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December 10, 1980 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-10

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page 18 Wednesday, December 10, 1980 The Michigan DaA
d *

Well, what can I tell you about this
plucky little band from Boston? That,
over the four-odd years ,they've been
together, they've developed an en-
thusiastic following on the New
England club circuit? That their
hometown radio station, WBCN, plays
their tapes regularly alongside Elvis
and PiL? That they called a riot last
summer in ultra-conservative Bean-
town by performing their underground
hit, "Buttfuck," on a live cable show?
That, with a name like Human ,Sexual
Response on the cover, their first
album is sure to be nabbed up by horny
New Wave fans?
Well, now you know.'HSR, as perfor-
mers, are legendary by now. But the
proof of the pudding is in the vinyl,
economics-wise, and, well, you
probably won't be hearing this one on
WABX. For one thing; it lacks slick.
The production values on this album
are pretty dull. They lack the electronic

n up-an
streamlining that makes, say, the B-52s-
or a Tom Petty. But, raw as it sounds,
this is really loveable music. It's witty
and savvy and snappy. It's music for
smart kids. It's kinda neat. ,
IT'S HARD to class HSR, musically.
they're too sophisticated to be syntho-
poppy, and not repellent and atonal
enough to be completely "serious."
They're not really artsy-rocky, but then
they're not exactly catchy, either. In-
strumentation is pretty basic guitar-
and-drums, nothing flashy. The really
cool part, the big part of their Sound is
the vocals. The lead singers-there are
four of them, all in a line-have strong,
clear, pleasant voices, and they layer
marvellously well, in harmony, or in
unison, as in "Dick and Jane" (the girl
singer, Casey Cameron, sings a couple
octaves above the boys, very pretty),
which, incidentally, HSR fans insist is
one of the dirtiest things they've ever
heard ("See Dick now/See them ride/
See Spot come"). They're passionate,

I coming band

flexible vocalists. In her spotlight num-
ber, "Jackie Onassis" Casey sounds
like she really means it:
I want to wear a pair of dark
sunglasses ...
I want my portrait done by
Andy Warhol

tensity to "Anne Frank", a Night and
Fog-like exploration of the attic in Am-
sterdam where the girl diarist hid from
the Nazis. "I want to be Anne Frank,"
HSR cqncludes, at the end. Really
scary. They really want to be Jackie O.
and Anne Frank, and they don't sound
drugged, either.
No, "Buttfuck" isn't on this album,
but there is some other nasty stuff on it.
Most punks are annoyed by sex, it's
true, but "What Does Sex Mean to
Me?" gives a good, solid argument
agaifist copulation. A pretty erotic anti-
sex argument, at that:



I touch my finger

to my



o Family Fun & Entertainment k
A French Christmas
December 11 7pm Power Center
PTP Ticket Office - Michigan League M F, 10 1 & 2 5
Phone (313) 764-0450
C inema II
Why We Fight
(rank Capra, 1942)
Directed by Frank Capra, produced by John Ford, this seven
part World War II documentary series was America's answer
to Triumph of the Will. Presented tonight are the first three
films of the series: Prelude to War (54 min.), The Nazis Strike
(42 min.), and Divide and Conquer (60 min.). Dependin on
audience interest in this rare showing, the remaining Tour
parts may be shown in January. 7:00 ONLY.
TONIGHT, MLB 3 $2.00
The T.A M :I Show (971)
Jan and Dean host the energetic "Teen-age Music Internation-
al 1965," withguests The Rolling Stones, James Brown and His
Fabulous Flames, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey
Robinson and the Miracles, the Barbarians, Chuck Berry, and
many more! Catch a glimpse of these performers when they
were HOT. F(90 min.). 7:00 and 10:00
Lenny Bruce Performance Film
(John Magnuson, 1974)
This is the only film ever made of a complete nightclub per-'
formance of this celebrated Americah satirist, including a
"devastating recapitulation of his New York obscenity trial
bursting with an indignation that has remained freshly
irreverent and blackly funny."-Vincent Canby. With short:
Thank You Mask Mon. (65 min.) 8:40 ONLY
FRI. DEC. 12 Angell Hall 2:00 one show
$3.00 both shows,

I'll let them market a Jackie
0. doll
Just let me be Jackie Onassis,
oh yeah
It's a little scary. So are the quavery,
anxious voices of Larry Bangor and
Dini Lamont. There is a horrifying in-

I taste vagina
I licked Betty Ford's boots
She wore them all over China
Again, they really mean it. While
employed at Sak's, Dini and Larry
really did fellate a pair of white boots
that the former president's wife had or-
dered for her trip-to-China wardrobe,
and she did wear the violated booties.
Fascinating. I read this in Boston Rock
-magazine. And only a few years ago, an
obscure British band called the Sex
Pistols made all the American papers
by spitting on transportation officials. I
guess we've come a long way since



Pere Ubu:


to a different (!) beat


Pere Ubu is a funny group. They get
away with things they shouldn't get
away with. But like precocious kids,
you end up loving them for their sheer
audacity, if nothing else. Every one of
the songs on their new (and fourth)
album, The Art of Walking, seems to be
a musical thumbing-of-noses at all
those people who said, "You can't 'do
that! It isn't 'music.'
For want of a better category,

sound like Parliament!)
WHAT'S SO surprising is that they
manage to achieve all these diverse
'goals with an astonishing nonchalance
and sense of humor. They manage to be
one of the weirdest groups playing
without crossing that' fine line into
alienation and self-congratulatory
elitism. In short, they're a hell of a lot of
fun! Their potentially offensive
attacks on accepted musical language
are always handled with an easy, off-
hand manner that is nothing less than
eccentricly charming.
Sometimes there is so much hap-
pening in any given moment on Art of
Walking that it is hard to believe that
they are responsible for all of these
sound ideas. In fact, it often seems like
some other intelligence has ripped their
instruments from the control of Pere
Ubu, perhaps the instruments them-
selves. But always their disregard for
musical standards leads to the most en-
tertaining moments. My favorite is the
part in "Go" when all of the other in-
struments drop back to allow a guitar
solo that you expect to be rip-snorting
from the build-up it's gotten, but in-
stead sounds more like tuning-up. It's
really quite a hysterical jab at all of us
listeners who thought we knew what
was supposed to come next.
TRY AS I might, in some spaces I
just can't believe that the sounds of
,Pere Ubu have any human source.
Take for instance the occasional, high-
pitched, subliminal sounds that are
only noticeable after they end. On other
songs, these drawn-out squeals are
compressed into short bursts of ungodly
dissonance. By "Crush This Horn,"
which closes The Art of Walking, their
original song has been completely over-
taken by a storm of intelligent elec-
tronic interference.
The only thing of which we can be
sure with Pere Ubu is that even if the
intelligence behind "The Art of Walking
isn't human, at least it's friendly.
There's simply no other way to explain
an album as exceptionally enjoyable as
this one.

they've been lumped in with the artsiest
vanguard of the new wave, but the only
reason you would call Pere Ubu in-
tellectual is that they're obviously not
stupid. In fact, there's something
decidedly anti-intellectual about them.
While other groups try to convey the
angstful moderne condition in angstful
moderne prose, David Thomas sing-
songs child-like stream-of-
consciousness raps about the process of
ambulation. Of course, their funky
songs like "Misery Goats" and "Roun-
der" may be very trendy right now, but
Pere Ubu are sure to balance these
songs against non-rhythmic ex-
plorations of even more primal,
frightening urges than the drive to dan-
ce. (And The Talking Heads think
they're so cool just cause they can

John Lennon
Another rainy night in the waning days of 1980. I'm relaxing in my apar-
tment, getting high listening to the radio and reading Evelyn Waugh. As I lie
down in bed, a news break bursts out of the radio: John Lennon has been
shot, condition unknown. My heart pumps numbly, my mind stands still. I
vow to keep a vigil but after the very next song the deejay pauses and I in-
stantly know what happened: John Lennon is dead.
By now you know the whole story. Beatles' most controversial member
shot to death by "local screwball" in NYC. You can read and hear all about
Lennon in the media for the next few weeks, even months in gory detail-I
don't want to contribute to the posthumous deluge any more than I have to.
Like Elvis Presley; themedia will turn Lennon into something different in
death than he was in life, glossing over and trivializing his real significance
until he becomes a convenient symbol for an era that is now long gone.
UNLIKE ELVIS PRESLEY, Lennon affected many of us in a way that
went far beyond music. Yeah, he may not have been a brilliant philosopher
or politician (in fact one might contend that those outside interests detracted
from the music) but at least he had the guts to take a stand. Laying in bed
with Yoko for a week may not have done much for world peace, but it was
unprecedented, and maybe even courageous, for a "pop star" to speak out
oh a non-musical issue. Did Elvis Presley or would Bruce Springsteen ever
lay their careers on the line for a "cause" or a "movement?"
For John Lennon, rock and roll was more than music. It was an attitude
that pervaded everything he did, an approach to living that came from both
the heart and the mind. Heput so much of his beliefs into his music that even-
tually it became inseparable from himself. In everything, John Lennon
was never lukewarm, and naturally many people choose to spit him from
their mouths. He even threw himself into retirement unabashedly, and it's
no surprise that he became a recluse, veiled in shadowy, monied paranoia:
Honesty and conviction, expecially when taken to the point of em-
barrassment, were no longer fashionable (if they ever really were).
That he chose this year to reemerge in public life is ironic. The subtlety
(some would say innocuousness) of his last album has been eclipsed by the
senseless violence of his death. We'll probably never know why -that man
shot John Lennon-God knows what twisted images Lennon had come to
stand for in that "local screwball's" mind. That's the problem with the
"superstar" syndrome; we elevate our heroes to empty heights where they
become celluloid receptacles for the dreams and frustrations of a nation,
icons that must inevitably be sacrificed in the flames of self-destruction.
More than anyone, John Lennon embodied the idealism of the sixties, in all
its intensity and naivete. That voice shaped my life as did John Lennon, its
most eloquent, though imperfect, spokesman. That force lives on not just iri
his words and music but in all of us who heard and lived by them. The sixties
are dead and buried now forever, but the spirit and inspiration will live on.
The rest is up to us.
the cnn arbor film cooperative



. presents


7:008 10:20
Excerpts from a concert in the ruins of Pompeii, scenes from
ranrrrinn a ccne afo nr.. L ..n.ct,. * .2.. n I ..ar.


-M161 MR.



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