Remember Richard Marx? Yes, that Richard Marx — the one from the late 80s/early 90s whose syrup-y, craptastic music still makes occasional appearances on light rock stations across the land. Well, he’s still out there, being thin-skinned, as Chicago-based writer Edward McClelland can attest.
I write a news blog for a local TV station, which requires me to have opinions on topics I know nothing about. I don’t know anything about music, but I know what I don’t like. And I didn’t like “See You in Chicago,” the city’s new tourism theme song performed by Buddy Guy, Umphrey’s McGee, and Chicago. The track combined every local music cliché: a guitar solo from an electric blues album, horns from Chicago IV, synthesizers from Chicago XVII, vocals inspired by Billy Corgan, and lyrics from a Richard Marx song. Mixed together, they sound like the B-side to the theme from an ’80s John Hughes teen comedy.
As I wrote in a review of the song on my blog:
Every one of these musicians has performed outstanding work on their own, but together, they’ve produced a power anthem that would have embarrassed Damn Yankees, The Outfield or White Lion. (But not Richard Marx. Richard Marx is shameless.)
Just like all the other snotty remarks I make about local celebrities, as soon as I posted it I forgot about it. My blog has a readership in the mid-three figures, so naturally I assume no one notices what I write. The next afternoon while at Naval Station Great Lakes for my sister’s stepson’s boot-camp graduation, I received an email with the subject line, “From Richard Marx.”
How exactly am I “shameless?”
Do you know me? Have we met?
You print a statement like that in my home town, you better have a reason and I’d like to know what it is.
McClelland writes that he laughed it off, thinking there was no way the email actually came from THE Richard Marx, convinced it was probably the work of a prankster reader. But then he got another email from the same AOL address a few days later.
No explanation for why you write that I’m “shameless?” You act pretty tough sitting alone in your little room behind your laptop.
If you’d written you hated my music, that’s cool. Like I could give a shit. But saying I’m “shameless” calls into question my character and integrity.
This is my hometown…where my kids live…where my mother lives…and this will not stand with me.
Would you say that to my face? Let’s find out. I’ll meet you anywhere in the city, any time. I don’t travel again until the end of the week. Let’s hash this out like men.
Never heard of you in my life before, but between various columnist/radio friends and an array of people at NBC, I now know plenty about you. You don’t know anything about me. But you’re about to.
This isn’t going away.
Oh man Richard Marx is PISSED! And when McClelland didn’t respond to the second email Marx tracked him down on Twitter and began stalking him…
So McClelland finally emailed back and the two made plans to meet at a bar to confront each other. It was devoid of bloodshed, but pretty hilarious. You can read how it all went down at the Morning News.
Meanwhile, I’ll sit back and wait for my own angry email from Richard Marx. COME AT ME, BRO!
(GIF via Gifulmination)