Page 8-The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 24, 1991
Stuff that Monsters drool over
Ann Arbor's 'Bait fights to survive in a tough town for local bands
by Skot Beal
It's hard to find cool bands in Ann
Arbor these days. But the reason
isn't because they aren't there; it's
because there isn't anywhere for
them to play. The Ann Arbor music
scene is notorious for being hard to
break into, and it's getting worse.
However, a few cool bands do get
through, and once in a while a really
incredible band surfaces. That's
what happened with Monster Bait.
It's difficult to describe what
Monster Bait sounds like, so I asked
Richard Work, the guitarist, to do it
"I don't know particularly what
to call it," explains Work. "I'm not
really satisfied with it, but the clos-
est attempt that I would put on la-
belling us is drawing on some of the
reckless abandon of the punk thing,
but doing it in a way that's accessi-
ble to a lot more people."
Monster Bait's sound is ex-
tremely lively and energetic, and at
the same time very creative. Each
member of the band makes an im-
portant contribution to the overall
sound. Work's guitar playing com-
bines well with Debbie Fairburn's
bass work, while Rollo Woodring's
drumming is unusual and techni-
cally astounding. And Amy Hen-
derson's vocals are full of guts and
"One of the interesting things
about this band," says Work, "is
that there's almost a generation gap
between the women and the men. I
think that has an interesting effect
on it, because Rollo and I came up in
a different set of music than Debbie
and Amy. It makes a good juxtapo-
sition. They keep us real and honest
and make sure we've got some guts
to our stuff."
Lyrics are also an important part
of Monster Bait's overall effect.
They're written almost entirely by
Henderson, although Fairburn and
Work contribute sometimes. Work
says that he has been studying and
writing poetry for 10 or 15 years,
and yet he is astounded by and jeal-
ous of the things that Henderson
comes up with, because they suggest
further meanings beyond the words
themselves. The band likes to let the
that we are all hopeless and merely
waiting to be devoured, that we are,
in fact, "fodder for the machine," as
Work puts it. However, he also
jokingly provides an alternative
explanation of the band's name:
"Monster Bait is something that
monsters drool over."
One of the most impressive
There's all these bands playing pop
cover shit that are getting the shows
and there's these talented and cre-
ative people frustrated in their liv-
"One thing about Monster Bait
is that we never have wanted to
really play Ann Arbor that much. I
like Ann Arbor, I love living here,
The Color Purple
dir. Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg wanted to make a film for grown-ups. In 1985, he
shocked the film industry with his version of the Pulitzer-Prize winning
novel The Color Purple, by feminist writer Alice Walker. Spielberg cast
the film with a bunch of then-unknown actors like Whoopi Goldberg and ,
Oprah Winfrey. Could the director of movies like Jaws, Close Encounters
of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. make a film about a
black woman's fight for survival in the Deep South of the 1920s?
The Color Purple .tells the story of Celie, played by Goldberg in a
deeply felt performance. Celie has only known hardship in her life: her ;
father raped her and took away her two children and then gave her away b
marriage to the cruel, abusive Mister (played ferociously by Danny
Life with Mister is no picnic. He orders Celie around like a slave, beat"
ing her, raping her and continually abusing her emotionally.
Walker portrays the uncompromisingly brutal and bleak world of
Celie in her novel; Spielberg sugarcoats this vision somewhat. He shows us-
Mister's brutality, but undercuts it by poking fun at Mister's ignorance or
by exaggerating his addled states. Spielberg's beautifully photographed ,
version of the South, filled with lush fields of purple flowers and,',;,
brilliant sunlight, contrasts sharply with the world of evil seen in the-4;
Though the explicit sexual and violent details of the book are gone,,
Spielberg's movie does have emotion and vigor to spare. It exists in the
moving image of Celie, leaning against the gate of her farm, asking Mister,
who has just brought in the mail, if there are any letters for her from her
sister. It is seen in Winfrey's performance as Sofia, a role that loses none of
its raw power, despite Winfrey's overexposure on her TV talk show. It iS""'
present in the reunion at the movie's end, in a scene that still brings tears
The Color Purple is playing at Hill Street Cinema on Thursday at 8 p.m.
Monster Bait's Club Heidelberg concert will be one of the alterna-venue's last shows. Yep, it's closing real
soon, limiting the Ann Arbor music scene even more, so check out the classic club while you still can.
lyrics create their own images in the
One song, "Red," hints at the
significance of the name "Monster
Bait." The song talks about how ev-
erything that happens is leading to
destruction, but no one really
notices because it's such a slow,
gradual process. It suggests the fact
things about the members of Mon-
ster Bait is how much they really
care about music and bands. They not
only work to help themselves, but
they also do what they can to help
the bands that they play with.
"There's quite a few bands in Ann
Arbor that don't play anywhere,"
says Henderson. "It's amazing.
but I don't really want to play Ann
Arbor because there's just so many
bands that never leave Ann Arbor'
and it would just rip my heart out."
MONSTER BAIT plays tomorrow at
the soon-to-close Club Heidelberg'
with KIA and Jaks. Cover is $4, and
doors open at 9:30 p.m.
Continued from page 5
try not to clutter it up."
This attention to detail has gar-
nered the Detroit-based band many
rave reviews in the Midwest. For
Woods and the rest of the Stews, na-
tional recognition may not be too
far off, either. "We've been able to
talk to a couple of A&R people, and
they want to hear more," he says.
"So we're making it through the
rungs we have to get through to be
heard by the right people." With an
appealing pop music approach, the
members of the band only hope that
Continued from page 5
istic lighting are much more notice-
able than the electric illuminations
we take for granted every night. To
create a squalidly pedestrian mood,
Richardson films many of the
movie's nighttime scenes as if they
took place under the unearthly or-
ange and blue glows of a low-class
false, Gooberesque shtick. Stripped
down to a power trio after the de,,
parture of its lead guitarist, the,
band has tightened up and become:
even better, which must mean thei
guys are about as good as the
Beatles (though they'd never admit
it). Catch both bands tonight for .aq'
paltry $3 at the door, which opens~
at 9:30 p.m.
these "right" people start taking"'
more notice of them.
MISSIONARY STEW opens for :
CROSSED WIRE tonight at the Blind*
Pig. Wire, a consistently satisfying
and honest rock 'n' roll unit, pre-;:
sents honest, fun music with no
bar room. In other instances, it
looks as if he were shooting by flu,
orescent light. If Richardso#*1.
equates real life with drab ugliness
he might be missing the point: as it
is rendered in City of Hope, real life
is much too engaging to ever look
CITY OF HOPE opens tomorrow at.
the Ann Arbor I & 2.
Y ,t piet,
Pantheon Books/ Hardcover
Among the 12 stories in Shape-
Shifter, Pauline Melville's first
collection, the reader's reaction
will run the gamut, from "Ho-hum.
Next, please," to "Wow! Let's read
that one again!" The majority of the
stories trace the lives of destitute
characters in Guyana, to whom noth-
ing good, or for that matter, inter-
esting, ever occurs. But luckily for
us, Melville also writes about folks
in London, who are also awfully
susceptible to the affliction of
poverty, but fortunately not dull-
The most confusing thing about
this book is that all the best stories
are placed at the back, providing a
weak first impression. Those readers
who persevere (or skip the first half
of the book) will be rewarded in the
endwith "MacGregor's Journey,"
"You Left the Door Open" and
"The Girl with the Celestial
Limb," the three best stories in the
"MacGregor's Journey" fol-
lows a scaffolding-builder, Mac-
Gregor, on his day-off drinking
binge. While wandering from pub to
pub, he finds personifications of the
apathy, the suspicion and the de-
spondency of modern London.
Finally, he does meet a smiling face,
but his helplessness to combat the
negative ruins the encounter and, in
the end, forces him to respond in the
only way he knows how.
"You Left the Door Open" is the
haunting tale of a woman and how
she deals with an attack in her home.
She is awakened in the middle of the
night by a strange man who claims
to want only money, food and a
bath. But, of course, he also has a
knife. The story details every give
and take in what becomes a barter
between her safety and his demands.
And as if that weren't enough to
make a suspenseful story, the narra-
tor, Carole, implies that her at-
tacker was possessed by a demon she
had unwittingly let loose.
"The Girl with the Celestial
Limb" is an amusing gallop through
the history of mathematical theory.
I know it sounds dull, but it concen-
trates on one woman's leg (the ce-
lestial limb), and its metamorpho-
sis into a mathematical object,
"made up of a web of delicately in-
terconnecting geometric forms, tes-
sellations, cub-octahedrons, star-
pentagons, rhombic faces (which re-
volved), cones, triangles and the cu-
bic lattices of crystallography."
The leg changes and distorts (dare I
say that its shape shifts?) through
the stages of classical and irrational
math, up to modern quantum me-
chanics. Various men, representing
mathematical theories, attempt to
fix her leg, but, unfortunately, the
woman ends up living the paradox
of a Schrodinger's cat. The moral of
this story seems to be: "Don't try
this at home. Math is dangerous."
The rest of the stories aren't
bad; they just aren't as striking as
these three. Melville's strong point
is combining a good tale with inter-
esting characters, but in a few sto-
ries she unfortunately falls into the
trap of writing merely for the sake
of an interesting idea. Don't get me
wrong, the ideas themselves are
good, but a truly successful story
shouldn't have the reader wondering
why he or she should bother to care
about the people in it.
RUNNING FOR LSA-
Pick up applications at 4003 Michigan Union
Deadline is November 1st
President, Vice-President, and 15 Council
FICTION ISSUE DEADLINE
All submissions for Weekend's Fiction Issue
must be in by Wednesday, October 30 at 5:00
p.m. Stories should be 8000-13000 characters in
length, with shorter pieces having a better
chance of running. Weekend does not return
stories, though we don't keep them, either.
Authors will be notified by Nov. 2 that their
story has been chosen. Questions should be
directed at Gil or Jesse at 764-0552.
1991 Autumn Las Vegas Night
Saturday, Oct. 26th from WRITE FOR THE DAILY
5 pm to 12 midnight I
City of Hope is a fictional city, but John Sayles has been careful to
transfer the cultural stereotypes we've grown to love in the real urban
jungle. Here, Nick and Angela (Vincent Spano, Barbara Williams) do the
Continued from page 5
sponds, "Of course, we love
American music. We love blues,
country, jazz, free jazz, rock and
roll, rockabilly, psychedelic, every-
thing there is in America. Even
Charles Ives and other kinds of so-
WIN UP TO $500
- Admission $2 per person
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called classical composers, we like
that too. So basically, as Virgil
' Thompson said, 'All it takes to
make American music is to be
American and make music.' So that's
our opinion. We like all the differ-
ent styles. I guess we don't like
some of the syrupy pop music. But
even some of that's okay, in small
The gem on the album, though,1l'
the Femmes' cover of Cultut
Club's "Do You Really Want C6'
Hurt Me?" Gano rewrote parts dif
the lyrics, making them even moht
absurd. His insincere, pseudo-deep'
vocals, and the use of trademark gu'
tar sounds, give the reinterpretatidif
a sarcastic edge that Boy Georg*
could never quite manage. It'sthe
Femmes' specialty, conscious oru;
conscious. But is it American musik?'
As Ritchie says, "Well, now it's
American, 'cause we made it."
Catch the VIOLENT FEMMES
tonight at 8 p.m. at the Michig
Theater. Local band GOOBER
AND THE PEAS opens. Tickets arF
$18.50 at TicketMaster (p.e.s.c.). ''
A A SEMESTER & SPRING BREAK SPECIALS
$359.00 per person
" 5 days, 4 nights
" Stay at either:
-Bahama Princess Hotel & Casino