A Monica Scandal | Letters | Chicago Reader

A Monica Scandal 

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Dear editors:

I'm writing to complain about your February 12 Spot Check column. Your writer, Monica Kendrick, trashed one of my favorite bands, the Nields, and if her writing were based on actually listening to and constructively criticizing the band, then her Spot Check column would serve its purpose: that we readers might make an informed decision on what acts we'd like to see. Of course, no writer can know every performer and must sometimes use press kits, the Internet, colleagues' opinions, etc, to write this kind of column, but your writer's meanness and disregard for facts betray her disrespect (and by extension your paper's disrespect) for the performers she reviews and us readers.

Miss Kendrick spends half of the "review" talking about the record label and liner notes: a sure sign she is ignorant of the band and its music. She says their record label, "home to Juliana Hatfield, makes another run for the sensitive kids' money with this...act's second album, Play." So she has just accused the Nields, Juliana Hatfield, their record label, and their fans of being greedy and pretentious. How nice. Based on what?

For the record the Nields sisters and various cohorts have been making music professionally for over ten years. They spend most of each year in a van, traveling the country. They or their record labels past or present are hardly in the music business to rip anyone off. And for the record, Play is more like the group's seventh release, not second.

Miss Kendrick goes on to say the new album is hard to listen to. But why? Her final "explanation" ends with "and with lyrics about driving to Santa Fe in search of Georgia O'Keeffe's spirit with Ani DiFranco on the tape deck, they make the Indigo Girls sound like masters of subtlety." Oh, there's a nice dig at the Indigo Girls too. The actual line of the song is "Ani DiFranco on the tape player / Thinking of the things I'd say to her [Georgia O'Keeffe]." Hard to listen to? The refrain of the song is "O, Georgia O. / I wanna be a woman like you." Simple. Easy to listen to. If your writer knew anything about the band, she would know the Nields do love to play; they play beautifully with an infectious sense of humor and give you all they've got the whole time they're onstage. With all of the bands out there, you can find only a handful who can consistently write as many intelligent, catchy, listenable songs as Nerissa Nields, (who is married to David Nields, not his sister--just for the record).

So, editors, although Miss Kendrick may not find a group or performer to be her cup of tea, your Spot Check column is a waste of time and money if she highlights performers that she doesn't even have the interest to listen to or investigate. I mean, she's supposed to investigate these bands to help those of us who enjoy music but cannot follow it on a full-time basis, right?

The Nields have been earning a living as a band for over ten years (something I'd like to see Miss Kendrick do) and finally get a mention in your paper and are unjustly trashed--it's a damn shame.

Jim Piper

Evanston

PS to Monica Kendrick: Fuck you.

Monica Kendrick replies:

Mr. Piper is correct that Play is the Nields's seventh album, but we're both wrong about relations among the family: David is married to Katryna Nields.

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