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December 09, 1979 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-09
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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The Michigan Daily-Sunday, C

Page 6-Sunday, December 9, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Books
The Right Stuff': Wolfe in orbit

Bootleg records:
Rock's thriving
blackmarket
By Amy Diamond

By Eric Zorn

Even the most enticing story, if poorly
told, can fall dreadfully flat under the
weight of turgid, crippled prose.
There is no good reason why tex-
tbooks, academic journals, and most
newspapers must be dusty and dry; it is
just that they are crafted by writers
with crabbed conceptions of
enlightening yet creative and absorbing
presentation: Even rather pedestrian
tales and events can leap to life when
treated by a good writer.
Nowhere is this more evident than in
the works of the so-called "new jour-
nalists" - the Hunter Thompsons and
Roger Angells - who explore their sub-
jects not just for surface facts, but for
the spirit behind them. The reader is in-
tended to learn to judge by new rules,
speak with a different vocabulary, and
approach life from a fresh side. This
journalism goes beyond presenting the
truth to open up brand new channels of
thought.
Tom Wolfe is no doubt the king of this
breed of writers. Author of such
notables as The Kandy-Kolored
Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby and,
Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak
Catchers, Wolfe infuses a color and

grace into his writing not often found in
contemporary works.
His latest book, The Right Stuff, con-
cerns a subject that many will not con-
sider inherently interesting: The
development of and personalities in the
Mercury Project, America's initial
manned space flight effort. With so
many tomes already penned on just this
topic - aimed at everyone from the
scientist to the schoolboy - how much
more could there be to tell? It seems, on
the surface, a redundant sort of work,
and yet there is something refreshing,
almost ironic, in looking back 20 years
to resurrect our long lost national
mission and sense of unified purpose.
On one level, The Right Stuff
describes the courage, skill, dedication,
and moral character of the military
test pilots who were chosen as
astronauts to ride the Mercury capsules
into Earth orbit, but on another level it
is a wide-eyed look back at a simpler,
more purposeful era when values were
less obscured by the overwhelming
emphasis on the self, and Americans
clung to a fierce, innocent pride and
belief in their nation as the greatest
land of opportunity in the history of the

world. As long as there were frontiers
to conquer and a single obvious enemy
- the Russians - we all, to a measure,
were going forward together.
In no area was this sense of pushing
on the outermost boundaries of the
possible more real than for the test
pilots - fighter jocks - after World
War II. The sound barrier fell to
technology, and jets flew faster and
higher into the eerie twilight of the up-
per atmosphere. Pilots hurtled through
the air in winged death traps, denying
panic and death, each proving to the
other that he had the ineffable quality
required to lay everything on the line
day after day for a cause that meant
something "to thousands, to a people, a
nation, to humanity, to God."
Indeed, the religious fervor of the
pilots transcended mere macho:
'h, ideae ras to prove tit erer' foot
of the tay . . . tht you might i "e
bl,'0 to joirt that spteial ' w(it the
tery top. that elite *ho h M the
cIpacity to bring teorrs to atensyes..
the rery Brotherhood of the Right
S'r" If itelf
.Wolfe writes with conviction and en-
thusiasm, as if the tears also come to
his eyes. Through anecdotes, tales of
derring-do, and taut, tightly-woven
description, he sparks this spirit - this
covenant with the determined ethos of
America - with a sweet, vibrant life
See WOLFE, Page 8

THE RIGHT STUFF
By Tom Wolfe
Farrar, Straus, Giroux,
$12.95, 436 pp.
THE JOB of a journalist-or any
writer - is to assemble facts and
present them in a coherent, in-
formative, and interesting manner.
Eric Zorn is co-editor of the Daily
arts page.

D URING THE 1920s, the
decade of Prohibition, the
bootlegger was a familiar
figure.
Whether crossing the Detroit River
with Canadian booze, sneaking to stills
in deepest forest, and making transac-
tions in the shadows of old warehouses,
providing alcoliol to the thirsty masses
meant constantly dodging the wrath of
the federal government-but it was a
lucrative business. Bootleggers today
are still dodging the law and raking in
profits, but most of them are still
satisfying an entirely different
taste-music.
According to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), bootlegging is a
multi-million-dollar-a-year industry,
Nationally, truckloads of tapes and
albums have been confiscated by the
FBI. The recording industry's trade
magazine, Billboard, reported in its
Nov. 3 issue that record companies lost
an estimated $400 million in a one-year
period due to bootleggers.
Bootleg production is in direct
violation of copyright laws, and in some
states, it is illegal even to sell the recor-
ds. As a rule, record stores don't like to
handle bootlegs, but even in the smallest
college town at least one establishment
stocks a few illegal discs. Bootleggers
Amy Diamond covers city housing
for the Daily.

lay low, but they are by no means in-
visible.
Top name established artists and
groups such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob
Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and the
Beatles; as well as many new wave and
disco musicians, have been mass-
marketed by bootleggers. The basic
bootleg album isn't hard to spot amidst
the racks of corporate-produced LPs.
Frequently the contf#aband recordings
display incorrect song titles on their
makeshift covers. One Grateful Dead
bootleg, Double Dead-a live two-record
set recorded at the Felt Forum in New
York in December 1971-lists a song on
the cover titled "Gone Are The Days."
But any Dead afficianado would realize,
upon hearing the album, that the tune is
actually, "Brown Eyed~Woman," one of
the group's hits.
Many of the people who make the
records are fools. They don't even know
the titles of songs. Frequently on an
album you'll see a list of songs and say,
'Wow, a whole new set of songs.' But
that's not really the case," said one
bootleg expert, who prefers to remain
anonymous.
Bootlegs began appearing on record
store shelves about ten years ago. In
1969 Great White Wonder, a Bob Dylan
bootleg, came out as a double album.
The disc in various versions sold for $14
or -$15, and the song titles were absent.
Dylan took legal action in November of
that year against a man in England who
had ordered 15,000 copies of the LP
pressed. A Rolling Stones bootleg en-

College and its discontents

T'S SATURDAY morning, Home-
coming weekend. Mom and Dad
pack themselves and their
thermos, Maize-and-Blue seat pads,
and Go Blue hats into their station
wagon in front of their suburban Detroit
home and head for Ann Arbor to take
their college-student son, Mike, to the
game.
The Wolverines win before yet
another sell-out crowd, and after the
game and the traditional cider and
doughnuts, Mom, Dad, and Mike head
for an expensive dinner out, and then
back to Mike's State St. apartment
before saying good-bye.
"You know, Mike," says his dad,
"things sure are better here now than
when your brothers and sisters were
here ten years ago. I mean, look
around. The kids seem to be having a
good time, and they're obviously
studying hard, since there never seems
to be an empty seat at the library. I
wish college was like this when I was in
school. You kids just have it too easy.
Financial aid, expensive facilities,
great classes-I only hope you ap-
preciate all this."
"Sure, Dad, sure," mumbles Mike,
kissing his parents good-bye.
Saturday night is a blur. Mike and a
few friends from the dorm sit around
with a couple of sixes and drink them-
selves into oblivion. The next morning,
he drags himself, hangover and all, to
the UGLI for a 15-hour study marathon.
"Fun," he mumbles to himself, noting
that ten pages of the reserve article he
is assigned to read have been ripped out
by a classmate. In exasperation he
Julie Rovner is a managing editor
of the Daily.L
f ' (F I

By Julie Rovner

removes another five pages. If I can't
get an 'A' because of some asshole, he
thinks disgustedly, I'll at least do better
than the rest of them.
DOES THIS sound familiar? It
should-at least, according to
Lansing Lamont, whose book
College Shock: A Firsthand Report on
College Life Today purports to show
how the social and academic pressures
at many universities are leading
students to the breaking point. Lamont,
a former correspondent for Time
Magazine, doesn't claim to have any
cures for the ills of today's college
students. If anything, he could easily be
accused of glossing over a terribly
complex subject. But whatever its shor-
tcomings, Campus Shock is a first step
towards public recognition of a set of
problems that threaten to effect large
portions of American society.
According to Lamont, the fact that
students are not rioting in the streets
and taking over university buildings
has lulled most outsiders, especially
parents, into the mistaken belief that
being at college today is a four-year
picnic. Lamont, who claims no special
expertise in the area other than having
four college-aged children, spent two
years visiting every Ivy League
college, as well as this University,
Berkeley, Stanford, and the University
of Chicago. On the basis of more than 75
private interviews, he put together
what amounts to an investigative-
magazine story, Re writes ,"This is a
itr , J C. i A - J ,J) I "If4

report on the dark side of college life in
the 1970s," and he means it. Under such
headings as "The 1970s: What went
wrong," "Ethics befogged," and
"Careerism, tarnished icon," he spins a
story of an entire generation of lost
souls. He tries to bring out not only the
frightening realities of college
life-suicides, racial tensions-but
what they mean to people who are
thrust into an alien environment and
given but a single word of instruc-
tion-"cope."
The case studies are quite dramatic.
There's the story of a University senior
who, faced with the prospect of not
graduating because he had bitten off
more classes than he could chew,
locked himself in his new VW and blew
himself away with a .12-gauge shotgun.
Then there are the not-so-tragic
stories-the woman who nearly had a
nervous breakdown because her
roommate monopolized their dorm
room with her "entertaining," and the
Columbia student who was punched out
by his best friend after revealing that
he had obtained a higher grade on a
crucial exam.-
But Lamont's emphasis on the ex-
tremes cannot detract from his basic
point-there is something dangerously
wrong on campuses today, and that the
problems are not being dealt with. His
careful, if not terribly in depth, in-
vestigation left few stones unturned. He
discusses not only the suicides, which
often get either no attention at all or
else, tqo. 4,but also thee, pthey,

casualties: Those who cannot deal with
the pressures of academics and ram-
pant careerism. He looks at the
problems of the minority student who is
either not properly prepared for the
competitive atmosphere or else doesn't
know how to deal with the hostility of
the middle-class white students who see
affirmative action as directed against
them.
He also discusses cheating and the
apparent lack of ethics, a reflection, he
says, of the Watergate morality on the
seventies generation. But the blame for
the troubles is not all on the students.
Crime in the streets, a lagging
economy, professors who are more
worried about publishing than
teaching, and the rapid social and
sexual revolutions all are contributors
to the trauma many students are silen-
tly experiencing at the nation's best
universities.
The turmoil on campus is
widespread, but, like cancer, not,
readily apparent. Students try- to
pretend it isn't there, either by playing
the system to its utmost, becoming the
"grinds" who never leave the library.
Others flout the system by cheating, or
turn to other escapes, including alcohol,
drugs, and, more often than many ad-
ministrators would like to admit,
suicide.
It is inportant that students,
professors, administrators and parents
recognize that there is a problem and
begin to deal with it, Campus Shock
may not be a great book, but it is at
least a jumping off place for discussion
and communication between those who
make college what it is today. And it
may point at, if not at what college life
should be; ,what it.shouldnot be.

titled Liver Than You'll Ever Be came
out in Fall 1969, six months before the
record campany's production of the
same album, Get Your Ya Ya's Out.
OME bootleg collectors cherish
their recordings of off-beat studio
outtakes, simply because of their
obscurity. "I paid $6 for an
album of Beatle outtakes, just to get the
version of Penny Lane with the added
seven-note trumpet fanfare at the end,"
says one collector who specializes in
Beatles bootlegs. "It's a rTvelty-not
really anything aesthetic-but when
you're as big a Beatle fan as I am, you
simply must have it. I play the record
about once a year, and it was worth
every cent."
Occasionally, one does happen onto an
outstanding unreleased track. "L.- S.
Bumblebee," an outtake the Beatles cut
in 1968, is generally considered the fines
unreleased Beatles track available. It is
also the most explicit drug song the
group ever wrote, likely one of the
reasons it was never released.
"Some_ bootleggers have a renegade
outlaw mentality," claims one local
bootleg collector, who asked not to be
identified. "They feel this music is being
suppressed by the record companies
who are holding back material."
But the record companies don't see it
that way. Following a raid in California
that turned up 12 tons of records and
recording gear, CBS Records filed suit
in Los Angeles against Vicky Vinyl, a
large bootleg manufacturer. Also named
in the suit were a pressing plant, a
record store, its manager, and Still Rare
Records. CBS charged that the
copyright on 35 Springsteen com-
positions had een infringed upon in three
bootleg albums, which were recorded
over an FM radio broadcast. CBS is
asking $50,000 per composition, plus
another $500,000 in damages. The case is
still pending.
"We have a responsibility to the artist.
We'll sue the behind off of anybody,"
said Peter Lubin, tour publicity agent
for Columbia Records in New York. He
added, "We can't know about every guy
who takes a recorder to a concert and
then takes it to a pressing plant, but once
we're aware of the situation, we won't
hold any information back."
"Anything that gets out doesn't hurt
the artist. He may lose a little in
royalties, but not that much. It doesn't

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