by mike taylor
It came upon me in a dream not long ago that the Ramones should call their fourth
album "American Romance." But alas, they've opted for "Road to Ruin" instead, so I
decided to name this column, being an inquiry into one of America's favorite pastimes -
rock 'n'roll, "American Romance."
A LL MY FELLOW punkoids say it's their favorite song of the year,
beating out even "Because the Night" and "Badlands." Just listen to it
as the guitars roar, the bass throbs, the drums explode with fire. The melody
surges and reaches a peak. The hook comes with the chorus, and you're
singing along :
Mommy's all right, Daddy's all right
They just seem a little weird
But don't give yourself away
It's "Surrender," from Cheap Trick's third album in a year-and-a-half,
Heaven Tonight. I'm in ecstasy every time I hear it, and that's what rock 'n'
roll is about, right?
THERE'S A SONG on The Cars, the first album from the most
promising band to emerge from Boston since the original Modern Lovers,
that has a similarly intoxicating effect. "My Best Friend's Girl" is the kind
of classic pop song Bruce Springsteen will be covering in his stage shows
twenty years from now. Starting with a super-lean guitar riff, the tune builds
into a great love/bitterness combo, highlighted by instrumentation
borrowed from hard rock bands and Roxy Music, and vocals borrowed from
Ray Davies and David Byrne: I
Here she comes again
When she's dancing 'neath the starry sky
You kinda like the way she dips
She's my best friend's girl
And she used to be mine ...
Though their approaches differ radically, Cheap Trick and The Cars
produce simple, highly tuneful rock; the lyrics don't pretend to say anything
important, but the music carries you to rush after hook-laden rush.
THOUGH THE Beatles have been dead for eight years, critics and fans
persist in comparing their new finds to those melodic ghosts. With Cheap
Trick, however., a comparison is not out of order. They sounded eerily like
the Beatles on some songs on their first two albums, including a Len-
nonesque vocal intro to "The Ballad of T.V. Violence (I'm Not the Only
- -flo ai
With decadent display,
Zappa molests U.S.A.
By ANNE SHARP
Frank Zappa strolled onstage at Cobo
Hall thirty-five minutes late Thursday
night, due to a delay in setting up some
xylophones. No one complained; they-
just shook their fists happily on high,
lustily yelling "ZAPPA!" Their idol,
the moustached, raven-locked Salvador
Dali of contemporary music, could do
no wrong. And he knew it.
Casually dressed in Levis,sa simple
blue cotton shirt, and red sneakers,
Zappa nonchalantly joined his band for
the opening instrumental, then laun-
ched into a medley of tunes centered
around the singles-bar scene, including
"Dancing Fool" and "Easy Meat".
FRANK ZAPPA, the performer, is
cool, urbane, scornful of television,
disco, and the bourgeois way of life.
This outlook is typified in the lyric he
sang, "I am a moron and this is my
wife/She's frosting a cake with a paper
knife." He also possesses a scatological
streak a mile wide, epitomized in a tune
he performed about anal sex, complete
with meaningful grimaces at the
audience and appropriate gestures at
parts of his own anatomy.
Zappa can be so gross! And yet, with
screaming feedback and xylophones
scurrying through the melody like car-
toon mice from outer space, his music
is always innovative and technically
well-done. He is also a comedian with a
gift for improvisation. Plucking a stray
Frisbee from the stage, he clapped a
baseball cap onto it, and held it like
Hamlet contemplating Yorick's skull.
"Not only are you intelligent," he told
the Frisbee, "but you have a very nice
"This is the romantic part of our
program," Zappa announced, He went
on to criticize mass-market love songs
like Peter Frampton's "I'm In You"
("And they complain about me with
songs like 'Dinah Moe Humm' and
stuff ! That's soft core porn!") He then
sailed into "I Have Been In You," a
lecherous reprise to Frampton's tune.
THE AUDIENCE lapped it up, and
tried to show their appreciation by
throwing things and crowding round the
platform. Onstage, however, Joe Cool
looked blankly at them and told them
not to hassle the T-shirted goons (he
called them "ushers") Cobo supplies to
keep order during rock concerts.
On the second curtain call, the
strangest thing happened. Rather than
work the audience into a frenzy (as any
red-blooded rock and roll star would
have done) by playing a few beloved,
rowdy numbers like, say, "Dinah Moe"
or "Camarillo Brillo", as he did for the
first encore, he performed two long,
esoteric instrumentals, "Strictly Gen-
teel" and "Black Napkins."
Dozens of fans who had clustered in
the near aisles, ready to rush the stage,
drifted back to their seats, bewildered.
Unmoved, Frank continued playing his
guitar. He wanted none of their love and
adoration; how else could he have
remained so cool and sardonic, under
The Michigan Daily-Saturday, September 30, 1978-Page 5
DAILY EARLY BIRD MATINEES -- Adults $1.25
DISCOUNT IS FOR SHOWS STARTING BEFORE 1:30
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Sunday-Thursday Evenings Student & Senior Citizen Discounts
Children 12 And Under, Admissions $1.25
1. Tickets sold no sooner than 30 minutes
prior to showtine.
2. No tickets sold later than 15 minutes
It was the Deltas
agaiast the es.. Fri. & Sat. Late Shows
against the rules...1:onSale
the rules lost! Following 9:00
A JACK ROLLINS-CHARLES H. JOFFE PRODUCION1
ISSY SPACEK as CARR6
JOHN TRAVOLTA and PIPER LAURIE join in the fun as Carrie blossoms into a
poisonous flower on Prom night. A withdrawn but sweet High School senior
who is neglected and made fun of by friends because of her over-zealous
religious mother, Carrie in turn claims r'evenge upon her entire graduation class
prom--turning it into the most horrifying nightmarish scene that the devil can
possibly imagine. Five stunning climaxes in blazing glory!
SUN.: Fassbinder's THE AMERICAN SOLDIER
Epi JE 35312
7:00 & 9:05
OLD ARCH. AuD.
Boy)," "Taxman, Mr. Thief," and "I Want You to Want Me." Their new
album has Abbey Road overtones all over the place; sometimes they sound
like the Electric Light Orchestra, another band that often sounds like an ex-
tension of the Beatles.
But most of all they sound like Cheap Trick; a vibrant wall-of-guitars
L sound tht comes close to the intensity of the Ramones from Rick Nielson,
ho also writes most of the songs; solid, playful bass from Tom Petersson,
persistent drumming from Bun E. Carlos; and light, yet confident vocals
from Robin Zander. Together, these four guys produce a tight, dense in-
strumental mix that's the perfect base for Nielson's hard-edged pop songs.
HEAVEN TONIGHT is filled with great songs. Besides "Surrender,"
there's "On Top of the World," a find dance tune that breaks into a com-
pletely different melody towards the end; "Taking Me Back," a lovely num-
ber that has nothing to do with the A&W Root Beer "Taking Me Back"
jingle; "On The Radio," a delightful,.albeit' ironic celebration of the radio
(for some unknown reason Cheap Trick has yet to hit AM radio); and the
haunting title track, the record's only ballad. There's also a likeable version
of Roy Wood's "California Man."
The Cars take the components of a song apart, and then put it all back
together into something that resembles rock 'n' roll, much as Brian Eno
does. Roy Thomas Baker was a great pick for producer, because as anyone
knows from his work with Queen, he's a master of stereo separtion.
Take the opening number, "Good Times Roll," for example. The guitar
enters on the right, the drums on the left. Bass, synthesizer, and vocals come
next, and the song's complete. But the parts never completely merge into a
solid unit; you've always got the feeling that one wrong note would send all
the parts flying apart again.
It's difficult to become involved in music as programmed as this, but the
Cars pull it off through the sheer elegance of their melodies. How can you
resist humming along and tapping your feet to tunes like "Just What I
Needed," a rather heavy guitar rocker; "You're All I've Got Tonight," an
urgent rock ballad; and "All Mixed Up," a shining tune highlighted by a
warm saxophone solo.
I suspect The Cars has a little something for everyone. Boston fans will
love the harmonies in "Just What I Needed," pop purists will love the sim-
plicity of "My Best Friend's Girl," and Roxy Music/Talking Heads fans will
love the distorted melodies and chaotic instrumentation of "Good Times
Roll," "I'm In Touch With Your World," "Bye Bye Love," and "Moving in
This summer, I sat in the Providence Civic Center and watched 12,000
rock 'n' roll fans, whose last show might have been Kiss, the Beach Boys,
Aerosmith, or Shaun Cassidy, crowd in to watch the Cars. That's right, 12,000
people. For a band that grew out of the Boston New Wave, I'd say that's pret-
ty good. They were a smash, lighting the horde ablaze and coming back (or
two encores. And I bet the kids would have liked Cheap Trick too.
MANNTHEATRES WED. MATINEES
VILLAGET' ALL SEATS $1.50
MAPtE VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTER A
769.1300 UNTIL 4:30
I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN
(Anthony Page, 1977) Many things make a movie but KATH-
LEEN QUINLAN'S portrayal of an emotionally disturbed young
woman makes this good film exceptional. With BIBI ANDER-
SON as the psychiatrist.
Director of Photography GORDON WILLIS
Executive Producer ROBERT GREEN HUT
Produced by CHARLES H. JOFFE
Nat. Sci. Aud.
7, 8:40, & 10:20-
The Ann Arbor Film Cooperafive ,presentsat MLB 3
SATURDAY, 5EPTEMBER 30
JAMES DEAN NIGHT
EAST OF EDEN
(Elia Kazan, 1955) 7 only-MLB 3
Kazan's adaptation of Steinbeck's novel was the film that turned a talented stage-TV actor named James
Dean into a superstar. Dean ploys Col Trask, a confused adolescent searching desperately for lost love and
tenderness, with a gut-wrenching sensitivity that prompted his director to say "Dean didn't play cal, he
sCal." The youth of that period immediately recognized the honesty of his performance and flocked to
the film, making Dean the hottest star on the Warners lot. "In James Dean, today's youth discovers itself."
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
(Nicholas Ray, 1955) 9 only MLB 3
A teenager gets into trouble in school and runs away with his girlfriend. There are many reasons to see
REBEL, but JAMES DEAN overshadows them all with his best screen performance. You'll probably never see
acting this good again. With NATALIE WOOD. NICK ADAMS, DENNIS HOPPER, SAL MINEO, JIM BACKUS.
Monday: Joseph H. Lewis night. GUN CRAZY.
The director will speak following the show. FREE
The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative is looking for new members. Ask for details at
Written and Directed by WOODY ALLEN
-~ - -. ~ ."