[Dixielandjazz] Letter From Steve Beiderbecke

Dan Augustine ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu
Sun Sep 21 21:42:22 PDT 2003

>From: "Robert S. Ringwald" <ringwald at calweb.com>
>Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 11:18:34 -0700
>Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Letter From Steve Beiderbecke
>  Recently here on DJML someone posted a newspaper article and rebuttal
>regarding the Bix Festival.  It seems that a relative of Bix's had,
>supposedly, made some disparaging remarks about the festival.
>On page 8 of the Sept '03 American Rag, there is a letter from Steve
>Beiderbecke which puts a whole different spin on the exchange.
>Perhaps someone could post it here on DJML?
Bob and DJMLers--
     Yes.  Here it is.     Dan
     "Mr. (Rich) Johnson:
     "My Uncle Bix sent me the Email you sent him.  I have forwarded my
response to Bix to you, and I believe I owe you a response also.  That
was a kick in the head.  I am totally dazed and confused over the entire
situation.  For what it is worth . . .
     "For 3 days, I was reveling in notoriety of being a Beiderbecke at
the Bix fest.  I was having a great time enjoying every band and venue,
and they were all great.  But, with the TV interviews, and all the
reporters talking to me, obviously I didn't handle my short-lived
celebrity very well.  It was a festival, a celebration.  I had no idea
a reporter was planning a negative or a smear article.
     "All my conversations with the reporters seemed to me as casual
conversations, bantering of ideas and suggestions.  None of them said
anything about doing a report or article, besides using me as a primary
source of information.  I still have not read this interview, but this
article could not have supplied any entertainment or interesting
information to the public.
     "I am no historian or even have any knowledge of the jazz era
beyond the Ken Burns documentary 'Jazz'.  The reporter did no research
or checking of facts proven by the obvious untruths and inaccuracies
that you pointed out in your letter.  I don't understand why they
would want to print something so un-news-worthy, inaccurate, and
     "I cannot explain how bad I feel right now.  This article has done
nothing but destroy my personal relationships with the Bix Society and
my family members.  Because of this poor journalism, I am left with
these relationships in ruin.
     "My sincerest regrets, Steve Beiderbecke."

     "(Ed NOTE: While possibly seeming to come to Mr. Steve Beiderbecke's
defense, I can personally attest to the fact that there are reporters
and their editors (the recent New York Times scandal serves as a case
in point) who fashion stories to fit their agendas.  In the 1980 election
cycle, I ran for supervisor in my home county, and was interviewed one-
on-one by reporters assigned to bring back a story about my campaign and
my platform.  As published, the stories they wrote bore no resemblance
to the conversations which actually took place, and all efforts on my
part to get the paper involved to print retractions fell on deaf ears.
     "I trust it is plain to see the complete story (and not simply
excerpts) of all sides of this controversy have been presented above
as it evolved from the pages of the Quad City Times as offered on their
web pages, and directly from Mr. Albert Haim's challenge.  At this time,
it could not be confirmed that the QCT published his challenge for the
benefit of their readers.)"
**  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
**    "In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass, and a          **
**     nightingale.  Diversity of character is due to their unequal   **
**     activity."   --  Ambrose Bierce in _The Devil's Dictionary_    **

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