John Mendels(s)ohn's lament for guitarist John Masino seems less like another Isthmus musician profile and more like a lesson in carving one's niche in a very narrow place ("Hometown Hero," 6/27/08).
The art world is fickle and really exists in only three American cities: New York, Chicago and L.A. (add Nashville for music). There are secondary markets, but they are a giant step down. You must be willing to kick in the door, set your heels and put your ass completely in the breeze, and that's the easy part.
Then, if you are deemed good enough, consistent enough and dedicated to a fault, you might find an agent or dealer who really believes in what you are doing. If you manage to survive the insane politics for a few years, but still get discouraged, fear not, there's always the astronaut program, SEAL training or wire-walking over pits of boiling oil to fall back on.
Doug Hatch, Monona
Thank you John Mendels(s)ohn for your excellent article on hometown guitar hero John Masino. You mentioned that John's band Punch was "a big name in Madison rock history." My forthcoming documentary on Punch (due out in 2009) will detail how big they were.
Your article states there were 15 farmer's daughters waiting for the band at their motel after gigs. My film research shows it was actually 20. There were five more that arrived following the equipment truck while John was out in the parking lot inventing guitar scales.
Bruce Boldon, BBB*Films, Middleton
There are many of us who really do consider John Masino a huge success story. He is far and away the best guitar player in Madison, but his greatest success is the joy he's brought so many with his playing.
One might get the idea that Masino is a bitter man from reading your chronicle of his misses. Far from it; he's the most down-to-earth, decent man - virtually void of ego.
Never mind that he should have been a story years ago when all these things were happening. Including Masino's highlights would have made a much better story, including his work with Clear Blue Betty. A local paper needs to be more than cheeky - it needs to inspire.
Falling for Mad Town
As a struggling UW grad on an exhausting quest for work in Madison, I too applied at Mad Town Promotions ("Truth or D.A.R.E.," 6/27/08). The interview office was filled with multiple faces that I recognized from my UW classes. I also interviewed with another person, and it seemed that owner Lonnie Kohlhorst was trying more to sell the business than actually interview me.
On my first day of work, the person I was shadowing pulled me aside and told me that a job at Mad Town Promotions was probably not what I had in mind. He told me how much money was actually going to the charities. They promised him six figures within the year. Things didn't add up. I chose to leave and thanked him for putting things on the table.
I know other people who have fallen for their glossy ads on HotJobs in a haze of postgraduate stress, and it is refreshing to see Isthmus expose this business.