Proving Pop Doesn't
Have to Be Pabulum
BY GREG PTACEK
rary pop band. There, I said it! You
can put this article down now, if you
want, and walk quietly away before
someone sees you reading it. Association with
musica-non-esoterca can cost you friends in
certain campus circles. On the other hand, if you
yearn for music that's both danceable andlisten-
able, read on, because the Hoods quite freely
admit they give good pop.
One of the reasons the band doesn't shun that
tag is probably because they genuinely are diffi-
cult to label. There's a power pop rhythm that
pervades most of their work, but on top of that
foundation rests such diverse influences as
Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, the Ramones, the
Romantics, the Beatles, Iggy Pop, the Raspber-
ries and the Beach Boys.
Of contemporary bands, the Rave-Ups come
closest to their sound. But while the Rave-Ups
look for inspiration in country and western, the
Long Island-based Hoods look quite naturally in
their own backyard, borrowing freely from the
proto-punk New York sound of the Velvet Under-
ground era. Their first album, Jealous Roses, has
that distinctive stripped-down, warehouse-like
echo that characterized the production of Velvet
The Hoods also front two lead singers, which
helps keep their music fresh. Bob Bortnick is the
shout-talker, mostly in charge of the hard-edged
stuff; Eric Williams is the crooner. Rounding out
the foursome is drummer Don Short and lead
guitarist Freddy Mark Linkous, both of whom ac-
complish the frequent style-switching without
ever missing a beat.
We caught up with Bortnick while he and the
VOL X, NO. 2, WINTER 1986
BITS AND PIECES
By Greg Ptacek. Madonna's in a filmmaking mood again and even Frank
Zappa wants to get into the television talk show routine. College Entertain-
ment Guide's roundup of new, unusual and downright strange happenings
in music and film.
Don Waller joins Coffege Entertainment Guide as a slightly irregular, and
very opinionated, columnist on the latest in music. In this issue's column,
Waller takes on record prices, Beatles' commercialism and college radio.
A GIANT AMONG HIS PEERS
By Mike Bygrave. Martin Short's career is reaching new heights with three
upcoming films, especially this month's The Three Amigos.
What do the Del Fuegos, Fishbone and the True Believers have in com-
mon? These bands' live acts are good enough to give up cable TV for.
By Don Waller. Comedian Jay Leno started cutting up in the sixth grade,
but his career really took off on college campuses. He talks to Entertain-
ment Guide about the road and making it as a young comedian.
News, previews and current events in film and music. Updates on Christ-
mas film and record releases and group tours.
THE DANCING HOODS
By Greg Ptacek. That dirty phrase, "pop music,'' gains new respectability
with this band whose music is both danceable and, wonder of wonders,
band were recording their next album in Los An-
geles for Relativity Records. The LP, due out next
January, will be supported by a tour. Best of all,
the band reportedly sounds even better live.
This is pop you can be proud of.
On the absence of gimmickry in their music
Bob Bortnick: ''There's very little thought that
goes into our image. We never did the make up
trick or dress all in leather. We're very proud of
our songs, and we've always felt that should be
enough to carry a band. If people get away from
this overwhelming concern with "how do we
look?" and start listening again, I think the state
of music might change."
On the current state of pop music:
BB: "I keep saying that it's goingto get better.
There are a few bands around-like the DBs, the
Replacements, Husker Du-who could really
make a serious dent in people's consciousness,
make it kinda hip to like pop again. If one of us
gets in there, breaks that hold on radio, it's going
to change things. The Rave-Ups from Los Ange-
les and Doctor's Mob out of Boston are two
more bands I would put in this class. They are
vastly different in sound, but, in a sense, they're
doing the same thing: writing good music."'
What's different about the industry now
than when you grew up listening to radio?
BB: "You have businessmen-strictly business-
men-running the radio stations and record
companies today. There are isolated examples
of people who still really care about music, but
they're much fewer and farther between than in
the past. I think '72 or '73 was when I really
started noticing a change.
"Radio is going to have to open up a bit to let
some of the better groups through. It wasn't al-
ways this way. I grew up listening to AM radio,
whose only concern was that it be good music.
Now the songs have to fit a certain format. Col-
lege radio is great, but it just doesn't seerm to
reach enough people. Commercial radio, on the
Greg Ptacek writes about rock for severa/ na-
tiona/publications andis Features Editor forCity-
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