Kenneth Cleaver 

Consumer Correspondent

April 15, 2006

MO Blues Association Inc.

PO Box 105758

Jefferson City, MO 65110

Dear MO Blues Association Inc:

Could use some advice. A few friends and I are starting an organization similar to yours with one key distinction: We hate the blues.

Now I realize it might seem pathetic, maybe even pathological, to form an organization based on a shared hatred of music. But let me riddle you this: Have you ever despised a movie or a politician and found yourself energized as a result? When loathing made you feel far more alive than tepid enjoyment? Where unraveling the reasons for your hatred led to far more discovery and growth than a milquetoast performance by some respectable artiste?

Yeah, me neither.

Our organization will be a discussion group with occasional leafleting at blues clubs. The reason I'm writing is that I figure you have enemies. People who come to shows and wonder why the guitar solos are so long, and where's the DJ? And why are old potbellied white men even allowed to play this stuff? Aren't there laws? What I'm hoping you can provide is a profile of blues haters to assist our recruitment efforts: Where do they hang out? How do they dress? Do they blog? Can you approach them individually, or is a group setting best? That sort of thing.

Just so you know, we do recognize the historic importance of the blues, but only in the same way we recognize the Armenian genocide. Also, we've no intention of letting our hatred of blues music blind us to life's other pleasures, like hating jam bands. There's always time for that. At any rate, your help is most appreciated.


Kenneth Cleaver


Dear Mr Cleaver.

I am sending this letter in response to your inquiry to the Mo Blues Association dated 4/15/06. It is a rare occurrence that we receive a written letter by mail these days, and it seems no one else really knew what to do with your questions. After a spirited discussion I discovered I had pulled the short straw and was chosen to respond.

Now for the disclaimer.

The views expressed here are my own and even though many of our members would agree with me, and should, they are not necessarily the views or thoughts of the MO Blues Assn or any of its members, officers or anybody else.

I always attempt to help anyone who has questions about the blues or has a goal and wants to achieve it. Although I cant relate to your hatred of the blues I can relate to your sub-conscious drive to understand your illness. I am not a doctor but I am sure that some group of them could, if given enough time and money and drugs, help you with your hatred to some degree.

Here are my thoughts on your plan to spread the hate.

First let me say that having a group discussion about something you and your alleged friends and yourself hate might be a gross waste of time similar to an AA meeting where all agree that they are alcoholics, I ask whats the point? You and your cohorts agree so just get on with it. If you dont know exactly how to start a hate group you might want to study other hate groups like the KKK, Nazis, Air America or even that crazy church in Kansas that seems to hate everyone and everything (Rev Fred somebody).

You might want to be careful with that leafleting idea. As a warning/example I would suggest you listen to a cut on Watermelon Slims CD called I Shed My Blood In Mississippi (a true story). A person referred to as Mississippi So and So(and friends) beat the crap out of Slim and broke his Jaw. Keep in mind that Slim was actually playing the blues at a juke joint there and the Mississippians appeared to be blues lovers. Imagine what could happen if they didnt like you and your leafleting friends? You might want to re-think that one or buy some protection first (I am referring to blues style protection, not Trojan style). Anything from a razor in your shoe to a 44 pistol would help.

As far as the questions in your letter I will attempt to address them in order so you wont become anymore confused.

1. As for your point about long guitar solos I have never heard anyone complain about the length, long solos are just one of the many pieces of the puzzle that make the blues the blues. Understand that I in no way do I include the Allman Brothers in this argument, even blues fans walk out on those solos. I can agree with you on the jam band hatred.

2. No one asks wheres the DJ? The 80s are over, Disco is dead (thank god).

3. Your question about the old potbellied white men playing the blues is just so wrong in so many ways. Most of our local blues bands are younger players or middle aged bald men, and one mans potbelly is another mans tool shed if you get the drift.

4. Yes there are laws to the blues but not necessarily who plays it. The laws are mostly about the music. I have included a few examples from our website.

Teenagers cant sing the Blues. They aint fixin to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In the Blues, adulthood means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

Blues can take place in Kansas City or St. Louis, but not in Hawaii or anyplace in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. , Chicago and Memphis are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that dont get rain or snow.

If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, its a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely in a broken down cot. You cant have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

If you are interested in any more blues rules please refer to our website (moblues.org).

As far as how to find other roaming blues haters I am unsure as I dont know any, we are a group of blues lovers but here are my thoughts on how to locate some.

Where do they hang out ? I would suggest looking in gay country western bars.

How do they dress ? Look around the bar and ask, they love to discuss fashion.

Do they blog ? No, most are into other alternative activities.

Approach as an individual or group ? I would suggest doing some research on this, try dressing and acting like the people in the bar and see what they seem to like. My guess is that if you do a good job of mixing in then the single or group thing will become obvious to you, good luck.

I am glad to see you have a historical understanding of the blues. I think the genocide comparison is a tad off. Sure there is a lot of killing in the blues but it is not like genocide because it is not a mass murder thing but a one on one killing with most of it limited to your woman (married or common law) and or her other man (aka your best friend) and killing either (or both) is both allowable and understandable. In the blues you are also allowed to kill someone if they cheat while gambling, take your liquor (or you drink too much of your own liquor), if your woman makes you slow or even if she stays out all night long one too many times or if someone quote done you wrong which covers most of the above and just about any other situation. I hope I have helped you in some way.

PS. I am just dying to know are you related to the Beaver ?

Chris @ moblues.org

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