John Hosler

To the editor:

Jon Dahlager’s “Got You Covered” in Thursday’s High Note should be instructive to those people whose favorite bands come straight from popular radio stations. While cover songs are fun and often catchy, their release by contemporary bands trying to get airtime is indicative of a music industry that is quickly declining in taste and quality.

So, Ames’ own 35″ Mudder’s version of “When Doves Cry” is being played by “The Lazer,” but their vocalist C-Bone decries the move, saying they “didn’t want to do it” and that people will “call us sellouts.” Well, you are sellouts.

You’ve released a song against your wishes because it helps your pursuit of recognition and cash. You’re trying to move in on a national trend, and even if the record label insisted, you’re still guilty. The label wanted something more radio-friendly, so “When Doves Cry” got the nod, eh? Hmm, compromising artistic integrity for fame. Why shouldn’t I call you sellouts?

Six years ago, I first played “Stand By Me” rerecorded by Pennywise to my friends in the dorms. The tradition of covering older songs has its origins in punk rock; nearly every punk band does it, and the songs are well-received at concerts.

But they don’t release the songs on the radio. They don’t try to grab some quick attention and a few bucks by selling out. They play small venues because they believe in their music, not in making money.

Of course, some punk or ska bands do sell out; reference Save Ferris’ rendition of “Come on Eileen.” Heard from them lately? And what about Orgy, a “hardcore” band that gained a spot in the vaunted Family Values Tour on the strength of a cover song.

Until I played New Order’s original “Blue Monday” for a friend, he never knew that it existed. He had thought that Orgy had invented it; nevertheless, he insisted that Orgy “kicked ass” and that the new version is better. While opinions may vary, the fact remains that Orgy sold out. So, where is Orgy now?

Oh my, here’s a thought: Try listening to the original songs. I don’t even like Prince, but give me the original any day over some “hardcore” version.

Limp Bizkit and these other rap/metal conglomerations don’t improve songs they cover by screaming and inserting power chords.

They make them worse, and while the original song will persist, the cover song will quickly be forgotten. And don’t get me wrong, I love REAL hardcore music, especially punk rock, emo and some non-Nirvana grunge.

Even straight heavy metal is better than some guys trying to sound like Rage when they don’t have a prayer. And when their record sales slide, the inevitable cover song will be released. So go ahead, 35″ Mudder, join Puff Daddy in his non-original cover quest. But don’t complain about being called “sellouts,” because that’s exactly what you are.

John Hosler

Graduate student

English and history