Been meaning to share this story for a while:
In January 2010, Richard Marx pulled out of HullabaLOU, a music festival at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. Upon hearing the devastating news, I wrote an article for Louisville.com: “Sorry Louisville, you don’t have Richard Marx to kick around anymore at HullabaLOU.” If you don’t feel like selecting the link, executive summary: it wasn’t flattering to Mr. Marx.
My article led to hateful comments from Marx’s dedicated fans (since lost after Louisville.com switched its commenting system), as well as a nasty thread on a Richard Marx-dedicated online forum (since defunct, because of course).
About two weeks after I published the article, I received this email:
Zach..That last “anonymous” post wasn’t me [a commenter on Louisville.com claimed to be Marx], but…THIS is. Turns out, having zero to do with putting you in your place..whoever you are…I have these insanely loyal and protective fans who not only post online, but then alert this kind of mindless crap to the woman who runs my website (Yep, I do have one…makes me SO cool) and then I occasionally hear about it. I’ve weathered these kind of nasty attacks for over 20 years. Mostly by over-achievers like yourself, who have “Air Canada’s enRoute” as the headline of their resume.
I was actually looking forward to playing HullabaLOU but it was just one show and I was offered a tour in China that, while only 4 shows in country over 8 days, will compensate me in numbers that would fill you with even more envious rage than you already seem to possess, if that’s possible.
Oh, yeah..I’m also still really happily married to a kind and beautiful woman after 21 years; have 3 amazing sons who are great human beings; and I still not only tour and make my own records, but write and produce with a ton of great artists for their records. I love every second. I realize it’s not on par with being editor-in-chief of Louisville.com, but… [UPDATE Aug. 11, 2017: Marx and his wife divorced in April 2014.]
See, like or hate my music, I have, for 20 years plus, put myself out there and given 100% to my craft. I’m a pro. I never phone it in and I’ve never taken the 30 million records and slew of hits for granted. I wrote “Right Here Waiting,” which you denigrated, not to be a hit song, but a musical love letter to my wife years ago. Luckily my friends persuaded me to record it. People all over the world sing that song to each other. I just got a letter from a young lady whose husband was killed in Iraq and the lyrics to “RHW” were his screensaver. She wasn’t the first who told me stories like that.
So…upon looking at what’s available about you…and seeing your photo…dude, your photo is so grim…all I can assume about you is that you’re a bitter man who either never got a break, or never had the talent to deserve one.
Vivian will certainly grow up to be so proud.
Vivian, by the way, is my daughter. Who was then not even 1 month old.
Using the sender’s email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, I did some online research (I forget the specifics) that made it appear likely the email was in fact from Marx. It wasn’t conclusive enough though to share publicly.
Then, in January 2013, Salon.com published “Richard Marx hates my guts” by Edward McClelland. The subhead:
I made a snarky comment about the 1980s soft-rock balladeer on my blog. And now he won’t leave me alone. Really.
Well call me a hipster: I got hate mail from Richard Marx before it was cool.