Readers respond to the Boss, R.E.M., and ''Oz''

By EW Staff
Updated August 06, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

R.E.M. fans were anything but shiny happy people after reading our July 16 issue (#494). Angry with our description of them as ”aging ’80s hipsters,” Irene Budoff of Houston writes: ”I take exception to your characterization. Cut the band — and their fans — some slack before you issue us all AARP membership cards!” We also managed to offend Olsen-twins sympathizers with Jim Mullen’s joking proposal for a Two of a Kind finale that ends with the duo’s demise. Lisa Jenio of L.A. scolds: ”They’re at a sensitive age. Leave them alone.” So, who liked our issue? Boss disciples, of course, and Oz lovers. ”Thank you, thank you! I was so pleased to read your in-depth look at Oz,” raves Keri Byron of Toms River, N.J. No, thank you, Keri. We needed that.

Tours De Force
Thank you for putting the man, the myth, the current minister of rock & roll — Bruce Springsteen — on your cover. In today’s music world of grunge rock and gangster rap, it’s refreshing to know that the Boss can still rock with the best of them! Bruce gives us a lot with his music: inspiration, hope, sadness, faith, and, more important, humanity.
Mark Roberts
Greensboro, N.C.

You labeled R.E.M.’s concerts this summer as a ”nostalgia tour.” You can’t be serious! Boy bands, hip-hop artists, and teenage girl singers may be the flavor of the moment, but will any of them still be releasing albums of any value in 20 years’ time? Will anyone even remember them?
Linda Leporati
New York City

As disappointed as I was that your article on summer concerts failed to acknowledge that folk legend Gordon Lightfoot and the eclectic Cowboy Junkies are also touring, your real crime was not mentioning that former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters is on the road. Not only has his solo material been brilliant (though admittedly far from mainstream), but he’s also the man behind The Wall, Wish You Were Here, and Dark Side of the Moon. Surely he deserves at least some mention?
Brent Chambers
Midland, Mich.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gordon Lightfoot’s next U.S. tour begins Oct. 14; the Cowboy Junkies just wrapped up on July 31; but you can still see Roger Waters through Aug. 22.

As a New Jersey native and ticket holder for Bruce Springsteen’s summer tour, I read your ”Springsteen, Mass.” piece with great interest, but was somewhat annoyed at the depiction by some Bruce fans of Human Touch and Lucky Town as less-than-worthy additions to the Springsteen canon because they lacked the backing of the E Street Band. Bruce writes the material. They’re his songs whether he plays them solo, with the E Street Band, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! And as far as comparisons to Phil Collins? There’s not a ”Sussudio” in the whole Bruce catalog.
Brett Schnauffer
Rome, N.Y.

As a die-hard Springsteen fan, I was overjoyed at your excellent coverage of his tour. Thank you so much for giving a little ”Light of Day” to this ”Hungry Heart.”
Lisa Carruthers
Morin Heights, Quebec

‘Oz’ Good as it Gets
I was thrilled to see your recent feature on HBO’s breathtaking drama Oz. There is no single program on television today with such consistently riveting performances, intriguing direction, and cunning writing. It may not be a program for everyone, but it certainly shows the profound possibilities of the medium.
Maureen Condron
San Francisco

I read with great amusement your piece ”Wrong Writes,” regarding the misspelling of the title of our film Encounter in the Third Dimension, for two reasons. First, the misspelling of the word Third as Thrid in the trailer was the central part of an elaborate special effect to demonstrate 3-D coming off the screen. In the film, the central character notices the misspelling and corrects it, creating a spectacular 3-D effect of letters crashing off the screen. In the trailer itself, the title is spelled correctly on the end title card. One can only assume you did not watch the trailer or see the film. The second reason for my amusement came from your misspelling of our film’s name as Encounters in the Third Dimension. Our film title is and always has been Encounter in the Third Dimension. Dare I say that the ”carelessness and lack of effort” were on your part, not ours?
Mark E. Katz
President of Distribution,
nWave Pictures
Greenwich, Conn.