Your "Cover Me" piece made me laugh (September 28). Why don't people come out and see original bands? Because they suck! With rare exceptions, the young people today have no clue how to write songs or lyrics. Even the bands that have supposedly "made it" --- those that appear on Letterman, Conan, and Leno --- have little talent as songwriters or musicians. I'm sick of listening to all those whimpering, whining men and self-absorbed, clueless women who sing about things no one cares about to boring melodies.

In the Golden Age of rock, exceptional musicianship was the norm. Bands combined genres and consistently pushed the boundaries, resulting in fresh sounds and themes: Zeppelin, early Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, just to name a very few. The Stones, though not particularly innovative, produced unforgettable melodies and lyrics and were simply a lot of fun.

Second-generation bands like Green Day (melodic masters), Pearl Jam (who actually have something to say), and a tentative nod to Nirvana contributed to the lexicon. Today, only a handful of bands produce only a handful of songs that have any chance of still being played 30 years from now.

There is one absolutely sure-fire way to get droves of people to come hear original music. Make good music!

Mike Buechel, Rochester


So what' so evil about cover bands? I guess you could call the RPO a cover band, and there's nothing boring or unimaginative about them. Originality in any area is a pretty scarce commodity (to use a poor phrase). Most of what postures as new isn't. Putting down the bar-hopping public who might be looking for a place to shake a leg and forget their troubles for a few hours isn't the best way to win an audience. If recognition, concerts, airplay, stardom, influence, and ultimately having local bands cover your material is your goal, get busy. No one said it was easy.

Mark Mason, Oxford Street, Rochester


I want to congratulate the Rochester School Board, which has challenged the federal government's right to know the names of students of military age. I welcome any effort to keep recruiters away from our youth, especially since I've seen Michael Moore's exposé on the clever way our government traps young people.

I also am aware that School Board member Shirley Thompson went to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina as a representative of the Red Cross.

Thank you to all these folks who should be praised just that little bit more than they are.

I am proud of you.

Sweet Grass Longhouse, Manor Parkway, Rochester


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