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October 26, 1984 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-26
This is a tabloid page

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a local
By Dov Cohen
TI~wenty years ago every young
iong haired punk with dreams of
making it big in the music industry took
over his family's 2 car garage and tur-
ned it into a recording studio.
Today things are different. The cars
are still out on the street, but the garage
has been turned into a television soun-
To make it big in music today, a bane
really has to have video backing them
up. We're not talking about these MTV
style videos with $80,000 budgets (if
they had $80,000 what the hell would
they be doing making music). We're
talking about round-up-the-gang, and-
we'll-have-a-good time video made on a
Roger Corman shoestring budget.
Disband a local 4 man ska group didn't
have the equipment to make a MTV
style video, so they didn't try to. Con-
tent to tell their own story in their own


production that's done its black-radio
homework. And, as that, it has a cer-
tain bubblegum tolerability-the
charm of polished inanity. Essentially
crass and uninteresting as Make It Big
(Christ! spell out the chart-lust man!)
is, in its diluted-Motown way, no more
deserving of the derision it's going to
get than any of the other current U.K.
pop idols. D.H.

Disband: (From left) Phil Berman, Doug Heller, Kurt Kurtiss, and Fritz Paper

way, Disband borrowed a camera from
the U-M video department, gathered up
a few friends, and on a $35 budget, shot
their video for "A Night of Serious
Drinking." and throughout it all, they
proved one thing: They have a lot of
"Nobody rains on our parade," said
Disband's new drummer Todd Parol as
he watched a leaky roof drizzle all over
their set.
The rain which covered the floor with

-)- -- c t"
4 0m
printed sideways by request of the advertiser

a layer of water might have stopped a
lot of people, but not Disband, they kept
right on filming in the rain. And they
still pulled it off.
Their video may not be the greatest
thing since Twisted Sister's (the video
won't be out for a few weks), but they
did have one helluva time making it.
"Drinking," which Heller says is
based on a French novel by Renee
Daumal, shows us a '40s or '50s-ish
cabaret through the eyes of guitarist
Doug Heller. On his way to getting
trashed, Heller, a little repulsed, wat-
ches as the other characters drink, talk,
and do almost everything to excess.
"it's not like MTVish characters.
They're people..who somehow get
together like on Gilligan's island," said
dirctor Lisa Knox, a former video
"It's fun. It's like a party with all
your friends...Halloween a little early,"
said Robin Laurie Silverman, a com-
munications major who unwittingly got
drafted into the project.
"I dropped off one of the members of
the band and stopped to watch and Lisa
(Knox) handed me a dress. Who am I
to argue?"
"It's kind of nice to be behind the
scenes and get to see what's going on.
People have a lot of illusions. There's a
lot off camera that you don't see.
People don't realize the work that goes
behind it,"she said.
The session lasted well over 7 hours.
It took about 3 hours to set up and prep
all the actors, and it took another 4
hours to film. Everytime a different
shot was taked, the lights had to be
moved, and each scene was rehearsed
and rerehearsed before the cameras
ever ran.
One cast member David Crandall, a
1980 university graduate, was not
disillusioned. "This is exactly what I
expected. A lot of people waiting
around and you get your shot done and
you can split... the final project is just
the tip of the iceberg," he said. With
those words he summed up what the
video was all about. When the finished
product comes out the viewer won't see
how in the middle of a scene, one crew
member tried to snake across the stage
only to end up with his lower back right
in the middle of the camera. The
viewer won't see how Tony Hinds, a
cast member, stared hypnotized into

the camera and then sat back and win-
ced realizing what he had done.
The viewer also won't see how Direc-
tor Know slide on her back across a
sopping wet floor in order to get just the
right camera angle for the last dance
sequence. All these things will end up
on the cutting room floor (or on "Foul
Ups, Bleeps, and Blunders" if they're
Camera angles, though, were the
least of Knox's problems. Her $35
budget (the average MTV video cost 60
to 80 thousand dollars) was eaten up
almost solely by makeup. Her sax
player never showed up and the roof
leaked for an hour over her main set.
"This is the classic kind of thing that
drives directors nuts," said Heller.
However, the band did the best they
could. "Come on it's low budget" said
Heller defending the "drinks" he made
out of food coloring and water.
As for the shortage of actors,
Everyone pitched in to help. .
Joe Tibone (owner of Joe's Star
Lounge) made a cameo appearance
and so did one of the makeup women
covering for the missing sax player.
(Imagine what would have happened if
she hadn't been there. It would have
been the first video ever without sax or
The pseudo-saxist did a pretty
credible job too, except for the time
that bassist Kurt Kurtiss had to tell her
she had the mouth piece on upside
The makeup woman turned out to be
one of many who shed her camera
shyness as the afternoon wore on. "It'll
be fun. I was kind of apprehensive
about it, "said the band's soundman
Tony Hinds. "I don't think I'll be able
to stand up in front of that camera. It's
just like being on an answering
machine, you don't know what to say or
"Now I know how it feels. I had a
video camera and used to walk up and
down the halls (of East Quad) and take
pictures of people," added Hinds.
"I hate being in front of the camera"
said Silverman. "My father was a
photographer. (But this isn't like that).
It'll sort of be like home movies, sitting
there and laughing at yourself."
And what if the video gets on the MTV
Basement Tapes as the band hopes it
will. "I'd love it. I think I'd laugh

Giorgio Moroder and various ar-
tists-Metropolis Soundtrack (Colum-
Disco-synth king Moroder took part
of the fortune he amassed through his
heinous collaborations with Donna
Summers and went out and bought the
rights to Fritz Lang's classic 1926 film
Metropolis, which was fine until he began
tampering with it. He added some long
lost footage (o.k.) and color tinted the
print (questionable), then decided to
release it with a new soundtrack, which
he of course supervised (horrors). The
result, featured on this disc is a cast of
"stars" such as Freddie Mercury,
Adam Ant, Billy Squire, and Pat
Benatar singing songs that are little
more than a trite plot synopsis set to
some very bad rhymes. Moroder's
trademark cascade of dry, unevocative
synthesizors swishes and oozes against
it all with unvaried repetitiousness.
Wham!-Make It Big (CBS)
The Band We Most Wanted to Hate of
1984 (well, maybe of 2nd most, after
Frankie Goes to Hollywood) puts out a
first domestic LP that isn't quite as
embarassing as we would like. There's
nothing really good, let alone faintly
original, here, but Wham! does accep-
table imitations of Stevie Wonder
balladry ("Everything She Wants"), of
Teddy Pendergrass moist-sheets soul
("Like a Baby"), and of mid-period
Donna Summer melodrama ("Careless
Whisper"). Less successful is the
Springsteen soundalike ("Heartbeat"),
and then there's that current snuff-me-
or-change-the-station hit single, "Wake
Me Up Before You Go-Go." The lead
singer can change moods and models
like a chameleon, but he does his
breathy sincerity bits with croony
professionalism-he might even be a
real white soul boy some day if he stops
trying to emulate Boy George, who isn't
one. This is roughly equivalent in its in-
tent and lasting value to the median
Partridge Family album, with the ad-
ditions of a more fluid lead singer and a

Plan 9:Dealing With the Dead (Mid-
Excellent psychedelic album from a
band which appeared less than a month
ago at Joe's and just hinted at this den-
sity and imagination of sound.
Somewhat indebted to early Grateful
Dead and a dozen other, cooler names,
Plan 9 psyches-up and out the Standell's
garage hardpop to encompass tripouts
into the musical psycheworld. By
which I mean flippy keyboard solos,
terrific re-verbs, clever songs ("I Like
Girls," etc.) and excellent production
by and of the eight-piece band. Climac-
tic think-a-thon is the title cut, a 5-and-
a-half minute sustained backwards flip
in the direction of instrumental spinout,
winding past a good enough basic verse
to gradual multi-guitar death; all
superbly prefaced by a rumbling intro
of dead-serious (crickets, storm soun-
ds) blank verse. Plan 9 may not have
really gone any further than their
sources, but they've perfected the form.
The Replacements-I Will Dare (Twin
Until their album hits the stores, ad-
mirers of those gifted young gentlemen
from Minneapolis will have to make do
with this nifty 12" single. The A side
features the "I Will Dare" single from
the upcoming LP, a pop concoction
featuring Paul Westerberg's charac-
teristic contorted vocals counterpoin-
ted by his own deft mandolin picking.
R.E.M.'s Peter Buck makes a guitar
cameo, and the song achieves a bright
catchiness while still safely avoiding
conventionality. The B side is a fan's
bonus of the band indulging in their
notorious predeliction for eclectic
covering, and is actually more rewar-
ding. There's a nice, harshly ham-
mered version of T-Rex's '20th Century
Boy" and a great reading of Hank
William's country classic, "Hey Good
Lookin' ". BLB

What Is This-Squeezed (MCA Recor-
This debut EP from the L.A.-based
nuevo-psychedelic band What Is This
flaunts rhythmic energy and some
adept guitarwork to provide an
ultimately mediocre listening ex-
perience. For some reason, the band
has been getting a lot of attention
recently. One of their songs, "Mind My
Have Still I," was chosen as part of the
soundtrack of that real bomb movie
The Wild Life, and the boys, God bless
'em, have a video on M-TV.
As their name implies, What Is This
seem to think that they're so new,
original and imaginative that you just
can't hope to categorize them. This is
not the case. The guitar sound is most
obviously a derivative (it's not nice to
say "ripoff") of Jimi Hendrix, and
vocalist Alain Johannes borrows
stylistically from Jack Bruce of Cream.
Their sound is powerful and im-
pressive, but not original. "My Head is
a Drum" and "Days of Reflection" are
particularly good examples of how ef-
fectively this quartet can mold rhyth-
mic sophistication and intricate guitar-
playing, but one can't help thinking he's
heard this stuff before (Robin Trower
perhaps?). As a crowning blow, the
lyrics here are just a bit too artsy-far-
tsy (it's not nice to say "stupid") for
me. I mean, even Jim Morrison would
be embarressed to sing most of these
chemically inspired ramblings. D.P.

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16 - Weekend/Friday; October 26, 1984- -- knF


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