The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, September 23, 1987- Page 9
Folkminers hit paydirt in Ann Arbor music scene
By Brian Bonet
I'm running through the West
Engineering arch, late for class and
anticipating a cold stare from my
professor. The arch is empty except
for a lone guitarist with an open
guitar case, which houses scattered
coins, four one dollar bills, and an
album with an interesting black and
white pattern on the cover. His slow
strumming and raspy vocals ring in
the arch's acoustics as I glance at my
watch. I'd much rather stay and
listen than be lost in a crowded
lecture hall, but the high cost of
tuition twists my arm and nudges
me in the direction of Angell Hall.
That evening I go to the bar to
see a local band I've been hearing
good things about called the
Folkminers, and on stage, singing
and strumming, is the guitarist in
the arch and I make the connection.
The guitarist's name is Sam Lapides
and with the Folkminers genuine,
folk spiced set of originals and
covers, they manage to fill a needed
void in a town whose music scene is
While area bar owners are busy
booking the supposedly m ore
lucrative cover bands whose song
lists consist of unoriginal, cloned
cuts aimed more at filling the
public's stomachs with cold suds
than filling their ears with good
music, the Folkminers are exper-
imenting with their own diverse,
appealing sound. And they're
The release of their new EP
entitled Folkminers solidifies their
stance as more than another local
cover band. Lapides has scribbled six
poetic tales on the EP that range
never really say, 'this is about this
person' and 'it's obviously about
this person.' I feel like people can
relate to the song in their own
experiences. That's what I like. Then
you make them a part of your
Along with the EP the
Folkminers perform covers during
their live shows, that although not
written by them, are distinctly
stamped with the Folkminers'
sound. Lapides explains, "most of
the time we never listen to them (the
original songs). We don't worry
about copying them. We listen to
the tune we learn the chords, and we
play a different song."
"It's like playing any song,"
Lapides continues. "I write a song
and bring it in and say 'here's a
song, it goes like this,' and everyone
comes up with their part. When we
do a cover its the same way. You
know, 'Here's a cover this is how it
goes' and everyone sort of comes up
with their own part."
So instead of picking up Spanish
accents to master a remake of "La
Bamba", the Folkminers are simply
being the Folkminers and their
country-lazy to country-rockin' folk
sound is catching on. Opening for
national acts such as Alex Chilton
in front of packed, enthusiastic
audiences of music-hungry, locals
starving for a quality area band
certainly helps the cause. The fact
that the Folkminers are playing an
increasing number of headline shows
is proof to local tavern owners that
the band can pack a bar, fill a
pitcher, and therefore fill pocket
books - even if they don't include
"Louie, Louie" in their repertoire.
The Folkminers will be
performing at the Earth Fest this
Saturday at Palmer Field, near
Couzens Hall. The festival is
scheduled to run from 12 noon
through 7 p.m. and will also feature
Map of the World, Martin and the
Kites, the Difference, The New Left,
and Frank Allison and the Odd Sox.
Now Accepting CWS Applications
Immediate openings for
Fall & Winter terms:
10-20 hrs/wk at $3.95-$4.15 per hr.
Apply at the Library
404 Hatcher Library
Daily Photo by DANA MENDELSSOHN
The Folkminers (Left-Right: Marty Fletcher, Randy Sabo, and Sam Lapides, bassist Tom Dunham not pictured) are
gaining the attention of local music fans and bar owners alike.
from the deliberately slow, strongly
strummed "Knockin' On Wood," a
song that Lapides begins, "woke up
today with a gun in my back," to the
straightforward, unaltered, inter-
weaving guitar lines of "So Tired,"
in which Lapides coarsely croons
about being "so damn tired o f
runnin' away" when things go sour.
Lapides's appeal to the listener's
imagination as well as experience is
deliberate and is effectively
showcased on Folkminers. "I
always leave my songs open for
interpretation," says Lapides. "I
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(Continued from Page 8)
N Age of Chance
Who's Afraid of Big Bad Noise
Who's Afraid of Big Bad Noise?
Not the Age of Chance, the U. K.'s
latest high energy dance band.Who's
Afraid... is the third release from the
world's only "sonic metal disco"
group - a label that they have
affixed to their group and which is
probably the only way to describe
their sound. Combining a pounding
disco beat, thrashing distortion
guitar, sampling, grating lyrics, and
more energy than all of t h e
American dance scene, the Age of
Chance should be selling in a very
big way; but for some strange
reason, they have not as of yet.
If there is a formula for success,
the Age of Chance would be its
stereotype. They are young and
attractive. They sport the best in
brightly colored bicycle clothing,
currently the rage in both London
and New York. Their videos are
slick, fast moving, and w el11
produced. Their album sleeves are
bright and feature such catchy
slogans as "You can live forever
with Age of Chance," "We dig
everything and are afraid of nothing"
and the main verse from "Who's
Afraid:" "Free your mind and your
ass will follow." Most importantly
their sound has a great hook and
really dominates the dance floor.
While they borrow from all of the
popular dance sources, they produce
a sound all their own. Their first
single was a version of Prince's
''Kiss" that hit as though Metallica
had done it. On their album Crush
Collision they grind out a version
of "Disco Inferno" as slow and
grating as Sonic Youth's version of
the Madonna classic "Get into the
On this EP they put out three
original songs, a first for the Age.
But while these songs are their own,
they do borrow from many sources.
The title track is an homage to the
once proud Art of Noise, whose
earlier sound can be seen to influence
this track. The song begins with
sampling of a BBC announcer
telling of the history of scratching in
modern music and launches into an
assaultive dance beat backed with
crunch guitar, sampling, and yes
scratching. The second track is rap,
which is predictable due to the
current obsession in the U.K. music
scene for turning out rap groups.
Though slightly more original than
the rest of the rap in the U.K., with
good rhymes and a great beat, the
problem comes from the fact that
their voices are muted in the mix,
often making the words
unintelligible if not unheard.
Despite their digressions into
thievery, the Age of Chance have
created a quality sound that could
only be theirs and is far more hitting
and original than anything that could
ever produced by Expose, Lisa Lisa,
Noel, and Bananarama.
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The Archdiocese of Detroit has a job to do.
We know some people who are facing tough
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need hope. We know a lot of great kids who need
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At Sacred Heart Seminary we're teaching
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We'll give you up to eight years to decide you
really want to be a priest before we ask you to