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January 31, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-31

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, January 31, 1979-Page 5

Jango rocks with friends

IHlot lips Doily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Rachel, one of the performers in the Friends Road Show, torches her tonsils
at a show performed recently at Second Chance.
RECO RDS

By PETER WALLACH
No doubt you've caught a glimpse
(and probably did a double-take) of at
least one of those advertisements that
were recently popping up around Ann
Arbor, showing a ridiculous-looking,
and (depending on which poster you
saWv) at least half-naked man known as
Jango. If you reacted as I did, you
probably took a look at the pictures,
scratched your head, and walked away.
"Disgusting."
Later, though, you might have gotten
a little curious as to who this man is,
rather what he is, and what it is that he
does.

By ALAN RUBENFELD
Ann Arbor expatriate Jango Edwards
is an anomaly to the standardized world
of entertainment. He doesn't give the
90-minute, two-encore spree that most
"performers" try to pass off as enter-
tainrtent. This man's strength lies in
the spontaneity of his stage show, his
ability to give over three hours of
vibrant entertainment, and to make his
audience an undeniable part of the en-
tire performance.
Edward's show offers much more
than the standard rock and roll format.
He mimes, acts, and cavorts about the
stage like a fourteen-year-old gymnast
who can never burn up his excess
steam. Jango has an incredible ability
to channel his audience's energy in a
joyous, bouncy manner, to motivate his
listeners to pass on this vibrancy. This
is the mission of Jango Edwards:
clown, performer, motivator.
RAISED IN nearby Dexter, Jango
turned to rock and roll after a suc-
cessful career in landscaping. He for-
med the Friends Road Show, his
touring unit, in 1971. The Friends per-
formed at such local venues as the
Blind Pig, Second Chance, and the
Rainbow Room, but the group even-
tually was banned from these places
because of its raucous stage act. In
1976, Jango moved to Europe and
initiated a European version of the
Friends Road Show in Amsterdam. He
pursued his career as a professional
clown, forming the now famous
"Festival of Fools," an event which
began as a gathering of fools and frien-
ds experimenting with the potentials of
comic theatre, the Festival is now an
annual international even which
gathered 100,000 revelers last June in'
Holland. The event is now a presei-
tation of practically every art medium,
and according to Jango "provides an
outlet for various artists and perfor-
mers who can present their individual
forms of communication i an informal
atmosphere and share ideas, thoughts,
and smiles."
JANGO AND the Friends Road Show
live by this idea in Europe. He and his
troupe perform everything from street
mime, concerts, and children's theatre,
to a musical about William
Shakespeare, wherein he re-emerges as
an alienated punk rocker. But, most
important, Jango Edwards is a fool, a
clown in a world that is ruled by the ab-
surdity of the human condition. He ex-
plains his role: "I am seeking to be a
clown. It takes a long time. It is a
method of making love to a lot of dif-
ferent people in a reflective way. When
you give, you get."
Jango sat, exhausted after his recent
three-hour performance at the Second
Chance. His makeshift show, in which
he performed with the highly com-
petent Prismatic Band (this is his
"vacation" now), featured such
characters as Oral Bob, America's
number one preacher man, Butchie
Boy, the world famous punk-sex rock
q ueen, and the Las Vegas Acrobats,
ith their now-famous gymnastic
maneuvers. Jango's repertoire
featured such favorites as "Big
Bazoobies," "Bicycle Seat," and "A
Face Like Yours." (His limited edition
album is available at Schoolkids.)
AS ONE might guess, Jango Ed-
wards' show is rooted in the realm of
satire, an ability to laugh at yourself
and others without any tinge of
acrimony in your chuckle. Where a Neil
Young would scoff at his audience and
ridicule them for their loss of identity
(as he thoughfully did on his last tour),
Jango can laugh with his audiences. His,
caricatures of life are not delivered in a
mocking vein. Instead, he injects thet
objects of his mirth with tones oft

playful deference, to which the listenert
undoubtedly reacts in a positive sense.F
In explaining his profession and in-e
tentions, Jango said, "A clown is af

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Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG

Jango, the fool

Jango and Friends Road Show
Live at the Melkweg

Well, he makes music-of sorts. His Miky way records JC-27282-8
latest album, Friends Roadshow: Live
at the Melkweg, is a unique mixture of
stand up comedy and outrageous
music. It is a live album recorded in Amsterdam, which Jango has considered
home base during these last five years.
Jango, alias Jango Edwards, originally played in-where else-Ann Arbor, so
January might be seen as his "homecoming."
THE FRIENDS ROADSHOW is a competent group of musicians, benefitting
from some creditable work on electric piano by Stan Haywood, colorful sax
playing by Harvey Weinappel and Sean Bergin, as well as the strong presence of
Ced Curtis' tasteful guitar licks. Jango, who wrote all but one of the songs, along
with some aid from Paul Holland, the drummer, and Haywood, is the leada
vocalist, and does not have what would be called a very memorable voice.
However, he gets plenty of good backing vocals, and considering most of the lyrics
he's singing, it doesn't really matter.
The content of most of the songs is decidedly lnot pristime-"scraping the bot-
tom of the barrel," might be the most accurate description-but part of the
album's appeal lies precisely in its good-humored offensiveness, its explicit tret-
ment of subjects (mostly sexual) which are strictly taboo in top 40's pop music. In
hilarious fashion, Jango opens himself up to us, laying out his perversions and
fetishes for all the world to see. His poor taste is an integral part of the humor of
the album.
"Bicycle Seat,".the "hit" of the LP (a studio version 45 has been cut, soon to be
available in the U.S) is done in reggae style, and tells of Jango's innermost per-
sonal dream; "To be bolted to a chrome frame / and be a bicycle seat." Granted,
not the most honorable desire, but so what?
"PIE CRUS," is an up-beat, funky, and pretty disgusting number. Never-
theless, it gives everyone the urge to get up and dance.
On the other hand, "Foot Stompin' Turd From the Ozarks"-a toe-tappin'
Country and Western farce "dedicated to Merle Haggard," is a very well done,
funny song, and the least offensive on the album (unless one is an Okie from
Muskokee).
Tow non-musical comedy bits, "Oral and Bob" and "Hare Christmas," which
poke fun at Evangelsists and Krishnas, respectively, don't seem out of place in this
album of satire of various kinds, and "Oral Bob" (a particularly long piece at 8:03)
is a funny and effective spoof of religious zealots everywhere. Oral Bob, "just back
from a tour with Billy Graham's Rock n' Roll circus," tells us that "... the Lord is
your saving stamp / want you to come to your redemption center, hallelujah..."
This and other pearls of wisdom are included in Oral Bob's sermon, and if it
enlightens you, Oral Bob promises to send you a copy of his new pamphlet,
"Thanks" for a gift of one dollar.
MOST OF THE humor on the album is light-hearted, except in "Leather
Weather," a loud, abrasive, "sex-punk-rock" song, which in its own cynical way, is
the best commentary on punk that I've heard or readh yet. By giving us such a vile,
noisy, obscene song, imitating punk rockers (perhaps better than they do it them-
selves) and mocking them by ending the S&M-oriented song with a few tame bars
of "The Man I Love," we are shown the wasteful, worthless noise that Jango feels
is punk rock.
It's not quite dinner music, but Friends Roadshow certainly has its moments.
Why we laugh at the rather perverted humor of Jango is a question perhaps better
answered by social psychologists, but regardless, it is funny.
It's not for everyone, but it at least deserves a listen-and keeping your mother
or landlady from hearing the lyrics will allow you to continue to be an accepted,
upstanding member of your community...

commentator, a reflection of the social
environment in him. If a clown is a
reflection, and his attitude is sad, who
really is sad? . . . To cause laughter is
the basis of my profession, to activate
the thought processes is the ambition of
the Fool. We must laugh at ourselves in
order to understand ourselves."
Perhaps it is this self-reflecting at-
titude which has allowed Jango and the
Road Show to be highly respected and
successful in Europe. His attempts to
open the eyes of his listeners, to make
them think about themselves and
others, is a unique and certainly am-
bitious project at a rock concert. In
Europe, Jango meets success because
European audiences are much more
accessible to new music and ideas, as
the New Wave music explosion aptly
indicates.
And yet Edwards hasn't given up per-
forming in America. There are several
high energy rockers in America - Kiss
and Alice Cooper among them - who
do mgre than merely play, who opt to
genuinely entertain their fans. Their
energy, however, is negative and
violent.
JANGO EDWARDS' stage show con-
tains intensity and emotion comparable
to his mascara counterparts (he did
teach Kiss' Gene Simmons his fire-
eating technique), but his entire ap-
proach is one packed with positive
energy. Can the Friends Roadshow
happen in America?

"My attitude is if it catches here, it'll
be bigger than anything that's ever
happened in rock and roll music. It's a
multi-media flow of everything. If I
could find the people who would work
with me with that attitude, you could
create the right environment."
Perhaps a fool like Jango Edwards is
what we need to get our eyes, open
again. The man's enthusiasm for his
work is contagious. Rarely does a per-
former give more to his audience than
he takes. Jango is not driven by
thoughts of financial compensation. It
is almost with a religious fervor that
Jango Edwards and his community of
Fools proselytize their message: "If we
smile together, then we can live
together."
Let's hope the gospel's still
spreading.
VISIT
American ATHEIST
Museum
Prides Creek Park Entrance
RR 3, Petersburg, IN 47567
SEND FOR FREE INFO

ON CAMPUS
Thursday, Feb. 8
University of Michigan
School of Music
Auditions: Room 2038
Registration: Room 2033

Also at Cedar Point
SatFeb. 10'Sat Feb 17
minimum age 18
FOR OTHER AUDITION SITES
AND FURTHER INFORMATION
CONTACT: LIVE SHOWS
SANDUSKY, OHIO 44870
419-626-0830

In
Celebration
A PLAY BY DAVID STOREY
JAN. 31- FEB 3
TRUEBLOOD THEATRE 8 PM

UNIVERSITY SHOWCASE PRODUCTIONS
TICKETS $2 AT PTP OFFICE IN THE
MICHIGAN LEAGUE 764-0450

~AA~ A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A

qw

w wwxxwwww
* UAC MUSKET **
* 44
,, announces*
AUDITIONS
for Leonard Bernstein's
ON THE TOWN
Sign ups for crews and auditions
at Mass Meeting Wed., Jan. 31, 6:00 *
Auditions-Fri., Feb. 2

I-
- --W -
FOR VERY, VERY LITTLE!.
Red LobsterO has a winter special
for shrimp lovers!
An Alaskan shrimp cocktail.
A generous portion of golden fried shrimp.
Delicious baked shrimp stuffed with
a delightful crabmeat mix.
Plus Cole slaw, hush puppies and your
choice of potato or rice pilaf.
ONY $5.9
Offer expires February 25, 1979

I

the Collaborative
winter
art & craft
classes

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