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February 20, 1987 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-02-20
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Moonlighting as a singer just isn't for Bruce Willis

Continued from Page 8

Bruce Willis
The Return of Bruno (Motown)
Ah, those prime-time TV series
stars; they're never satisfied. A hit
show, the cover of People, the
millions of adoring fans, the
millions of adorable dollars, the
Rolling Stone interview, the multi-
movie deals. That's all fine and
good. But nothing can soothe these
savage egos until they've proven
their musical merits to the world.
They will find no inner peace, all
their glory will be for naught,
unless they can sing.
It happened with Cheryl Ladd. It
happened with Don Johnson. And
now Bruce Willis has been bitten
by the singing bug and unveiled
The Return of Bruno, the
soundtrack to his upcoming HBO
special. To tell the truth, his voice
is okay, not exactly bursting with
vibrancy and character, but it's
serviceable for the rave-ups he's
chosen to record. At least he seems
to know his limitations.
Unlike Don Johnson, whose la -
mentable Heartbeat displayed his as -
pirations to be the Neil Diamond of
the yuppie set, Willis is content to
moonlight as nothing more than a
high-spirited party boy, the kind
who jumps up on stage on Open
Mike Night, gives it his best shot
and doesn't worry if the rough edges
show. A free-for-all atmosphere
prevades on Bruno, with all
involved seemingly having the
times of their lives. It's only when
Willis tries to force his voice into
an Otis Redding groan, as in
"Jackpot (Bruno's Bop)" that one
wishes he'd kept his party private.
Producer Robert Kraft obviously
didn't have much confidence in
Willis: after the first verse, Kraft
lets the Pointer Sisters carry
"Respect Yourself," and he dresses
up the ubiquitous "Under the
Boardwalk" with a string section
straight out of the Drifters in an
attempt to soften Willis's approach.
These tracks also serve to point
up one of Bruno's major stumbling
blocks: overly familiar material that
invites unflattering comparisons.
Sure, "Respect Yourself' is
pleasant, but it isn't going to
tarnish anyone's memories of the
Staple Singers - or the Kane
Gang, for that matter. Willis
doesn't pull off "Youngblood" any
better than the local garage band
would, and after versions by
everyone from the Tom Tom Club
to Rickie Lee Jones, does the world
really need one more take of "Under
the Boardwalk"?
Bruno is also plagued by artistic
indecision, as Willis and Kraft don't

M: About 120 old cars, I would
D: What about the Frank Lloyd
Wright center?
M: We want to set up a center for
the study of Frank Lloyd Wright.
That way people can come from all
over the world and see a full range
of his work from drawings to
furniture and windows. It would
have artifacts and a complete library
of his work. We are doing that in
conjunction with the University of
Michigan Architecture school.
D: Will it be by Domino's Farms?
M: Oh yes, it is now. What there
is now is in our main building
right off of the lobby. We don't
have nearly enough room for all of
our collection - most of it is in
storage. We have the complete
bedroom wing from one of his
largest houses, including the master
bedroom with a big fireplace and all
the furniture and all the windows.
In that alone, there are some fifty
glass windows.
D: Will it be like a museum?
M: Yes, we had an exhibition
house that was torn down and we
want to rebuild that on the site as
soon as we get the master planning
and the zoning straightened out.
D: When did you first become
interested in Frank Lloyd Wright?
M: I've always been interested in
architecture ever since I was in the
first grade. I discovered a book
about Frank Lloyd Wright when I
was 12 years old in the library. I
was really into Frank Lloyd
Wright, and I have been ever since.
D: When do you want to start the
Frank Lloyd Wright Center?
M: We'd like to start it in August
and it will probably take two years
to build. We would also like to
complete the main building that we
are in now - it's only about 40
percent complete. When that's
done, I think it will be a mon-
umental piece of architecture.
D: You are a long time Ann Arbor
resident, aren't you?
M: I was born here.
D: Did you attend the University?
M: For six weeks. Two different
semesters, three weeks apiece. I
didn't have the money to stay in
D: So you didn't graduate from
M: No, I never got any further than
my freshman year. I took a quarter
at Ferris and six weeks at Mich-
D: I know you have told this story
probably a hundred times, but could
you tell me just one more time
how you got started in the pizza
M: It was 1960 and I was in and
out of Michigan, mostly out, when
this pizza place in Ypsilanti became
available. I went into it with my
brother and it was a $500 down
payment, so we borrowed the
money for that. I thought it would

be a way to pay my way through
architecture school. That's why I
bought it, but I was working so
many hours and losing so much
money that-I pretty much had to
abandon the idea of being an
architect. I was so heavily in debt
and I wasn't getting any younger. I
was 23 when I was got into the
business and still a freshman, so
my career as an architect wasn't
going very far.
D: Then you opened another one
shortly after that?
M: That was a year later, 1961, in
Mount Pleasant. I was probably
selling as much pizza per unit then
as I am now. My first store in
Ypsilanti became the highest
volume pizzeria in the U.S., that
was about 1965 or '66.
D: How many stores do you own?
M: About 3,800 in eight countries
including Canada, Japan, Hong
Kong, Australia, Puerto Rico,
England, Germany, and the U.S.
D: Are you going to keep going?
M: Yes, we are opening one in
Honduras now. We are doing it for
the Missions - it's not going to
be ours. It will be owned by the
D: I heard that the domino with
three dots on the box stands for
your first three stores.
M: That would be two in Ypsilanti
and one in Ann Arbor. By that time
we had sold the one in Mount
Pleasant, that was around 1965.
See, the year I split up with my
partner after I bought my brother
out, I got another partner and we
took on a couple of resturants in
Ann Arbor. One is where the Bagel
Factory is on South University and
the other was where the Wolverine
Den is. Then we, split up and my
partner took the two resturant and I
took the three pizza businesses.
D: Does he still own them?
M: No, he died. Well, he went
bankrupt shortly after we split up,
but it was his idea to split up.
D: What's your brother doing now?
M: He is working for the Ypsilanti
school system as an electrician. He
also is president of the local steam
engine group. He runs the steam
engine event we have every year.
D: I understand that you have a
promotional group that tours the
M: Oh yes, our pizza ponies -
they go all over North America.
They are becoming quite famous. I
hear they are upstaging the
Budwiser horses.
D: What do you do with all of your
agricultural products from Domi-
no's Farms?
M: We sell a lot of stuff to our
employees and the guests that come
out here. We get about 3,500
people a week out here. We have a
big field full of pumpkins and we
give the pumpkins to kids.
D: Do you come up with these
ideas on your own?
M: Some of them, but our people
come up with a lot of them. There
is a pig that they trained to do a lot
of tricks and our dog does- some
tricks too. The kids love it.

D: Anything else?
M: We are looking for an order of
monks to run the farm, we want to
turn the whole thing over to them.
D: Why monks?
M: It will give them a way of
raising money to sustain
themselves and do theirswork.
That's what I would like to do with
the farm, just turn the whole thing
over to them.
D: Where are you going to get
them from?,
M: Poland, because that's the only
place I know of that's exporting, or
creating more than they can use.
We will build a monestary for them
and they would sell the farm
products-it would be their show.
D: When will you do this?
M: Gradually, we may start with
just four of five monks out there in
one of our little houses that we
have here on the property and then
go from there, that's the way things
start. We hope to fill all the various
types of needs for the community,
from day care centers, an orphanage,
retreat house, alcohol abuse, drug
abuse. Whatever the needs are,
that's what we want to do.
D : How do you feel about
development in Ann Arbor in

M: I think Ann Arbor is the
greatest place in the world. There is
a lot to support that. I think its got
great medical facilities, great
schools and a high morale.
D: Would you like to see it keep
M: We have to grow some to
maintain our identity. We don't
want to be swallowed up by
Detroit. We have to be great on our
own, and I think Domino's Farms
is going to contribute to that. We
are trying to build quality archi-
tecture and preserve the atmosphere
around us, that's why we are




The Pointer Sisters, credited as "The Heaters" and "The Brunettes," do more singing than Bruce on "Respect Yourself"

seem to know if they're saluting
'50s and '60s R&B or lampooning
it. They could take a cue from the
recordings of Tracey Ullman,
another TV star-turned-singer,
whose covers of girl-group classics
strike a balance between campy
send-up and genuine affection for
the stylists of the period.
The Return of Bruno is not a
full-blown ego excursion, nor does
it seem a serious bid for acceptance
as a pop star. If this is the best
Bruce can come up with, he'd do
well to stick to his day job.
-James Sanford
Kate Bush
The Whole Story (EMI America)
A few days back, while brow-
sing through a record store, I found
some words scribbled beneath Peter
Gabriel's name on the artist-section
divider: "otherwise known as God."
Finally, I thought, America has
caught on. Perhaps Kate Bush's
chance is now. She has risen to
superstardom in Europe, while
adored by scattered cult-fans in
North America. Her new com-
pilation album, The Whole Story,

makes a strong case for holy status.
While the ancients had many
deities, like Venus (love) and
Clapton (guitar), today's goddess
can do everything by herself.
Unlike generic corporate puppets
like Whitney Houston, Bush has
total control. She writes music and
lyrics, arranges, plays, and produces
her uncompromisingly original
songs. She sings in an amazing
three octaves, with an obsessive
range of emotions matched by few
in rock. She creates her own
stunning, acclaimed videos. Beyond
all this, Bush is breathtakingly
attractive. This all could make her
millions in a career of calculated
hit-making. Instead, artistic
integrity (her last album took her
three years to make) drives her to
perfect her creative pop craft.
From 1978's wispy piano ballad
"Wuthering Heights" to the Abor-
iginal chants and odd sampling-
keyboards of 1982's "The Dream-
ing," The Whole Story chronicles
the evolution in Bush's breadth of
sounds: the melodic dynamics of
1980's "Babooshka" ultimately gal-
vanize her perceptive lyrics in the
lover's lament "Running up that
Hill," a minor U.S. hit in '85.

Along with her colleague
Gabriel, and Simple Minds and
World Party, Bush works cleverly
within the pop system to reach the
masses with meaningful ideas. This
insidious style captures the practical
spirit of our times. Her new single,
"Experiment IV," is about a h6ror
time capsule from audio-scientists
who created lethal sounds. Amid its
eerily dramatic, militaristic drum-
rolls and stinging guitar, Bush
seems to be warning against
chemical-style warfare as well as
questioning the way technologized
modern music designs hooks to
make you helplessly want to dance.
Such "big" ideas have sunk
lesser talents, but Bush's keen pop-
sensibility brings her universe of
imagination down to Earth. Indeed,
as an NME review said of 1985's
Hounds of Love, "The company's
daughter has truly screwed the
system and produced the best album
of the year doing it." Her American
breakthrough is imminent. If Ga-
briel can do it, then Kate Bush's
Story ought soon to make believers
out of the rest of us.
-Michael Fischer

The Three Johns
Demonocracy (Abstract)
The Three Johns are one of the
best bands around. Their live shows
are the best money can buy - good
jokes, good dancing, good music,
good drunkeness, and good politics.
But they have yet to put out a
definitive piece of studio vinyl. I
mean they've put out some very
good studio vinyl, and some very,
very good studio vinyl, but they
have yet to put out very, very great
studio vinyl.
sTheJohn's Do The Square
Thing 12" was very good - it had
two great songs and two good
songs. The Death Of The European
single had three great songs and one
good song. Atom Drum Bop has a
whole host of very, very, very good
songs, but it comes across a bit
disjointed at times. These are all
really, really good releases and
worth having, but they haven't
completely lived up to the John's
Their latest, Demonocracy,
shows them at their best - and
why not? After all, it is a collection
See MUSIC, Page 12

Continued from Page 8
substances, filched materials from
the office, punched people without
having a really good reason, cheated
on their taxes, or driven while way
under the influence. I make a moral
distinction, I suppose. Some of
these things I write off because they
didn't hurt anybody. Some of these
things I write off because they
didn't hurt anybody very much.
Some of these things I write off
because it's convenient. But I draw
the line at Jae Kim because I'm
sure he hurt people. He assaulted
women, and he may have stolen
from people who had worked with
him and trusted him. And dumb as
it seems, I feel hurt, I feel that Jae
had no right to befriend me and then
do such rotten things.
I hope that Jae Kim will find a
way to deal with his problems, and
develop a genuine respect for
other's rights, their rights to pro-
perty, and more importantly, to
their bodies. I know there is a good
side to Jae Kim. I want that side to
go on, and the other side to die.
But this is little more than
pontificating. I am prepared to do
very little to help Jae Kim. If I see
him, I will probably, if possible,
avoid him, and I certainly won't tell
him how I feel. As things stand, I
have little interest in hearing any
sort of explanation from Jae Kim. I
want Jae to be indisputably cured,
preferably somewhere far away from
where I have to think about him.
My response is more or less a full-
tilt retreat, and I'm not sure whether
I should be ashamed of myself or
not. a

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