CHAIRMAN'S UPDATE (12/25/21): Well, I just realized, as I was refreshing this section -- I wanted to include a quote or two from Chris Pope, formerly of the Chords, after I'd gotten the four CDs that I'd ordered via his website, which duly arrived mid-November.
I mentioned this site, as usual, in my travels. Chris stated that he had checked out the music here, which variously reminded him of Lou Reed, Loudon Wainwright, Neil Young (all the usual suspects, right?), only filtered through my unique approach, and I should get it out there.
Well, I'd love to post that here (in light of the reference below), but -- I can't -- find -- the bloody letter! I'm sure it'll turn up, at some point, but for now, this'll have to do. Anyway, Chris, thanks for those sentiments. Nice one, as they say across the pond.
JAMES M. (3/15/21): Thanks for the lovely original song yesterday (Note: "Suppose, Suppose," as yet unrecorded, which addresses our current social and political malaise, which I played for that week's service). I loved the lyrics, especially the refrain. Your unique talent is that you use the English language better than anyone I have ever known. And not just in song writing but in everyday speech.
ED ZINCAVAGE (12/18/10 email): The thing I like about your music style, Ralph, is that it's honest, and genuine, and to the point. Your style reminds me of Eugene Chadbourne's music. That's a compliment.
BRIAN S. (9/18/09) hey, i dig your Lou Reed thing.
Checked you out on the web! Keep up the music, friend!
BRIAN Z. (3/14/09 email) Hey, myself and the lady of the house don't have headphones or speakers for our computer. But I read your FAQ's and from getting the name from a Iggy Pop line right down to your liking of the Chords, I thought I was the only one around here that likes them.
DOUG N. (3/02/09 email) You bastard, you're a musician! I knew you could do geometry because its the same frickin part of the brain!", says your old h.s. geometry tutor of ages ago, unless I've googled up the wrong guy and how many guys named Ralph Heibutski can there be in s.w. Mich?
TIM H. (12/21/08 email) Dig the lyrics, man! "401K, IRA, Nest Egg went up in smoke, I guess it's only paper money at the end of the day." Hilarious and catchy. Dude, you gotta get it out there. It belongs on Main Street, man.
DUNCAN B. (12/14/08 email): Your site looks great. The Hardest Working Man in showbiz has got to be you.
ANDY G. (11/24/08 email): Man, I was dicking around at work a couple of weeks ago and came across “I Saw the Clash.” And I thought back to the time at Hobo’s [Hobie's Olde Worlde, E. Lansing, MI] when Franklin’s Skiffle Band and you played together (might have been an open mike) and we played “Should I Stay. . .” And then there’s a line where you bagged on the song (rightfully so, actually).
ANDY G. (11/26/08 email): I don’t know if Tony ever mentioned it, but he and Jeff and I played together for a few months (even recorded on my Fostex, although I had no clue what I was doing; that’s the stuff I was going to send him).
We played a house show, at mine and Jeff’s house, and, after Tony fielded adulation from a bunch of people on his playing, said to me, “Man, when people say stuff like that, I’m glad I failed geometry in high school.” The inference being that he played guitar instead of studying.
Great, great guy. I was sorry to have lost touch with him, and am especially sorry now. I really like your songs, BTW. Great, great lyrics. But I expected nothing less.
GUY CORL (6/29/06 email) Special thanks to John Hilla and Chairman Ralph for trucking all the way from MI. Your performances were awesome, and your longtime connections to Tony gave a very special personal perspective to the show. If you guys ever want to gig in Chicago, let us know!
(RE: Anthony Salazar Benefit: The Darkroom, Chicago, IL, 6/25/06. For more information about Tony, and what he meant personally, please see "Late Friend Taught Editor More Than Chords," in the Featured Essays section.)
MARK L. (10/25/05 email) Got your tapes and am slowly listening to them. I like the song about interviewing Ronald McDonald and the one after about business mission statements. Actually, all the lyrics I can make out (the recording's a little fuzzy) are good -- no surprise there. Interesting listening to someone who sings in a baritone like you (or Iggy or Leonard Cohen). I'm so used to male singers with high voices...
GARY H (7/07 letter): Enjoyed checking you out online -- very cool stuff. It seems we are kindred spirits to some extent! Love the acoustic punk thing!