Haines deserved better

When Hawes Spencer called and told me he was writing an article aimed at portraying the influence Haines Fullerton had on The Dave Matthews Band ["Dave, Fame & Haines," September 16, 2004], I spent part of the hour debunking rumor and speculation about who my brother was.

I said to myself, "Finally, someone is interested enough to go to the appropriate sources." Sadly, I waited for the article to appear only to find that Spencer published the piece by Dave McNair as a cover story and wove his hours of interviewing Haines' friends and family into a sidebar.

"Why would anyone interview Mark Roebuck if he wanted to know anything about Haines after The Deal?" I asked those involved. It's not news that Haines and Mark fell out and didn't speak to each other for years. That being the case, I'm curious about where Mark gathered his quoted opinions.

It's not my way to fight fire with fire, but I do feel moved to address Mark's comments regarding Haines as "bi-polar for sure." He continues, "I'm just thinking about how maybe he was always bi-polar, always crazy– that all those years I was just dealing with someone who was mentally ill."

I don't know all of the dynamics that occurred within The Deal, but I do know that the band members were ultimately just young men trying to make their mark on the world. It's a major disappointment that success eluded The Deal, but that doesn't mean in hindsight it's okay to go on the record saying the band would have burned out anyway because Haines was "just too much of a perfectionist." The painted scenario suggests that Mark was hoodwinked all along by a crazy person, but that just was not the case.

Haines was driven, passionate, enthusiastic, and focused on making The Deal successful. No doubt, egos clashed in the process, but I like to think that everyone eventually outgrew and moved beyond the experience. Mark is quoted as saying that it took him 10 years to recover from the band's failure and that Haines never completely got over it. In truth, Haines did get over it, and he did move on.

I'm shaking my head over two things: the first is that Mark Roebuck was unconscious enough to talk about my brother in such a biased manner, and the second is that Dave McNair's slanted article was the cover story.

Claire Fullerton
Malibu, CA