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April 03, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-04-03

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Page Two


Thursday, April 3,1969


a .. a r






Hale ?


I -

musiThe b-

Strausse discovered waltzes,
Handy-man found the blues,
Then Haley came along with
a rockin' song,.
Crazy man, crazy, crazy news.
by Bill Haley and others
C. 195w
College Press Service
\WHEN YOU get right down to
it, the question is, does
Bill Haley, sound. better doing
fifties rock than Frank Zappa
does satirizing it?
The circle has been completed,
rock is back where it began.
Maybe Frank Zappa is Bill Ha-
ley in disguise (or vice versa).
Is Bill Haley a put-on?. Are
Ruben and the Jets (latest alias
for the Mothers of Invention)
for real? What ver it is that the
Mothers play, Bill Haley started
the trend that led up (or down)
to it.
Haley still has the spitcurl.
("That was our gimmick at the
beginning, it was our trade-
mark.") He still wears a red tux
jacket, with the small face card--
board tie. The crowds are a
little different than in his hey-
day, or worse yet, they're the
same. The same people who
idolized him in the fifties were
back-which makes them any-
where from 21 to 35. A total of
seventeen showed up for his
opening night show in Wash-
ington, but that didn't matter
when he started up with "One,
two, three o'clock, four o'clock
rock; five six, seven o'clock,
eight o'clock rock . .
You lose yourself in his sound.
You're back in 1945 seeing
Blackboard . Jungle with Glen
Ford, Sidney Poitier, and of
course, Bill Haley and the Com-
ets. Haley breaks into an old
Little Richard number, "Rip it
Up": "I believe you're doin' me
wrong and now I know . .
The scene gets mellow. Ha-
ley's tenor sax man, Rudy Pom-
pelli (who has been with Haley
to these fifteen years) does his
solo, "Harlem' Nocturne." He
comes on like a Holiday Inn
lounge entertainer, but by the
time he's finished, you know
there are few .sax men around
who could go through sounds
like that.,
And all the while, bass player
Al Rappa plays jester to the
group by mimicking Haley, Pom-
pelli and the others. He is the
true showman. He takes his pol-
kadotted, bass, plays it in mid-
air, behind his back, hurls it
around and finally gets up on it
and plays it while standing on
top of it. He mimics little Rich-
ard doing "Jenny Jenny," wear-
ing a long blackhaired wig.
There's no doubt what era
these guys came out of-in the
middli of the songs the chore-
ograpiy gives it away. Lean left,
lean right, ettend your left
hand, bend the left knee, lean
left again, three steps up, three
steps back . .
Upstairs between sets, Haley
submits to the two zillionth in-
terview of his career, with the
same boorish reporters asking
the standards: how did it all
start, where have you been for
ten years, what do you think of
today's music, do you still beat
your wife, etc.
But instead of coming right.
out and asking it like that, you
see, you have to sneak around.

You don't ask, "How old are
you?"; you say, "What is the
age difference between the old-
est and youngest in 'the group?"
Which is what someone did ask.
Trite or not, you do want to
know what the low priestof rock
and roll has to say. Haley is
now beyond being camp. He's
not even schmaltzy. He's an his-
torical document who came off
a 77 rpm victrola to perform for
the masses of the late sixties.
Groups he's played with have
surpassed him. Back when Elvis
Presley was managed by Hank
Snow recording for Sun, Haley
brought him on his tour. Haley
was the headliner when a group
called the Beatles were pulling
down $60 a week at a joint in
Hamburg, Germany. But he
preceded them all.
"Original rock 'n' roll records
were made in late 1950 and early
'51," he says. "At that time we
were a country and western
band. Not realizimg that we were
fo ming somethng new for the
young people of the world, we
used to sing rhythm and blues
tunes with a country and west-
ern band. And then in 1952 we
had our first million seller,
'Crazy Man Crazy.'"
Since then, Haley and the
Comets have released over 300
singles, with "Rock Around the
Clock" now topping 16 million
(second only to Bing Crosby's
'White Christ as" in single rec-
ord sales). Ah, such memories:
"Skinny Minnie," "Shake, Rattle
and Roll," "Burn That Candle,"
"The Saints Rock and Roll,"'ad
nauseum. He was. at his best in
"Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie." The
boogie! Remember that, kiddies?
That's where the term 'rock 'n'
roll' came from: ("Rock, rock,
rock everybody roll, roll, roll
everybody rock/roll . . .") and
then Cleveland disc jockey Alan
Freed got the term going.
So what has Haley been
doing? Making films in Ger-
many, Italy, recording in Swe-
den, South America and Austra-
lia. His home is in Mexico City,
and when his current U.S.' tour
end this month, he's back in
Europe until November.
"The two most popular groups
in France now are Gene Vincent
and Bill Haley and the Comets.
Now you figure that out," he
suggests. Maybe the French
have no musical taste? "I mean
let's face it," admits Haley, "you
need the gimmick, the promo-
tion, the appeal. We're relatively
new in Europe. Another thing
about European fans," adds
Haley with a hint of disrespect
for Americans, "once the&'re
loyal to you, they stick with
you." So much for press rela-
So "Wild Bill' 'aley," as he
was in Variety ads in '52, comes
out of Chester, Pa., stumbles
upon rock and roll, conquers the
world, and fades into the obli-
vion of nostalgic crowds in Eur-
ope. Yet at 41, he is still doing
the same shtick two sets a night,
week after week, year after year,
and now it seems, era after era.
"We have become the Glep
Miller of this era of music.
Whether we like. it or not, we
have to do things like 'Rock
Around the Clock.' It's our bag."
Just when you start grooving
with Haley, and feel like you're
talking to a national archie, he
tells you 'who his favorite group
today is: Paul Revere and the

Raiders. (Paul Revere and the
Raiders? Yup, that's what the
man said.)
Where does one go after a
career like his ending up digging
such groups? Ah, but there's
more money coming in. When-
ever Blackboard Jungle comes
on just before the 4 a.m. ser-
mon, you know more coin is
going into Haley's pocket. And
NBC is doing a show on the orig-
ins of Rock, filming Haley on
stage. Another crowd is think-

YOU CAN GO only so far in
mixing music of another
era with today's culture. Once
you do that, the natural thing
to do is blend today's music with
yesterday's culture.
Which brings us to the Moth-
ers of Invention. The Mothers at
the Fillmore East on New York's
lower East Side is like Dick
Clark doing a sock hop or Paul
Anka singing at a New Jersey
resort. It is a group performing
at their peak at a place where

Who is this Man?

with buttons, calendars and
Realists. Want anything? It's all
free. (Ask Bill Graham about
'free.' It's $5 for a good seat at
his music hall.)
The Joshua Light Show puts
on their visual representation of
minds in flux. Despite their pro-
fessionalism, the Joshua Light
people put on a good backdrop
to the whole evenings set. A
decent rock group calles Chi-
cago appears. The Fillmore
shows some short subcultural
movies. The Buddy Miles Ex-
press does its fine blues and
rhythm combination.
Instruments are going out .. .
a few of the Mothers wander
on stage . . . freaky looking
heads . . . heady looking freaks
. w. well . . . where's the leader
of our gang . . . it looks like
Zappa coming out now s k
"Hi, boys and girls! You just
be quiet and mind your man-
ners. We'll be ready in minute."
(Boys and girls? Is that what he
said? That's what it sounded
"Here's a hot new number,
kids." Hot by McLuhan termin-
ology. New by anyone's stan-
dards. For the next 50 minutes,
Zapa leads the eight other mem-
bers of his group in a fantas-
magorica of rock, roll, sounds,
utterances, delightful perver-
sions, belches, groans, chromatic
scales, solos, squeaks and poises
which could only be produced
by either raving freaks or ac-
complished musicians. One sus-
pects some of both.
Zappa doesn't really lead or,
conduct. He moves his arms and
body, and the music goes with
it. Zappa's body is the composer.
(One might be forced to say it
is a de-composer.)
- It isn't sounds we hear. It is
music, choreographed. As part
of the routine one Mother goes
into a mock opera while Zappa
screams at him. Background
noises fill in the gaps. This is
music for"50 minutes? You bet
it is. Not at all avant-garde, the
Mothers are more avant-sleep.
They are what happens when
you wake up during a dream and
try to recapture it when you try
to go right back to sleep. Your
mind is hazy, it can't focus;
your head reels, gym socks tip-
toe through your brain and you
lear the Mothers of Invention.
A visual trick: Films of the
Mothers come on the screen in
film. You see them involved in
some good ole fashioned sado-
masochist fun. One of them is
whipping a girl, and she's lov-
ing it. Back on stage, in a vocal

iart of the fantasy they sing
about position number 73. "Posi-
tion number 73- Let's see it!"
yells a Mother. Two of them
carefully get into position 73
and go at it.
The lights change. Zappa
breaks into a Rudy Valee type
of song. Zonk--the lights switch
again, he goes into a favorite
of the fifties. Left, two, three
right, two three. Next he calls
on a girl-any girl-to come up
and twist with him. Frank Zap-
pa is holding a twist contest on
the stage of the Fillmore East.
It seems natural. Fade from the
twist into a ballet, with three
Motherly freaks t i p t o e i n g
around to minuet music. Flash-
the fantasmagoria is over. "We'll
see you later," he says and
But he can't leave. Ruben and
the Jets haven't been on. Ah,
they come back on to do an old
favorite. From 1958, they do
"Valarie" - originally, they
say, by Joey Dee and the Star-
lighters (remember the Pepper-
mint Twist?) Listen to them
"Valarie" should be in the
Smithsonian Institution as the
classic obnoxious tune of the
fifties. Maybe all of them. It
has the oo-wah, the A-B-A for-
mat, the oozing lyrics and the
significance of Judge Crater.
But comes the middle, Zappa
does the conversation part,
where the lead would always
talk about such enlightening
things as the corner malt shop,
carrying your girl's books, his,
dog, and his car.
To call it parody might be un-
derestimating , Zappa's verbal
prowess. Let's call it extension-
ism. While the others do the
oo-wahs in the background,
Zappa, in the slow high school
drawl of his, tells about "Do
you remember the time, Valarie,
when we went to the junior-sen-
ior high school hop?" (2appa's
got out his sharrrpf car. Accent
that 'r' in sharp. He spend hours
on his sharrrp car.) After trip-
pin into the neighborhodd
drugstore to buy his 27th pro-
phylactic and a six-pac of Ro-
milar A-C, Zappa makes it with
Valarie in sharrrp car. Finally
they "get to the dance. I reach-
ed out to cop a feel and you
kicked me in the nuts
VALARIE ... oo-wah... Vala-
rie . . . oo-wah." And they're

of Mauch and men..

There certainly were a lot of
people on stage last night at
Hill Auditorium, but it takes
more than massive numbers to
to make good music. Testerday's
performance of Johann Sebas-
tian Bachds "Passion of Our
Lord According to St. John"
was a combined effort of many
groups and individuals; but the
quality was so varied from num-
ber to number that, over all. I
have to say it was not success-
ful. I
The blame must fall on con-
ductor Robert Mauch. Even al-
lowing for the fact that Mauch,
took control of the forces quite
suddenly when Maynard Klein'
was forced to withdraw due to
his wife's illness, his hand was
too weak to keep the ensemble
tight. His tempi dragged on
endlessly, spreading out Bach's
tight choruses and arias into
limping tired music. He allowed
both his orchestra and the
chorus to falter for lack of good
Coupled with this were the
technical difficulties within both
the University Symphony Or-
chestra and in the massed Uni-
versity. Choir, University Arts
Chorale, and Medical School
Glee Clubs. The strings of the
orchestra were plagued with in-
tonation troubles, not to men-
tion that there just was no en-
semble for most of .the evening.
Some incredibly bad 'viola.
vwork in part II of the Passion
merely echoed the missed en-
trances and sloppy work of the
opening. The choir sang ade-
quately, but with monumental

chorales and choruses hdlding
the text together, their loose
sound was significant.
All, however, was not bleak.
Tenor Waldie Anderson was very
good in the role of the Evan-
gelist, breathing warm expres-
sion into the secco recitatives
through suberb dynamic control.
Jesus was sung by bass Willis
Patterson, and the rich color of
his voice gave us an admirable
Christ on stage.
The rest of the ten soloists
were satisfactory, although the
soprano and contralto did not
achieve the subdued intensity of
Bach's melodic lines, relying
more on vocal fireworks which
were out of place.
The logistics of the concert
were interesting; there were
three different continuo instru-
ments. A portative organ with
cello accompanied, the Evan-
gelist, while harpsichord was
used for the orchestra parts and
arias> with organ substituted for
the choruses.
'Of all the music the several
chorales bridging the narrative
were best, especially "Thy will,
0 Lord our God. be done" from
part I. The recitatives which
told the story were usually
spoiled by lack of emotion from
the various soloists, though Pi-
late Antonio Ierez's "What is
Truth?' was very strong.
Just the undertaking of such
an immense work deserves ad-
miration, but even the best
hopes and plans cannot be
raised when they are realized
so poorly.
All expenses paid
Take a trip
into-your rhind
Thursday at Hill
APRIL 3',1:30 P.M.'
with the






I mean, really?

ing of doing a movie on his life.
And, turn on your radios, fans
.. Haley has released a new 45,
record on United Artists called
"That's How I Got to Memphis."
Call up radio stations. De-
mand that your local head and
recor'd shops carry it. Create a
cult. Have groupies follow Ha-
ley. Demand your school sanc-
tion a Bill Haley fan club, and
start a demonstration when
they refuse. FREAK OUT WITH
Thurs. and Friday
dir. Frederico Fellini (1953)

they can amplify thoughts and
Outside, the weekend regulars
are hustling. Money, tickets,
bodies, dope, stolen goods, etc.
You want it? They got it. Oc-
casionally someone gets what
he's after, As if on a stage, there
are police barricades up separa-
ting the hustlers from the hus-
Inside; you get one of the Fill-
'more's slick playbill-like pro-
grains. The Yippies have a table





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Richard Burton- Clint Eastwood -Mary Ure
"Where Eagles Dare"
D] Panavision® and Metrocolor , MGM


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right after you
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Tonight at 0:48-9:00


Program Information




Our trouble-shooting sheriff always put his
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au es Garner Joan Hackett Walter Brennan
"'Support Your Local Sheriff]
co-starring HARRY MORGAN JACK ELAM Written and Produced by WILLIAM BOWERS Directed by BURT KENNEDY
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