Alibi V.13 No.21 • May 20-26, 2004 


The History of Local Rock

Dear Alibi,

[RE: "2004 Spring Crawl Wrap," April 28-May 5]: At first, I looked upon Michael Henningsen's criticism of our band's whining about getting a better time slot at the Spring Crawl as being inconsequential, as only three or so people really ever read what he has to say during any given week. But when not one, but two people mentioned to me that he was ragging on our band for two weeks straight, I had to investigate. It seems that we give Michael no end of trouble! I am not surprised. There is a history here.

I have known Michael Henningsen for almost 20 years. A mere lad of 15, I was playing in his kid brother's band, and Henny was in a kick-ass glam rock group called "Pretty in Pink." I was awed by his "Fuck You" demeanor, as well as his pink VW bug, pink bass, pink amp, pink leg warmers, well, you get it. Even then, he berated me constantly about my substandard musical equipment when we would practice in the garage of his rich parents' house in the foothills. If Henny was home during our practice, I was sure to get a verbal beating about my gear or technique every time. Thinking back to those long-haired-Mike days, it was like being belittled by the lead singer of Stryper, only in a pink jumpsuit instead of a bumblebee one. Now that I really think about it, I'd say he looked more like a stick of gum that someone dropped in a barber shop. Either way, I am not surprised to see that he is still such a negative Nancy today.

In addition to his berating us for our whining for a better time spot, Henny has been quick to draw attention to our sloppy musicianship and unoriginality over the years through his position at the Alibi. To his credit, such reviews were probably better than we deserved! They are also exactly what one would expect to see coming from a communist sympathizer short hair hippie type like Michael Henningsen. He has been actively trying to discourage and silence us for years through write-ups that may be droll and slighting in the minds of Henny and his ilk, but are praise to us. It has also come to my attention that he has been instrumental in getting us inconvenient time slots at the crawls in his discourteous endeavor to shut us up, sometimes at venues with no P.A or soundman, so that there is no set! Liberals like Henny often try to destroy that which they do not understand or approve of. This dilemma is probably not entirely his own fault, as it is common to see the burden of wealthy parents rebel against "the man," especially during their college years. It's just that most of them grow out of it when they mature a little and start making real money. Despite his animus toward us, I have always found Michael to be a likeable sort. He is pleasant to talk to if you like to talk about KISS, and these days, I am happy to say, he keeps his meanness as far as our band is concerned to the printed word, not bringing it up in polite conversation. I like to think of Henny as the giant balding, middle aged, marshmallow man nerd in leather pants in all of us. And I think we all should embrace our inner nerds, and hope that they avoid being kidnapped whilst seeking drugs and are consequently run roughshod inside their own car trunks. So in spite of our rough patches, I have to say that Henny is really a good dude, but I wouldn't accept a drink from him unless the bottle is still capped, and if he starts to rub your shoulders, make sure that you know someone else in the room.

Stevie Foodstamps, Rage Against Martin Sheen

Michael Henningsen responds: The name of my kick-ass glam band was Blonde Voyáge, Steve, a name we were going to change to Raging Angel until we learned that you guys already had the name—misspelled Raging Angle—painted on the backs of your little leather jackets.

Sun Spots

Dear Alibi,

[RE: "Sun of a Bitch!," May 13-19]: I was in uber-agreement and utter delight with the soapbox on sun safety. I just represented CliniMed Walk-In Medical Care at the MacArthur Elementary Health Fair, where my bag was to lure kids in with Dum-Dum Pops and then casually drop information about healthy sun exposure. I also had bottles of sunscreen there for the kids to apply—and in some cases—parents too! Indeed we cream cheesy, Type 1 and 2 be-skin-ed folk must do all we can to precaution against, as Ratchett so brilliantly put it, nature's Affirmative Action.

Katy Houska

Getting Better All the Time

Dear Alibi,

[RE: Boycott the Beast, April 29-May 5]: I have also felt people's pain when it comes to the sound quality on the lawn at concerts at the Journal Pavilion. However I do not feel that it is fair to put all the blame on the staff at the Journal Pavilion, they are not sound designers or audio engineers. They put their trust in sound companies to do the job right.

Several months ago our company Audio Excellence approached the Journal with what we believed to be a solution to the so called "bad sound" on the lawn. The staff at the Journal Pavilion were very responsive and supportive to our proposal and really wanted to have great sound on the lawn for their concerts.

The first issue we addressed was utilizing the four speaker tower boxes (between the fixed seating and the lawn), which to my knowledge have never been used before. Utilization of these speaker boxes would enabled us to get clean and clear sound right out to the outer edges of the lawn.

Secondly, with the aid of sound design software we inputed the venue data and went about trying different speakers to see how they would work in that application.

Thirdly, we addressed the issue of amplifiers and cables in the audience area by using a self powered speaker in which the speaker and amplifiers are all enclosed in the same box.

We believe we have helped to fulfill the Journal Pavilion's statement of "state of the art sound" on the lawn. Everyone who has heard the new sound system so far has been blown away, I really hope that everyone going out to the Journal Pavilion this year will feel the same way. Please contact the Journal Pavilion or us personally at Audio Excellence to let us know what you think!

Steve & Catherine Poulton, Audio Excellence

Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.