I was looking through some old stuff over the weekend and trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Sometimes, just holding a piece of paper is like stepping into some magical portal, where you can almost relive the precise moment that caused you to keep that particular item in the first place.
This was nothing more than a note from one of my two roommates that I shared an apartment with in Peoria during my first radio job. Being three bachelors in our early 20’s, we were, of course, trying to meet as many women as possible. And we didn’t have an answering machine for our one phone in the entire apartment, so that led to many messages being left for each other. One night, Jeff and I got home from a concert and found a very nasty note left by our third roommate. He was doing morning drive that week, which meant he had to get up at around 5 a.m. Apparently, some girl had tried to call either Jeff or myself, can’t remember which, and woke Scott up our of a sound sleep. The note was a full-page rant, using terms like “overbearing little whore” and other niceties. Finally, when I got to the end of the note, which I was reading out loud to Jeff, I burst out laughing. There was no need to sign this piece of correspondence, for we both knew who it was from. But the thing that made me laugh so hard was the way he signed it…”Mad as hell, Scott”. Like we couldn’t discern his mood already, he had to make us aware of his discontent. I couldn’t throw it away…I had to keep it.
I think we’ve all written letters or notes in the heat of the moment, when our true feelings really pour out onto the page. It made me think of one of my favorites letters, from John Lennon to Todd Rundgren. It was in response to some things that Todd had said about Lennon in an interview that he gave in a music magazine. Evidently, Todd was upset at John for snubbing him at some nightclub, so he talked about how the Beatles didn’t influence him or anyone else, and that Lennon was basically a hypocrite. Below is Lennon’s response, which is pure…Lennon:
AN OPENED LETTUCE TO SODD RUNTLESTUNTLE (from dr winston o’boogie)
Couldn’t resist adding a few “islands of truth” of my own, in answer to Turd Runtgreen’s howl of hate (pain.)
I like you, and some of your work, including “I Saw The Light”, which is not unlike “There’s A Place” (Beatles), melody wise.
1) I have never claimed to be a revolutionary. But I am allowed to sing about anything I want! Right?
2) I never hit a waitress in the Troubador, I did act like an ***, I was too drunk. So shoot me!
3) I guess we’re all looking for attention Rodd, do you really think I don’t know how to get it, without “revolution?” I could dye my hair green and pink for a start!
4) I don’t represent anyone but my SELF. It sounds like I represented something to you, or you wouldn’t be so violent towards me. (Your dad perhaps?)
5) Yes Dodd, violence comes in mysterious ways it’s wonders to perform, including verbal. But you’d know that kind of mind game, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.
6) So the Nazz use to do “like heavy rock” then SUDDENLY a “light pretty ballad”. How original!
7) Which gets me to the Beatles, “who had no other style than being the Beatles”!! That covers a lot of style man, including your own, TO DATE…
Yes Godd, the one thing those Beatles did was to affect PEOPLES’ MINDS. Maybe you need another fix?
Somebody played me your rock and roll pussy song, but I never noticed anything. i think that the real reason you’re mad at me is cause I didn’t know who you were at the Rainbow (L.A.) Remember that time you came in with Wolfman Jack? When I found out later, I was cursing cause I wanted to tell you how good you were. (I’d heard you on the radio.)
Anyway, However much you hurt me darling; I’ll always love you,
30th Sept. 1974
Not quite the same as “Mad as hell,” but still gets the point across.