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April 12, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-04-12

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, April 12, 1978-Page 5

by mike taylor
L OU REED AND PATTI SMITH have a lot in common. Reed's Velvet
Underground forged a new brand of rock'n'roll in te sixties; by
bringing anarchy to rock, the band matched the wild fervor of the fifties with
an avant-garde vision of the seventies. Albums made by the Velvets ten
years ago sound remarkably like new records by the likes of Television, the
Clash, and the Stranglers. Patti Smith opened the New Wave in 1975 with her
brilliant Horse. You might say Smith and Reed are the mom and pop of the
New Wave.
The Velvet Underground broke up in 1970, but Reed continued on,
releasing a string of pleasant solo albums. Until 1976, nothing Reed had done
equalled his work with the Underground. That year, he made Coney Island
Baby, a melodic return to the mellow, tranquil side of the Velvets that
produced classics like "Candy Says," "Sunday Morning," and "New Age."
Now, with Street Hassle, Reed has brought the dark side of the Un-
derground back into play. This is the most brutal LP Reed has ever made; at
times it surpasses desperate Velvet tunes like "Heroin" and "Sister Ray."
Not that it's easy to listen to-Reed and co-producer Richard Robinson's
gritty, noisy sound quality is a bit off-putting, and Reed's fractured, melan-
choly voice is nothing short of frightening.
Street Hassle is filled with contrasts; in the dialectic tradition Reed
takes opposing forces and synthesizes them into his art. Sometimes this
takes the form of dialogues. At other times it is the clash between live and
Streetfassee Easter
Lou Reed Patti Smith Group
Arista A8 4169 Arisa mA 47)
studio recordings. This may be rock's first schizophrenic LP.
The first dialogue comes right at the beginning of "Gimmie Some Good
Times." The chords are from the Rock'n'Roll Animal version of "Sweet
Jane;" the conversation a mix of that song's lyrics and a modern day, sar-
donic Reed. Then the characters merge into one. The voice sounds like Reed
has been eating razor blades; the lyrics are a painful plea for help.
In "Dirt," the dialectic is between Reed's angry voice and the sparse
guitar-bass-piano back-up. "I Wanna Be Black" contrasts Reed's apparent
racism with the knowledge (hope?) that it's all a joke;
1 wanna be black,.
Swonna be like Martin Luther King and get myself shot in the spring
Lead a whole generation too, and fuck up the jew.e
I wanna be black,
I wanna be like Malcolm X and pass the hex over President Kenney's tomb.
SAnd have a big prick too.
I dan't want to bea tucked-up middle-class college student no more.
"STREET HASSLE" is an eleven-minute opus made up of three epi-
sodes connected by a simple cello theme. The core is an off-beat monologue
I '
r4 n
Lou Reed and Patti Smith
bout two of Reed's favorite subjects-drugs and death:
~Bywthe ay~ that's really some bad shit you came to our place with But you ought to be a little more careful
around'the little girls. It's always the best or the worst, and since I don't have to choose I guess I won't And I
know this ain:t no way to treat a guest, but why don't you grab your old lady by the feet and lay her out in the
darkest street, and by morning she's just another hit-and-run. You know some people got no choice, and they can
never find a voice to talk with that they can even coll their own. So the first thing that they see that allows them
tobe why they follow it. You know, it's called BAD LUCK.
The scarlet tune is "Real Good Time Together," which first appeared on
1969 Velvet Underground Live. Reed has slowed it down to the tempo of a
dirge, and backed it up with pulsating, Enoesque instrumentation. Though it
comes as a shock, especially if you've heard Patti Smith's rave-up live ver-
sion, this new arrangement suits the dark lyrics best.
* * * ,
P ATTI SMITH'S MUSICAL history is a good deal shorter than Reed's.
She first emerged as a poet in the early seventies. After a while, she
added Lenny Kaye's guitar and Richard Sohl's piano to her poetry readings.
With the addition of Jay Dee Daugherty (drums) and Ivan Kral (bass), the
Patti Smith Group was complete.
1975's Horses is a rock'n'roll landmark; Smith mixed rock and poetry in-
to a blend quite unlike anything else. Smith showed she could write
rock'n'roll songs just as good as those by the Rolling Stones on 1976's Radio
Ethiopia, but the avant-garde experimentation of Horse, save for "Radio
Ethiopia-Abysinia," was gone.
With Easter, Smith's transformation into a mainstream rock'n'roller is
complete. It's a fine record, but in terms of innovation it doesn't hold a can-
dle to Horses. Easter is the Patti Smith Group, 1978. Bruce Brody has

replaced Richard Sohl on.keyboards, but everything else is pretty much the
same, Though producer Jimmy Iovine lacks the creative powers John Cale
lent to Horse, his sound is much warmer and more accessible than Jack
Douhlas's Radio Ethiopia production.
PATTI SMITH BELIEVES in the future. "In another decade rock and
roll will be art," she says in hey new book, Babel. In Easter's "Babelogue,"
she says, "I don't fuck much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the future."
These feelings of hope are the backbone of "Till Victory" and "Because the
Night," two of the finest songs Smith has written. "Because the Night," co-
written by Bruce Springsteen, combines Springsteen's romanticism with
Smith's fine sense for rock'n'bll:
Come on now try and understand,
The way f feel under your command.
Come take my hand as the sun descends,
FAnd you con touch me now,
Because the night belongs to lovers.
"Babelogue," a live monologue, flows into "Rock'n-'Roll Nigger,"
Smith's most ferocious song to date. Her bitter, vicious voice is quite a sur-
prise; the anger is real. "25th Floor," which contains much of he chaotic
fury of "Rock'n'Roll Nigger," flows into "High on Rebellion," another
"Ghost Dance" and "Easter"have rich, full arrangements, something
new for Smith. "Ghost Dance" is a hypnotic remembrance of an ancient
Native American tribal custom. "Easter" is a tribute to nonconformity; it
closes with the ironic blend of church bells and bagpipes.
My favorite is "We Three," written at the beginning of Smith's
rock'n'roll career in 1974. Her melody is gorgeous, her lyrics are sincere,
and Tom Verlaine's arrangement is simple, but highly effective. Smith reaf-
firms the need for hope: "Baby please, don't take my hope away from me."
Arts Notes-
Film director and actor Dennis Hop-
per will speak after a free showing of
his film The Last Movie at 4:00 today at
Auditorium A in Angell Hall, courtesy
of the Ann Arbor Film Co-op.
tJoseph Jarman and Leo Smith will

Dancers green but enthusiastic

THE U-M DANCE Company began
their program last week at the
Power Center with a slightly
disorganized voice proclaiming from
out of nowhere "I'm not going out there,
you know," and continuing with some
kind of bizarre explanation for that
The University Dance Company
Power Center
Friday, April 7, 1978
I Ain't Putting My Hands in Your
Boppers........choreographed by Susannah
Kammersinphonien .....choreographed by Gay
Oeuvre-A Galactic
Fantasy............choreographed by Vera
or Children I Have
Known..........choreographed by Joshua
Jess cabot
Yake.........choreographed by vera Embree
determ'ination. "Well this is Ann Ar-
bor," I thought to myself, recalling the
afternoon before when I had sat in the
movies for two' and a half hours,
listening to some crank .shouting in-
coherencies from the back row of the

theatre. There is little that surprises
me here in public places.
But it soon became apparent that
the voice had something to do with the
oddly-dressed woman who wandered
onto the stage, seated herself on an in-
flatable yellow cushion and ate a piece
of bread. The voice invited the dancers,
who were seated in the audience, to
come down to the stage, and they began
a dance entitled "I Ain't Puttin' My
Hands In Your Boppers." Boppers, in
case it isn't immediately evident, were
inflated, brightly-colored cubes that
hung on ropes from the ceiling. The per-
formers slipped them over their hands
(or sometimes their feet) and executed
an energetic and rather aggressive
dance, choreographed by Susannah
The Dance Company, made up of
members of the Dance Department,
were obviously amateur performers.
Their poses were rather unsteady, their
turns imperfectly executed, and their
movements a little too audible. But they
were definitely an enthusiastic group,
and their repertoire was varied and in-
THE SECOND number, "Kammer-

sinphoniem," choreographed by Gay
Delanghe, included a duet by Paula
Hunter and Robert Handler. The
movements in this piece were more
fluid and graceful. A cello solo in the
background provided a mournful coun-
terpoint to the romantic dance that
concluded with the separation of the
The third piece, entitled "Oeuvre-A
Galactic Fantasy," was choreographed
by Vera Embree. It included eight
movements, each of which represented
different elements in space. A clever
use of props and costumes made the
movements of the "Rays" and the
"Asteroids" particularly amusing.
The next piece was called "Of
Children I have Known," and was
choreographed by Joshua Jess Cabot.
This one entailed the use of several
medias integrated into a moving pic-
turesque secenario. Seven dancers por-
trayed young children with hesitant, in-
secure motions. They were accom-
panied by a taped collage of music and
voices of children responding to adult
commands. The children were grouped
inside a protective square of spotlight,
while occasionally one or two would

break away for a solo presentation. The
integration of various media in this
singular performance created a pathos
that was most affecting.
The final number, "Yake," was also
choreographed by Vera Embree.
Fashioned as an African fertility dance
it portrayed a young male choosing his
bride and the symbolic ceremonial
dance by the betrothed pair anid their.
companions. The beat of the conga
drums, played by four musicians on-
stage, combined with the vigorous
movements and the cheerful ex-
pressions of the dancers Carolyn Webb
and Ed West, made this dance an ab-
solute celebration.
Join the
.arts Staff

Destroy All Monsters


Ann Arbor's


punk band boasts multi-media

stage show

DESTROY ALL Monsters is not
your average New Wave band.
Evolving from the artistic shenanigans
of a few U-M undergrads, it picked up
sometime ago professional rock and
roll talent from Iggy Pop's Stooges and
the MC5, and is swiftly becoming one of
the most beloved - and fiercely
despised - ensembles of the Detroit-
Cleveland-Ann Arbor bar circuit today.
One Daily reviewer, after seeing the
Monsters last August at Detroit's
Kramer Theatre, described them as "A
psychedelic hard rock' outfit doing
originals with a strong lyrical accent on
drugs, decadence and death." Although
identified as a punk band and often
billed with such NeW Wave groups as
the Mutants, the Ramones, and Pere
Ubu, the Monsters' bizarre multimedia
stage show defies classification. Most
important, unlike most punk bands,
DAM has sex appeal in the slight,
necrotic form of Niagara, its lead
Niagara comes onstage wearing the
cheap, motley clothes of a 1962 S-M
whore; a typical outfit includes an elec-
tric-blue mini-skirt, ankle-high boots
and a leopard-print bra with sagging'
shoulder straps. She is a beautiful,
small, delicate girl who seems per-
petually on the verge of a coma. Her
half-closed lids are heavily made up,
her brown hair, tousled and ratty,
caught up at an odd angle with a barret-
te. Pushing her hair out of her eyes, she
reaches for a can of Tab - one of her
trademarks - kept stocked on the edge
of the stage by a roadie.
BEHIND HER, the band starts up.
The music is pure hard-driving punk,
the sort of flash-bang "noise" abhorred,
by all middle-aged parents. On a screen
above the band, a strange selection of
films flash by: pictures of SSTs in
flight, an anti-drug message, an ad for
Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes
featuring Tony the Tiger, an ancient
animated cartoon version of "The Em-
peror and 'the Nightingale". The bass
pounds like an oncoming train, guitars
wail as Niagara clings for dear life to.
the microphone stand. In a monotone of
desperate intensity, she "talks" the
Lookin out the window and a wich]flew by
Whippin her broomstick
She said 'You're gonna die'
You're gonna die you' re gona die you're gonna die
you're gonna die
"I heard birth was really hard, but
death is really pleasant," comments
Niagara, talking about "You're Gonna
Die": A favorite Monsters piece, "Die"

is on the flip side of the group's new in-
dependently-released single, "Bored"
featuring the oft-repeated phrase,
"When I woke up in the afternoon I was
really bored"). She co-authored both
songs with various band members. Her
own solo compositions include "TH
Queen" and "I Love You But You're
Dead". She loves Tab and THC, and
hates sunlight; as a result, she has the
thin, consumptive look of a vampiress.-
"You can't be healthy if you want to
purvey any kindf art," she affirms.
Lead guitarist Ron Asheton, formerly
of the Stooges, "copped to" the Mon-'
sters "because they have fresh, young
ideas". A stocky young man with a
brown-blond shag cut and aviator
frames, Asheton, an avid collector of
Nazi regalia, often sports an Iron Cross
round his neck. German was one of his
favorite subjectsrat Ann Arbor's
Pioneer High, which he left in his senior
year during the mid-sixties for a jaunt
to Liverpool. Upon his return, he was
persecuted by the other kids, who took
offense at his then-effeminately long
hair and snappy British clothes. Sof-
tening his attack upon convention, he
Francois Ford Copola's
the 70's saga of an aging Don and
his family caught up in a changing
underworld. Possibly the last word
in cinematic violence-that is,
until Coppola's next epic camps
out. In wide-screen color.
TONIGHT at 7 & 10:00

cut his hair at the choir director's
request in order to sing at commen-
cement exercises.
MIKE DAVIS, a founding member of
the MC5, is DAM's star bass player. An
earnestly friendly smile frequently
belies his tough, Alice Cooperish looks.
Like Niagara, Davis is a former art
student. He studied at Wayne in
Detroit, practicing what he calls
"macho realism", with an emphasis on
surrealism and classicism. He proudly
describes the murals he and another
inmate created during his one-year
stay at Lexington Penitentiary in Ken-
tucky. His paintings from that period
toured major American cities in a
prison art show. When asked about Rob
Tyner's new version of the MC5, he
notes, "If he feels he has to live off his
past, that's his problem."
Ben and Larry Miller, fraternal
twins, play saxophone and "space
guitar," respectively, for the Monsters.
With his moustache and straight, long
blond hair, Larry Miller looks the
prototype Ann Arbor hippie; he
moonlights at Seva Longevity Cookery,
a local natural foods restaurant. Rob
King, who replaced an electronic per-
cussion box as DAM's drummer,
previously played with the Millers in
Red Ants.
The band's original members -
Niagara, Cary Loren, Jimmy Shaw,
and Mike Kelly - met as students at U-
M's art school several years ago.
Loren, among other things, a brilliant

classical guitarist and a winner of the
Ann Arbor Film Festival, led his frien-
ds in a series of bizarre artistic en-
deavors, culminating in a magazine
distributed in Cleveland and at Ann Ar-
bor's Art Fair, featuring Loren's photos
as well as line drawings by Niagara,,
The Monsters will appear tonight
with Tuff Darts and the Stranglers at
Second Chance.

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative
(Werner Herzog, 1976) 7, 8:40, 10:20-AUD. A
This latest entry by the world's best young filmmaker, Werner Herzog, is a
bizarre tale which concerns a disaster at a glass factory. Says Herzog, "In
my films I always try to find new images of things-as if you were to open
your eyes and see a tree for the very first time." Such "new images" are
realized in HEART OF GLASS, a beautiful film in which Herzog, among other
things, hypnotized his entire cost. MIDWESTERN PREMIERE. In German, with
Tomorrow: Truffaut's DAY FOR NIGHT, 7 & 9 at Aud A.

1.rat w T ]/1,1'r

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