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February 17, 1989 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-17
This is a tabloid page

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

A newer, schmaltzier Nick
Cave croons away his past

A Campus Area Condominium
for the Cost of an Apartment

By Mike Rubin
Nick Cave has never been an easy
guy to like. The former lead singer
of Australia's infamous Birthday
Party has long been the subject of
heated debate by critics and fans,
pegged alternately as a pretentious
fop or a creative genius, a moribund
gloomy Gus or an honest observer
of human relations gone sour. The
spiritual father to an entire genera-
tion of pale, unhealthy-looking,
black-clad chain smokers, at his best
Cave is the master of musical melo-
drama, the foremost of what critic
Chuck Eddy calls "the Yale Drama
School reject" style of
capable of breathing new emotional
life into a tired rock beast. At his
worst, he overracts like a street
mime in heat, numbing the listener
into annoyance or boredom.
At the very least, Cave has be-
come the Engelbert Humperdinck of
the death rock circuit. Certainly both
have gotten their share of negative
health-related press this year -

Humperdinck due to rumors that he
has AIDS; Cave due to his heroin
arrest and subsequent detox and reha-
Since the 1983 disintegration of
the Party, Cave's solo ventures have
eschewed the chaotic and incendiary
sprawl that gave the band its' power
in favor of a smoother (dare I say,
schmaltzy) approach to singing and
songwriting. Gone are the guttural
growls, the gurgling and gargling,
yowling and yelping which charac-
terized the Birthday Party era. It is
replaced by a deep-throated croon
much closer to a Las Vegas lounge
lizard than a fire-breathing dragon.
The B-Party Cave always sounded as
if he were having his appendix re-
moved in mid-song, sans anesthesia;
post-Party Cave is more like a jaded
patient etherized upon a table. With-
out a doubt, his gooey 1986 all-
covers LP Kicking Against the
Pricks is as long a way from getting
down on all fours and barking
"Hands up, who wants to die?!!" as
one man can get.
"The Birthday Party were the

geeks in the big rock and roll cir-
cus," said Cave. "There were a lot of
other people flying around on the
high wire, or sticking their heads in
lion's mouths, but the Birthday
Party were definitely down in the
sawdust, covered in feathers and
chicken blood. The power that came
from the Birthday Party was violent.
Everything about the band, the mu-
sic, the lyrics, the performance, our
relationship with the audience, was
all based on aggression and violence.
With the Bad Seeds (his backing
band), the relationship has much
more to do with music. I'm directing
my rather meager talents towards
classic songwriting, something with
more concept behind it, based on
melody, rather than sheer force or
guitar power, like the Birthday
In the Bad Seeds, Cave has as-
sembled an all-star lineup almost as
noteworthy as the singer himself.
This year's touring model includes
Blixa Bargeld, guitarist for Ein-
sturzende Neubauten, Kid Congo
See Cave, Page 12

Cave will be singing this weekend at Saint Andrews in Detroit

Wolfgang Press to try their
hand in touring America

For Exam Preparation, Choose to EXCEL!
. Learn to Anticipate the Exam
" Improve Your Test-Taking Skills
. Use Your Study Time More Effectively
. Achieve Your Maximum Potential Score

Test Preparation

1100 South University




We're paying up to $6 CASH for single
compact discs. More when traded!

By Greg Baise
Monday, February 6, 1989: the
eve of the Wolfgang Press' second
North American tour. The English
trio has been in the United States
since the previous Friday. "We came
over early to rehearse with two
American people, that we haven't
met before, who are going to be our
soundman and tour manager," ex-
plains singer and bassist Mick
So have you already toured Eng-
land to promote your new album,
Bird Wood Cage (4AD/Rough
"The fact is that we haven't
played live in England. We played
just once last year, while we were
working on the album. It's not easy
to play in England, at good places
anyway. Certainly not for us because
-" and here Allen hesitates; "-
we're not that well known."
Not well known? But an album
you were on hovered at the top the
British independent charts during the
summer of 1987! Oh, well....
The Wolfgang Press are probably
best known in America as contribu-
tors to that album, Lonely Is An
Eyesore, a compilation released by
4AD, every Cocteau Twins fan's fa-
vorite label. Their moody track,
"Cut The Tree," differs greatly from
the thick, bass-driven post-punk of

their latest album. Influences like
the Public Image Limited of Metal
Box and the minimalist, Beefheart-
inspired Pop Group appear all over
the new album, like on the two sin-
gles, "King of Soul" and the just-re-
leased "Kansas," which features
funky wah-wah guitar integrated
with a PiL-esque rhythm.
That funk displays the Wolfgang
Press' liking of R&B, the real stuff
like James Brown, Aretha Franklin,
Public Enemy, Otis Redding. The
band even covered "Respect" on their
1985 debut, The Legendary Wolf-
gang Press and Other Tall Stories,
which, like all of their releases, is
on 4AD.
The blond-dreadlocked Allen
elaborated on the diversity of their
musical influences: "We're open to
making any kind of music, whether
it's considered dance or mood or soul
music. We don't think about music
in terms of labels."
The band actually got signed to
4AD in an earlier incarnation, Rema
Rema. They made a demo for
Chrysalis, which Peter Hunt, co-
founder along with Ivo of 4AD,
liked. Rema Rema released an EP
before metamorphosing into Mass,
who released a single and an album.
Then, after another personnel
change, the Wolfgang Press was
formed by Allen, guitarist Mark

Cox, (both of whom have been in
the band since Rema Rema) and
keyboardist Andrew Gray. They all
contribute to the programming of
their drum machine.
The 4AD-approved dance/deep
thought/downer style of the Wolf-
gang Press should contrast with the
death blues songs of Nick Cave and
the Bad Seeds, musically if not the-
matically, as the Wolfgang Press
opens for Cave tonight. Allen noted
the difference. "Some people are very
good at telling stories, like Nick
Cave. He's very good at that. But
when I write words I don't tell sto-
ries. It's more like suggestions and
things like that."
He modestly added, "They're
important to me at times, but
they're not necessarily important to
other people. There's certain things
that we say that are pretty universal
and you don't have to dig into the
song to get its meaning or what-

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