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October 16, 1973 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-10-16

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Tuesday, October 161, 1973

THE MICHIGAN _.OAILY

rjave P ivc

Ttjesd0y, Qctbber 1 6, 1973 THE MICHIGAN DAILY ~'Q~e live

0 "e

Bonni
By PATRICIA DORFMAN
She is stunning in person, cop-
per-colored hair half-hiding a
wide, fragile face. Backstage af-
ter her Hill And. concert Satur-
day night, she is the raucous
blues momma - swilling Jim
Beam, pretending to scold her
drummer for going into t h e
wrong song, and doing a tongue
job on Junior Wells' ear.
Later, in private, Bonnie Lynn
Raitt is composed, wise beyond
her 24 years. She must be dead-
tired, although she doesn't look
it; and she submits to a prom-
ised interview.
Speaking in a sweet, hoarse
voice, she says, "Americans do
not appreciate blues artists un-
til the people die. Europeans
have appreciated these people
for years.
"I get bitter when I get top
billing over such greats as Bud-
dy and Junior. It's a sad state-
ment about where America is at
that even at the '72 Ann Arbor
Blues and Jazz Festival, which
is so commendable, there were
still mostly young performers.
"I was the only person doing
traditional, acoustic music. They
didn't have Furry Lewis or
Mance Lipscomb. The blues sec-
tion was represented by very

RA itt:

Vehicle

for real

CULTURE CAlsNDAR?
blues

commercial Chicago people, but
even =those guys aren't making
any money.
"This is happening for t h e
same reasons Nixon is president:
people's heads aren't what they
are supposed to be in t h i s
country. I get attention for do-
ing other people's material. Peo-
ple would rather hear me or
Johnny Winter or Janis Joplin
doing blues, but I'm not going to
let them get away with it.
"I'll stick the originals on the
bill and make people at least
pay these guys' rent. It's a
shame we've got people like Ar-
thur Crudup around alive and
they're not doing gigs constant-
ly."
In her 2%/2 years at Radcliffe,
Bonnie majored in "Social Re-
lations," a combination of an-
thropology, psychology, and soc-
iology. Interested in African stu-
dies and Community Develop-
ment, she Wanted to work in Af-
rica eventually.
Meanwhile, though, she work-
ed as a maid and as a secretary
for extra money, singing occas-
ionally. Hearing an, opening act
one night at a ,Boston area club,
she suddenly realized she could
have done as well as the featur-
ed performer and began to ex-

plore professional singing more
seriously.
Bonnie becanie friends with
Dick Waterman, an unpretentious
eccentric who manages a number
of blues acts in the Boston area.
"I became a locally-known
singer on the scene," says Bon-
nie. "Tuition got more expen-
sive and I figured I could al-
ways go to school but I couldn't
always be a musician. I also felt
I could do more as a musician
to further the causes I was in-
terested in."
Bonnie moved to Los Angeles
last January, however, but she
has not yet given up her apart-
ment in Cambridge which she
shares with four other women.
"I moved mostly because of
the guy I was hanging out with,"
she explains, "and because I was
going to record the third album
out there. I thought to myself,
what the fuck am I doing here in
the snow in Cambridge?"
Bonnie does not like to talk
about aspects of herself that do
not relate to her music. It be-
comes evident from her conver-
sation that fans would please her,
not by engaging in a personality
cult for her, but by learning
about the forgotten blues and jazz
artists and subsidizing them.

"I'm a vehicle for the important
people," she raintains.
She lazks whimsicality, b u t
makes up for it with startling
honesty and an earthy sense of
humor. (On the phone: "An in-
terview before the concert? But
I gotta have time to pee!"). She
is interested in Eastern philoso-
phies, does not believe in God,
but does not mind "Jesus freaks
and astrology nuts if they are
happy and keep off my back."
Bonnie is also interested in
looking good. She wears perfume
and make-up and aresses with a
hip flair Blue jeans tucked into
high boots have practically be-
come her trademark. She has no
"trouble' with her ,weight be-
cause she's "not into eating."
She is her own manager for
the most part and arranges her
own nerformances and rehears-
als. Shi admits she pays a price
for aurcnomy.
"If you're successful," she
says, "you intimidate most guys
you would be interested in. I am
generally attracted to men who
have the same lifestyle as I do,
the same leftist political inclina-
ations, and the same feeling
about the blues. But no matter
how liberated I am or he is,
there are still problems if I have

a bigger name and more money.
"If I'm in Bouldr and he's in
LA, and I try to send him plane
fare because seeing each other
after a month is mee important
than money, he won't come. If
the situation were reversed, a
woman would think nothing of
letting the guy pay for it."
She teas mixeJ feelings about
her unconventional lifestyle. "I
like playi'g music and I like tra-
veling arcound," s'c explains.
"but sametimes I feel it's not
worth it. I get depressed. Be-
ing a mrusician makes you tend
to do destructive things to your
body, like drinking too much. I
guess the advantages outweight
the disadvantages or I wouldn't
be doing it.
"For a good time I like sit-
ting a -onzd with my friends, af-
ter a movie or show, except I
am the show. I like people I
know - it's no fun to be with
people who say, 'So how did you
learn to play the guitar?"'
"I was never heavy into drugs.
I only tripped once with Paul
Pena, a fine Massachusetts mu-
sician who is blind, and four oth-
er blind people. I generally stay
off drugs. I get lonely some-
times- I'm under a tremendous
amount of pressure."
Bnnie started listening to the
bhi cs at age 10, when it was
part of the folk revival of the
50's. She grew up in a pacifist
Quaker atmosphere, attending an
activist 0 u a k e r high school
camp which helped foster her
interest in political music and
nerformers like Joan Baez and
Peete Seeger.
She began teaching herself to
play the guitar as a child, credit-
ing +he Delt:A bues stylists like
Misissippi ,1o'i Hurt as major
influe.% c .
She cut her own bottleneck
from an old wvne bottle to rend-
er such songs as "Kokomo,"
written by her :dol and friend,
the now- decwased Fred M Dow
ell. She uses the bottleneck un-
conventionally c-i the third finger
of her left 'xand because "it's
easier to flip perple the bird
that way.
A confrast to performers who
cannot wait to plug their latest
offering to the media, getting
the name of Plornie's new single
from her (Martha and the Van-
dellas' song "You've Been in
Love Too Long") is like pulling
teeth.
"I didn't want to do a single,"
she :avs. "And I don't want to
maka money fPr Warner Broth-
e:"s as a capitehlst corporation.
If I could distributt records with-
out 4elling them i would. I want

ony en,ugh money to keep me
aid my ,and allA e.
'I do rpptecate the power to
choo.: people like Buddy and
Jumor to ;.e o, the bill. But a
single is .hit. And anyway, if
you have one geo jsinglewand
do-'h ave w otlhei',you're wash-
edi up. There hasn't been any
big junp in my success. I try to
do everything ra!tonally.,,
Flattery bounces right off Bon-
nie; her self-effacement borders
on self-contempt. She considers
herself beneath the artistic lev-
el of singers like Jackson Brown,
Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters,
Cat Stevens and James Taylor.
"They are real artists," she
maintains, "Joni Mitchell is a
well-spring of inspiration." Bon-
nie will admit "My work is val-
id" and that she has "a listen-
able voice" a modest appraisal
for a performing talent that in-
spires idolatry among rational
adults.
She insists attention be given
to her band members: Freebo,
her long-standing bass guitarist,
David Maxwell on piano, and
Dennis Witted on drums.
"I don't ask a lot of money,"
says Bonnie, "so I get a lot
of gigs. My gratification comes
from being able to put people
like Buddy and Junior on the
bill. I don't play with plastic
people. I play with people I'd
personally be willing to pay $3
to see.
"As long as I use that as a
gauge in my life, then I don't
have to worry about anything
else."

FILM-Ann Arbor Film Co-op presents Mulligan's Summer
of '42 in Aud. A at 7 and 9; Cinema Guild features Wy-
ler's The Little Foxes in Arch. Aud. at 7 and 9:05; Wo-
men's Studies Films presents When This You See Re-
member Me: Gertrude Stein in UGLI Multi-purpose room
at 7:30; New World Film Co-op features Bertolucci's The
Conformist in MLB, Aud. 4 at 7:30 and 9:45.
POETRY-Daniel Mark Epstein reads poetry in Aud. 4, MLB
at 4:10.
MUSIC-The Ark presents Ola Belle Reed (8:30), a gifted
singer, talker, and songwriter who maintains a large
national following among country people. Brought up in
North Carolina, she has sung on the radio for over 30
years.

miss
Tn
a
littl
by Pauw Zindel
Nov. 29, 30, Dec.1

by Friedrich Ourrenmatt,
author of "The Visit"
October 25 -21

OPEN DAILY AT 12:45
SHOWS AT 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 P.M.
HELD OVER-2nd HIT WEEK
D ON'T MISS IT!
Rated G
1JESUS CHRST
SUPERSTAR"

TICKETS: Thurs. $1.00, Fri. and Sat. $1.50
at TRUEBLOOD BOX OFFICE
BOX OFFICE OPEN OCT. 22-27-12 NOON till 51
PERFORMANCES AT 8:00 P.M.

I

NAME
ADDRESS _-._
TELEPHONE.

PON
)ON'

'

"MISSISSIPPI"

Doily Photo by TOM GOTTLIEB
Bonnie Raint

. TV
highlights
8 56 Dance Theatre of Harlem.
- Blend of classical and Afri-
can dance.
9:30 7 Movie: Kim Novak In "Third
Girl from the Left." Aging
chorus girl suddenly con-
- fronts romantic turmoil,
9 56 Bill (:Osby On Prejudic.
Grim, satiric monologue writ-
ten and delivered by Cosby.

9:30 2 Movie: Peter Ustinov In
"Viva Max!" Mexican gener-
al leads present-day reoccu-
pation of Alamo.
11:30 2 Movie: Natalie wood in "Pe-
nelope. Bo r e d housewife
deals w i t h psychoanalysis,
blackmail, and robbery.
50 Movie: "The Forsyte wo-
man." Lives and loves of a
wealthy family in Victorian
England.
12 9 Movie: "The Faling Man."
Ex-cop seeks revenge.
1:30 2 Movie: "Outlaw of Red Riv-
er." western.

TOIGH T
DTO IT
$.00
WED. & THURS.
THE OCKETS
$1.00

N~kEsW JAZZ CLUB!1
FEA TURING
THE NEWGI EVANS
20 pc. orchestra
Thurs., Fri., Sat.
October 18-19-20
LARRY CORYELL
October 25
(ONE NIGHT ONLY)

RIP TORN IN A DAZZLING PERFORMANCE
Of An Artist's Struggle Against the Pressures Of Society!
"BRILLIANT.
IMPRESSIVE.
AWESOME.
EXTRAORDINARY.'
Peter Schieidahn the New York T mes
I - I 'OVERWHELMING!"
a NewYorkMagain.
Sat., sun., & Wed. at
1, 3, , 7, 9 P.M.
A. . Other Days 7 & 9 P.M. only
COLOR'

DATE, DSIRED
NO. OF TICKETS
PRICE EACH
TOTAL

please make checks payable to
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Mail to Mendelssohn Theatre, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
[~ stamped, self-addressed envelope enclosed
Q if order cannot be filled as requested, please
substitute best avoilable tickets
Q please hold tickets at box office

"REARD

2 o tr); 1

ROCK &
ROLL
DANCING!

2333 E. STADIUM BLVD.
(near Washtenaw) Ann Arbor

I TI

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