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January 12, 1990 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-12

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 12, 1990

Bullies don't wanna be no squareheads
OK, we survived 1989 but, big surprise, it has brought us another year with nothing to do. Nothing except
recalling how much easier it was to have fun every day when Mom picked up the utility bills. That and sitting
around listening to less apathetic and more talented college-town subterraneans like the God Bullies.
Formed in the terminally bored Kalamazoo/Western Michigan U. underground, the God Bullies persevered
through the slightly funny deals offered non-cover band musical artistes like playing unused parts of sports
bars on weeknights or going into a town hoping to make enough money to buy gas and cigarettes. The band's
recording output appears on Minnesota's Amphetamine Reptile Records, including some now long-gone
singles and 1989's mamawombwomb. Said record supplies the perfect ennui soundtrack for these grey daze,
keeping the synapses plenty busy trying to decide if their audio cut-up sources are better than everyone
else's while "The Beat of the Jungle" that Art Linkletter was so scared of bores away at us underneath
incessant distorto chords, all before lead singer Mike Hard starts reinforcing our paranoid view of the world.
The key to the God Bullies' rise above the hordes of their fellow leathered Stooge fanatics may be Live on
tage!, where Mike Hard attempts to out-Ig all comers, with the probable exception of current Washtenaw
ounty Jail resident GG Allin. Ann Arborites somehow made those incredible grunge-godhead Stooges
records so long ago, and their disciples will be making pilgrimages here for some time. Lucky us.
-Brian Jarvinen

Ministry
The Mind is a Terrible Thing
To Taste
Sire/Warner Brothers Records
How should Ministry be classi-
fied now? While almost all classifi-
cations are inherently limiting and
over-simplified, it's still very diffi-
cult to come up with even a short
phrase that adequately describes The
Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste.
What does one call a band with a
frontman who "changed" his name
from Alain to Alien and lists him-
self as a guitarist when it's pretty
obvious he's lying? (These guys
have to be using samplers. Not even
Metallica plays this fast.) How
about "cyber-techno-thrash-indus-
trial-speed-synth metal?" Well,
maybe not. I suppose that "techno-
metal" captures the essence of the
new Ministry. The band has taken
the most abrasive elements of both
genres and produced a seemingly
contradictory offspring, a total
cross-clash of cultures soldered to-
gether by a mad scientist.
Not a lot is different from the last
record, The Land of Rape and
honey, except that Alien and the
boys have gone completely over the
top with the metal guitars and have
buried any evidence that they're us-
ing a drum machine deep down in
the mix. Hypo Luxa and Hermes
Pan (probably another front for Al)
return to produce and many of the
same backup musicians are also
here. Hell, even the cover is done by
the same people that did the last
record.
A noticeable difference is that the
lyrics are distorted and buried so
much that they're almost unintelli-
gible. This may be by design; it
looks like Al has run out of ideas.
The lyrics on this are a far cry from
older songs like "All Day" and have
even deteriorated from "Stigmata"
("The only weapon I know is the
rAi ~

look in your eyes"). Instead we have
inane lines like, "I only kill to know
I'm alive." Oh really, Al? On
"Test," the Grand Wizard helps out
the situation with his diatribes
against nearly everything ("Don't
sell out/ or get the hell out/ of this
business") but he doesn't quite save
the day.
The music is another matter. It
doesn't make a difference if the play-
ing is real or not. This stuff rocks
harder than just about anything
around. The songs cruise along at
breakneck speed, with only a few ex-
ceptions. The first song, "Thieves,"
is a worthy sucessor to "Stigmata,"
and features the fastest fretwork in a
long time. The band hasn't aban-
doned its electronic stuff, however.
The sampling is superb and adds
frosting to what otherwise might
have been a monotonous cake.
The band has achieved a success-
ful integration of metal and techno
here; the mix is a Frankenstein
monster of sorts, but it kicks some
major ass. If the lyrics are over-
looked, The Mind could qualify as
both one of the best metal records
and one of the best techno records of
the year.
-Mike Molitor
UZEB
Noisy Nights
Nova
Fusion: A combination of the
emotion of rock and the expressive
freedom of jazz. On the rock side are
groups like Steely Dan; on the
x pop/jazz side, Kenny G; and on the
jazz side, groups like Spyro Gyra.
Hits: Although there are the No.
1 kind, a hit in music can also de-
scribe the simultaneous notes or
1 rhythms played, either at certain
points in the music or for longer
sustained runs.
All of this leads you to the music
of UZEB, a French Canadian fusion
trio extraordinaire. Although they've

been together for over ten years,
recorded seven albums, won count-
less (well, almost) prizes (including-
Canada's equivalent to the Grammy
and numerous prizes at European
jazz festivals), UZEB has remained
unknown in the U.S. No more! Last,
spring, Nova records in California
picked up their latest venture, Noisy
Nights, for distribution in the U.S.
Hopefully, UZEB will soon be heard
from more and more this side of the
border.
One journalist quite adequately
described the music as being "tighter*
than a gnat's ass." Alain Carron,
UZEB's bassist, commented, "I
don't know if I'd tell you we're the
tightest band around, but it's defi-1
nitely something that we strive for
in the music. All I know is that'
when I play, I'm so into it. We're
now playing in a trio format (with
Michel Cusson as guitarist, Paul
Brochu on drums) which gives us,
more space to develop the ideas we. -
want to develop.",A
If you're into high tech music,'
UZEB is a band that isn't afraid to
use technology. All members of the
band at one point or another use
their instruments to drive synthesiz-,
ers. "The base of our trio is still gui-
tar, bass and drums. We use the
synths to add colors," said Carron.
Two of the tracks on Noisy Nights,
feature sequencers; in order to play
them live, the drummer plays to 1
click track. If you ever thought prac-
licing to a metronome was hard, try,
it while you're performing. "You
could give a Steinway or a Bosendor.,
fer to someone who didn't know
how to play, and it would sound bad,
The same is true with sequencers,',
Carron explained. If ever there wasa
band that found the right combina-
tion between live playing and cre-
ative sequencing, it would be UZEB,,
If you're still of the kind that be-#
lieves computers and music don't,
mix, let me offer up some tidbits.,
UZEB could (and sometimes does),
play all of their music acoustically-,
Both Cusson and Carron are Berklee
College of Music alumni, an4.
Brochu has been a professor at the'
Quebec Conservatory of Music. Car-,
ron practiced six to eight hours a day
for five years to develop his chops.-
He's got it all, from fretless piccolo
bass playing to thunderous thumb-
slapping, the kind that makes you'
want to quit playing bass altogether.
Musicianship is something that ex-
tends equally to all members of the
group.
-Jean-Michel Creviere.

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