Best Letter Ever.

(rickemerson.com) An Open Letter to Dave Grohl:

Hey, you seem like an alright guy. I didn't care for your former bandmate's reflexive, hipster posing, but whatever. It's a big world, right?

I'm just posting this to let you know that I'm listening to your new double-CD right now. The Foo Fighters' In Your Honor is pretty breathtaking in spots. Not a masterpiece, but better than I'd expected. At certain points, it seems almost stunningly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, which isn't a bad thing. Here's the deal, though---I'm listening to a copy I downloaded off the internet.

Before you send the royalty police after me, you should know that I own the CD, as well. I even paid full price for it. A few weeks back, I was in L.A. on a kind of road trip, and we stopped at a record store to buy some, as the kids once said, "cruising music." (Not that we were actually cruising, but you get the idea.) We picked up the new Death Cab for Cutie, your CD, and an MxPx record. All good choices, as it turned out.

For the next few days, yours was the one that found its way into our car stereo most frequently---driving down the Southern California highway, In Your Honor was a near-perfect soundtrack, moving from smooth acoustic ballads to flat-out hard rock with charming ease. As the Pacific glittered underneath the moon, you were our companion, and that's what music, in its ideal sense, is.

Now I know that some folks will have already written this off as romantic, music-lover bullshit, but they, of course, don't matter. The people who are with me, as they say---they know what I mean.

Here's the sad part: when I returned home to Portland, I wanted to take those songs with me on future trips---in my car, or on a bike ride, or while I navigated the furthest reaches of the internet. Only here's the thing: your CD won't let me. Oh sure, it played fine in the rental car in SoCal, but that's a rental car; all it had was a CD player, and I, for one, don't live in 1992 anymore. I own two MP3 players (three, if you count the one in my car), and a computer at which I do hours of typing every day. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to listen to a CD I purchased wherever I goddamned please, except that's apparently not kosher with the folks at Sony BMG.

Say, is this the same Sony that got in trouble last week for damaging the computers of consumers who tried to listen to Sony music on their home PCs? Why, yes, it is.

Fuck you, jackals...I just downloaded your "uncrackable" CD from the internet, and I'm not the least bit sorry about it.

I won't try and make myself appear more noble than I am; I've downloaded music without paying, and will, no doubt, do so in the future. But, as time has gone on, I've developed my own internal morality alarm for such things, and I try to support artists whose work I respect or admire...hence the large number of CDs in my collection that I don't really need. (Hell I bought a recent Queers disc, and used it exactly once; I ripped it to my Nomad MP3 player, after which the CD sat on a shelf, where it will gather dust for all time.) I do these things not only because it feels right, but because it is right. Music is art, and love, and hope, and freedom, and many of us choose to support it with our dollars. You would do well to support us by making it easy to enjoy that music.

As this started off as a memo to Dave Grohl and degenerated into an anti-Sony rant, let me circle back and make this observation to the Foo Fighters frontman: I'm sure this happened without your consent, or at least I hope so. I know that even a successful artist like yourself has corporate whims imposed on him from time to time. I just wanted to let you know what a typical music fan sometimes goes through...all for the love of a band.

If I could just send you nine bucks (or whatever your cut is), and have you send me the records from now on, I would. Unfortunately, that doesn't really seem to be an option, and that's the damnable misery of the whole thing. The music and the joy it brings...that's what's pure. Everything else is meddlesome fucking greed.