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October 03, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-10-03

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The Michigan Daily Thursday, October 3, 1985 Page 5


'Blueprints' builds upon
Bible, modern times

Mojo Nixon and Skid
Roper - Mojo Nixon and
Skid Roper
Crawling from the wreckage of the
underbelly of what might have been
somebody's idea of the American
Dream, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper
have resuscitated the lost art of
stream of consciousness blues.
Nixon, a rambling street corner
poet, guitarist and reverend, is a
veritable catalogue of lecherous
grunts, drunken warbling, and
miscellaneous doo-wop vocals. His
three-minute meanderings come
from the wrong side of a bottle of Jack
Daniels. His partner in crime, a ne'er
.,do well to be sure, is the shades-clad
Skid, whose enthusiastic stick drum-
ming and washboard scraping tran-
sports this ambitious project into a
twisted back alley realm that is
decidedly dangerous.
Mojo's guitar playing is no
epiphany. The man is well schooled in
the basic, simple, hooks that have
pervaded American music since the
'40s. The guitar gives Mojo and Skid a
footing, a familiar base from which to
leap onto < tangents that heretofore
never even existed.
The album's opener, "Jesus at Mc-
Donald's," is more or less what the
title suggests, only more so. Mojo
runs into America's favorite deity at
America's favorite fast-food joint,
and travels with the Messiah to a land
where Jesus has thoughtfully
provided a complete set of John Lee
Hooker records and a brand-new
thousand watt stereo.
As one listens, it becomes apparent
that Mojo is making it up as he goes
along. Is it raunchy? Yeah. Is it
blasphemous? Probably. Is it enter-
taining? Hell yes!
Side One's gems also include two
"surprise" -songs, "Moanin' with
+ Your Mama," and "I'm in Love with
your Girlfriend," both of which con-
tain altogether terrifying revelations
: by Mojo with relation to the women in
}thie listener's life. Both are cheerfully
rude, and staggeringly entertaining.
T'oo funny to be really offensive.
Lyrics like, Yeah, baby, why don't
you leave uh .. . that scum-
suckin' yellow-teethed dork of
the universe surfer guy you're
going with? are par for the course.
Side One also contains the sur-
prisingly subdued and elegaic
"Promised Land Tonight," which is
actually tender. It is hard to believe
that this song is the product of the
s_ame men who came up with
"Mushroom Maniac." It effortlessly
manifests that ethereal holiness that a
good country ballad has to have.
Side Two opens with "Rockin
Religion," in which Reverend Mojo
adopts his best Southern-fried
preacher tones and indulges in
shameless histrionics all in service
the Lord. The chorus, with its jangly

By Seth Flicker
CAN INDIVIDUALS make a trade-
off between their children and
their religion? And if they can, could
they live with their consciences? These
are the central questions of Blueprin-
ts, which opens Friday night at the
Performance Network.
Blueprints is a surrealistic adap-
tation of three biblical passages; the
story of Abraham and Isaac; Jacob
and Rachel; and Mannah from the
book of Solomon. The theme as a
whole is the sacrifice of children for
their religion.
Blueprints was previously staged
last January at the Performance
Network, but Friday's performance
is the result of some reworking of the
play by its writer, Rachel Urist. The
play was a difficult one to write, ac-
cording to Urist. She has been
working on it for over two years and
still has not perfected it to her own
The major revision was made in the
last story, to put Hannah and the sup-
porting characters into a more con-
temporary setting.
"The play is about the traditional
concept of blueprints," said
Stephanie Hilbert, director of the

play, and who also directed its
January performance. "Blueprints
are basically a set of guidelines for
any religion. It doesn't necessarily
have to be orthodox."
The play itself is unorthodox. It
weaves back and forth from biblical
to contemporary times, creating a
disarming, surrealistic effect. In ad-
dition, three actors play 14 roles, ren-
dering traditional character iden-
tification difficult.
The style of performance is
reader's theatre, where actors
present the play to the audience
rather than irepresent it..
"The actors read fromscripts
placed on music stands," said

Hilbert. "There are hardly any
costumes and no scenery."
The cast includes Nancy Heusel, a
veteran actor in local productions,
singer/actor Larry Henkel, Jerry
Seller, recently seen in Hello Dolly,
and Kate Jones as the Narrator.
"Even though Blueprints is a com-
plex play, the main idea is to enjoy
it," said Hilbert.
Blueprints will be performed this
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the
Performance Network beginning at 8
p.m. Tickets are $6 general admission
Friday and Saturday nights and $5 on
Sunday night; with $1 off for students
and senior citizens both nights.

Mojo and Skid: the sign on the jug reads, 'FREE, DRUNK, and HORNY,
Rev. Mojo Nixon, Pigfoot, Louisiana.' Skid's playing an 'OTAY Blue'

An informal discussion with
representatives of both the

mandolin part, manages to capture
that good ol' time religion feel, if only
to parody it.
"Mama Possums" is another star-
tier, with a rolling jangly feel that is
eight miles removed from Mojo's
typical three-chord raunch. The
meandering melodic guitar rolls over
Skid's thuds and it just plain feels
good. It makes you feel good. It's a
good thing.
"Art Fag Shuffle" covers virtually
the same ground as Dire Straits'
number-one smash, "Money for
Nothing," but does so honestly. We
aren't going to see a million dollar
video of this song. This time the
criticism is coming from genuine
music business outsiders, people who
are qualified to render an opinion.
"Art Fag Shuffle" is also funnier than
"Money." You won't see my ugly
mug on TV, Mojo mumbles, I don't
know much about art, but I know
what I like."
What we've got here, ladies and
gentlemen, is a damn good record,
with only two and a half instruments,
one and a half mediocre voices, and
virtually no production beyond
pressing the "record" button.]
The lyrics are beyond clever. Mojo
Nixon is forwarding a vision of
America born in the bathroom of a
deteriorating Sinclairgas station.
One with the brontosaurus still on the
front.The record rambles through
bizzare religion, perverse lust,
psychedelic drugs, paranoia, and un-
derneath it all is a halfway genuine
respect for the land. Not that this
respect isn't cloaked under a haze of
hard liquor and genuine anti-social
behavior, but if it wasn't evident then.

this record would lose strength,
Mojo's rowdy raunch would stumble
over itself. Mojo does indeed know
what art is, but what he likes is get-
ting drunk and howlin'.
Enigma Records deserves praise
for having the courage to distribute a
record that just isn't like any other
record. It took guts to promote a
record so completely devoid of any
of the traditional elements which
comprise commerciality and
marketability. Enigma is out on a
limb, but it is readily apparent that
they have not compromised the
product in order to market it. I'm
reasonalby sure that this record
presents Mojo and Skid in all their
inebriated glory, without ex-
purgation. I'm glad Enigma is taking
the chance. I'm glad Mojo Nixon and
Skid Roper are as downright ornery
as they are.
Shee-it. What fun.
-John Logie

John F.

Kennedy School of Government
Public Policy Program

Woodrow Wilson School
of Public and International Affairs


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