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October 26, 1989 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-26

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ARTS

'the Michigan Dailyy

Thursday, October 26, 1989

Page 7

Soundstage

rocks'U'

Host Donovan Grey spiffs up an institution

BY KRISTIN PALM

THEY call him Mellow Yellow.
He calls himself Donovan Grey (the
British spelling, of course) which is
testimony to the fact that University
Activities Center's Soundstage is
becoming more professional, with
people behind the scenes using cos-
mopolitan names and everything.
Grey is the director of Sound-
stage, a student-run production that
features live bands and other enter-
tainment at the U-Club on Thursday
nights. In his lofty British accent
(real or not? You be the judge), Grey
explained the origin of Soundstage,
which, like its director, is elusive.
"It evolved from open mike into
a coffee house, mostly two piece
acts, acoustic, then we started having
bands," he said.
Since his term as Soundstage di-
rector began, Grey said he has tried
to alter the production's old status as
a forum for strictly straightforward
music performed by local musicians.
,Grey's means of bringing this
change about include the incorpora-
tion of heavy metal and theme
shows into the Soundstage lineup.
Furthermore, said Grey, he strives to
provide variety. How?

"Well, I was supposed to marry
Zsa Zsa Gabor (on stage) but that
fell through," he said.
However, he adds, his luck has
not been as poor with other ven-
tures, and tonight's Dog Sol-
dier/Vibratory Synod show will also
feature Grey's own creation, the
Samhain Feast of the Dead, in honor
of the upcoming witch festival. The
illustrious feast will be only slightly
reminiscent of bat-eater Ozzy Os-
bourne.
"I sacrifice something inani-
mate," Grey assured. "I was hoping
to sacrifice a regent but that was not
possible."
Grey said one of his goals for
Soundstage this year is to feature
popular acts from around the nation
as opposed to strictly local bands.
But this does not mean Ann Arbor
musicians will be left out in the
cold.
"The idea is to make local acts
more successful by having them
open for bigger acts," Grey said.
Boston's Scruffy the Cat and De-
troit's Halloween have already played
Soundstage this year, but big names
are not all this production has to of-
fer. As a matter of fact, Grey said,
Soundstage probably has one (or
two) up on shows at other area bars.

"We have a clean place and a
healthy imagination."
A healthy imagination, indeed.
At a recent performance by Ann
Arbor's Juice, Grey, who emcees the
Soundstage shows, gave away eight
quarts of (what else?) juice. In stick-
ing to the variety theme, several
types of juice were distributed
among audience members.
More common items, such as t-
shirts and records, are also fair game
for giveaways. In addition to having
a live band, next Thursday's show
will be a basketball pep rally. David
Barrett, the person responsible for
music during the Winter Olympics
and the NCAA Basketball Tourna-
ment, will perform, and University
basketball coach Steve Fisher will
also be present. Grey said that Fisher
is in no danger of being considered
sacrificial material, thanks in part to
another member of the Athletic De-
partment.
"I've been leaning toward Bo
lately," Grey said.
While a pumpkin or similar ob-
ject may be the only item officially
sacrificed tonight, audience members
may need to watch out for their
eardrums as Detroit heavy metal
band Dog Soldier hits the stage.
Lead singer Cristina Samonte has

Detroit band Dog Soldier plays the U-Club's Soundstage tonight. Donovan Grey, the enigmatic emcee, will surely
make the evening at least a memorable one. He might hand out free dogs, or soldiers... maybe he'll go for more
mundane giveaways this time around.

been compared to Joan Jett, Pat Be-
natar and Tina Turner, and the
group's overall sound is said to re-
semble that of the Stooges, Blue
Oyster Cult or, most often, Guns N'
Roses. Perhaps they could be de-
scribed as diversely adherent to the
hard rock style.
For those who can't make it to
Soundstage or want a sneak preview
for upcoming weeks, WCBN DJ
Grimm Reaper, conveniently

enough, features Soundstage artists'
music on his Metal Church show at
1 a.m. on Sundays. Grey claims to
be Reaper's agent (perhaps this is
show biz lingo for alter-ego) but the
masked marauder of death's actual
identity has yet to be publicly re-
vealed.
Dual personality assertions aside,
Reaper may have just been greatly
affected by Grey's assertion regarding
Soundstage productions:

"It is the sort of variety where
people will feel stupid if they miss
out and everyone will laugh at
them."
And revelling in the laughter will
be one lanky, cheery Brit and a mys-
terious, masked machete man with a
penchant for the Satanic. Unless
they are one and the same. Or maybe
they are all some guy named Mike...
DOG SOLDIER will perform at the
U-Club tonight at 10 p.m.

, ,
Y

The Textones
Through the Canyon
Rhino
Do you remember 1980 to 1986?
Do you want to?
America's favorite nostalgia la-
bel, Rhino, has gotten "hip" and re-
leased a compilation LP of an early
'80s, two critical-hit-album band,
the Textones, using material which
never made it on to either of their
records. This album, though, just
sounds like bad outtakes.
The record allegedly chronicles
their highest undiscovered points as
a band. The band was co-founded by
Kathy Valentine - later a member
of the Go-Go's - and Carla Olsen.
Composed mainly of covers of vari-
ous forgettable people like the
Searchers and Neil Sedaka, and me-
diocre material of their own, this trip
down recent memory lane seems fu-
tile at best and comparable to search-
ing for undiscovered diamonds in a
gumball machine. Releasing second-
rate material is not the way to make
an old, fairly obscure band revitalized
for today.
The earliest tunes are the only
thing of any interest. When Kathy

Valentine was still in the band in
1980, she wrote two tunes now
saved from obscurity by this record,
namely "Can't Stop the World"
(later rerecorded by the Go-Go's) and
"Some Other Girl." Each make the
early 'Tones and the Go-Go's seem
amazingly good relative to early '80s
women like Pat Benatar and Joan
Jett and today's great examples of
competent musical women, the Ban-
gles and Bananarama. Valentine's
rave-ups are masterpieces compared
to the blah relived but not revived on
this disc.
I had forgotten that "Happy
Days" was still on the air as late as
1982 and made '50s nostalgia hot,
that is before I heard the cover of
"Keep A Walkin'." I'd rather forget
if I have to listen to boring at its
pinnacle and would rather see a com-
pilation of what the band itself con-
siders their "good" songs songs
culled from their two LPs. Does
Rhino actually expect that this col-
lection will make the world mad at

itself for overlooking the Textones
while they were still a band?
-Annette Petrusso
The Alarm
Change
I.R.S. Records
I have to keep listening to this
record over and over. Not because
it's great or anything, but I can
never remember what any of the
songs sound like. Nothing seems to
register in my mind except bits and
pieces. While The Alarm tried out
the ever-popular "back to basics" ap-
proach with Change, the result is
lackluster.
As the plentiful promo materials
included in my copy eagerly point
out, Change was recorded in a primi-
tive 12-track studio (14 on the tape
and CD - hmm, am I missing
something?) in Wales with
"legendary" producer Tony Visconti.
Unfortunately, he seems to have let
The Alarm's (formerly) fresh and in-
See RECORDS, page 9

--- .
Early '80s critical faves the Textones just aren't as hip as they used to be. Co-founder Kathy Valentine wisely
took a vacation from this band.

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