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October 05, 1984 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-05
This is a tabloid page

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D: You still must get a better respon- M: Yeah, we figured when we you've heard it a bit and gotten familiar
se in smaller halls and clubs though? signed, that's why we picked I.R.S. with the lyrics and the melodies, there's
M: It depends, it really just depends D: I was just wondering, considering a lot below the surface texturing, odd
on the evening and the city itself. A lot the reaction to "Radio Free Europe" if sounds and flourished, that come out of
of cities and crowds have personalities, you'd been offered more money by a the aural woodwork ...
it's without reason. You know, Omaha larger label? M: We like to do that. The thing I'd
was just amazing, the most fanatical M: Well, we probably could have got- like most to think about our music is
bunch of people I've ever seen in a long ten more of an advance but we didn't that in ten years it'll still sound as good
time. want one, we wanted to get the better as it does now.
D: What's the largest place you've royalty rate and try to stay out of debt, D: Too much music today is over-
Mike Mills, bassist for R.E.M. ever played in? and we've managed to do that so far ... preoccupied with the production and
spoke with Daily associate arts M: Veteran's Stadium in D: Is that a trick for a lot of new ban- the sound of it all versus actual melody,
editor Byron L. Bull on Tuesday, Philadelphia, when we opened for the ds? if any. And the funny thing is so many
Seditormbr1o erL.heBulhonesdPolice for about seven shows. M: Well a lot of bands think that the bands ride on gimmicks that sound so
September 18 over the telephone. D: How did you get sucked into thing to do is get this massive advance incredibly dated within a few months.
Daily: I caught your show last sum- association with the Police of all bands? and therefore you're rich and that's not M: Exactly, and it will if it doesn't
mer in Royal Oak and I was just won- M: Ah, well, their drummer has two true. That means that the record com- stand up to close inspection.
dering how long the band has been on brothers and one of them runs our pany's out of a lot of money and you're D: For all its production touches
the road now? booking agency and the other brother out of a lot of money because you owe it Reckoning has a lot of warmth to it.
Mills: Well, we did six weeks, then runs our record company so . . . we'd back to them and if the record doesn't M: Well, our albums are produced but
took a month off and now we're two already turned down a lot of other tours sell they have no way of recouping ex- only to the extent that by the fact you're
weeks into this six week stretch. and bands so - cept by anything you do for the next in the studio, and they have to be
D: And after you finish, this stretch... D: Who'd you turn down? ten years. We didn't want to get produced somewhat. We try to keep it
M: After that we go to Japan for ten M: Oh, The Clash, The Go-Go's, and caught in that trap. warm and I think it's really neat to
days and then Europe and England for U-2. D: With things picking up in high have little things under there that you
a month and then we quit for a while. D: You're not too fond of the Clash. . gear for the band, what's going to hap- hear later on or if you're listening on
D: You've taken the band through pen when the day comes that you have headphones. It doesn't have to be a
Europe haven't you? M: Well. . . I don't like them much. the ability to fill arenas when you tour? cluttered sound by any means, but
M: Yeah, we've done a pretty good For one thing we never did want to open M: It's a question we're going to there's always things you can add in
trip through England and we've been to for anybody because it's not a healthy have to deal with because the there that will actually help the song
France and Germany and also Holland. situation .., pressure's going to come from that you won't notice until later on.
D: Did you have any opportunity to D: You tend to get pushed around .., everywhere, I mean if we've got 10,000 That's why we put little things on there,
check out the local music scenes in any M: Yeah, you sure do, and the people in a city that want to see us, are like those little snippets of music that
of the countries you passed through? audiences usually just don't care. But we being fair to them by staying out of are on our records, sometimes just to
M: Not a whole lot. We went to some The Clash especially I wouldn't open for an arena and playing in a place where show that there are four people in the
clubs but we didn't get a chance to do because I just don't like them and their only three or four thousand can see us? studio having fun and making a record.
too much. France doesn't have ... well crowds, everything they say they stand We could do two or three shows then, By putting things in there that someone
.. we saw two French rock and roll for is just a bunch of (unintelligible but that's tiring and it becomes very can discover later on their own, or the
bands, and there can't be too many mumble) if you ask me. expensive, and so it's a paradox in a fact that our words are so ... well-
more than that. France is great for D: Like them hawking Clash t-shirts way, but it's something we'll have to D: Hard to make out at times?
rock and roll, for American and British on stage? work out if/when we get to that point. M: No, what it mainly is is that our
bands, but they just don't produce M: Sure, then they do the US festival D: What do you do in between tours words are so non literal that you can
much themselves. and tell the promoters and everybody and recording when you're just sitting make them your own. Hopefully the
D: They don't produce much music- that they should be giving their money around Athens getting bored? listener gets very much a part of the
wise? to charity.. .it's just a bunch of crap. M: Well there's all kinds of things. song.
M: I don't know, I think they drink Anyways, we did the Police thing just to Michael once in a while will set up in D: The idea is to avoid concrete
wine and paint and that's about all. say 'Look, we'll do this just to show you front of a club with an accordian and an ideas and give the listeners a space to
D: Now that the band is being booked that A: It won't help us and B: We'll open box in front of him and play. 'carve out their own niche to inhabit on
in larger halls, what's it like compared hate it - and we were right on both Peter, Bill, and I have a little spin-off their own?
to the old days? counts. You know we gradually group of our own called the Hindu M: Well, you know, a lot of people
M: We get better taken care of for managed to convince the people that Lovegods that we do with a friend of just think they've got a great story to
one, I think the audiences are more work with us that as for us ourselves we ours who sings and we do all covers and tell, but we really don't. Michael does
comfortable, except in cases where the know pretty much what we need to do play bars and things around there. most of the words and his approach is
security is too tight which happens a and not to do. As for marketing the There's another band called Wheel of that by just a few key phrases and ideas
lot. The main disadvantage is that record, that's their job, we let them do Cheese that's a revolving door of you can convey a very intense feeling
usually in theaters the audiences have it and as far as marketing. . . dealing musicians, whoever's in town at the that someone else can pick up on
to stay in their seats and I can't stand with us, that's our job and wedo it. time, mostly Love Tractor, some of us, without realizing it. The ideas that hit
that." D: You seem to have a pretty good and whoever just happens to be around. Michael and cause him to write
D: Kind of ruins the mood ... rapport with your label. D: Listening to Reckoning, once whatever words he writes don't have to
M: Oh, it's horrible, we try to avoid it
whenever possible. And occasionally
there's an orchestra pit and if they
don't let people in the pit then we've got
this gulf between us and the crowd and4
it's very distracting. It's very annoying
in a lot of places when you see thesex
security people pushing the people who
paid all this money to get in there back
into their seats.
D: Kills the point in going out to see a
show if you can't get a little crazy.«
M: Sure, if someone wants to sit'
down they can go home and listen to the
D: Every band runs into a rare
situation when there's no chemistry,
and you can't connect with the audien-
ce. What do you do when that happens?
M: Sometimes that does happen,
through any combination of factors,-
and you just have to keep trying. If you
can do something to get 'em going then
you do it. You see we're not... it's a
bad word to use ... but we're a very
real band on stage. In other words it's'
not a stadium exhibition for people to
get up "and rock" and that kind of stuff.
Usually it works for us...
Mills (far left) and R.E.M.: Avoiding concrete ideas
10 Weekend/Friday, October 5, 1984-

C 0 V E
of three"
By Byron L. Bull
A NN ARBOR has long been a Mid-
western oasis for culture and the
arts, both popular and traditional.
With its large and varied student
body, it can readily supply an audience
for something as obscure as Taj Mahal
or Stockhausen, and then turn around
and embrace the Vienna Philharmonic
or The Police. Despite being a medium
sized, fairly isolated city, Ann Arbor
can offer as much entertainment as
many a major metropolis can.
Seven years ago, as the first signs of
the new wave were washing ashore, the
city played cordial host to the then
unheard-of Talking Heads and XTC. The Replacements: from the garage to the top of the critics' pick lists
Five years later, that wave had all but
died and was receding. Ann Arbor put black-leather crowds into the Michigan P THERE last winter on all of the straighteni
it out gloriously as the Jam's final tour Theater this Saturday night. On the U rock critics Best Of the Year lists, still whip
swept through town. following Monday, R.E.M. and cult snuggled comfortable in between Ran- titles like '
Those with long memories can fondly favorites, The dB's, will bring their dy Newman, T-Bone Burnett, R.E.M., infamous
recall when the Who and Bruce grass roots, unimposing variety of rock and James Blood Ulmer, were The with curtly
Springsteen stopped by in their seminal to the same stage. Replacements. need a g
days-the kind of legendary shows con- Formed five years ago, when their damn
cert lovers would give their souls to youngest member, bassist Tommy nit/Goda
have caught. And who remembers Stinson, was only 12, The Replacements job.
when Boy George and Culture Club emerged in their native Minneapolis This sor
played before a small crowd at The TflHE dB's have been around for bar scene as a ragged, offensively loud growing u
Chance, only to come to Detroit a year several years longer than quartet pumping out their pure, unhar- and cultist:
later and pack Joe Louis Arena? their friends and admirerers R.E.M., nessed, frustrated energies-"power a strong li
Generally good shows, the really in- but despite their singular talents, have trash" they called it. The last
teresting shows, are sporadic affairs, been unable to find a fair measure of For all their brash arrogance, The find is suc
but this week it's a different story. success. They get good press, and they Replacements are anything but another their adm
During the next ten days Ann Arbor have a small but rabid throng of fans, hard ass quasi-punk band with an im- that would
and The Michigan Theater, in an in- but for incomprehensible reasons, movable chip on their shoulder. They comfortab
credible stroke of luck, will host three mass recognition has eluded them. are the kind of band that was weened on living with
concerts that represent a fascinating, Signing with the British label Albion, top forty and RM radio and never lear- them hol
broad glimpse of modern music in it's they produced a fine debut record ned to draw a fine distinction between restaurant
most diverse forms. The six bands called Stands For Decibels, that was what they liked as kids and what M-TV as
playing represent .a fair spectrum of hailed on both sides of the Atlantic. The they're suppossed to know better now, which they
styles and abilities, along with an New Yok Times raved over it, calling it A typical set might include a halfway tl
equally different level of critical and "the most impressive pop-rock debut psychotic versions of Yes's "Roun- disgust.
popular acceptance. since the emergence of Elvis Costello." dabout," a Hank Williams ballad, some And wh
The heart of the affair is this But laudatory reviews don't sell T. Tex or Velvet Underground, and labels are
weekend, when X and their infamous albums, especially when you can't even even their own incarnation of "Love band has
opener, The Replacements, bring get a domestic release in your own Goes Where My Rosemary Goes." lawyers s
country. When they appeared at Joe's Star change.
Their second album the utterly Lounge a year ago amid much preshow Perhaps
amazing Repurcussions again got good word of mouth hype, they stumbled on- sum up t
hype but no mass consumption. Those to stage and wandered through an in- fessional '
lucky enough to have someone stick coherent short set of songs (to the ver- Westerber
their ears to a speaker and listen to an bal dissatisfaction of their annoyed plainly, w
import of Repurcussion found a whim- audience) and shamelessly took their wants a h
sically, eccentric form of power' pop money and ran. When they returned Who cot
that no one else state side had a knack only a few weeks ago, they gave such a this?
for. clean, amazingly integrated show
Just when the band was set to begin many people could have sworn they W HEIN
recording their first album for an were seeinga different band. onto
American label, Like This, guitarist In just four albums they've gone from years ago,
Chris Stamey bowed out. an abrasive, mildly amusing post-punk them: thei
The result, with Pete Holsapple as band to a refined, but by no means Metal he,
sole frontman, is an album and a band staid, set of musicians. abrasively
that is still every bit as prone to Under the leadership of Ran". The
engaging silly, catchy short songs with songwriter/singer Paul Westerberg the tube took :
a slightly harder edge. boys have shelved their wall-of-noise swooping:
The band's southern flavor, which approach and concentrated on lead singe
only crept in slightly before, is now a delivering concisely written, witty rock mind, he o
dominant part of their sound. that slips comfortably from one niche to In no til
They are still pop, but with more another, depending on the song. sive airi
The dB's: engaging, infectious guts. None of this means that the band is
power pop

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