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October 29, 1982 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-29
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By Andrew Porter
V Deep
Boomtown Rats
T HE NEW album by the Boomtown
Rats is introduced by a sadly
conspicuous label stuck to its plastic
covering. It reads ".. . featuring Bob
Geldof: star of Pink Floyd's The
Wall. What this translates to is that
this brilliant actor has some additional
talents that may be worth checking in-
to. A tragedy that the group is
promoted in such an insulting fashion.
From the toned-down late '30s jazz
ballads to the highly electronic studio
dubs, this album reveals that the Boom-
town Rats have become one of today's
(most underrated and) innovative
English bands.
Tony Visconti, who has a superb
resume as a producer (to which David
Bowie and Paul MpCartney will
testify), has taken the Boomtown Rats
sound through a series of stages over
the last few years and has finally
arrived at something unique.
There is one flaw, however, in the
new collection entitled V Deep: Bob
Geldof's songwriting is inconsistent and
often dull. The first side of the LP is

filled with short, personalized songs
that demonstrate less than average
chord progression and vague lyrics. A
number of ambiguous references to the
shortcomings of nuclear war in one
brief song entitled "The Bitter End"
epitomize the style with which all other
issues on side A are addressed.
Because the basic melodies are of ten-
times flat, Visconti overcompensates
by filling the background with a sea of
musical effects. The backing vocals
range from 1950s doo-wap's to 14th cen-
tury church modian chants. At the
same time, reggae bongos rigidly
pounce out beats and a Robbie
Shakepeare-style bass crawls up and
down four note scales. The results
prove that occasionally spotty
songwriting can be concealed by fine
production and a talented band.
The second side of the album features
not only quality musical material, but
dub effects that approach those Mikey
Dread and Joe Strummer arranged on
the Clash's Black Market EP. Simon
Crowe's high hat works with Johnny
Fingers' keyboards while his toms keep
pace with Garry- Roberts' bass
producing a mesh-textured outline for
the music. A small regiment of horns
lends help and embellishes the songs
while simultaneously thrusting the beat
forward. Without sacrificing too much
toward reggae sound, they manage to
keep their music unique and to main-
tain an original style. One tune,
"Whitehall 1212," is an instrumental
that is full of orchestration and poppy
detective themes that add spice to the
album. It is followed with a downbeat
big band oriented song about death, and
the contrast is excellent.

V Deep: Polished sounds

The Boomtown Rats are full of
humour and talent, two qualities rarely
found in today's music. This, their fifth
effort, is their furthest from main-
stream to date. People who already en-
joy their music willbe pleasedand those
previously unexposed to it should find
the group and its newest release en-
joyable. The new LP is a victory for

production and, with the advent of
brass instruments, is a quantum leap
forward in the band's style. The Rats
were not only strong enough to endure
the punk/new wave explosion of the late
seventies, but were able to step in the
foreground of today's avante garde
music spectrum.

highly. "Bo told us, 'Pro football is
great, but you gotta get your degree,' "
says Calvin O'Neal who survived two
years in the NFL as a linebacker with
the Baltimore Colts before he quit.
Without a degree O'Neal, now a sales
representative for Proctor and Gamble
in Ypsilanti, believes he never would.
have been interviewed for a job in the
"real world" once he was through with
the NFL.
And Greg Morton played one season
with the Buffalo Bills before realizing
he "didn't want to become one of those
ex-athletes who are only known as ex-
athletes. I hadmet a lot of pros who
wound up their careers with
nothing-no degree, no money." So
Morton decided to return to Ann Arbor,
where he received a Masters of
Education Administration. Morton then
worked for University Housing security
for three years before moving to Texas
where he is now a parole officer.
revealed last spring when the
Daily published the substandard test
scores and high school records of
several of Schembechler's current
players. None of their grade point
averages fell below NCAA regulations,
but some were perilously close. Regar-
dless of NCAA rules, some students and
professors argued, those athletes didn't
belong at The University of Michigan.
But Schembechler only squeaks those
players in when he knows he really
needs them, and if he really needs
them, he's not about to let them get into
trouble academically. So he gets them
tutors, sticks them in study halls, and
makes sure they are advancing quickly
enough to make up for an inadequate
high school preparation.
Schembechler has avoided the plague
of NCAA probation by following his own
set of ethical rules from the moment he
begins recruiting a high school prospect
to the time he leaves Michigan, his
former players say. Several of the
players say they were offered money
(or "extracurricular whatever you
wanted," in Hall's words) from other
schools. But the Michigan philosophy is
not to go after a kid with open pockets,
according to Ceddia, who helps with
Michigan recruiting efforts in Cincin-
"One kid I was recruiting for basket-
ball asks, 'What can you do for. me?' So
I told him we don't want that kind of
player," says Ceddia, who testified
against one of the two schools that of-
fered him money during his senior year
in high school.
The difference between Michigan and
UCLA-a school on probation for a
variety of bizzare violations-is the
amount of influence the alumni have
over athletes, according to Lewis, who
keeps close ties to the California
school's athletic department.
"Kids come to UCLA from a long way
away, and they often need a parent
figure. So the alumni take the place of
parents, and sometimes they get a little
too overzealous as far as what they do
for the players," Lewis says.
A report last year said that, among
other violations, one of those over-
zealous alumni paid for an abortion for
a basketball player's girlfriend.
"At Michigan, a kid is usually a little
closer to home, to parents, and to frien-
ds. Los Angeles is a big city, and a 19-
year-old kid has a big adjustment com-
pared to someone coming to Ann Ar-
bor," Lewis adds. "The problem wasn't
dishonesty, just well-meaning people
wanting to help kids."
At Michigan, the players found the
campus to be "clean" academically.
Most had a professor or two who helped
ease their way through classes. Rob
Lytle says he found the only professor

who ever gave him good grades for
being an athlete during his last
semester in school. "I guess I found
him too late to do me much good." But
Lytle adds that that professor was
balanced by another who looked unkin-
dly on the players who had to skip
Friday afternoon field trips for away
Morton says most of his professors
"couldn't give a darn if you played
football,"~but then he can name three
who guaranteed an "A."
But for every professor who thought
that "A" stood for athlete, there were
those who overreacted to make sure


'When I was a senior in high school, I
didn't give education a thought. But after
becoming 12th string quarterback my first
year, some realism set in.'
-John Ceddia
former football player

Schembechler's recent acquisitions
enroll in the University through the
back door of the physical education
department, now called the Depar-
tment of Kinesiology. More than 80 per-
cent of his 1981 freshmen were placed
. The 1976 team was enrolled in a
greater variety of programs, and they
warn that the label of Michigan football
player will not guarantee success out of
Several of the players say they found
jobs because they had played football.
Former placekicker Bob Wood, for in-
stance, has been working since

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By Jeff Gibson

Live It Up
David Johansen
Blue Sky
W HAT DO you do when: 1) You
have fronted the most widely
influential American band of the 1970s,
and you aren't recognized out of drag;
2) You release three critically ac-
claimed solo albums that receive no
airplay whatsoever; 3) You are
arguably the single most dynamic live
performer in rock and roll today, and
your shows rarely sell out; and 4) You
look and move too much like Mick
Jagger for your own good? If your
name is David Johansen, you might
well conclude that you have developed
a "personality crisis."
The solution: release a live album
that demonstrates your significance as
a major influence in an updated con-
text, highlights the best of your solo
material, and reveals your strength as
an interpreter of pop standards. Live It
Up succeeds on all counts.
Supported by an essentially new
band, Johansen kicks off the set with a
searing tour de force medley of three
Animals' favorites ("We Gotta Get Out
of This Place," "Don't Bring Me

Down," and "It's My Life"). True, -it
works as a paean to FM programming
directors, but all sell-outs should be this
satisfying. In the Spectoresque "Fren-
chette," he remembers the excitement
of his initial exposure to the likes of the
Ronettes and Four Tops. Johansen's in-
clusion of "I'll Be There," and "Build
Me Up Buttercup" (which cuts the
Stone's rather flaccid rendition -of
"Going To A Go-Go" to shreds) leaves
no doubt that these enthusiastic
tributes to his rock and roll roots are
born out of sincere conviction, not
obligatory nostalgia.
Perhaps the most pivotal tracks are
the ballads "Is This What I Get For
Loving You," and "Donna," for they
best demonstrate Johansen's ver-
satility and compelling vocal com-
mand. In fact, out of the thirteen cuts,
only the two New York Dolls selections,
"Stranded In The Jungle," and "Per-
sonality Crisis" fail to stand out as
definite reworkings.
Johansen's band merits praise in its
own right. The musicians perform with
two qualities that are almost unheard of
on live albums: taste and reserve. The
songs are given only what is absolutely
necessary; there are no extended solos,
no tedious jams, and no long-winded
band intros. Additionally, their backing
vocals are some of the most competent
I've ever, heard from "session"
In short, Live It Up is a splendid in-
troduction to the talents of an artist to
whom recognition is long overdue,
while providing us with one of the finest
live albums to come along in some

they didn't favor a football player, says
Jim Hackett, a former back-up center
for Michigan.
"I had to take a marketing exam on
the plane to California my senior year
with five or six other guys because the
professor wanted to made sure
everybody took it at the same time. Bo
told everyone else to shut up, but it was
tough under the circumstances. I can't
remember how well I did," says
Hackett, who now works for Proctor
and Gamble in Indianapolis.
Professors aren't the only ones on
campus who have mixed feelings for
athletes, the players say. By and large,
they were able to walk around campus
with a good deal of pride, basking in the
glory of being Michigan football
players. "When I was a senior," says
Lewis, "there were few places in Ann
Arbor where I could go with friends
from the team without people
recognizing us. If they didn't say
anything, they'd be whispering to one
But while "the people who were spor-
ts buffs would look up in awe," says
Hall, "the people who weren't would
just sneer. Some students had a set idea
of football players, but I never let that
bother me. People are somewhat
biased against student athletes."
Echoes Szafranski: "You have those
people who thought the athletic depar-
tment supplied you with women the
night before the game. Others thought
they gave us cars because I had a new
Camaro. I think it's jealousy or in-
security on the part of a lot of ex-
Lewis thinks .that student attitudes
changed between the time he started in
1972 and the time he finished his foot-
ball career. "At first, the (Vietnam)
war era meant that 'establishment'
things like playing football weren't well
respected. But as time passed, an in-
creasing conservatism caught on on
campus. It never really made a lot of
sense to me that (playing football)
would be a big deal."
The players who could did all that
was possible to dispel the image of the
dumb jock. And Schembechler takes
every chance he can get to cite the
grade point average of his top
scholar/athlete. Last year it was dental
school-bound tight end Norm Betts.
This year it's "3.76" Stefan Humphries.
Of course, naming those players
ignores those who are struggling
through the education school's
physical education department-some
of whom graduate the University
unable to write clearly or even ar-
ticulate complete sentences.
A disturbingly large proportion of

graduation for Dow Chemical Corp.,
where he had found a job the summer
before his senior year through athletic
department ties.
Jerry Zuver, another '76 senior, says
a vice president at the Ohio Art Co.
gave him an interview because of his
recognition as a football player.
The players agree that name,
recognition can help them get a chance
at a job, but it takes ability to hang on to
one. "When you play athletics, people
know who you are," sayd O'Neal, "You
have that advantage. Whether you can
do the job for them is another matter."
When Hackett worked in Michigan
several years ago, his status as an ex-
Wolverine "opened a few doors," he
says. "In sales, maybe someone would

Live It Up: Better than before

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