Phillin' in Some Blanks | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Phillin' in Some Blanks

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Dear Peter:

I appreciate your fine work in writing about the local music scene in Chicago. However, I would like to address last week's column [Post No Bills, June 20].

Chicago is a great music town, as witnessed by the incredible talent we have performing in our "bar scene." National public acclaim is not the only criteria for a "high-quality" act. Hundreds of talented groups perform in Chicago bars; some make it to national visibility, but most do not. Are groups such as Nicholas Tremulus, Michael McDermott, Cathy Richardson, the Insiders, and countless other current and past local stars second-rate simply because they didn't crack the national market on a mass scale? The best industry veterans in the music business do not know the magic formula for what it takes to "break" nationally.

I found the tone of this article offensive to local music and the bread and butter of Section Three of the Chicago Reader. You gave the false impression that local music is not worth bothering about. Perhaps a better slant for this very same article might have been "Wow, isn't it great we have so many talented groups in Chicago performing at street festivals and now we are finally getting some more national acts too," instead of using your column to downgrade the very scene you are reporting on.

Also I would like to apprise you of some facts. While Phil 'n the Blanks were best known and most publicized in the Chicago area, we had a seven-year career that included:

National press attention

National video VJ play on rotation in MTV's top 30 for three years

National headline shows and as backup artist for major acts

Top-ten radio play in college radio

Alternative commercial radio play in many markets including KROQ in Los Angeles

Top radio-play choice CMJ for best record tied with U2 in 1981

Just last fall ASCAP reported radio airplay is ongoing in Germany

I am disheartened by the unnecessary damage of Phil 'n the Blanks' reputation and kindly ask for a retraction, based upon the facts. Phil 'n the Blanks were a national and international act of some recognition that made an impact on many people's lives, some of whom continue to listen to and love our recorded music today.

Blanche Blacke

Cofounder Phil 'n the Blanks

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