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October 31, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-10-31

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The Michigan Daily

Thursday, October 31, 1985

Page 5

Minutemen to sound the call in Detroit

By Hobey Echlin
yourselves for a night of eclectic
rock 'n' roll frenzy. Six months and
two records later, here come the
Minutemen to amaze Detroit again.
The Minutemen gained national at-
tention with their much lauded four-
sided gem Double Nickels On the
Dime, followed by their Project Mer-
sh EP ("Something for everybody,"
quips bassist Mike Watt). Their most
recent drop in the pop bucket is the
just-completed 3 Way Tie for Last
which is yet another amazing
testament to the band's versatility
and sheer diversity.
The advanced single from 3-Way
Tie features a brilliantly poppy A-
side, "Courage," D. Boon's ode "...to
the men who died for glory." The song
has a Madonna-meets-Minutemen
sound, characterized by Boon's
strained baritone and fuzzy guitar,
Watt's "Like a Virgin" bass line, and

sturdy drumming from George
Hurley. Watt explained the
songwriting process. "D. Boon came
in with the song with really heavy
guitar in mind. I didn't want so much
guitar so I told him I was going to use
the Madonna bass line. The whole
song was a funny compromise, like in
the end, where D. Boon's guitar goes
acoustic. He said he'd do that only if
I'd do a solo to beef up the sound."
Lennon and McCartney would be en-
The B-side features "What is it?"
and "Stories," both co-written by
Kira of Black Flag. Sheer diversity is
again key as the thrashy pap of side A
is countered with the ditty-ish "What
is it?" Its sound lies somewhere bet-
ween Spanish swing and the
"Peanuts" theme, with an acoustic
approach and jumpy feel. Door-isms
abound in "Stories" and for once, they
make °a genuine case for musical
coexistence without rip-off. The Doors
sound, Watt assured me, is purely

coincidental. "Stories," melancholy,
is exacted by Boon's low and brooding
voice. Sparse drumming, and a low,
minimalist bass line add to the mood.
It marks a shift in the typically up-
beat M-men style, and gets no objec-
tion from me. After all, you have to
stop dancing sometime.
According to Watt, the band's
diversity stems from the fact that,
"our fingerprints are very strange."
As for their growing pop appeal, a
far cry from their early days of
relative hardcore obscurity as a
warm-up band for Black Flag, Watt
had this to offer... "It's only pop music
if people go out and buy it. It's nothing
we aim for. On the band's wide mix of
styles, Watt commented, "I love the
stuff that breathes."
The Minutemen languished in
relative obscurity for a long time, so
when the national rock press began
taking notice of their work, the band
felt vindicated, but frustrated that
their hard-to-categorize sound had

paralyzed the critics. "They wanted
us to go away," Watt explained, "For
a while they had us nailed under the
Dewey-decimal system for
classifying our sound. But their two-
dimensional cataloguing just wasn't
enough. We're out to confuse people
with our diversity, and I think we do."
Watt views the Minutemen's new
rise to stardom from obscurity with a
respectable degree of humility. "We
were never the hip people. I mean, I
thought Van Halen was punk rock."
He attributes much of their success to
perseverance. "When you've stayed
with the elitist punk-rock flavor-of-
the-week long enough, the average
guy will like you."
Future plans include the November
15 release of 3-Way Tie (coinciding
with the tour to "channel all those lit-
tle dribblers into one pisser," as Watt
put it), and - get this - an extensive
tour with R.E.M. in late November
and December.
But for now, the Minutemen are

concentrating on confusing and over-
whelming the general public with
their quantum-rock sound. And in the
process, they'll show Detroit the time
of its life at the Graystone Hall
Ann Arbor's Laughing Hyenas,
featuring ex-Negative Approach
singer John Brannon and L-Seven's K
Larissa on guitar will open. The
Hyenas deliver a raw but calculated
dark rock with haunting power.
Definitely a band to watch for.
The Graystone is located at 7816
Michigan Avenue, just outside Dear-

born in Detroit, easily accessible from
1-94. Admission is $7 at the door. Call
.833-3176 for details. The Hyenas will
start promptly at 10 p.m.
CALL 764-0557

The Bird of Paradise
Ann Arbor's Only Jazz Club
Located at 207 South Ashley

Seven nights a week
9:00 P. M. - 1.30A. M.
We're not just a nightclub. Come join
us Monday-Friday, 5 P.M.- 8 P.M. for
- Happy Hour Drink Specials
* After work Snacks
Wed.-Friday & Football Saturdays
Live Music 5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

Chain.Link Fence pops over

By Hobey Echlin
C HAIN LINK FENCE isn't like all,
those guitar-oriented jangly-
bands that are all-too-cliche in today's
music. For the handful of people who
saw them at the Blind Pig last night,
Fence proved their distinction and
then some, with an hour-long set of
pop-rock frenzy.
With the set-opening "Generate,"
from their Fireworks LP, Fence was
on, as guitarist Prescott Cronin's
Townsend-jumps, 'and bassist Kip
Boardman's intermittent leaps out to
the barren dance floor fueled the
visual fire . Singer Billy Barrett was
at his pop-idol best with his white
socks, black loafer approach and his
omnipresent pulsing left leg matching
the baritone power of his early Joe
Jackson-like voice.
During "Fireworks", Fence proved
youy can have your pop and eat it, too.
Barret crooned through the song
while Cronin's guitar untamed the pop
sound with varied meanderings.
Fence proved that while their vinyl
might be a little slick, their live shows

can still get sweaty, especially during
"Us", where hysteria was the rule.
Cronin kept the Fence away from
too many pop-isms with his eclectic
guitar work. His unique hybrid of
Peter Buck, Bob Mould, and The
Edge's guitar style kept me intrigued,
if not amazed, with his ability to work
so dextrously within the essentially
straight-forward rock 'n' roll Fence
sound. During "How Many", Cronin
demonstrated his command of the
myriad-effect guitar, with styles and
effects echoing the powerful guitar
sound of Husker Du.
Fence was at is power-pop-rock best
during "Upstairs Downstairs." The
song's essentially nonsensical lyrics
make it a great excuse to put just
about every pop-rock element
together, linking an anthemic guitar

line, jumpy bass, and harmonizing
backing vocals. Barret even took to
the dance floor for his own bit of pop-
A rousing cover of "Get Ready" (of
recent Hall and Oates fame) rounded
out the set with Fenceat its finest.
Their U2-goes-pop approach to the
song, with percussive stacatto guitar
ala Edge from Cronin, by Boardman's
popping bass, and hi-hat riding
drumming anchored Barret's. Motown
After the set, Cronin told me Fence
is moving on to open for Husker Du,
having completed a series of recent
dates with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The band is also working on a new EP,
and preparing for a shift to a, gulp,
major label from their current label,
Throbbing Lobster.

But for now, six more weeks of
touring are Fence's major concern.
With performances like their Tuesday
night appearance at the Pig, they
should have no problems establishing
themselves as integral members of
the new music scene.
Are you
Are You
Apply to be a Campus Day
Student Leader
Help prospective students
experience the University
Applications and information
available at the
Office of Admissions,
1200 S.A.B. through Nov. 8

(All Graduate Students Welcome)
: Saturday, November 2nd
S8:30 am. - 4 p.m.
The Executive Lounge
in the School of Business Administration
A workshop focusing on careers, human
resource development, and labor relations.
Call for info. 763-1187
sponsored by the Institute of Labor Industrial Relations

When a 4 hour test counts
as much as 4 years of school,
you'd better be prepared.

* Correction

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Crue in action was inadvertently prin-
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photographer, Jae Kim, in Wed-
nesday's Daily.


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