open letter to stephen metcalf

Dear Stephen,

Well, I just read your hatchet job thought provoking essay on Wilco, and I have an uncanny coincidence to report.

You write, “To a listener accustomed to the Minutemen, Wilco sounds like Hootie and the Blowfish.” Wow, I was going to write something very similar, but with a few slight differences: “Listeners accustomed to the Minutemen should try listening to some music that has come out since the Minutemen stopped recording music twenty years ago.” See? Uncanny, I tell you.

Your essay is the most brilliant thing I’ve read since that 1984 piece complaining that the Minutemen’s Double Nickles on the Dime didn’t measure up to the Beatles’ 1964 album Meet the Beatles. Or that article that appeared in 1964 complaining that the Beatles didn’t sound enough like Sinatra.

Keep up the good work of staying two decades behind the times! Oh, and you might want to send a memo to guitarist Nels Cline: you see, recently he’s worked with both Wilco and the Minutemen’s Mike Watt. He probably doesn’t know that rock critics like you would frown on actual musicians failing to recognize the distinctions of cool that you work so hard to establish. Just a thought.


George Williams

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