Press release/For immediate release
Summary: Fans of popular Grateful Dead tribute Cubensis are fighting mad over an offensive review in the South Bay Easy Reader, and have fired off over 100 angry protest letters. Instead of critiquing the band's performance, reviewer Ryan Beachkofski launched a pointed attack on Cubensis admirers, calling them "bad for business."
Hermosa Beach, CA (Press release) June 30, 2008 - Entertainment reviewer Ryan Beachkofski placed himself in the hot seat when fans of popular Grateful Dead tribute Cubensis found themselves being trashed in the Hermosa Beach, CA Easy Reader.
Sent to critique the band's performance at the legendary Lighthouse Cafe, Beachkofski ignored the show and instead launched a tirade against the Grateful Dead and their devotees. Picking on Cubensis fans specifically, he asserted that they were an unwashed crowd which neglects personal hygiene, pollutes the air driving VW "hippie" buses, and who shun buying drinks in a bar because they come to shows already high on drugs.
Beachkofski went so far as to condemn other journalists who had favorably reviewed the band, particularly an LA Weekly commentary that glowed, “…Cubensis plays with the same laid-back mastery as the Real McCoy.” He considered his short 10 minutes of watching the group's performance “punishment” and “a musical waterboarding.”
When the band posted the review on their website, Cubensis fans were outraged and responded with over 100 protests which deluged the paper’s editors. So many letters were received that the weekly publication, which claims a circulation of 57,000, dedicated a special section in their following edition just for fan comments, entitled "Deadheads no friend of the devil," an apparent reference to their own reviewer and a well-loved Grateful Dead song.
Those submitting rebuttals passionately described their relationship with Cubensis and Grateful Dead music, and most mentioned how far removed they were from the stereotypical picture painted by Beachkofski, with many professing to have high-paying jobs and driving late model cars.
"I just got out of the shower, am getting ready for work, earn well into six figures annually, have a MA degree, wear a Rolex watch and drive a 2007 Mercedes," wrote Mike Cerneant, a self-professed fan of both the Dead and Cubensis. "So how do I fit in your ethnocentric description of deadheads?"
Long time follower Sydne Kasle also felt insulted and complained, "The fact that Ryan has only characterized a certain type of fan makes him seem more like some 1950's conservative reactionary to the hippie movement than a hip writer." Kasle demanded a retraction of the mean-spirited June 19 article.
Promoter Rick Parrott, who produced the concert, feels that Beachkofski had a major axe to grind against the Grateful Dead legacy and Cubensis’ efforts to keep that legacy alive. "I don’t think anyone would have disagreed with a review devoted to the pros and cons of Cubensis’ music," he explained. "What is disagreeable is Mr. Beachkofski’s hatchet job."
Easy Reader entertainment editor Bondo Wyszpolski took criticism of his lack of editorial oversight with good humor, admitting that he didn't realize the article would have people up in arms. Thanking one correspondent, he joked, “I'm glad you took some time to write. Ryan Beachkofski's body is swaying from the gallows as we speak.” Answering another offended fan, he quipped, “We received other responses, too, and we’ll print a few of them next week, and then hold a public execution for Ryan. We’ll save you a front row seat.”
Since 1987, Los Angeles-based Cubensis has carried the torch in celebration of one of America’s most beloved and successful touring acts, the Grateful Dead. Cubensis sets out to re-create the Grateful Dead experience by emulating the sounds of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and the rest of the legendary San Francisco jam band. Cubensis plays complete shows covering all eras of the Dead's 35-year career, and no performance is ever repeated.
Cubensis is far more than just your standard cover band, as they bring the magic and sounds to those longing for the live vibe that only the Grateful Dead was able to deliver. "This is not note-for-note imitation," advises guitarist Craig Marshall, "No wigs or fake beards here. This is the real deal. We're satisfying our musical curiosities like they did, by exploring improvisational frontiers." The group has been acclaimed for giving new life to the Grateful Dead’s material, bringing in new styles, new innovations, and new enthusiasts, while at the same time remaining loyal to the original music and the original fans. Marshall estimates that over 50% of each performance is entirely new music created afresh by the band.
Cubensis is set to headline the Ojai Rock Fest ’08 at Libbey Park in Ojai, CA on July 12, and will return to the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach on July 19.
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