Page 8 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 14, 1990
Romantics tell us
all the things that
they want to hear
by Kristin Palm
L ast year, in the interest of re-
taining the wealthier faction of its
readership, Rolling Stone provided a
great service to the Yuppie crowd by
checking up on once-popular musi-
cians in a "Where are they now?"
feature. Ex-hippies wrote in to ex-
press their gratitude, gushing that
they could now sleep better knowing
that so-and-so who once provided the
groovy riffs that spawned a genera-
tion was now selling cookware in
With the recent issuance of
Rolling Stone's long-anticipated '80s
edition, the time is ripe to provide
such integral information for the
(TV, no) MTV generation. Detroit's
The Romantics' "What I Like About
You" and "Talking in Your Sleep"
may have helped shape the minds of
early MTV fanatics but the band's
career has taken strange turns since.
Their topsy-turvy trip has taken
them from small arena shows (i.e.
opening for another MTV-bred out-
fit, The Tubes), to (very) minor bars
(i.e. Mt. Pleasant, MI's Stagecoach
Lounge) and up to relatively larger
clubs (i.e. Club Heidelberg). Their
current upswing, on the tails of the
impending re-release of "What I Like
About You" after its prominent fea-
ture in a beer commercial, takes the
band to the Nectarine Ballroom.
Bassist Mike Skill says the band
had reservations about Budweiser us-
ing their song, but the matter was
taken out of their hands by higher
authorities. Let's hear it for agents.
Despite the re-release, Skill seems
reluctant to dwell on his band's il-
lustrious past. He would rather look
to the future.
The Romantics have picked up
drummer Clem Burke, late of
Blondie and the Eurythmics. The rest
of the lineup remains unchanged.
They are issuing import releases,
one of which will include two
George Clinton covers (apparently a
feat obligatory for Detroit bands)
and, Skill says, the relegation to
smaller venues is not a problem.
"You're closer to the crowd and
you get an immediate response," he
says of smaller shows.
Skill says the venue shift has
elicited a determined work ethic in
the band members, not hard feelings.
"It makes you work harder," he says.
"You know, you want to work
harder and get to the places that have
more room and you can pick and
"It's fun playing anywhere," he
continues, adding that the crew
sometimes has trouble setting up the
band's equipment since it is suited to
But this situation can be advan-
tageous - at least that was the case
at the Heidelberg last summer. "That
was great," he effuses. "We were
loud, we were good, it was like the
THE ROMANTICS play the
Nectarine tonight with TIIE
HUNTUNES opening. Doors open at
9 p.m. and cover is $10.
Lead Into Gold
Age of Reason
Lead Into Gold is the newest band
from Chicago to carry on the fine
Wax Trax tradition. That is, keeping
the same group of musicians for a
new release while changing the name
of the band. Lead Into Gold is headed
by Paul Barker, bassist/songwriter
for Ministry, The Revolting Cocks,
The Thrill Kill Kult and who knows
what else. In addition to sharing
many of the same musicians as these
other groups, Lead into Gold also
shares the same problem: consis-
tency. Like most of these other
Wax Trax artists' latest releases, Age
of Reason has a mix of good and bad
songs, but not enough of the former.
One of the best tracks on the al-
bum is "Faster than Light." It com-
bines pulsing synths, aggressive
drums and guitars, and Barker's dis-
torted vocals to form a song that
could easily hold its own on any
dance floor. "A Giant on Earth" is
another worthwhile cut. It was also
co-produced by Ministry main
man/mean man Alien Jourgensen.
The problem here is that it sounds
ridiculously similar to Ministry's
"You Know What You re." The
bassline and other instrumentation
are all very similar. "Sweet
Thirteen" and "Age of Reason" use a
much slower tempo than listeners
have come to expect, but the songs
actually work well as a distorted
mass of anguish and industry.
Unfortunately, most of the other
songs don't work with such a slow
tempo. "Fell from Heaven" exempli-
fies this problem. It sounds like a
constipated Ministry tune. So slow
that it becomes annoying to listen
to, you want to get up to press the
skip button after the first 30 sec-
onds. Unfortunately, this is a feeling
that occurs more while listening to
Age of Reason. "Unreason" and "13"
are among the other songs that seem
to wallow around without going
anywhere - like horses without
legs, begging to be put out of their
misery with the press of a button.
However, as sort of a consolation
prize, Lead Into Gold is the first
Wax Trax band that I've ever come
across that actually printed their
lyrics. And what about these lyrics,
you may wonder? Two words: dis-
turbing and depressing. There is talk
of death, God, insanity, the church,
greed and the general hopelessness of
life. That's funny, Paul seemed like
such a happy guy on stage when he
had all those scantily-clad females
dancing around him. Go figure.
For die-hard fans of the Wax Trax,
label and all that it spawns, Age of
Reason is a must, but if you are
looking for a record in which the
good songs outweigh the bad ones,
continue your search.
Yeah, another band from Minneapolis
Enough of the indie rock bands from Minneapolis already. Every time I pick up a Goddamn Daily all I ever read
about is some loudmouth rap band talking about pulling out a Gat and taking out some pigs, or some obscure
Aerosmith rip-off band from the Land of 10,000 Lakes whose following consists of a bunch of under-sexed
adolescent milquetoasts. Run Westy Run, who occupy the same "there's a thin line between us and Guns 'n'
Roses" territory that Soul Asylum inhabits, are coming to the Heidelberg tonight. Sure they sound like
Aerosmith and Kiss filtered through frigid Minnesotan 16-year-old Blatz frolic evenings, sure they perform ther
same anthemic teenage outcast songs that provide fantasies for throngs of disaffected youth who know
nothing but bad sex, but they have an original sensibility that sets them apart from their Minneapolis cohorts.
Songs like "King of the Zebra Pants" or "Cardinal Drive," with lines like "Blood autumn girl your angel dust!
Blows a warm lust," display a twisted sense of songwriting that combines the best aspects of Husker Do
and The Replacements. Relive junior high with Run Westy Run and couplets like "Set it aglow with that
whada woman touch/ Good girl body warm buddy body rush." Catch them at Club Heidelberg tonight with Otis
Coyote and the Holy Cows as well. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and the music starts 10:15 p.m. Cover is $5.
E THERIDGE MELISSA ETHERIDGE will be
Continued from page 7 Brave and Crazy tonight at Hill Audi-
torium. The show starts at 8 p.m.
What I do is real. It comes from me, Tickets are available for $20.50
and if you're interested in the soul (including evil service charge) at
and the heart you might be interested the Michigan Union Ticket Office
in the music. and at Ticketmaster outlets.
REVERSAL the possibility that Claus is Satan.
It is this forboding narration, along
Continued from page 7 with extended flashbacks to her mar-
Overseeing all this activity i riage, that puts the story in larger
Sunny von Bulow, played by Glenn perspective and suggests deeper
Close. Sunny is present throughout themes of social criticism. Despite
the film in flashbacks and in an eerie these sobering suggestions, the film
voice-over narration from her co- remains complex, intelligent and en-
matose state. In chorus-like fashion tertaining. As Agatha Christie and
Sunny gives us the background of David Lynch have already proven,
the story and comments on the murder makes a good story - and it
events as they unfold. Speaking sells.
slowly and deliberately, she laments
the linearity of time, compares the REVERSAL OF FORTUNE is
legal system to a circus, and raises showing at Showcase.
Too Dark Park
Skinny Puppy just keeps crank-
ing the records out. It may not seem
like such a big deal in comparison to
the bands of the early '60s, but this
is the group's seventh record in
seven years. This is especially pro-
lific in this age of the three-year hia-
tus. Even more impressive is that
the musical quality does not suffer,
although one could say that Skinny
Puppy have been making the same
album over and over again.
A good way to describe Skinny
Puppy would be to say that they're
Halloween music with loads of elec-
tronic gadgetry. The band constructs
a true wall of sound comprised of
synths, drum machines, a ton of
samples and vocals that are treated
with all types of distortion, echo and
The songs are nightmarish odes
to such cheery topics as drug addic-
tion/withdrawal, industrial waste and
pollution, animal testing, etc. Not
music for the faint of heart, as one
glance at the bizarre and fascinating
cover art would indicate.
Nikev Ogre (known to his friends
simply as Ogre) visits these topics
again on Too Dark Park in his typi-
cal stream o' consciousness writing
style. A sample of "Shore Lined
Poison" may lead one to wonder
what goes on in his demented mind:
"Vaporise case in point and deserv-
ing it/ vaccinate all stranger than
whispering/ crushed velvet corpse
grind awaiting." Although there are
only a few songs on the record where
one can understand what Ogre
means, more often the lyrics are
seemingly unrelated images of
violence, disease or any other sort of
wretched scene (un)imaginable.
Pretty cool stuff indeed.
The music is equally spooky.
Although Ogre's vocals are so dis-
torted they are virtually unintelligi-
ble, the music gets the point across.
How to describe it? Well, you have
to hear it to understand it. One bit df:
advice: this is stuff to be listened to:
very carefully. Otherwise it might:
become a wash of unsettling noises.
Another complaint is that the:
record as a whole is much less:
focused than earlier, catchy songs,:
like "Far Too Frail" or "Smothered,
Hope." But the last hing one could
say about Too Dark Park is that it's
Cyberactif is basically Skinnj,
Puppy sans Ogre and bears a great,
resemblance to the latter's sound.:
The main differences are that it's less:
scary and even danceable (maybe:
even funky). Not bad, but this three-
song e.p. does get a bit
monotonous. It's not nearly as good,
as Too Dark Park, mainly because
its repetitive structures do not match
Skinny Puppy's complexity.
Quote of the Day
Former Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Tug McGraw on how he planned
to spend his new salary:
"Ninety percent of it I'll spend on women, Irish whiskey and good times.
The other ten percent I'll probably waste."
-Richard S. Davis
GOLD RING SALE
. I *
Order your college ring NOW.
Stop by and see a Jostens representative,
Wednesday, Nov. 14 thru Friday, Nov. 16,
11:00a.m. to 4:00on.m.