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October 23, 1980 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-23

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, October 23, 1980

Page 7

CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET FAN

Heav
By MARK COLEMAN
Heavy Metal Rock-it's stupid, sen-
seless music but it's just what I need.
Crusing down I-94 in neat bumper to
bumper 70 mph formation, jockeying
with workaday daddies in their LTD's
and Caprice Classics is impossible
unless you're stoned. It's that numbing
rush of oblivion that only FM radio (not
drugs) can provide. -
And hoo boy! does radio deliver.
About half the time you've got to con-
tend with the overproduced bombast of
Styx/Jqurney/Supercramp ilk or
*greasy garbage like J. Geils and the
new Stones album or, worst of all, can-
+dy-assed "New Wave" pipsqueaks like
the Knack and the Kingbees. But the
other half is golden molten metal lava,
nusic that erupts from the
strategically placed co-axial speakers
in the back seat like Mt. St. Helens in
the throes of orgasm. Van Halen, Ted

theMet
Nugent, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC
are only the tip of this leather iceberg
Detroit's FM radio (my compulsiv(
button-pushing makes it impossible t(
distinguish station from station) serve.,
the musical connoisseur a veritabh
smorgasboard of gut-wrenching rocl
and roll. The current roster include;
bands like Krokus, 707, Shakin' Street
Scorpions, Judas Priest, ant
Whitesnake; not to mention glitzy gun]
like Queen and the decaying corpse o
Alice Cooper.
Of course, all negative criticism o
heavy metal is completely valid. Th<
beat is lumberous and heavy-handed
the melodies non-existent, thi
musicianship mere melodramati
powerchords and simplified Hen
drixisms, the vocals a detailed study a
the nuances of abrasion, the lyrics er
dless encouragements to the listener t
Party Down or get laid. Yes, heav
Metal is repetitive, regressive and eve

ai rock:

repulsive, but at least it's honest. A
band like Van Halen makes no bones
about its raison d'etre: They're gonna
live out their adolescent fantasies in the
loudest, most obnoxious way available
and anyone who wants is welcome to
come along for the ride. This is music
beyond interpretation. It transcends
individual psychology by addressing
primal hedonistic instincts that one
usually must sublimate. Immersion in
Heavy Metal brings a release; like
drugs or masturbation it's totally
selfish pleasure but it's ultimately
therapeutic if you don't overdo it.
The rock media began to tout the
Heavy Metal resurgence this past
summer. Frequently noted were the
plague-like spread of Ted Nugent's
popularity, the meteoric rise of Van
Halen, and the rabid skinhead (English
redneck) support for young bands like
Def Leopard. Yet Heavy Metal never
really came close to dying off in
Michigan; thanks to the Detroit air-
waves, it festered like an open sore that
has now been infected and spread like
gangrene. Detroit is the Heavy Metal
capital of the Universe, and don't you
forget it, mon: Where else in 1980 can
you hear "Paronoid" and "Smoke On
the Water" at least every other day?
The musical history of this region is
flowing with metal alloys; it's the bir-
thplace of such seminals as Alice
Cooper (and his criminally underrated
original band, as well as latter day
guitar slingers Dick Wagner and Steve
Hunter), mainstream giants Grand
Funk Railroad, the mighty MC5 (the
first "smart" metal band) and scores
of lesser known practioners that ranged
from the subline (SRC) to the ridiculou
(Frijid Pink). Let us not forget
Detroit's (actually A2's) biggest con-
tribution, Iggy and the Stooges, the
greatest heavy metal band of all time.
Top much has been written about
these guys already (see Creem circa
1970-74). Suffice to say they coined the
people?
version of the "Minute Waltz." Another
tape consists of a wordless piano fan-
fare leading to the beep.
Josephson has collected 21 items, in
addition to about 15 "How-to" records.
He hopes to produce a radio series
from the material next spring, but he
expects Vox Inhumana to be an ongoing
project. "I pretty well have a lot of New
Yorky kind of stuff," he says. "I'm
looking for stuff from the South, Mid-
west, foreign countries, subcultures
like hookers, Nazis, anything that's
unusual, different." Anyone interested
in adding to Josephson's collection can
write him at the Radio Foundation, Box
884, Ansonia Station, New York, N.Y.,
18023.
Josephson thinks the reliance on
talking machines is a trend that will
continue. Already, he says, it has affec-
ted the way people behave. "I've
noticed that there are people who act
like machines, like the waitress in
programmed restaurants where every
choice you have has been decided on,
with no exceptions, and they run
through a list," he said. "I'm afraid
Vox Inhumana is a precursor, leading
up to 'Homo Inhuman'-inhuman
man."

Better
term Raw Power and defined it in theirt
music. Nugent may have perservered t
and perfected his craft through the
years, the Stooges exploded in a1
mushroom cloud of negative energyP
whose fallout still lingers and glows.
The punks picked up more on Iggy's at-
titude than the actual music as the
blaring, traditional metal sound of RonE
Asheton's current group Destroy Alli
Monsters will attest. Ted Nugent wowst
arenas with the Wango Tango but thet
Stooges did a bone-crushing dance with
death that's lost none of its doomy in-
trigue and immediacy through the
years.
That's not to say the current crop of
metaleers is as blandy predictable and
buffonish as Terrible Ted. Van Halen ii
a band with real vision; their
everything-including-the-kitchen-sink
approach is glorious in its tasteless
grandiosity and their lookout-mothers-
we're-coming-for-your-daughters
image so overstated it's hilarious. Ed-
die Van Halen's inventive guitar work
doesn't hurt, either.
The Australian neanderthals AC/DC
bring an irresistible wild-eyed en-
thusiasm to their fairly standard metal
fare, charging cliched pieces like
"Highway to Hell" and "Too Much of
losie" with an atmosphere of con-
trolled anarchy. Guitarist Malcolm
Young flails away on stage in a
traditional schoolboy's uniform (blazer
and shorts) and these guys get extra
points for the most blatantly tasteless
album covers on the market.
This list could go on indefinitely. The
reformed Black Sabbath are as tough
as ever, having jettisoned, Ozzy Osbor-
ne and his idiotic mumbo-jumbo for
Ronnie James Dio, a more straightfor-
ward scream stylist. English
youngsters Def Leppard are so
energetic and engaging they're almost
cute, for chrissaskes, while multi-
nationals Shakin' Street pick up the
tradition of women metal singers where

than music
Ruby Starr left off and also feature the Raw power got a heali
clean, mean guitar of ex-Dictator Ross Raw power it's just t
the Boss. And rumor has it that the
"classic" British metal combo Deep Raw power honey jus
Purple may yet be reunited in their w
Machine Head-era incarnation. R
Like it or not, Heavy Metal is here to Raw power I can feel
stay, so why fight it? A couple of joints, T -e :-.
a quart of Colt 45 malt liquor and a car DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE Al
equipped with FM stereo are all you GUEST ARTIST SERIE
need to experience our narcissistic
culture at its most idulgent and 11 nn
uninhibited glory. If it feels good, do it.

ng touch
oo much
a
on't quit
DtR

AD I
cS

DRA

PLANT
AUCTION AND SALE
Monday Oct. 27-7:30 PM
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 DIXBORO RD.
(South of Plymouth Rd.)
Ann Arbor Chapter
Indoor Light Gardening
Society of America, Inc.-

awakenin
6y Frank Wedekind

Y
t c2-25, 8pm
1^
Oct.26, 2pm
in the Power Center
Tickets at PT P. Call 764-0450
MasterCharge and Visa accepted

WA

r
X
X
X

L

-----O

.Y

Members of the British rock group Judas Priest pose with a new musical in-
strument designed for them by Harley-Davidson. "It's idle sounds a bit
rough", said a band member, "but at full throttle it mixes right in on our up-
tempo numbers."

The voic
It galls Larry Josephson to watch
transistors, tapes and Taiwanese cir-
cuitry try to talk to human beings. Yet
the bearded, rotund, 41-year-old local
radio personality is also fascinated, and
he has setout to collect the sounds of
the '70s and '80s-the mouthings of
machines that answer telephones, play
games, teach and tutor.
"It was a perception of mine that we
were spending more and more time
talking to, or with, or at, or being talked
to by machines of one kind or another
he said. "I found more and more of my
friends were getting those machines,
and I couldn't talk to them-I could
hear their messages.",, His project,
"Vox Inhumana," is being funded with
* $25,000 in grants from the National En-
dowment for the Arts and the New York
State Council on the Arts. The idea,
Josephson said, is to chronicle the
times the way Works Progress Ad-
ministration photographers did in the
1930s.
"I THINK we're entering an age
where we're going to be using
machines of all sorts to communicate
with us-satellites, computers that you
work on in your home. I don't like to
think that, but it seems to be the way
we're going," he said. Part of "Vox
Inhumana" consists of what Josephson
calls "didactic records"-recordings
like "How to Pachanga," "How to Plan
the Perfect Dinner Party" and
"English for Greek-Speaking People."
In "Train Your Bird in Stereo," a deep
voice, accompanied by Hawaiian steel-
.guitar music, tells budgie owners, "It
is true that many birds will learn to
4 talk, even though they were not
properly trained, but this is a terrible
waste of pet potential."
Josephson-who has a weekly talk
show on New York's WBAI and submits
commentaries to All Things Con-
sidered, National Public Radio's daily
news program-is also collecting tapes
of talking toys, like computer chess, a
spelling machine-"Spell calf. K-A-T.
Wrong. Try again"-and the Executive
Teddy Bear; "You're a born leader.
You're a winner. Teddy knows."
Vox Inhumana also includes "Dial-
A's." There's "Dial-An-Atheist,"
-- -E
Medical
School

e ofthe
"Mount St. Helens Hotline" and "Egg
. Basket," a project of a St. Louis
woman who has rigged"a machine so it
can collect callers' answers to a list of
off-the-wall questions, "Do Sunday
drivers walk Monday through Satur-
day. If someone invented a new
disease, would someone catch it? Who
told you your first secret? Does
everyone see the same color when they
see red?" she asks.
The heart of the collection, though, is
the answering machine recordings. The
use of these machines, Josephson
suggests, is a measure of "technology
and alienation, people living alone.
Some of the tapes are rather elaborate.
A Brooklyn man, Henry Sepoznik,
changes his tape each week with a new
edition of "Answering Machine
Theater," complete with sound effects.
On another, a normal, mundane tape is
interrupted by the whine of a caller,
who says, "Of God, I hate these
machines. They're so impersonal and
intimidating. . . all right, I've already
wasted my dime, I'll leave my name,
number 'and message at the beep."
Others include music. One man croons
that he's "Ethel's telephone." Another
sings along with a 30-second version of

A 1
* 0,

edpseRAY
CHARLES'
THE RAELETTS
RAY CHARLES ORCHESTRA
Special Guest
Ernie Krivda Quartet
November12
Wed. 8:00 p.m.
Hill Auditorium
Ticits
an Sate
Box Office
Michigan Union
$8.50 7.50 6.50
reserved seats
ickets'
on Sale
in Ann Arbor
Discount Records
Schoolkids Records
in 'Yowsl.i
Whorehouse Records
in E. ansing:
Discount Records
and all C1TCoutlets.
For intorinati
Call: (313) 763-2071
Management Joe Adams
Direction: Smadla AMisl
ManagementInternatioalM
L.A- Calif. 4213) 734-3113
design by/Jane Goldfarb

C

POETRY READING
with,
So! Lachman & George Tysh
Reading from their works
THURS., OCT. 23
7:30 P.M.
ADMISSION: FREE
Refreshments

NOON LUNCHEON
Homemade Soup & Sandwich 754
FRIDAY, OCT. 24
PERRY BULLARD:
"Proposal 'A' for
Equality in Education"
GUILD HOUSE
802 MONROE
(662-5189)

I

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