Wednesday, November 10, 1982
The Michigan Daily
Doll of a Johansen concert
IL \' y
... ... : :h_ . ,
Guitarist Luther Allison is talking the blues last Friday at Rick's.
No'tj us tfor b rea kfas t
D AVID Johansen's appearance
at Second Chance Thursday:
(showtime: 9:30 p.m.) continues what
has proven to be ar exceptional month
for the performing arts in Ann Arbor.
Those fortunate enough to be in atten-
dance will have a unique opportunity
indeed: a chance to witness a bonafide
legend riding the crest of national
breakthrough. A conflict of ter-
minology? Definitely, but in dealing
with David Johansen, one learns never
to apply the ordinary.
First, the legend. For the better part
of ten years, "New York, New York"
could have been David Johansen's
theme song. As the leaderfrontman
for the New York Dolls, Johansen
labored in commercial obscurity,
achieving notoriety mostly for the
band's outrageous glitter-rock pose. On
the surface, the Dolls appeared to be
merely the progeny of the time's
fashion: Lou Reed, David Bowie, and T-
Rex. This month's Drag Queens, if you
Musically, however, the Dolls were
much more than posers, they were in-
novators. Their music possessed a raw,
insistent' energy born out of a diverse
spectrum of influences ranging from
early Motown and rhythm and blues
(Archie Bell and the Drells) to the late
sixties garage sound (the Seeds, the
Count Five). They released two
albums: The New York Dolls (1973) and
the prophetically titled In Too Much
Too Soon (1974). The Dolls attracted a
rabid local following of New Yorkers
who could look past the glitter pose (or
play along with it). They pioneered
late-night gigs at the local clubs. To
many, they embodied the verve of the
Manhattan nightlife in microcosm.
Still, the music transcended even their
artsy Bohemian following. That such
disparate musical genres could be suc-
cessfully molded into an almost primal
innocence remains the major impor-
tance of the Dolls' work.
It also proved to be their downfall.
The varied interests began to fall apart
as swiftly as they had come together.
They realized that they could not dent
the commercial market, and each wan-
ted to try different musical directions.
In Johansen's case, his love for in-
dividual songs (he was weaned on a
huge collection of 45's) had been
sacrificed to satisfy a more demanding
role. The band dissolved around 1975.
Legends often grow out of sudden ab-
sence, and the New York Dolls were no
exception. Their albums rapidly gained
cult status and formed a primary in-
fluence for -the Punk/New Wave ex-
plosions in Great Britain and New
Now, the breakthrough. After the
dissolution of the New York Dolls,
Johansen was free to more fully explore
those elements of R&B and early rock
and roll that had been compromised in
the Dolls' proto-punk stance. He
released three critically acclaimed solo
albums: David Johansen, In Style and
Here Comes the Night. His songwriting
matured immensely and he proved to
be one of rock's foremost interpreters
of non-original material. The melodies
became fuller and his 'vocals were
brought to the forefront of the mix. In
New York, he gained the reputation of
being the most exciting showman
around. He was also, perhaps, rock's
best kept secret.
With the release of Live It Up, Johan-
sen seems to have finally solved his
problem of exposure. This live album
serves to introduce the uninitiated to
his fine solo work, reconciling it with
his New York Doll's past, while
showcasing his talents as a live per-
former. Gone are the days when Johan-
sen had to toil as an opening act for rock
and roll travesties such as Joan Jett.
Catch this rising legend at the Second
Chance while you can. Next time, you
may have to wade through the aisles of
a reverberating arena.
David Johansen will make a special
autograph signing today at 4:00 at
School Kid's Records.
Testing Preparation Services 7
... living it up
By C.E. Krell
ALESE STRODE into Rick's, og-
ling in a sexist manner Ms. boun-
cer lady. Last Friday was six days after
October 30, when the Luther Allison
*land Halloweened at East Quad.
Stop! Gay Talese didn't do this.
Tough cookies for you.
.The Luther Allison Band:- Michel
Carras, piano; Michael Morrison, bass;
Donald "Hye Pockets" Robertson, per-
cussion; Luther Allison, guitar, har-
"My main thing is to play accurate
my way ... I'm making it more
'I listen to country music; I listen to
reggae music, jazz, classical. What I'm
listening for in that music is how much
blues 'in that. music. I refuse to hear
anything but blues. There's not a
moment go by that I'm awake I don't
think or I'm playing within my mind
'I'm trying to find a recipe for my
generation, my life."
Twenty-five years of living this and,
no, Luther Allison hasn't stopped yet.
It's not just for breakfast anymore.
It's so easy to write the blues off as a
tired form for old, black men or middle-
aged white heroin addicts to sing about
their problems. Why do it?
People study anthropology and ar-
cheology in order to learn more about
ancient man, why he did what he did,
and how this can help man to prosper in
the future. So why not use the same for
the blues? Luther Allison thinks the
blues appears in almost every form of
music we listen to today, and at closer
listen, you can't deny it. Shutting your-
self off from one area leaves you won-
dering why does this sound like this?
But why listen to Luther Allison? As
an "in." Why not? Luther Allison ad-
mits to being lesser known: "People
don't hear Luther Allison on the radio,
and that hurts me. . At one time I
wanted to quit because I was at a point
when I should have been recognized."
Recognize him. So he's not extremely
old (just 43), drug-addicted, or dying to
tell you his problems. He didn't even
drain his beer. (drawl) What we- have
here is a success to communicate.
So he's nice. Has he got the chops?
Damn straight. The Luther Allison
Band. The players all are expert. The
bass player especially pounds your
viscera into the concrete. Every time I
listened for one particular instrument,
that instrument, it done me deep. The
sound as a whole was holly killer, dis is
But it's more than the blues. It's
music culture into unit. Danceable,
listenable, rhythmical, transcendental.
You could hear so many of your records,
rolled into one large eggroll of
So it's not a purist experience in
"Chicago," "Delta,' "Urban," "Coun-
try," etc ad nauseum blues. Fun is what
it's about. A pair of tongs clutching part
of you, becoming aware, then letting
go, so you can do it again. What can you
say about a man who expresses himself
best with his hands by ripping you to
shreds, only so you can continue to be
Next time the Luther Allison Band
rolls into Ann Arbor, take a look see.
What you will see is not god, but a pair
of shuffling feet directly below you, and
a quivering rod of emotion inside you.
Have a good time.
"The door's always open. There's
nobody saying you can't come."
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- - - "
Vader meets Euripides
By Susan Makuch
THE TROJAN WAR of Greek my-
thology is about the last place one
ould expect to find Darth Vader
costumes and synthesized music. But
that's what you'll find if you attend the
University Player's Showcase produc-
tion of The Trojan Women November
10-13 and 18-20 in the New Trueblood
Arena. Performances are at 8:00 p.m.
Christopher B. Connelly, the director
of. The Trojan Women, says his intr-
p retation is "a cross between Greek
tragedy and Star Wars." Bright,
futuristic costumes and an electronic
' usical score help him achieve his
esired effect. "This is a theatrical
play, and I've tried to make it as
theatrical as possible," he explains.
Connelly adds that "I don't go to the
'burlap and brown' school of Greek
tragedy, so it's not a period reconstruc-
tion at all." He hopes that this approach
will make the play, written by
Euripides in 415 B.C., more attractive
to today's audience. "It has as much to
ay about the modern world as it does
about the ancient world," Connelly
.The play begins just at the conclusion
of the Trojan War. All the Trojan men
have been murdered during the war;
only the women survive, enslaved to the
victorious Greeks. One of the primary
characters, Queen Hecuba (of the
Trojans), tried to stop the war for
years, knowing it was viscious and sen-
seless. "This play is very anti-war;
very anti-what causes war," says Con-
nelly. "It illustrates what happens
when men blindly allow political
necessity to determine their
behavior-events end up taking control
of people," he adds.
Connelly relates this aspect of The
Trojan Women to our world today. He
gives examples of the Falkland Island
War and the nuclear arms race as being
the same kind of political mentality as
that of the Trojan War. "That kind of
political mentality has existed for cen-
turies, and it still exists today," he
But the thing that drew Connelly to
the play was that it "has lots of oppor-
tunities for women," he admits. "It's
about them (women), what they must
go through when men decide to run
things," Connelly says. "Women are
the victims-they're caught in a web of
circumstance. Woman and men both
realize that once you surrender control,
you must do things that you don't want
to do." Connelly feels that this is sym-
bolic of the struggles both sexes are
going through in today's society.
Connelly is not only taking chances
with his stylistic approach to this
classic, but also with his staging of the
play. "When I first thought of this piece
I said to myself, 'This will never go,'"
he remembers. But then he got the idea
of putting the production in an arena
setting - one with the audience on all
four sides. "The thing about an arena
setting is that everybody in the audien-
ce has to have something to look at, so
you must have some of the characters
facing in each direction. It's a little dif
ficult to stage, but I think we've workedi
it out very well," Connelly says.
Connelly has tried to blend the an-
cient and the contemporary in this ver-
sion of The Trojan Women. By tying
together the social and political feelings.
of years past with those of the present,
he hopes to make the story relevant. He
says, "With our approach, we hope
we'll be able to make a social and
political statement and be entertaining
along the way."
Find out in the Daily Horoscope
on the Classifieds page
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