Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I am saddened and deeply troubled by the news coming out of Blacksburg, VA. It goes without saying how horrible those killings truly are. More than ever it stresses the need for all of us to be more aware about mental illness and treat it as a disease. What compels some to commit suicide and others to commit suicide and take lives on the way. What we DON'T need is more guns. Arming everyone in the classroom is clearly not a very good idea. Let's remind those who believe that an armed society is a polite society some percentages: the murder rate during the California Gold Rush, among others. But I digress.

I have fond memories of Blacksburg. Beulah played there on its first tour, opening for the Apples in Stereo in the fall of 1997. We had an extra day off and rolled into Blacksburg a day early, which we spent getting to know some of the folks we met in a record shop that was helping to promote our show. I'm afraid my memory doesn't serve me well as to what their names were or the name of the store, but I had a good impression of the town, the campus and the people. I remember a childhood fear of bats was rekindled as we were walking through town that night when what seemed like an entire tree's worth were stirring and flapping about. I remember, at the place we crashed, one of my favorite Steve St. Cin quotes, chiding the others for not being up to partying that night: "What is this, the traveling Betty Ford clinic?" That night in Blacksburg was also the first time I'd ever seen an episode of South Park (or knew what it was).

On a more personal note, I also remember the gig at Blacksburg (not our best) being the first and last time a song that I personally wrote (S.O.S., song two, side b on a limited 7" called "A Small Cattle Drive in a Snowstorm") was performed by that band. It was a time of learning one's own limitations. Deepest sympathies to the students at Virginia Tech, their families and loved ones.

On a separate note, it looks like the RIAA and the Copyright Royalty Board are at it again. It is clear that their intention is to kill internet radio. But the arc of history points to technological change (as it usually does to justice). Wherefore art thou, Sheet Music publishers? Still here, yes, but...

I wrote my Congressman and encourage anyone who cares about the future of internet radio and services like Pandora, to do the same.

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