the PR machine going back in the day, do you think the Temptations or Four Tops ever got a review that said they might make a great bar band? Even Rare Earth, which was a great bar band, and went on to sell millions of records, got that important local support. If Detroit is truly the rock 'n' roll capital of the world, we need to act like it, embrace our talent. Radio stations, concert promoters, newspapers, fans all need to get on board, before you end up reading a UK publication proclaiming Jim Edwards as one of the world's great rock voices. Yes I said world, not Detroit. Hell Drivers are one of Detroit's the greatest bands, and we are the rock 'n' roll capital of the world. —Benny Jet, Inkster
On paper it's a tired concept: Get some young writer who apparently considers himself an authority on vintage Detroit bands that he's never actually seen. Have him write a piece that not only slams a band that carries on the legacy of Detroit rock 'n' roll at its high-energy best, but have him toss in a few insults to some of the finest musicians to ever come out of the Detroit area — and their fans to boot.
It's a damn shame Mr. Callwood wasn't at their gig at Callahan's March 19. Jim McCarty even dedicated their version of the Stooges "I Wanna Be Your Dog" to him. Then he proceeded to give a demonstration of exactly why he is considered one of the finest guitar players to ever come out of the Detroit area. With all due respect to his memory, Ron Asheton couldn't even carry McCarty's guitar pick. If Mr. Callwood ever bothered to attend one of their shows he'd find that the audience of "fist-pumping punters" out for a "good time of drunken sing-alongs" usually includes some of the Detroit area's finest musicians, who know talent when they see it — unlike your misbegotten Mr. Callwood. Perhaps actually seeing real Detroit rock 'n' roll baffles him. His idiotic article sure baffled me. —Mark Daly, Pontiac
I read with interest the article, "Victory For All," (March 24) and must say I am glad that the Health Care Reform Bill was passed. I found it to be hypocritical for the legislators in Washington, D.C., who have the best health care coverage in the country and possibly the world, to vote against the "least of our brethren" who have no health care coverage. We are "our brother's keeper." It would cost less to provide coverage on the front-end than for the uninsured to continue to use the emergency room as their health care provider, continually driving up the cost of health care. —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit
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Erratum: In the story "The Big Push" by Curt Guyette, the reported price for an ounce of pot when sold in gram-size increments was incorrect. It can be as much as $650 an ounce.