The Michigan Daily-Thursday, November 16, 1978-Page 7
byc lan rubenfeld
MHE AGE OF-DEVO is here. It is on the assembly line at G.M. You find
it on television, in your classes, in the elevator in the Grad. It is,
according to Devo guitarist Bob2, "a 300-pound woman in an aqua-blue pants
suit driving into a McDonald's in a Mustang II."
Devo is "the important sound of things falling apart," attempting to
function in a world that fails to operate.
Where did this off the wall conception come from? Would you believe
' Akron, Ohio? Devo came into being several years ago, at Kent State
University, home of one of the Devo events of all time. Initially, the group
became known as one of the best jokes ever to come out of that section of
'Ohio. The were a good laugh. Thoroughly castigated by the mainstream rock
crowd, the group found that only punk venues opened their doors to let Devo
EVEN THE SAFETY pin set, however, could not fully relate to these
"weirdos." Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, a group not generally known for
their docile tendencies, physically assaulted the group one evening after
, attempting to take Devo's music seriously. About two years ago, Devo's
members immigrated to California, hoping to latch onto the burgeoning
punk scene there. In L.A, they did their first two singles for Booji Boy
records, their own label. "Jocko Homo" and "Mongoloid," their first
release, defined the group's sound as a combination of such elements as
Roxy Music, the Residents, and Neil Young's spiritual nihilism (listen to
Tonight's the Night again). Unique, to say the least.
Luckily, Devo escaped the great punk penchant for self-destruction. One
of the few survivors of the L.A. scene, they realized that the sensationalism
aspect of punk led to Devo's early success. Bob2 adds, "Punk was real
kamikaze from the start. They were the enema bag; we're the fluid."
It is hard to extract a working definition of Devo from the group, but
bassist Jerry Casale offers his interpretation of the whole thing: "Devo is an
idea whose time has come. Today, people see things in terms of size. Devo
Jimmy Cliff returns to reggae
By KEITH B. RICHBURG
It was in 1971 when Jimmy Cliff
vowed that he would never again sing
reggae music. He was discouraged by
the music world's general disdain for
reggae, and he was disappointed when
his superb protest song "Vietnam"
didn't even make a dent in the
American pop music charts.
That was when Cliff introduced his
Another Cycle LP, and summed up that
point in his career with the moving
"Sitting in Limbo"-a song of
disillusionment and despair. He wanted
the success and fame of the American
pop superstars, but his native reggae
style was never accepted in the
lucrative market in the states.
TUESDAY NIGHT at Hill
Auditorium, Jimmy Cliff came home to
With the release of his new Give
Thanx album, Cliff-the wanderer of
"Sitting in Limbo" searching for his
musical self-seems to have at last
found a sound and a style he can call his
own. And he found it not by cracking the
American pop charts, but by turning
back to the roots of his native Jamaica.
While he once sang naive pop songs like
"Wonderful World, Wonderful People,"
Cliff's music now stresses the back-to-
Africa sentiment of Jamaican blacks,
and the overthrow of an oppressive
Cliff then, has finally discovered
himself politically, as a Jamaican and
as a black man, and Tuesday night he
let the near-full house at Hill hear his
philosophies on life, love and his own
struggle for identity.
THE AUDIENCE was warmed up by
the Detroit area's own Prismatic band,
an exotic six-member Santana-like
group combining jazz saxophone riffs
with south-of-the-border percussions.
Performing all original material,
fusing traditional Carribean melodies
with a jazz-rock beat, Prismatic
showed that they have the potential to
set a new trend in music, once they
tighten their ensemble and realize that
an array of exotic percussions can be
just as distracting as impressive; if
But it was Jimmy Cliff the audience
came to see. Opening his act with the
"Bongo Man," Cliff set the tone of his
new musical self all the way down to his
African-style Deshiki. Followed with
"Johnny Too Bad" and "By the Rivers
of Babylon," a back-to-Africa call for a
return to Zion, Cliff seemed to be more
preaching to the audince than enter-
taining-"But the wicked carried us
away, captivity, require from us a
Cliff has traditionally considered
himself a philosopher in his music, and
he introduced each song Tuesday night
by relating to his own vision of the
world. Starting into "Lonely Streets"
Come," but one was left with the im-
pression that Cliff could have played
that one song over and over for the full
hour and a half and the audience would
have been satisfied. If there was any
disappointment with the concert, it was
only from those who thought he didn't
perform enough of the songs that made
him something of a pop hit, songs like
"Wild World" and "Wonderful World,
As a concert, Jimmy Cliff's perfor-
mance at Hill was by most traditional
indicators a success. From "Turn the
Tables" on through the encore, the
crowd was standing and singing along
to the simple refrains. But if the inten-
tion of reggae music is ,to expouse a
philosophy and send the listener a
message, then one can only wonder
whether the point was all but lost.
But Jimmy Cliff has at last
established himself as a reggae music
force to parallel Bob Marley. After flir-
ting with English rock and reggae ren-
ditions of Ameircan top 40 singles,.
Jimmy Cliff has finally returned to
Keith B. Richburg is the assistant
Editorial Page director.
Piano & Organ
115 E. Liberty-663-3381
Open Monday and Friday Evenings
Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Jimmy Cliff had his fans up and dancing soon into Tuesday night's Hill Auditorium
from his new album, Cliff told the
crowd "I'm a country man. I'm not a
city man. But that does not mean I have
not experienced walking the lonely
WITH "UNIVERSAL LOVE," Cliff
challenged the audience to put aside the
traditional boundaries, to look "beyond
tribal boundaries, beyond social boun-
daries, beyond racial boundaries."
Yet, too often the message was lost in
the pleasant hand-clapping reggae
rhythms. With "Turn the Tables," Cliff
was in a sense challenging the very
values of the largely white middle-class
audience that seemed too caught up in
the beat to listen to the words. And
"Stand Up and Fight Back" was calling
on oppressed peoples to fight against
repression of the mind and soul, but the
audience was on its feet in the aisles,
not emotionally angered but dancing
skank (Jamaican-style) to the heavy
bass and drums.
After "Meeting in Afrika," Cliff hnd
his band left the stage, but the audience
wanted their Tuesday night Carribean
cruise to continue. For an encore, Cliff
returned to his familiar "You Can Get
It If You Really Wank," a hit from The
Harder They Come. And from there, he
stuck to his proven hits, with an ex-
cellent ten-minute rendition of the
haunting "Many Rivers to Cross," with
solid organ accompaniment from Paul
"Pablo" Smith lending an eerie gospel
quality to the story of a lonely man on
the brink of "committing some dread-
BUT THE AUDIENCE came to dan-
ce, not be preached to. Cliff closed with
the ever-popular "The Harder They
STATE OF SIEGE
Based on the actual kidnapping of a U.S. official, revolution-
aries uncover the discreetly concealed function of the American
"Special Advisor." A gripping portrait of the stealthy role the
United States has played in Latin America's development, star-
ring YVES MONTAND. In Italian (with English subtitles).
Fri.: Ruffaut's STOLEN KISSES
7:00 & 9:03
OLD ARCH. AUD.
Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Devo lead singer Mark Mothersbaughgot closer to the people at the Akron
band's recent concert in Grosse Pointe.
sees total systems . .. matrices . . . we see information. The picture that
most people percept to see reality in is totally outmoded."
DEVO, ACCORDING to Casale, is "just a re-programming technique
that uses music as an avenue for communication. The reason music is
important is that its the most total, most widely disseminated art form.'It is
the most immediate, relevant."
What makes Devo more than just another group out to make it in the
corporate music world is this commitment to communicate. Music is but one
of their means, as they have produced several films, including the famous
flick, "The Truth About De-evolution," recipient of an award from last
year's Ann Arbor film festival. They have also created films for their songs
"Satisfaction" and "Come Back Jonee."
Devo is the antithesis of all that makes music sweet, pleasurable, and all
so boring. It opts for abject paranoia. Instead of providing a social
anesthesia that music can easily deliver, we hear songs like "Too Much
Paranoias," an ode to the fast food malady of the mind ("hold the pickles,
hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us, just as long as we can serve it
your wayyyyagh!). Instead of/tranquil sequences, we find out that we're
- going to "shrivel up and die.. . it's a God-given fact." Instead of love, there
is that "uncontrollable urge." It all sounds quite primal to the unaided ear,
but one must remember, this is not Pat and Debbie Boone. Devo strips down
-the superfluous schlock that travels unchecked in America and exposes the
emaciated corpse that once represented creativity and spirit.
BESIDES PROVIDING their record company with a very marketable
product (nothing sells better these days than eccentric artists in flashy
yellow chemical wetsuits), they give the listener a challenge on vinyl.
Devo is just beginning. The group plans to sign up their own roster of
talent to their Booji Boy label. We can expect some more Devo films next
year, now that their music has been met with some financial success and
artistic recognition. aBut we'll never know for sure what the De-evolution
band will offer next. The group has a large repertoire of unreleased songs
(including the rocking "Mr. DNA"), and they are featured on film in the
forthcoming Neil Young film, Human Highway, where they play a Devo
version of "Southern Man" with the "Grandfather of granola" himself.
One fact stands tall, assures Casale: "We didn't blow our wad on one
album. We got a lot to say. We want to do as much as we can as fast as we
can." The new, unreleased Devo tunes continue to show their vision of
civilization undergoing social entropy. One of the great paradigms of the
seventies, disco, might be the next pinnacle for Devo to conquer, as they
intimated they've been working on several hot dancing tunes.
Studio 54, however, need not worry. Not yet.
Now Showing Central Campus Butterfield Theatres
$1.25 UNTit 5:30
TWO ADULTS ADMITTED
FOR PRICE OF ONE
ADULT MAT. 2.50
EVES. & HOL.. 3.00
14 & UNDER. 1.25
CONTINUOUS TICKET SALES - COME WHEN YOU WANT
GIANT SCREENS - LARGE SPACIOUS THEATRES
GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE AS LATE AS SHOWTIME
SPECIAL ADMISSION PRICE DAYS
are L .iving
A Play by
N ov. 15-=18
at P.T. P. Of f ice
in The Michigan League
This production has been selected for entry in:
AMERICANCOLLEGE THEATRE FESTIVAL Xi,
presented by The John F. Kennedy Center For
The Performing Arts, Alliance For Arts Education
produced by American Theatre Assoc. sponsored
by the Amoco Co.
Mon-Tue-Thor 7 & 9
Fri 7 & 9:25-Sat 1-3-5-7-9:25
Sun & Wed 1-3-5-7-9
Private Detective .
... sogo figure
Mon-Tue-Thur 7 & 9
Fri 7 & 9:25-Sat 1-3-5-7-9:25
Sun & Wed 1-3-5-7-9
P __ UnitedA ttS
O NE OF THE Midwest's great unsigned bands played East Quad's an-
nual Halloween party, adding an electricity to an event that is
undoubtedly a favorite happening among Ann Arbor's schizoid community.
Forget all you heard about the other Detroit area rock groups. The
Romantics are the best band within 10,000 watts of Detroit. It is incredible
that the Romantics have yet to cop a major label contract, with their 99.9 per
cent pure rock vitality. Sooner or later, the group won't be denied.
The Romantics are simply too good to escape national attention.
Everyone at the East Quad Halloween dance will attest to this fact. The
Romantics should be playing the Second Chance later this month. Don't talk
to me if you pass up this opportunity. to see them. There's no excuse for
missing the Romantics. Now get outta here.
CONSUMER NOTES: New imported 45's in these days at Schoolkids
include previously unreleased wax from Elvis Costello, Johnny Rotten's new
band, Public Image, and Devo. And alums to be released before Christmas
include new discs by the Clash and Elvis Costello (his third in little over a
owen gleiberman mike taylor
staff writers; May Bacarella, Bill Barbour,
Mark Dighton, Patricia Fabrizie, Diane Haith-
man, Katie Herzfeld, Steve Hook, Mark Johans-
son, Eleanora DiLiscia, Marty Levine, Rich
Loranger, Dobilas Matunlionis, Anna Nissen,
Joshua Peck, Christopher Potter, Alan Ruben-
feld, Will Rubino, Anne Sharp, Renee Schil-
cusky, Erick Smith, R.J. Smith, Tom Stephens,
Keith Tosolt, Dan Weiss, Carol Werzbicki,
Timothy Yag, Bruce Young, Eric zorn.
is preserved on
AVIAIL ABLE AT:
- THE HAUNTING
(Robert Wise, 1963) The setting for this superb study of terror is a decaying mahsion that dominates the lives of four
people. They are terror stricken by uncanny noises and strance manifestations. "The true terror here is primeval and
it requires no made-up monsters. It is the hint, just the hint of the unknown or supernatural, the fearsome mystery
just beyond lite. . . a sense of things unfathomed."-LIFE
Thurs., Nov. 16 Mich Union 7:00& 9:00
THE GROOVE TUBE
(Ken Shapiro, 1974) The all-time favorite Boobe Tube spoof. CHEVY CHASE, BUZZY LINHART and CHRISTINE NAZARETH
lead the pack and the rating in Defilers and the legendary International Sex Olympics. Irreverent and obscene com-
mercials that would make any TV junky blush.
Fri., Nov. 17 Nat Sci Aud 7, 8:30 & 10
MON.-TUES.-THURS. 7 & 9
FRI. 7 &9:25
SUN. & WED. 1-3-5-7-9 ENDS TONIGHT!
ALFRED HITCHCOK NIGHT
(1930) One of the rare whodunits from the master of supsense, MURDER shows Hitchcock already in command of his