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September 05, 1991 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 5, 1991 - Page 13

Lock your radio dial at 88.3 FM

-WCBN stands for diversity

by Richard Davis
41n case you haven't heard, the
students at the University of
Michigan have their own radio sta-
tion and it's called WCBN, 88.3
FM. Even though they broadcast 24
hours a day, 365 days a year like all
the other stations, the music that
they play is like no other station on
the dial. Exposing the audience to
different styles of music is
*WCBN's mission, and they try to do

this every day of the year.
"I want to emphasize the fact
that WCBN really does approach
diversity a lot closer than other
things on this campus. We're also
one of the really excellent educa-
tional experiences at the university.
Here you just learn so much con-
stantly at WCBN, certainly about
music and certainly about different
cultures through music," says pro-
gram director and disc jockey Geoff
Mattson.

What you won't hear is what ev-
ery other college station in the
country is playing. Lesser known
jazz, underground rap, obscure folk
music, and ground-breaking rock are
just a few of the types of music that
WCBN broadcasts. In addition to
this melting pot of music, WCBN is
proud of their public affairs pro-
grams that discuss just about every
topic that is happening today. And
these are not just music and ideas
from America, but from all over the

world.
"If you look at our playlists and
compare them to other college sta-
tions around the country, they're
very different. They're going to have
R.E.M., Fishbone, the Hoodoo
Gurus, Lemonheads, who might be
fine bands but it's all the same on
all these stations. But you can't tell
me that people in Gloversville,
New York are listening to the exact
same thing as people in Tempe,
Arizona are - you can't. But we re-

The Difference does their own pop thing

by Richard Davis

The Difference can definitely be
called Ann Arbor's "every-
thing" band. They've received
"Best band in Ann Arbor," "Best
college band," "Best unsigned
band," "Next band to make it
Big," "Band most likely to suc-
ceed," "Most congenial band,"
and a host of other awards. But
even with all of these local
recognitions, these crowd pleasers
are ready to make the move to the
major leagues. And their new al-
bum, Groundswell, should help
them do just that according to vo-
calist and lead guitarist, Ramsey
Gouda.
"We took a long time with it.
We took our time. We didn't
compromise at all. And at this
point Groundswell is meant to
get us on the map and to get us out
there. Right now we need to get a
label behind us," says Gouda.
And for anyone who hasn't
seen them play live, the Differ-
ence is a band that has a handle on
a diverse sound. Their music spans
several styles, from pop and rock
to funk, jazz and even reggae.
Their new album is definitely a
reflection of their many influ-
ences.
"Yeah, that's what the album
ended up like, you know, but we
didn't try to do that at all. I mean,
to us, it's all just music, you
know. I mean, in a way, it reflects
our state of affairs in terms of
how we feel about these record
companies. Over the years we've
been told so many things about
how you should sound, how
you're supposed to be - 'This

will get you a deal. That will get
you a deal.' But after a while you
just stop listening because no one
really knows. You just have to do
what you're gonna do and eventu-
ally they're gonna come around.
And eventually if you have a good
thing, it's gonna take off," says
the guitarist.
"As far as the stylistic thing,"
continues Gouda, "nothing was
intentional. It's just that our in-
fluences are so different. We come
from five totally different musi-
cal backgrounds. I mean they ob-
viously cross at different points,
but I think that where that all
comes from is the whole diversity
in the musicians in the band. And
we've just learned to work things
out together because music is mu-
sic. I think that we are still com-
ing to terms with a unified sound,
but we're not trying that hard.
But I think it's happening, espe-
cially in the last couple of
months. But we're still just try-
ing to do our thing."
And what is this "thing" that
the Difference seems to do so
well? It's creating strong, catchy
music with a message. "Our music
is about hope," says the guitarist.
"We try to get people out of the
everyday, get people in touch with
each other. We try to help people
see things better."
As for the future of the
Difference, a major record deal is
"definitely on the horizon," says
Gouda. "I can taste it. I can see it.
I can feel it. But we're at the point
where we can function as a band,
make our own records and eventu-
ally someone is going to say 'Hey
we want our cut. We'll sell your

records for you' and that's our ap-
proach. So we're just gonna keep
doing our own thing."

THE DIFFERENCE performs
regularly in bars and clubs
around Ann Arbor.

ally play very different kinds of
stuff, because our DJ's have very
different, very good ears," says
Mattson.
Chief announcer and disc jockey
Tony Plamondon echoes this refrain.
"WCBN is great because we don't
play the same stuff as every other
college radio station in the country.
We want CBN to be different and so
we encourage our disc jockeys to try
to explore different musical branch-
es."
But even with all of this diverse
music coming out over the airwaves,
Mattson does admit that the station
has a special interest in Jazz.
"We're committed to a lot of
different kinds of music. But we
have Jazz Til Noon everyday because
there is so much great jazz out there
that isn't played. Even the Jazz
stations play horrible stuff. No one
else plays Art Ensemble of Chicago.
No one is playing Anthony Braxton.
No one plays Cecil Taylor. This is
indigenous American music that
draws on so many different aspects
of our culture. But it's still a
serious art form that is being ig-
nored. I mean, if all the AOR sta-
tions played a lot of really great
jazz, we wouldn't feel the need to,
probably and we'd say 'Oh, that's
being covered' and we'd move on to
something else. But they're not

playing it, so we are.
But even with their heavy em-
phasis on jazz, the students that run
WCBN still want to stress the im-
portance of all types of music. They
also want all those who are inter-
ested in diverse music to join them.
"If you really want to become
involved in WCBN it's really sim-
ple," says Mattson. "Every week
our chief announcers have training
sessions and they teach people how
to make a demo tape in one of our
production rooms. You make a
forty-five minute tape of what your
show would sound like and then you..
go through the process of approval
and everything. And there's a
coursepack at Kinko's which has
plenty of information on WCBN
and on being a disc jockey. But
there's also plenty of behind the
scenes stuff that people can do.
There's engineering shows or public
affairs announcements, reviewing,
all the new records that come in,
news research and, of course, poster-
ing and library work. But the only
requirement that we have of people
who come down to CBN is the will-
ingness to learn."
So for those who want to become
involved in their college's radio sta-
tion, WCBN is more that happy to
have you join them. And for those
See WCBN, Page 15

STATE
Continued from page 11
Matt Groening, with his Life in
Hell series, beats his compromised
Simpsons T.V. show any day and
won't electrocute you when you
try to change the channel. "Akbar
at the snack bar and Chef Jeff," the
only homosexual airport caterers
in fezzes, invent treats that will be
"served to you by dazed-looking
employees who earn less per hour
than you will spend on you airport
snack!" replete with three distinct
flavors of salad dressing: "tasty
white, zesty orange, and unique
yellow."
Nicole Hollander's Sylvia an-
thology, The Whole Enchilada,
starring Sylvia, an aging feminist
mystic with an anti-diet, pro-smok-
ing, say-yes-to-felines, bullshit-de-
tector outlook on life, gives those
of us who try to read only non-fic-
tion but recognize the futility in

the effort an ornery spokesperson.
Hollander-as-Sylvia highlights the
absurdity in cultural expectations,
especially for women, in a delight-
fully crass but always hilarious
way, asking important questions
like "what if waitresses were boss
in heaven?" Lucky references to TV
and pop-culture for every dedicated
reader.
Still not convinced? Bathroom
reading, contrary to the polemics
of nature/nurture debates, is an ac-
quired taste, available to even the,
most dour and time-conscious. Try,
a little bit every day, increasing,
your dosage progressively, and by
the end of the week you'll be anger-
ing your roommates beyond belief
by monopolizing the room of the
china goddess (yet another surprise
bonus!). Come on, we know you all
do it, so diversify your fodder of
relief and, as Uncle John urges,'
comeout ofsthe water closet and
'say it loud, I read in there and I'm
proud."'

The Difference pose here, but really they make music in their way,
satisfy themselves. Everyone seems to like it because they are always
named to be the next big thing.

'Let the AAAA take you away from it all
The Ann Arbor Art Association has boundless creative opportunities

by Elizabeth Lenhard
661f you want a substantive art ex-
perience, then we want to give it to
you," says Marsha Chamberlin of
the Ann Arbor Art Association,
*117 W. Liberty. For patrons, artists,
and even those who work there,
AAAA seems to be a place of con-
stant discovery. The non-profit
gallery/ education center/ gallery
shop is a constantly changing entity
which serves as a service to Ann
Arbor and a unique creative outlet
for Ann Arbor's community.
AAAA's main mission is to in-
*volve the community in the visual
arts. They achieve this through a
unique education program, gallery
shows of local artists, and their
Outreach program, to name a few.
Though AAAA is a business, the
main focus is not on money, but on
the importance of art in our every-
day lives. The instructors, and direc-
tors of the association are in a lucky
position that bypasses bureaucracy
and enables them to enact programs
that are timely and logical. Because
of this, AAAA comes to represent a
community service that is surpris-
ingly on-the-mark in its program-
ming.
One of the most appealing as-
pects of the Art Association is its
education program. AAAA offers

classes for adults and children in
anything from life drawing and pa-
permaking, to pottery and water-
color. Two-week summer courses
provide a tantalizing taste of sev-
eral mediums for the dabbler, while
eight-week courses during the year
provide a more thorough training
for professionals, serious students,
or curious amateurs. AAAA chal-
lenges its instructors (who must
have experience in instruction as
well as expertise as artists) to pro-
vide programs that "are substantive
art classes but also friendly and ac-
cessible to the beginner," says
Chamberlin. AAAA pays its teach-
ers more than anybody else in the
area so, "we can afford to be choos-
y," she adds. Furthermore, "we
support our instructors with equip-
ment and rooms to work in." Many
of the instructors have a popular
following, and value the teaching
experience as one that greatly en-
hances their own work.
AAAA derives much of its
community participation from vol-
unteers. People can volunteer in
teaching assistance, helping in the
gallery shop, or doing work for spe-
cial programs such as the Associa-
tion's wine auction. Unlike many
for-profit organizations, the volun-
teers often get a positive learning
experience from their work. If they

want to teach in the future, or be-
come involved in arts administra-
tion, AAAA provides a valuable
springboard toward that goal.
Former intern Jennifer Armstrong
says that AAAA gives you clear re-
sponsibilities: "Everyone cares
about what they do." She adds that
the relaxed atmosphere of the non-
profit business is a key catalyst to-
ward creative productivity and self-
motivation.
The programs offered are de-
signed to suit the community's
needs. In the coming year, AAAA
plans to offer four-week courses for
those who want to experiment, or
can't afford a longer commitment
to a class. Other special programs
are Art Start, for economically dis-
advantaged adults and children from
single parent or unstable families.
Another program in the works will

provide classes on Sunday after-
noons for single parents with visit-
ing children,'giving both child and
adult a new way to spend the day
together. Classes appeal to Univer-
sity students because, "they're a
chance for students to take enjoy-
able, non-graded classes, or just a
way to get away from campus for a
while." Chamberlin says.
Chamberlin appreciates all
forms of art, and believes in giving
all artists a chance. Every year,
AAAA displays a juried exhibit by
students from local high schools.
Though this enterprise may not be
furthering the careers of burgeoning
professionals, Chamberlin feels the
competition does complement
AAAA's mission. She admires the
courage the kids have to compete in
front of their peers and teachers, and
See ART, Page 15

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