The Michigan Doily
Monday, November 6, 1989
Campers cross borders
BY JIM PONIEWOZIK
IT'S a hallmark of many great
bands that their most inconsequential
works end up being their most popu-
lar. The Clash churned out album
after landmark album only to score
their biggest hit with the uneven
Combat Rock, and in their pre-beer
tour days, The Who got the most
commercial attention for fluff pieces
like "Squeeze Box" and "Magic
So it's fitting, if sad, that Cam-
pdr'Van Beethoven, one of the most
mtisically brave bands of the '80s, is
stil seen as a "joke" band and may
score their biggest hit with a cover.
Sure, "Where the Hell is Bill?"
and "Take The Skinheads Bowling,"
the songs from 1985's Telephone
Free Landslide Victory which broke
the band to the college crowd, were
great fun. And sure, the 15 minutes
of MTV fame the band has won with
their version of Status Quo's
"Pictures of Matchstick Men" was
long overdue. But if these songs are
what draw listeners' attention to this
Santa Cruz quintet, what will keeps
it there is their serious, and seriously
Camper Van emerged as a genre-
smasher in music's most genre-con-
scious era. They drew on folk, art
rock and snot-punk, but added several
twists to the forms, mixing instru-
ments like cittern and balalaika with
a two-guitar, bass, drums, and violin
lineup, and employing enough rock
and ethnic music influences to make
them a sort of postmodern Ellis Is-
About the only real link between
the songs is the nasal Californian
drawl of lead singer David Lowery.
The LPs lurch beween instrumentals
and vocals, ballads and thrashers,
Zeppelinesque rock and pseudo-Rus-
sian/Greek/Celtic folk, as well as the
odd cover, the odd ska number, and,
well, the odd, such as their tribute to
Patty Hearst, "Tania," which fits
into just about every above category
and a few that haven't been invented
The band's newest LP, Key Lime
Pie, is a darker, heavier-hearted effort
than their more rocking 0 u r
Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
of 1988, featuring more acoustic
guitar and stronger lyrics than any of
their previous albums. Whereas their
earlier works were distancingly ab-
surdist and even goofy, the 14 songs
of Pie are sweet, often touching, and
even poetic, like the sentimental
"Sweet Hearts" and "All Her Fa-
Although the band has main-
tained its Dadaist sensibilities, it
now uses its surrealism in a more di-
rect way, as on "When I Win The
Lottery," in which a marginalized
loser fantasizes about buying the lo-
cal American Legion Hall and paint-
ing it in the colors of the Chinese
flag, boasting that "I never killed
translate and grow
BY JAY PINKA
BUDDHIST tradition illustrates the human condition as one of
continual transition. While here on earth, we are never perfected, never
complete - but always either raging toward disaster or exploring and
creating new realities. Once we decide that we have reached an "ideal,"
definitive state, we try to limit ourselves into static roles - "a doctor,"
"a socialist" - rather than seeking unsettling new experiences. Buddhists
say this is futile, if not abortive to our creativity.
Writers Edward Morin and Stephen Dunning show the reward of
persistent evolution in one's thinking and creative practices. Dunning has
grasped the identifying features of his poetry, translating it into the
structure of fiction. His poems focus on "characters and persona" through
the extensive use of dialogue.
"Fiction...take(s) advantage of the strengths I have as a writer," says
Dunning, who has taught at many universities and was an anthologist for
Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle. In his story "Hunter's.Park"
he "shows two boys on the edge of finding out about love and sex."
"I'm a 14 year-old writer captured in a somewhat older body," says
Dunning. Not retrieving a landscape from the past, Dunning recreates the
present in the exhiliarating frame of personal viewpoint.
"My remembering is less important than my imagining," said
Dunning, who graduated from Florida State with a Ph.D. in the critical
apparatus of young adult literature. Having "a couple hundred" of his
poems published in various journals, Dunning recently retired to write.
His poem, "You Might Say This Is The Story of My Life," will appear
in the book, "Men and Women: Together and Alone."
"I really like what I'm doing - trying to become a writer,"
While the dead leaves fall all around us, the co-translations of poet
Edward Morin remind us that spring will return, bringing the world to
Lying between the real and the imagined/ You are a mountain
flaming with red leaves/ A mixture of sadness and joy at dusk! ....You
are translucent white sculpture/ Deep sleep illuminated by good
fortune/ You are the mild fragrance of spring flowers! From the
generosity of selfless Nature.
This poem, called "Distance," by Cai Qi-jiao, characterizes the duality
liberally expressed in the anthology The Red Azalea: Chinese Poetry
since the Cultural Revolution. Morin, Dennis Ding and Dai Fang
cooperated to reproduce, in the English idiom, the literary voices of the
Chinese suppressed by the government.
"When poets have a bad time in life... it's like the pearl... coming out
of the illness of the oyster."
Morin has two books of his own poetry, The Dust of Our City (1978)
and Dear Carnivores, which he is currently "reshaping."
EDWARD MORIN and STEPHEN DUNNING will read tonight at 8:30
p.m. at Guild !louse, 802 Monroe Street.
Camper Van Beethoven is cool. Here's some advice: if you're writing a
paper on Patty Hearst for a psychclass, listen to their song "Tania" a few
times and you'll get an A+. This has really happened.
someone I don't know just 'cause
someone told me to."
The album continues Camper
Van hallmarks, such as stylistic
scavenging ("Opening Theme") and
fascinating with pop culture anti-
heroes ("Jack Ruby"), but it does so
in a much more somber mood.
Sweetheart closed with the state-
ment "Life is Grand"; "Pie" ends
with "Come On Darkness." 'Nuff
But this is still the band that did
"Club Med Sucks." CVB is known
for putting on a fun live show,
given to extended spacey jams and
obscure covers, and longtime fans
may also be interested in catching
the touring debut of violinist Mor-
gan Fichter, the band's newest
And yeah, who knows, maybe
they will do "Take the Skinheads
FREE SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION FOR
STUDENTS WHO NEED
Every Student is Eligible for Some lype of
Financial Aid Regardless of Grades or Parental Income.
' "We have a data bank of over 200,000 listings of scholarships, fellow- '
ships grants, and loans, representing over $10 billion in private sector ,
" Many scholarships are given to students based on their academic interests,
career plans, family heritage and place of residence.'
t- There's money available for students who have been newspaper carriers, '
grocery clerks, cheerleaders, non-smokers .. .etc.
CALL For A Free Brochure
k ANYTIME (800) 346-6401
Care Products Division needs
a few top-notch recent or
December graduates in
Marketing to open some new
U.S. Sales territories.
Salary 25K plus bonus, benefits
and car. For complete confiden-
tial information call, touch-tone,
1-800-338-1542, enter 8011
An equal opportunity employer
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN will
perform at the Nectarine Ballroom
tonight at 10 p.m. Tickets are
$11.50 in advance. They'll play
Schoolkids at 4 p.m.
available in all lower-level Math, Science,
and Engineering Courses
M, T, W, Th
A service of the following Honor Societies:
Tau Beta Pi Eta Kappa Nu
Alpha Pi Mu Pi Tau Sigma
Sponsored in part by MSA, UMEC, and LSA-SG
Traverse the world O'Sullivan's style
this week as our travelling leprechaun
experiences the mystery of the Gulf
Coast, Norway, Germany, England, China,
and old Chicago.
and into the night.
Pitcher O' Margaritas
Pitcher O' Beer
Haunch O' Chicken
St. Pauli Girl
Root Beer Schnapps
Mug O' Harp
Young's Special London
Young's Ram Rod
Fish and Chips
Smith Corona presents Lhree products that can
help make schoolwork academic.
you can have the convenience of word processing
features with the simplicity of a typewriter.