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November 12, 1982 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-12
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Work in g
men
By Larry Dean
Men At Work
Royal Oak Music Theater
Saturday, November 13
SUMMER'S ARE meant for driving
in top-down cars with radios full-
blast, a well-tanned scribe once
spraypainted on the outside wall of his
high school. Indeed, every year the
trees sprout leaves, the beaches open,
people kick off their shoes, the tem-
perature soars and music, sweet music,
fills the air.
The summer of 1982 was no excep-
tion. Stevie Wonder kept up his hot
streak with "That Girl," a sumptuous
funk-pop delight; "Steppin Out" came
from the newly-revamped Joe Jackson
Band; "Tainted Love," by Soft Cell,
had everybody singing along with its
outrageously catchy chorus, as did the
reformed Human League's "Don't You
Want Me"; the midwest's answer to
Bruce Springsteen, John Cougar, ser-
ved up "Jack and Diane," a squint-eyed
glimpse of adolescent Americana; and
even Chicago-faithful old Chicago-
bounced back from the depths of AM-
limbo with their strongest single in
years, "Hard To Say I'm Sorry." Con-
vertibles blasted summer songs to ears
that wanted to listen or not, rolling
down the highway to that inevitable
end, the coming of fall.
One summer hit, "Who Can It Be
Now?," comes from a new Australian
band, Men At Work. Fronted by
guitarist/vocalist Colin Hay, whose
voice occasionally reminds one of the
Police's Sting, Men At Work cull up
enough hooks and clever lyrics to let
Billy Squier borrow a few, and still
they'd sound ten times better. "Who
Can It Be Now?" is a prime example of
their craft: crisp, fluid guitar work, the
"Knock-knock-knock" of the drums
when Hays asks, "Who can it be
knocking at my door?," the call and
response between Hay and saxophonist

"Down Under," the follow-up, did even
better, holding down the number one
position in the charts for six weeks.
Their album, Business As Usual, sold
equally well and, until recently, about
the only marketplace the Men hadn't
cracked was America.
Business As Usual is a good debut,
but not a great one. Other than the two
hits (since become smashes here, too),
there is a gracious sampling of Men At
Work's ability to transcend pop idioms,
to put them together in a pleasant, if not
incredibly original, manner. "I Can See
It In Your Eyes" is a nice song about an
impending break-up between two
lovers, with some of the album's best
lyrics. In the face of the inevitable, Hay
turns to reminiscing about the past:
Winter kisses when your lips were
blue,
Like chasing wild geese in the snow,
Pressing faces on the windowpanes,
But that was a long time ago.
"Be Good Johnny," about a lad
disenchanted with his schooling, boasts
a strong chorus and great music by
Ham and Hay; "Down by the Sea,"
though predictable, works by
establishing its sleepy mood; "People
Just Love To Play With Words" is
blessed with a pretty melody and zesty
sax solo, but lyrically wimps out; "Cat-
ch A Star" rehashes the vanilla reggae
of "Down Under" with the same
amount of verve-like its predecessor,
it lacks bite. The remaining songs have
their strengths and weaknesses, with
the most support coming from Men At
Work's musical muscle: if all else
seems a bit lacking, the five members'
musicianship pulls it through.
Business As Usual is an encouraging
first album from a band with wit,
musical aptitude and, as the record-
buying public has proven, appeal. One
could take the analogy made with
Australian film director Peter Weir fur-
ther at this point: the audience for Men
At Work is here-the huge crowds at
Cricketers Arms pub in their native
land were no lie. Now if they can keep
on delivering the goods and improving
on their catalogue, as Weir did with
"Gallipoli," his first film made (in
Australia) with a targeted international
audience, and prove that it really is
"business as usual," then the ensuing
summers' joyrides will be infinitely
sunnier.

unit after about three hours. But one=
guard suffered a broken nose, and
another was hospitalized with a back
injury. Both had been corrections of-
ficers for less than a year. Four in-
mates were also injured, none
seriously, during the takeover. The
total physical damage to the prison ad-
ded up to $68,000.
Along with the other problems, Grant
tends to play down the incident. "I
wouldn't even classify it as a riot," he
says. Originally, prison officials had
identified 13 ringleaders in the incident,
but now they've narrowed the number
to four.
According to Grant, the four inmates
were scheduled to be moved out of
Huron Valley that week for refusing to
participate in prison programs and for
behavioral problems. They are still at
Huron Valley, awaiting prosecution on
charges of assault with intent to com-
mit murder, rioting, and destroying
state property.
"I think more than anything they
wanted to make a name for them-
selves," Grant explained. "We see this
happen often. A prisoner does not want
to transfer, so he strikes out at staff and
strikes out at other prisoners to get
himself in a position where he can stay
at this facility."
One of the inmates, convicted mur-
derer Kyle Johnson, escaped three
weeks ago from a corrections van
carrying the four to Ann Arbor for a
hearing on the April disturbance. John-
son, 23, who had an earlier history of
juvenile problems, evaded a massive
police manhunt for 20 hours before
being arrested in a Salem Township
home.
THE PROBLEM with prisons-and
part of the reason for things like
riots and repeated offenders-is that,
no matter how wonderful it sounds,
rehabilitationis easier said than done.
"Taking away somebody's freedom
is an incredible punishment," says
Kathy Edgren, director of the inmate
program at the University's Project
Community, which sends University

students to work with prisoners. "I think
you can lock people up in (Detroit's)
Ren Cen, and it still won't be that
luxurious. You can't just lock people up
and expect them to be docile and not be
frustrated.
"I think it's very hard to rehabilitate
someone who doesn't want to be
rehabilitated, she says. "But prisoners
aren't the only problem. I think that the
prison system is a huge failure. It's just
warehousing people that most people in
society want to forget about. They (in-

I'm not proud of," he says. "I could go
back to the different times and say,
'Why did you do what you did?' and I
couldn't give anybody an answer. I
can't look inside myself and tell you
why I did what I did.
"I can tell you afterwards that I'm
sorry," he says. "I do feel guilt and things
like that but that still didn't stop me
from doing the things. You say you're
going to take a person like me and
rehabilitate me? I thought that I was
rehabilitated time and time again. But

'I thought that I was rehabilitated time and
time again. But then something would hap-
pen and I'd end up back here in one of these
places, and I can't even tell you why.'
-George Hall
Huron Valley inmate

And then, th
prisoners' loss
to deal with a
dividuality, ar
cells in the wor
According to
to develop his
with prison life
prison experiei
I was walkin
on my way to t
He said he hea
ned around tc
was, and then r
"I guess I v
time .. . It wa
And it was a
now."
Hall conside
fills most of
Valley's new
carries creati
prison news,
from across th
prisoners writ
with a skill n
wish their studs
time is not take
Hall serves as a
several inmate
"I find right
doing at the
satisfying thing
a long time," h
doing somethi
way is worthwl
ficult to achievi
Grant says 1
isn't always ti
achieve such a
Valley.
" All institutic
and bring abou
they are hous
point in time,"
change anyone
bring about son
self.
"Some time o
period of incarc
that he does
changes if he ev
self and get out
Grant says hi

Men At Work: Overtime

mates) are going to be bitter, angry,
frustrated. Look at the number of
suicides that occur in prison."
Hall believes the whole rehabilitation
process needs more psychological per-
spective. "Most guys who come to
prison have personality problems.
They're angry at the world for
whatever reason and this hostility
manifests itself in different ways-by
stealing or hurting somebody, or by
hurting themselves. You have to get in-
side that man. Find out what's wrong,
why he's so angry."
Otherwise, he says, prisoners will
suffer "burn-out." Hall says this is
what happened to him.
He doesn't feel sorry for himself.
When he speaks, he is not bitter-for
the most part-toward society. His
voice is not filled with emotion, he sim-
ply talks about what has happened in a
matter-of-fact, almost analytical tone.
"All my life, I've done a lot of things.

then something would happen and I'd
end up back here in one of these places,
and I can't even tell you why. So how is
anyone else going to?"
People on the outside can't under-
stand, he says. They don't know what
it's like to be locked up. They have no
way of knowing how even little things
can make a difference. After serving
time in the larger, more crowded in-
stitutions, Hall appreciates Huron
Valley, and its attempts toward
rehabilitation. "I'm sure to somebody
out there these rooms wouldn't look
that large, but if you've lived in a cell in
Marquette, then you know what small
is," he says.
The warden can also make a dif-
ference, he says. "I believe that we
have a very innovative warden, which
makes or breaks an institution." With
Grant, he says, "if you have a
legitimate beef, he'll address himself to
that."

Greg Ham on the chorus-all combine
together for three-and-a-half minutes of
pure, gimmickless pop.
Men At Work are somewhat of a
breakthrough in the Australian music
scene-call them the Peter Weir of
Aussie bands, if you like, at least in
consideration of their contemporaries:
AC/DC, the Little River Band, Olivia
Newton-John. You won't catch Hay
prancing around in an overgrown
schoolboy outfit, nor will you hear
anything as insipid as "Physical"
emanating from their Marshall
stacks . . . Their songs are catch, but
not contageous.
After giggling in the Melbourne area
in a variety of different bands, the five
members of Men At Work came
together and agreed that they had
found their place in the current line-up.
Besides Hay (who writes a majority of
the material), the band consists of Ron
Strykert on guitar, Jerry Speiser on
drums, John Rees on bass, and the
afore-mentioned Ham, who plays sax,

flute, keyboards, and occasionally
sings lead vocals. They became a
legend at a club in Richmond, an inner-
city suburb of Melbourne, called the
Cricketers Arms Hotel pub, by packing
crowds in night after night. In time,
they were selling out shows not only in
the Melbourne area, but nationwide. An
added irony comes about because of the
fact that they were the highest-paid
unrecorded band in the region.
Michael Ware, an ex-A and R (artists
and repertoire-music biz lingo for a
talent scout) man for Columbia Recor-
ds, kept his eyes and ears on Men At
Work. Eventually he approached them
with great enthusiasm for their music,
and carried it over to CBS executives
who, while not terribly impressed in the
beginning, finally took notice of the
band's unusually large following and
signed them to a recording contract.
"Who Can It Be Now?," released
overseas over a year ago, stayed in the
Australian top five for ten weeks;

Point
blank

By Mare Hodges
The Pointer Sisters
Michigan Theatre
Friday, November 12
O NE FREQUENTLY hears accounts
of a struggling musically talented
family that just so happens to get lucky
and hit it big, take the Jackson 5 or even
the Osmond's for example. Well, the
Pointer Sisters are just one other
example of such a family.
Ruth, June and Anita Pointer are the
daughters of California's Elton and
Sarah Pointer, gospel ministers of the
W. Oakland Church of God. Because of

their parents' religious positions, the
Pointer Sisters were not allowed to
listen to any music other than gospel
during their youth, with an occasional
radio or TV jingle on the side. Due to
this restriction and lack of musical ex-
posure, any style that the Sisters
developed was devoid of influence by
such favorites as The Andrews Sisters,
who they are frequently accused of
imitating. What they call "scatting"
(be bop doo wop) was a skill they
developed on their own.
When the Pointer Sisters finally had
the opportunity to hear other music it
was a combination of rhythm and blues,
post-psychedelic Bay rock, and even
some country. What they went on to
develop as a result of these diverse in-
fluences was a style ranking
somewhere between pop and R&B.
With intentions of performing such
music the Pointer Sisters headed for
San Francisco, without manager,
without booking, and without success.
Fortunately they were eventually

discovered by Bill Graham of Motown
Records, who landed the girls positions
as back-up vocalists for such artists as
Elvis Bishop and Dave Mason. This ex-
posure led them to a new record label
and several TV appearances, in
cluding guest spots on the Merv Griffin,
Mike Douglas, and Carol Burnett
shows.
In '74 the Pointer Sisters made
history as the first black female
vocalists to appear on stage at the
Grand O' Opry. Following this ap-
pearance they went on to produce four
LPs that were evidence of their
growing success and popularity. In-
cluded on these four albums were such
hit singles as "Yes," "We Can Can,"
and "Bet You got a Chick on the Side."
Following these successes, the Poin-
ter Sisters decided it was time to take a
break and re-establish themselves
away from one another. This break
resulted in Ruth's having a baby, and
Anita and June's solo attempts which
didn't meet with extreme success.

Family ties prevailed after this break,
however, and as one of the girls
remarked, "we were fed off each
other's energies."
Once reunited, the Pointer Sisters
went into the production of Energy,
their fifth LP, containing the inter-
national hit "Fire" written for the girls
by Bruce Springsteen.
The Sisters dabbled in work with
various artists at this time, including
Bob Seger, Ian Hunter, Steven Stills,
and Sly Stone. This experience influen-
ced their next LP, Special Things,
which proved to be a major success on
the pop and soul charts.
The girls' performances still contain
those nostalgic winners, "Salt
Peanuts" and "That's A Plenty" but
the experience that they've gained over
the years has led to a new,
sophisticated style that results in sim-
ple, dynamic displays of contemporary
talent.

I

4 Weekend/November 12, 1982

...a t._9._

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