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September 15, 1982 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-09-15

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, September 15, 1982 Page 5

Cruisin' onto vinyl from Joe's Star Lounge

_" p-
I
x
t

By Ben Ticho
T HE IDEA has been fermenting for
a long time, and now its time has
1 come. Ann Arbor bands, long on ability
and local popularity but short on vinyl
exposure, are finally getting a chance
to break out of the local bar scene via a
collective recording spotlighting the'
city's musical wealth.
The new album, titled Cruisin' Ann
Arbor, will feature selections recorded
from a special four-night music festival
of the same name, which begins tonight
at Joe's Star Lounge (109 N. Main) and
concludes this Saturday. The Ann Ar-
bor Music Project (AAMP), co-
sponsors of the recording session with
radio station WIQB, was formed this
past spring to provide a permanent
recording of contemporary Ann Arbor
music.
To achieve that goal, AAMP, a six-'
member coalition of local industry
figures, enlisted the services of 'twelve
talented area groups representing a
comprehensive cross section of a diver-
se and promising Ann Arbor music
Mscene.
The four-day fest at Joe's (109 N.
Main) will feature three bands every
night, with each playing one set lasting
from three-quarters to an hour long.
The record will include one song from
each of the twelve groups.
The Urbations, Blue Front Per-
suaders, and harmonica virtuoso Mad-
cat Ruth,, perform more traditional

music the first two nights, especially
R&B, while the second two shows, with
Ragnar Kvaran, SLK, the Cult Heroes
and others, spotlight newer styles.
According to AAMP member PJ
Ryder, co-owner of PJ's Used Records,
"The idea (for a recording of local ban-
ds) has been around for a long time, but
nobody had the energy to get around to
it."
Ryder and AAMP's five other mem-
bers-manager and record producer
Alan Goldsmith, sound engineer Tom
Whitaker, musician Mike Gould (who
will perform Wednesday night as well),
WCBN chief engineer Tom Bray, and
Prism Productions director Lee
Berry-first discussed the details and
expenses of the project in May and June
of this year. The organization currently
plans to issue 2,000 copies of Cruisin'
Ann Arbor; the slated release date is
December 1.
Even given anticipated proceeds
from the festival door charge and from
record sales, the participating bands
(and AAMP) don't stand to gain much
besides exposure and gratification
from Cruisin' Ann Arbor-unless out-
side parties, particularly FM radio
stations, become interested in the
album. According to Lee Berry, "ex-
penses so closely meet revenues that
(the recording) will only come about
because we want it to be done."
Although AAMP is counting on retail
sales of Cruisin', especially in the Ann
Arbor and metro Detroit area where

many of the groups are familiar bar at-
tractions, the key to broader success is
radio airplay, according to Berry and
Ryder. In distributing promotional
copies, AAMP will be keying in on AOR
(album-oriented-rock) stations more
likely to give the record a try. To
stimulate more national attention, the
organization plans to send copies to
radio stations across the entire country.
For many local bands Cruisin' may
become an important step in the big
leap from local popularity to broader,
national success. In past years many
Ann Arbor groups hit the bigtime, in-
cluding Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, SRC, and
the Silvertones.
With the change in economic and
musical climate since the '60s and early
'70s, notes Berry, the chances for such
vaults to fame or even a debut record
on a major -label have remarkably
diminished. Talent alone does not
assure much of anything in these times
of lower record sales, tighter studio
budgets, and more streamlined music.
A successful band, observes Berry,
needs the proper combination of
promotional, technical, and business
management, in addition to musical
ability. A full-time manager or agent is
beneficial, according to Berry, because
"if you're worrying about money, it's
hard to concentrate on the creative
process."
The diversity of the twelve band 10
immediately apparent and part of the
reason AAMP organizers hope for suc-
cess. With such a wide range of musical
approaches, claims Ryder, radio
stations with vastly different styles and
listeners may find something ap-
propriate and exciting on the live
record.
Some of the groups on Cruisin' have
previous recordings to their credit.
SLK, the Urbations, and the Cult
Heroes all have released singles.
Ragnar Kvaran has released three

Yes, it's the Blue Front Persuaders, one of the twelve local bands to be featured at Joe's Star Lounge
for 'Cruisin' Ann Arbor' through Saturday night.

Here's the schedule for the four-
night Cruisin' Ann Arbor recording
sessions at Joe's Star Lounge (109 N.
Main; 665-JOES). All shows begin at
9:30.
Wednesday, September 15.
Mike Gould and the Gene Pool Band,
the Blue Front Persuaders, and the
Urbations.

Thursday, September 16.
Steve Newhouse, George Bedard
and the Bonnevilles, and Madcat
Ruth.
Friday, September 17.
VVT, Ragnar Kvaran, and SLK.
Saturday, September 18.
Baal, Non-Fiction, and the Cult
Heroes.

singles, an EP, as well as a full-length
album.
The bands, though all performing in
and around Ann Arbor, come from a
variety of backgrounds. Steve
Newhouse is a biologist close to
receiving his Ph.D. Ragnar Kvaran, of
the similarly named band, comes
originally from Iceland. SLK is com-
prised partly of members from a
University of Michigan fraternity,
while Steve Rethy, the keyboardist for
the Blue Front Persuaders, once lived
in South Quad. Mike Gould is an Ann
Arbor native (also from Kalamazoo
College) as are certain members of the
Urbations.

___________________________________________________________ S

Sendoff concert doesn't get off

By Robert Weisberg
D ESPITE great weather an
job by the organizers, the
Jazz Society's first annual
sendoff last Sunday at Palme
was far from a total success. 7
Sstudents Eclipse was hoping t
out, for the most part, didn't s
The crowd had a good time, bu
the same old crowd. And the pe
quality of most of the music m
reflected the cultural apathy
students. There was nothing ne
from the new bands. The sa
crowd and the same old mus
that mean this is a dead town?
Maybe it's not fair to be so h
Bill Canning, facilities coordi
the Recreational Sports
tment-which in cooperation
hill dorms let Eclipse use the f

of charge-suggested, most new
students are too busy adjusting to their
new lifestyles to be aware of what's
d a fine going on around town. Or maybe the
Eclipse hypothesis of Larry Bram, Eclipse's
summer new leader, that a lot of the kids were
er Field too worn out from all the "gonzo par-
rhe new ties" around campus is valid. The bot-
to bring tom line, though, is that even Bram's
how up. very liberal estimate that a thousand
it it was people spent some time at the concert
destrian falls far short of his prediction of three
ay have to five thousand.
of new And it is fair to be a little harsh about
ew, even the music. Dick Siegel and his
ame old Ministers of Melody and the Urbations
ic-does were their usual witty selves, but unless
you're new here-and if you were at the
arsh. As show you probably weren't-it wasn't
nator of anything new. If you haven't seen them
Depar- yet, you should, because they aren't
with the bad. Siegel in particular is flexible and
ield free funny. But they're both playing older

forms of music about which the book
has pretty rpuch been written. The
same can actually be said about the
other three newer bands, even though
they played music that's still pop. The
only problem is, unlike the oldtimers,
they neither played it well nor even
showed a great deal of originality
within the forms they were working.
The opening band, Resistance Free,
was horrible. The typical cover band
that can barely play their instruments.
If only they knew how to channel their
mediocrity-because that's what
makes good bad bands. But their lead
singer/drummer with the inane skinny
tie and tiger-striped drum set was
trying too hard. The only moments of
mirth came when the bassist tried to
sing on "Little Queenie." His trudging,
barely audible, virtually pathetic non-
rockabilly chirpings brought the band
back down to earth where they belong.
Maybe if he sings and they come up
with some putrid originals they can be
the next Confessions. We'll see!
Stolen Legacy was the reggae band.
Ann Arbor needs reggae bands like Los
Angeles needs hardcore bands-in
other words, we've seen enough. While
musically they were eons ahead of
Resistance Free, they showed little in-
novation. Roots rock reggae, complete
with "I and I," but we've seen it before.
Bass and drums also seemed to lack the
crispness essential to reggae.
Then there was Funksh'n. Now I
realize funk bands often start off
covering the classics and move on to
fame and fortune, but when it comes
down to outright mimicry-as on their
cover of Prince's "Let's Work"-you
have to wonder. Their originals tended

toward that pedestrian sort of fusion
music that one Jeff Lorber record will
give you much more than enough of.
If you want to check out what original
music is being made in town these days,
I'd suggest heading down to Joe's this
weekend. Unfortunately, especially
considering how 'arty' and 'intellec-
tual' this town is supposed to be, there
are precious few innovators around, as
evidenced by Sunday's lineup.
On a more positive note, both Bram
and Canning said they were more than
happy with the way the whole thing
came off, despite the small crowd. They
also expressed interest in getting
together for another one next year.
Canning said his people sold "a
couple of hundred dollars worth" of
items, which Bram noted was a lot
more than the recreational Sports
Department could have hoped for
without the lure of music. And Bram
himself said that he received "nothing
but positive feedback.
"The crew went well," he said,
despite the inexperience of many of the
new members and the burden of having
to handle more equipment than at any
other Eclipse summereshow. At least
one bystander was even impressed
enough to go over to the Eclipse tent
and ask how he could become involved.
So it wasn't all bad. Hopefully next
year there will be some more inventive
musicians and more interested fresh-
persons, and then some of the trends of
recent years might begin to reverse
themselves. Of course, Ann Arbor isn't
dead, but if Sunday's sendoff offered
any evidence it may be that the town's
music scene is headed there through at-
trition.

Many of the groups have veteran
members collected from other bands.
George Bedard, like Steve Nardella,
once played with the Vipers and the
Silvertones, one of Ann Arbor's finer
defunct ensembles. Madcat Ruth,
originally from Chicago, has performed
in a number of musical combinations,
including the Madcat/Brubeck band,
Sky King, and Heavenly Blue.
All things considered, Cruisin' Ann
Arbor, both the record and the four-
night festival, promises to be one of the
more exciting events in local music in a
long time. See you at Joe's.
-- -
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500-year- old Durer

painting d
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP)-
Alfred Bernsteiner, an Austrian artist
and scholar, was browsing through an
antique shop here when he found a
dusty painting he thought was a
bargain for $5,000.
Shortly after that, he says, someone
offered him $125,000 for the watercolor
of the Madonna with Infant, St. Ann and
St. John.
Now, seven months and much detec-
tive work later, the 33-year-old Ber-
nsteiner believes his initial hunch was
right: the painting is a priceless 500-
year-old masterpiece by the German
Renaissance painter Albrecht Durer.
The painting is now in a bank vault,
said Bernsteiner. "It is almost holy,"
he said.
Durer lived from 1471 to 1528 and was
the first German artist to win substan-
tial recognition outside his native land,
bringing the lessons of the Italian
Renaissance to northern Europe. He is
noted for his superbly proportioned
figures, particularly in mythological
scenes.

isco vered
Testing the painting with the latest
infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray
photographic techniques indicated the
painting was not a recently produced
fake, said Bernsteiner.
Researcher Lucy McCrone told Ber-
nsteiner the parchment is 300 to 500
years old, with pigments used between
the years 1300 to 1700.
Bernsteiner said he has uncovered
other evidence:
Microscopes show Durer 's
monogram on both the front and back of
the painting.
The Madonna in the painting resem-
bles Agnes Frey, Durer's wife, and St.
Ann resembles portraits of Barbara
Holper, the artist's mother.
Infrared photographs and X-rays
reveal the artist, who wrote notes on
many of his works, scrawled the date
1494 and an inscription to his wife.
"Everything seems to fit," added
Jim Birmingham, Bernsteiner's par-
tner, a stock investor. Now that the two
have satisfied themselves, they want to
make the evidence public.

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