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September 08, 1988 - Image 88

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-08
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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988

The Michigan Daily - Thurs

Don't mi
on all th

98 7.7

Hip Top 40
Jazz out of EMU
New Age/Jazz
Classic Pop
Classic Rock
Top 40
Top 40/ Top 10
Album Rock
Top 40
Album Rock
Ann Arbor-based.
Classic Rock
Modern R&B '.
NPR - National Z,
Public Radio Station N



to the music in Ann Arbor

In the late '60s, a bug-eyed imp
named Iggy Pop crashed onto the
Ann Arbor music scene like a blast
of filthy thunder. With the Stooges,
Iggy spurted out
the definitive teen-
age angst of a
hyper and horny
little bastard with
"nuthin' ta do."
The Igster and Ann
Arbor became
synonymous symbols of a saliva-
dripping, dog-in-heat musical gene-
sis that has since spurned numerous
mutated incarnations of the Stooges'
anomie skull-sonatas.
However, Ann Arbor's current


music scene, with a group of shin-
ing exceptions, is basically your
typical college town yawn-slaught of
grinning bar bands that induce tradi-
tional University hijinx. Bands such
as Mission Impossible and the Blue
Meanies have become notorious for
weak-limbed covers of everything
from the Talking Heads to Jimi
Hendrix and have led many to com-
mit the ultimate late-night sin -
that's right, the purchase of a bottle
of Mad Dog 20/20 Plum Supreme
wine in a plain brown bag.
Luckily, if you're up for some-
thing a little different, a cavalcade of
bands exist that stray like bastard
tomcats from the standard bar-band
mentality. One of the most dastardly

Waves of repeats
wash up FM radio
Welcome to the worst rock radio market in the country. If you enjoy
something besides pop/rock, the local market seems fairly healthy. But
your choices for anything else are static.
The worst problem with local airwaves is the strict musical/racial divi-
sions. Listeners can choose from two Top 40 stations, one Urban ('80s
R&B) station, and five Album Rockers. I think you'll agree that Terrence
Trent D'Arby rocks twice as hard as Bruce Hornsby, but Hornsby is
overplayed daily on four rock stations. D'Arby can only be heard on the
Top 40 stations and WJLB. Why is this? D'Arby is Black. With the ex-
ceptions of Jimi Hendrix, Robert Cray, and an occasional Stevie Wonder
oldie, all five rock stations play white artists exclusively.
Local radio also strictly limits which rock bands are played. Advertis-
ers want to sell things to the largest demographic group in the country -
the baby boomers - who like "classic" rock, not Guns 'N' Roses and
Metallica. Until Metallica's sales breakthrough a few years ago, anything
on the album charts was on the radio. Guns 'N' Roses' debut album re-
cently went platinum and Metallica's new album shipped platinum before
release, yet neither receive airplay. The reason? I doubt many people over
the age of 25 like either band. And I doubt if the people who do like them
spend disposable income on new cars, downtown bars, and CDs.
Besides, classic playlists are boring. If classic rock meant playing
tracks like the Who's "Boris the Spider" or the Stone's "Stray Cat Blues,"
I would listen often. Instead listeners hear endless repeats of "Magic Bus"
and "Satisfaction." Classic rock playlists are based on what sold well
from 1966 to 1978, so you won't hear the Velvet Underground, '60s Pink
Floyd, Chuck Berry, or Bo Diddley.
The worst thing about classic rock formats is the neglect of local rock
history. Ann Arbor was the home of two of the greatest rock and roll
bands in the world, the MC5 and the Stooges. But local programmers
See Radio, Page 12

of these bands is the rancorous
Laughing Hyenas. With bitching,
droning guitars showered in post-
Iggy acid-rain feedback, the Hyenas'
definitive sound comes from John
Brannon, whose toxic-shocking vo-
cals scream like Jamie Lee Curtis in
Along the same lines, restless
recording artists the Necros occa-
sionally perform their diabolical,
warlock-magic at the Blind Pig.
One warning: If you see these guys
live get ready to take cover 'cuz their
bite-the-bullet speed metal is guar-
anteed to pump gleaming guitar
shrapnel right at yo' pretty face.
The Holy Cows are another group
of noise-meisters who combine
meaty guitar dissonance with unholy
rhythmic-crime to create a chaotic
brand of moo-sic.
Good o1' Frank Allison & the
Odd Sox have gained a loyal follow-
ing for their twang-bang guitars,
swell pop melodies, and goofball
lyrics that are guaranteed to bring the
geek out of everyone. Frank makes
a whole bunch of funny faces that
will have you laughing and spilling
your beers.
Ann Arbor also has its share of
unclassifiable bands; knavish bastard
musicians with bizarre, off-beat
sounds. The Groove Biscuits are a
perfect example. With their sing-a-
long blockbuster hit, "Johnny's a
Dickhead," these guys emulate the
sound of a stale dinner roll flung
across the room that accidentally
thunked off Mom's forehead. Add
Mom's inevitable bitching and your
welpish whining and you've got the
Groove Biscuits.
Maroon, Ann Arbor's only rap
group, falls under the eccentric cate-
gory as well. I don't know about
you, but every time I hear the name
of this band I think of Bugs Bunny
chomping on a carrot and matter-of-
factly calling the frothing, grunting,
whirling Tasmanian Devil a
"maroon." Actually the comparison
kind of fits; William Pflaum's wise-
ass white-boy rap carries an air of
Bugs Bunny get-out-of-my-face
cockiness while local poster-paster
Martin Kierzenbaum's fitful dj-
See Bands, Page 12

Jazz. Does it exist in Ann Arbor?
This is the question many newcom-
ers to the University ask because the
campus scat scene seems scant -
unless one knows where to look.
The most accessible jazz and
blues venue for the discerning lis-
tener is the campus FM radio sta-
tion, WCBN (88.3). CBN plays all
styles of music, including a good
amount of bebop and off-line jazz.
Especially worthwhile is their daily
"Jazz 'til noon"
show. The DJs
program their own
shows, so the jazz
connoisseur would
do well to sample
various CBN pro-
grams to find their
DJ and "sound" of
Like anywhere
else in Reagan's
America, the next
best sources of jazz
besides alternative
radio are record
stores, and Ann
Arbor has several
decent disc shops.
Though rock 'n'
roll predominates,
at the very least
one can always find
great, underappre-
ciated jazz albums
and tapes in the
"bargain" shelves.
As for live jazz
performances, the
pickings are some-
what slimmer. The
campus jazz organization, Eclipse,
usually offers about a dozen shows a
schoolyear, featuring headliners of
varying fame. In the last two years,
Eclipse has brought the likes of Pat
Metheny and Ornette Coleman,
Miles, and Ahmad Jamal. The prices
for Eclipse shows are not cheap but
are standard for headline jazz perfor-
Another, smaller scale Eclipse
jazz series is "Java and Jazz," held on
Sunday afternoons in the Michigan
Union Tap Room (starting in Octo-
ber). The weekly programs feature
Detroit-based talent which the stu-
dent/fan might not otherwise have

Bands on the run

College music. It's one of those record in-
dustry terms, like "neo-psychedelic" or "grunge-
y, garage-style crunch chords," which, despite le-
gions of music critics bandying them about, no
one really understands. Probably no one has ever
started a band saying, "all we want to do is play
some kick-ass college music." You won't find a
college music bin at Record Town or Musicland.
It's not mentioned in university admissions
But it exists. It exists enough to have its own
Top 10 album listing on the back page of
Rolling Stone. It exists enough to have hordes of
Rickenbacker-toting new bands begging for
comparisons to R.E.M., which used its Big Band
On Campus status to catapult itself into the Top
10. It may defy definition; it may be reggae one
minute and industrial the next, but it's there and
Ann Arbor's got a lot of it - live.
OH, MAYBE not as much as Detroit. Cer-
tainly not as much as New York. But definitely
more than you're likely to find in a Midwestern
town this size - or even bigger - surrounded
on all sides by flat fields of Queen Anne's Lace.
Check out the Toledo music scene if you don't


believe it. Ann Arbor's large student and other-
wise young population, as well as its proximity
to the Detroit area's teeming millions have long
made it - if not a hotbed - at least as close to
one as you're likely to find in the Midwest, for
music acts appealing to we young 'uns.
This fact, combined with the Ann Arboreal
predilection for the unusual, has meant that every
year sees not only a number of nationally known
acts come to town, but also an even greater
number of nationally unknown ones. Examples?
Well, over the past year, we've had ...
HaskerDUINXS ScreamingTreesMiriamMakeb
sPixiesYoungFreshFellowsHughMasekelaFlam in
... to name a few.
BUT DISREGARDING all of this ca-
cophonous name-dropping, there have been dry
stretches in appearances by national bands at the
clubs and theaters still in existence. Why? Lack
of interest? Doubtfully. Promoters bringing acts

OyN L ZNA ily
o, from A2
to the Detroit area instead? Possibly. The cruel
vengeance of the music gods for Ann Arbor's
part in launching Bob Seger's career? If there's
any justice in the world, yes.
But the most major contributor may be
Michigan's 21 drinking age. Live music, in par-
ticular rock and "new" music, tends to draw a
college-age crowd. If we define "college-age" as
being roughly 18 to 22, it doesn't take much to
calculate that three-fifths of that range can't
legally drink alcohol - or, to be more blunt,
can't pay money to legally drink alcohol. For a
club owner paying several thousand dollars a pop
for a band, this can be discouraging - and can
make the prospect of replacing said bands with
DJed dance party marathons more and more ap-
Yet the Ann Arbor area still manages to
dredge up enough national music to give all but
the staunchest connoisseurs of the mainstream
(those of you whose musical tastes are deter-
mined by Billboard would be better off finding a
friend who can drive to Detroit regularly) a
chance to catch some of their favorites, or at least
get a break from studying the Greek alphabet at
See Scene, Page 11

Flutist Tokyo String Moscow State Vienna Philhar- Vienna Cellist
Itzhak Perlman Quartet Symphony monic Orchestra Symphony Yo-Yo Ma
and pianist Thursday, Sept. 29, conducted by conducted by Orchestra Monday, Dec. 5,
ConcertsSamuel Sanders Rackham Auditorium, Yevegny Leonard conducted by Hill Auditorium,
Sunday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. Svetlanov Bernstein Georges Pretre 8p.m.
Hill Auditorium, Sunday, Oct. 23, Saturday, Oct. 29, Friday, Nov. 11,
4 p.m. Hill Auditorium, Hill Auditorium, Hill Auditorium,
8p.m. 8p.m. 8p.m.

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