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October 10, 1986 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-10
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



7-

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music
What these Medics offer is mostly bad medicine

Doctor & the Medics
LAUGHING AT THE PIECES
I.R.S.
Have you always thought
society was sick? Well, Doctor and
the Medics agree with you. They
spend most of their time
illuminating society's ills on their
first LP, "Laughing at the Pieces."
Much like Bananarama's
"Venus," Doctor and Co. have
recorded a good oldie with "Spirit in
the Sky" and released it as a single,
hoping to entice you to listen to
the rest of the album. This song
opens "Laughing," and from there
the band dives right in, tackling the
plight of the poor, the urge to run
away from problems, and yearning
for an existence closer to nature.
Apparently all of this is
supposed to inspire us to get us off
our couches and into the streets.
"Burn," the opening song on side
two, begins with the lines Hello
how are you / You've changed I
Heads full of fire, with the refrain
And I know you can burn. In
actuality, this album only inspires
one to remove the needle, thanks to
its overwhelming production.
Doctor and the Medics consists of
three musicians and three vocalists:
a male lead (Doctor), and two
female harmony singers (The
Anadin "Brothers," who are actually
two sisters.) The harmony parts
dominate the rest of the vocals and
the music, making some of
Doctor's lines unintelligible and
obscuring the actual music beneath.
This is not an isolated problem; it
irritates the listener on every track.
Musically and lyrically,
"Laughing at the Pieces" could have
worked, but several factors in
addition to its overbearing
harmonies drag it down to
mediocrity. There isn't a single
light-hearted song on the album, or
even a love song. The final straw,
so to speak, is its overall
gimmickiness. The band's version
of "Spirit in the Sky," their odd
costumes and face-paint on the
album cover shots, weird names
(including a drummer named Vom),
and a poem on the back printed so
as to be readable only in a mirror
all contribute to an overbaked,
commercial cutesiness.
-Brian Jarvinen
Richard Thompson
DARING ADVENTURES
Polygram
A treatise to the believers:
A lot of people don't quite know
what to do with Richard

INTERVIEW
Continued from Page 8
especially at the strip joints. I
would make 20, 30, 40 bucks a
night, which was fine. It wasn't
like I came home to my parents and
said, "I'm not going to be a doctor
anymore. I'm going to become a
comedian." "Fine. Whatever you
want to do, just don't quit school"
was their main thing. They were all
pretty supportive.
D: How do you account for your
success?
L: I think it's mostly a certain
amount of perseverence. This is
what I always liked to do. If I walk
into a room... and there are a pile of
magazines at one end and a group of
people at the other end, I tend to
gravitate toward the group of
people. I like reacting with people
and reacting off of people. Whether
I was successful at this or not really
didn't matter, it was just something
that I liked to do. This is not a
stepping stone to something else
for me. I didn't get into stand-up
BLOOM COUNTY
OH NO...
0
Watch for it in
Experience
Ann Arbor's newest
Night Club & Lounge

W
comedy because I wanted to direct
movies, or be a film star, or a
producer. This is what I like to do.
I still like concerts and performing
live more than I like doing movies
and television. That's work that
you have to do to get people to
come see you live.
D: Do you ever think that you
want to become an actor some day?
L: Not particularly. I know what I
can do and what I can't do. My
natural thing is to make fun "of
things, or to see the silliness of it.
There are things that you think
about that you have to do and there
are things that are just instinctive,
and my instinct is to go for the
laugh.
D: What do you think makes you
different from other comedians?
L: A lot of times, with new
comedians, their main goal is to
please their friends and themselves
as opposed to the audience. That's
the real key-to keep your eyes and
your ears open to what normal,
regular people think is funny. I find
it amazing when I see comedians up
there and (they) do something real
obscure and then go, "The audience
isn't very hip.nThey don't get it."
,ut if they don't get it, they don't
get it. It's as simple as that.
D: What do you have that other

comedians don't?
L: I've been doing this a long
time. I kind of did it the way people
did it years ago. You start out in
vaudville, spend 15 years on the
road, and then you come to movies
and television. A mistake a lot of
comedians make nowadays is that
they are the funniest kid in the
neighborhood, they go out to the
Comedy Store in Los Angeles, they
spend a year getting their funny ten-
minute speech together, somebody
sees them frbm The Tonight Show,
or one of the TV shows, go on, do
their five minutes, they're a big hit,
an agent gets them, charges ten
thousand dollars a week, and they
go out on the road. They don't have
the material, and they can't handle
it because they don't have the
experience. I've played every town
in the United States at least ten
times... It's just a matter of doing
it.
D: Do you ever wake up in the
morning finding yourself just not
funny or sick of your material?
L: Well, that's the acting part of it.
This is not a hard job. There are
people who dig holes for a living,
carry things, put meat in meat
lockers, and shit like that. If you
can't fake it a couple of times a
week and make it look fun and
interesting, then get out of the

W
business. I always get annoyed
when I hear about these performers
who say, "Oh, I just can't perform
tonight. I'm just not in the mood."
Oh, shut up. You have two or three
thousand people who paid 15 or ten
bucks a ticket. They left whatever
they were doing to come down and
see you go out and do what you do.
D: How do college audiences
compare to other audiences?
L: I don't find them much different.-
The only difference is, when you're
dealing with a college audience, you
are dealing with everyone who has
had all these experiences at exactly
the same time. In a nightclub...you
have got all different people from
all different walks of life. I enjoy
colleges a lot because the audiences
are very intelligent. The only
problem is that you don't get a lot
of variation when yougo out into
the audience and talk to people.
D: What do you think lies in the
future for you?
L: I have no idea and I'm not
particularly interested. I don't care.
My attitude, although I guess a bit
naive in retrospect, was always that
if you're funny, people will hear
about it.
D: Looking at your career, what
lessons have you learned about the
American people?
L: Most people are self-censoring.

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Doctor & the Medics, shown here in uniform: Not a complete cure for music fans weary of Top 40 schlock.

Thompson. "Wait, isn't he an
English folk guitarist?" "Isn't he an
incredible guitarist?" "Isn't he a
painfully obsure artiste?" All this,
to be certain. Few persons have
come away from Thompson
unscathed. And everyone has an
opinion about his electric guitar
virtuosity, his songwriting, his pre-
ference of the pure-and simple, and
his emphatic Sufi Moslem beliefs.
Thompson blows good and even
great guitarists right off the map.
When his songwriting is on, he's
incredible. In the light of these
expectations, however, "Daring
Adventures" is a disappointing
album: Overproduced. Thin. The
only adventure here, daring or
otherwise, is Thompson's journey
into main-stream. It's hard to
believe this is coming from the
most interesting guitarist around
these days, rock or folk. What

happened to the guy who played
with the then-legendary Fairport
Convention?
Perhaps this is just Polygram's
attempt to make Monsieur
Thompson into a marketable
commodity, a folkier British John
Cougar Mellencamp. But there's no
excuse for this sort of drivel. The
album's producer, and the person I
reckon is responsible for this mess,
is one Mitchell Froom. Sir Froom
paved the beer commercial road that
the Del Fuegos now travel and
transformed Peter Case from the
credible, incredible rough-edged but
pop-sensible Plimsoul that he was
into a smooth folk chanteur, whose
credibility was lost somewhat in
translation. I like to think that
Froom tied Thompson up, and
made him give up his band and
write piff. Heaven knows, the
Continued on Page 5

W==u=uu=u..u..u.EE==uuu=mumumuEEmunuEuuEEam
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Mon-Sat 11-6
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October 11, 1986 from 9:00 pm - 1:30 am
in the Michigan Union, Anderson Room
Music, Fun, Friends, Refreshments!!
ALL STUDENTS WELCOME!
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of fine preparation."
from Detroit Free Press, March 21, 1986
Speclalkingin Hunan, Szechuan 6 Mandari Cunine
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(across from K- Mart & Wayside Theater)

Hill Stree
An Evenhi
Carl
"Shootini
ml"
Senator Car
overview oft
being debate
question ant
his address.
Tues. O
Hillel A
1429 Hill

g

':

in the new
Holiday Inn West
Happy Hour Monday-Friday
4pm -8 pm
Live Entertainment Nightly
featuring:
NOUVEAUTE
Proper Dress & ID Required
(21 & older)
2900 JACKSON ROAD

.4 till I

Ct

Guitarist Richard Thompson,formerly of the Fairport Convention.

PAGE 4 WEEKEND/OCTOBER 10, 1986

WEEKEND/OCTOBER 10, 1986

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