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October 13, 1989 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-13
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Chili Peppers are seekin' the ultimate

Mark Edwards is My Dad is Dead.

Specializing in - DINNERS & LUNCHES
Szechuan, Hunan CARRY-OUTS
' Rated Ann Arbor's best new restau-
and Cantonese rant of 1988 and best oriental res-
taurant of 1989 by The Michigan
Daily'Weekend Magazine.
747-7006 Monday -sunday
11 am-11 pm

I was told even before listening to
this record that I should have at least
some respect for any musician who
plays all the instruments on his or
her record. A hell of a starting point
for reviewing an album. Like I have
any respect for that pop-whipped-
woos Winwood. Or what about Aldo
Nova? Does anyone even remember
him? I guess that's why My Dad is
Dead's The Taller You are... was
such a surprise. I expected some-
thing I could classify as
"entertaining," but this record is re-
ally very good.
Taller is meatier than recent
Homestead releases, which seem to
be on the wimpy side. Since Touch
and Go moved into the neighborhood
some years ago, Homestead has been
reverting to a lot of junk to com-
pete- i.e. Soiled American.
But I can really sink my teeth
into this guy's work. Taller is actu-
ally the first slab I've heard from
Mark Edwards, though he's been cut-
ting more disks than Lotus lately.

The album features lots of guitar,
and fairly simple drums (Edwards
never claimed to be a rhythm sec-
tion), but it really works. Jeff Curtis
joins Edwards on bass for a few
songs, so I guess it's misleading to
call it a solo album.
Taller is a double album, with
sixteen songs and a lot of cool stuff.
Most of the time Edwards sounds
like Sonic Youth, with Michael
Stipe on the microphone. An in-
tensely charged melodic force, in the
vein of Nice Strong Arm or S.Y.'s
Teenage Riot, forces the listener's
ear. Taller also features some quite
simple, somewhat Taoist lyrics -
"She rid herself/of the cause ofdher.
pain" (from "Whirlpool") and "I
could spend the rest of my
life/figuring out what matters to me"
(from "The Big Picture"). A surpris-
ingly good instrumental called "For
Lack of a Better Word" kicks this
double-set off with a bang, and is
probably one of the only good lyric-
less songs I've heard since the re-
lease of Volcano Suns The Bright
Orange Years.
Taller is definitely worth check-
ing out.
-Robert Flaggert

By Nabeel Zuberi
Is it just me or does the return of
the slapping bass FUNK to rock
music not send a shudder across the
universe? The abrasive guitar and the
fingerpopping fatback rhythm sec-
tion are back: George Clinton's back
on form, the rap's getting hipper,
and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are
pumping up the jam once again.
Yes, it's those guys who wear
socks over their privates, and, yes,
they've been sitting in the
Californian sun too long; it does
strange things to a boy, and boys
don't come much weirder and wilder
than the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The
Chilies (or is that the Peppers?) have
just released their third album,
Mother's Milk (EMI), after a
lenghthy recording hiatus. The band
seriously considered folding after the
heroin-related death of guitar player
Hillel Slovak in June, 1988 and the
departure of drummer Jack Irons
soon after. But now, lead vocalist
Anthony Kiedis and bassist (and
Chet Baker clone) Flea have recruited
John Frusciante and Chad Smith on
guitar and drums respectively.
Like their previous recordings,
Mother's Milk is essentially about
the search for the ultimate groove;
following in the footsteps of
Parliamentfunkadelic hero Clinton,
every musical muscle the Peppers
exert is designed to better understand
the funk. As Kiedis says, "I liken
funk to the novel War And Peace
because neither draw from the me-
diocre emotions of life. Funk draws

its energy from the hard times and
the good times. It draws from the
pains and extreme pleasures, from
tormenting sadness, as well as from
exhilarating love. It jumps from the
severe ends of the spectrum and not
really much in between."
Along with the intense rush of
their funk grove comes a surrealistic
disregard for musical genres and pi-

geonholing. The Red Hot Chili
Peppers are nothing if not eclectic.
They've recorded the Meters' classic
"Hollywood" and on the current al-
bum there's a barnburning version of
the Jimi Hendrix Experience's
"Fire," as well as a reading of Stevie
Wonder's "Higher Ground."
The group's live shows are like
happenings, but without the conceit

that term implies. Imagine the Marx
Brothers whooping it up in
Freedonia, for there you have the
philosophy, the essence, and all the
pseudo-theoretical bullshit that basi-
cally just says a great big YES to
LIFE in all its absurdity. Fresh is
the word, for the Red Hot Chili
Peppers on stage are an embodiment
of all that is fecund, damn groovy

at I


" N N A .1 0 1

Williams hops on the
folksinger bandwagon

The fingerpoppin', funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

diocre emotions of life. Funk draws The fin gerpoppin', funkadelic, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

a°ds Ia Go f lb w
M..ing a -Au. b. -r

mRADA M +a


523 E. Liberty
Ann Arbor
Mon-Thurs 9:30-9:30
Fri & Sat 10-9:30
Sun 12-8

Lucinda Williams
Passionate Kisses
Rough Trade EP/CD
There seem to be folk singers
coming out of every nook and
cranny today. Some of them think
the possession of an acoustic guitar
means one can solve the world's
problems, others that a return to
'roots' music will save us from
those awfully frightful machine
things known as synthesizers.
'Feeling,' 'emotion,' and 'soul' are
buzzwords bandied about by this lat-
ter group of musical luddites.
Anyway, every Tom, Dick, Harry
and Tracy is falling over him/herself
trying to be sensitive, concerned.
about the ozone layer, and
'political'- without alienating your
average liberal capitalist youngster.
Into the maelstrom. comes
Lucinda Williams, wearing her angst
on her sleeve and making sure you
know that she's got an ace record
collection. The title track,
"Passionate Kisses," is a catchy pop-
folk number rather like Suzanne
Vega's "Luka." It's refreshing to
note that Williams isn't afraid of us-
ing electric guitars. But I'd be in-
trigued to hear what Dinosaur Jr.

could do with the song. A little
more fuzz and distortion, the way the
Lemonheads wonderfully carved up
"Luka," would bring out the more
posessive urges in the song.
"Side Of The Road" is innocuous
but fairly pleasant poppy fare, but
the other three tracks on the CD are
just dire. Williams tries to mutate
into Robert Johnson, Lightnin
Hopkins and every great Delta blues
singer. The titles say it all: "Goin'
Back Home," "Nothing In
Rambling," and "Disgusted." She
has an evocative enough voice- I'd
rather listen to this then the vastly
overrated Janis Joplin- but the
sound is all to clean. We've had
Designer Country, courtesy of the
Cowboy Junkies, and now we have
the dubious pleasure of Designer
Blues. I'm sure someone's going to
laud it as 'Postmodern Blues.'
What Passionate Kisses has in
common with other modern(e) 'folk'
music is that so many of its practi-
tioners just don't want to get their
hands dirty. There's no passion, just
empty style play. For folk music
with an edge and bite, get out those
Phil Ochs and Woody Guthrie
--Nabeel 'Zuberi

The Buttholes and their
inimitable act surf into town

By John Konno
I'm standing in some concert hall
in Pontiac that I've never heard of
before, waiting for the Butthole
Surfers. I really didn't choose to
come, but my friend Matt has
brought me here. All kinds of ques-
tions enter my head: What kind of
band would call themselves the
Butthole Surfers anyway, knowing
that their records will be banned
from every K-Mart across the coun-
try? Why are there so many odd-
looking people here? Why are the: e
so many people here? Am I going tc;
get the most out of my entertain-
ment dollar? What do their followers
call themselves? Buttheads?
The hall keeps filling up as we
watch the opening band, some
wacked-out group whose lead singer
enjoys spitting into the air and
catching it back in his mouth. I de-
cide to get a beer, and ask Matt if he
wants one. "Noooo thanks. I don't
want any alcohol clouding my brain
during this show. Heh heh heh." I
wonder what's about to happen. He's
seen the Surfers before, but I know

practically nothing about them. I
mean, I'm pretty much a nerd when
it comes to music - I still think
Eddie Money's cool. All I can recall
are some album titles - Locust
Abortion Technician, Rembrandt
Pussyhorse, and that one showing a
disfigured face on the cover with pic-
tures for song titles.
Pretty soon the lights slowly
dim, accompanied by an increasingly
loud single continuous note coming
from the loudspeakers. The hall be-
gins to rumble from the sound, turn-
ing the pre-concert excitement all the
way up to 11. Amidst the panicked,
fanatical cheering, out come four or
five guys- a couple of whom I
seem to recall seeing on a post office
bulletin board. They strap on their
instruments, and just before the deaf-
ening tone pierces our eardrums,
they launch into two hours of bizarre
noise and psychedelic stage theatrics
that make (insert name of any
"crazy" band) look like (less crazy
It's hard to describe what goes on
the rest of the night. I could run

down the evening's playlist, except
that I honestly don't know any song
titles, or if they're even playing
"songs." I can only absorb a kind of
blur of images passing before my
At the show's beginning, a small
woman (who looks like a cross be-
tween an elf and Bjork from the
Sugarcubes) enters the stage. She
could be anywhere from 12 to 48
years old. Is she going to sing? Or is
she perhaps a stray, strung-out
groupie looking for attention? My
curiosity is short-lived, however, as
she steps front-and-center, disrobes,
and begins gyrating to the beat, flail-
ing her arms, and generally rejoicing
in the glory of this psychotic frenzy.
As the woman dances, she's oc-
casionally illuminated by strobe
lights positioned at either side of the
stage, programmed to flash alter-'
nately so that she and the entire band
appear to vibrate violently left and
right. Throughout the performance, a
huge movie screen situated behind
the drum sets presents various im-
See Buttholes, Page 13
Weekend/October 13,1989

At tl

7 Days a Week
I Attention
I Fraternities and
I Sororities-
I Discount and
1 delivery for large -
1 orders.
1 Try our Croissant Sand-
I wiches at our Ann Arbor
1 location.
I Ypsilanti
2649 Washtenaw
1 434"2884

Watch for area appearances by
Bob Dylan, Poi Dog Pondering,
and The The. Coming soon!


Page 12 Weekend/October 13,1989

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