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Letters To The Editor: 3 Simple Letters In Response to Jim Wrantz

Last month we published Jim Wrantz’s piece ‘5 Simple Rules For Covering A Song.’ A number of you responded. Here are some of your comments. *******
I would like to refute/amend each of Jim Wrantz’s opinions
1. WRANTZ SEZ: DON’T COVER WATCHTOWER- There is something to be said for this one but I would amend his comments to add the word ‘faithfully.’ We’ve all seen ‘Watchtower’ done many times over but if someone can add a new spin to it please do (New Deal, Particle this means you).
2. WRANTZ SEZ: MAKE A COVER SONG SOUND LIKE THE ORIGINAL- Well what’s the fun of that? If you’re so sick of ‘Watchtower’ it may very well be because he’s not hearing a variety of arrangements. By the way it is in his second point that Wrantz make his only truly IDIOTIC comment- Jim, Gov’t Mule is by no means overrated. It deserves the plaudits it receives and frankly, there should be more flowing its way…
3. WRANTZ SEZ: NO MORE TALKING HEADS COVERS- My response- let’s see plenty more but bands should did deeper into the Heads catalog.
4. WRANTZ SEZ: NO LAME COVERS- Well okay we are in tentative agreement here although our definitions of lame vary. Cracker’s ‘Low’ doesn’t qualify.
5. WRANTZ SEZ: NO COVERING THE DEAD- Frankly, cheesy ‘Dead night’ bands aside I don’t think people cover enough Grateful Dead. There is a rich, untapped body of work out there. I would love to see someone dig in on ‘Stella Blue’ or ‘Standing.’
MY VERDICT: Jim Wrantz, you’re trying too hard, I don’t think that even you believe half of what you wrote.
Pete F.

Re: Jim Wrantz’ article on cover tunes, I agree and disagree.
1. Everyone should cover Grateful Dead tunes. I’m a Dead Head turned Panic fan. I saw the 2nd to last St. Stephen, went to over 100 shows and Jerry’s still #1 but I’d kill to hear WP funk out on Loose Lucy or jam US Blues. C’mon now, who wouldn’t?
2. I agree with the overdose of Talking Heads covers. However, WP pumped out a loud Burning Down the House on their PA system after a show and we boogied as hard for that as the live songs.
3. Good songs should always be played… even if not by the original artists.
4. Lastly, Halloween 2001, Chicago, IL. WP doing Joe’s Garage > Wild Thing > Joe’s Garage. It had meaning, it paid tribute to one of the biggest influences on the Jam Band scene (Zappa), and when they went into Wild Thing, the place erupted.
5. Covering a whole album in a concert is like watching a bootleg Beta Max version of Rocky.
Sean P. *******
I couldn’t bring myself to go back and read the article about lyrics, skimmed over it a bit just to see if he was as off base on that as he is on this one and he is. Where to start? Watchtower, does he just hate it because Dave Matthews Band covers it and it’s cool to hate DMB? Rule #2 Make it sound like the original? Total BS, why bother if it’s gonna sound like the original? Wildly Overrated Gov’t Mule, come on now bro and I like SCI’s ‘Walk This Way’ period and way better than Run DMC’s. What’s the head trip about The Talking Heads? Never cover The Grateful Dead? Where does this guy live, I’m putting a hit out for him ;) Well it’s just opinions I guess, but this guy’s are stupid IMO. How about a good rule like :Don’t cover a song unless you think you can add something to it new or groovy? Peace
Eddie O.

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