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November 25, 1991 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-25

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 25, 1991 - Page 7

Picasso
HeadI
love you
Mr. Picasso
Head explores
sex, oranges
by Kim Yaged

Tillinghast is just a
simple poet, really!

by Nick Arvin

Any band that has a song named
"Citrus Fantasy" - about a guy
whose girlfriend forces him to
have sex with an orange - and
calls itself Mr. Picasso Head and
swears that none of these inspira-
tions are drug or alcohol induced
attracts my attention.
The appellation Mr. Picasso
Head was contrived by lead vocal-
ist Colin Close. It's partially a
play on the famous childhood toy
Mr. Potato Head, and also due to
the fact that the guys in the band
consider themselves to be
"artists."
"There really isn't much of a
story. You know, Colin drew a
picture one day and named it Mr.
Picasso Head and said 'Wow,
that's a really good name for a
band,"' bassist Lee Penchansky
explained.
If nothing else, Penchansky
comes from an artistic family.
His mom, local artist Norma
Penchansky-Glasser did the cover
art for MPH's debut album,
Love...and Other Natural Disas-
ters. Penchansky himself writes

The members of Mr. Picasso Head -(1-r) Colin Close, Vic Kinse (who could in tact be Lolin's ear), Lee
Penchansky, Carl Smith and missing member Craig Reiter - all appear to be missing a thing or two.

the majority of the music and the
lyrics, but he's trying to get the
other guys to write more.
"Citrus Fantasy," has a
slightly less groove-oriented
sound which is heavier on the
blues. It was inspired by one of
Penchansky's dreams. He punctu-
ated his story with, "It's pretty
bizarre." (Note: Penchansky is no
longer dating the woman he was
seeing at the time this dream oc-
curred.)
Mr. Picasso Head is the after-
birth of the Grind - the first in-
carnation of the Close-Penchan-
sky-Carl Smith (lead guitar)-Vic
Kinsey (drums) collaboration.
With the addition of rhythm gui-
tarist Craig Reiter and the release
of Love..., Mr. Picasso Head

evolved.
"When we first got together,
we couldn't play a note. ... Colin
couldn't sing. Carl could barely
play. I could barely play. Vic
could rock! Vic was the one who
kinda kept it going. Then, we just
grew together. ... It's kinda like,
when we changed our name, we
dropped a lot of songs, a lot of
material. ... We've taken some...
songs and said, 'Pee Eew! Time to
put this one down....' We kinda
matured in our song writing and
the way we work together.... The
night before the artwork had to be
in on our tape, we said, 'Let's
change the name...' The Grind, as
musicians, we were very imma-
ture. We just hadn't quite gelled.
And when we finally gelled, we

were like, ya know, let's make a
change, go for a new focus," Pen-
chansky said.
Two years later, Mr. Picasso
Head is playing at Ann Arbor's
finest, in addition to opening for
Southgoing Zak at Franky's in
Toledo.
"Everybody has kinda their
own little personality that we've
all learned to deal with and ac-
cept," Penchansky said, "Every-
body has their own thing going....
I want people to see us and go,
'Wow!"'
LOUDHOUSE
and MR.
PICA SSO. HEAD
play tomorrow
night at the
Blind Pig. Doors
open at 9:30
p.m. and cover
is $5.

S o, you think poetry is for stuck-
up snobs wearing expensive swea-
ters, drinking expensive coffee in
expensive caf6s with nothing better
to do than try to find meandering
metaphors and subtle symbols amid
essentially meaningless jumbles of
words?
You may be missing something
very special.
"People oughtn't regard poetry
as some kind of a puzzle to be
worked out - it's a lot more fruit-
ful to think of it as something to
just listen to and enjoy," says
Richard Tillinghast, University
professor and poet.
Tillinghast's poetry reflects this
belief - his poems are written in an
English that flows easily, without
the stuttering rhythms of more eso-
teric poetry. While Tillinghast's
poems often deal with serious or
complex matters, some are about
subjects as guileless and modest as
the time the car broke down on a
fishing trip.
"Fossils, Metal, and the Blue
Limit" reads, "Groping behind it
blind I scorch/ the first, second,
third knuckles on overheated steel,/
grabbing for the burst, expensive
cooler hose/splashing black fossil-
oil/ over every inch of metal,/ where
it burns off as blue smoke/ into the
clogged atmosphere."
This is an example of Tilling-
hast's free verse, written in the
middle of his poetic career. This pe-
riod represents a cycle that moved
him away from the more structured
rhyme, meter and stanzas that he
used when he began publishing po-
etry. Tillinghast's newest poetry,
however, has begun to move back to
that structured format. Fortu-
nately, it does so without losing the
'I think it's exciting to
do a reading and
reach people who
don't normally read
poetry ... people to
come up afterwards,
and say, "Wow, I
don't really read a lot
of poetry, but I really
enjoyed that"'
-Richard Tillinghast,
poet
easy, almost conversational rhy-
thms of his free verse. From "First
Morning Home Again," a new
poem, as yet unpublished: "Long
sleep. Coffee by noon or there-
abouts,/ Wild daffodils you ga-
thered blooming to fullness/ By the
window, open-mouthed and and idle
as rowboats/ Along the quay in the
Sunday village stillness."
This piece also demonstrates the
way Tillinghast establishes the sur-
rounding environment in his poetry.
"One thing that I try really hard for
in my poetry is to establish a sense
of place," Tillinghast says. "I want

people to get a sense of the atmo-
sphere." Such a combination of easy
rhythms and atmosphere, prevalent
throughout Tillinghast's poetry,
makes it easy to enjoy, even when it
moves onto "serious" topics.
Tillinghast has been writing po-
etry for more than three decades, and
his poems have appeared in The New
Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Po-

Loudhouse smokes competition

by Andrew J. Cahn

WXe're stuck in this middle
thing that just sucks."
The speaker is Kenny
Mugwump from the Detroit-
based band Loudhouse. The
"middle thing" is that grey area
between metal.and alternative, in
which no band dares to tread.
Loudhouse's precarious position
on that spectrum has no doubt led
to some troubles with finding a
specific audience.
"We were on the road with
Thrill Kill Cult," Mugwump
says, "and we were thrown off the
tour because kids were just going
crazy whenever we played." When
the band is booked with groups
like Bad Brains or Poster Child,
the concert-goers tend to think its
going to be a metal show.
Likewise, when on a bill with
other metal bands, the opposite
happens. "If you're not like
Nirvana or the Chili Peppers,"
Mugwump says, "alternative ra-
dio just thinks you're a metal
band. How alternative is that?"
How alternative is this: back
when the band used to be called
Murder City, Mugwump used to
'dress up like a priest and carry a
pig's head on a collection plate
around the audience?
Mugwump calls the band's
sound "a gigantic melting pot of
styles." While he says the guys in
the band are big fans of current in-
dustrial superheroes Nine Inch
Nails and Ministry, he admits

the work of William S. Burroughs
(Kenny got Mugwump from
Naked Lunch), Mugwump was
also deeply affected by the movie
Drugstore Cowboy. The title of
one song from Loudhouse's album
For Crying Out Loud, "TV
Babies," comes from the name
Matt Dillon's character gave to
his sniveling-runt protege. "Vin
E. (the band's drummer) wrote
these words that related to the
movie," Mugwump says. "We
played around with samples from
the film, and set it to music,
which reminds me of the feeling
you get from seeing things like
the close-ups of Matt Dillon
shooting-up."
If you listen to Mugwump,
things are going quite well. "The
media's around us like flies on
shit," he says. The main aspect of
Loudhouse's career is that the
members of the band must now
deal with whether they want to
continue walking that line be-
tween metal and alternative.
Right now, Mugwump sees the
,band going more for the metal
market, but with major labels
(Loudhouse is on Virgin) looking
for the next Jane's Addiction or
Red Hot Chili Peppers, it will be
interesting to sees how the group
will be promoted.

Tillinghast
etry and The New Republic. He's
published three books, and he re-
cently spent a year in Ireland as a
recipient of the Amy Lowell Travel
Grant. Tillinghast says, "I basically
just wrote the whole time I was
there." A book of the poetry writ-
ten during that period should be
published some time in 1992 or '93.
Tillinghast is giving a readirrg
from this new body of poetry today.
And as a special treat, pianist Wil-
liam Bolcom, professor in the
University School of Music and
winner of a Pulitzer Prize in Music,
will be performing between poems.
Tillinghast believes that a po-
etry reading such as today's is a very
rewarding experience, for both the
poet and the audience. For someone
who reads poetry often, "a poetry
reading is a good, quick way to get a
sense of a writer," Tillinghast says.
However, he adds, "I think it's ex-
citing to do a reading and reach peo-
ple who don't normally read poetry.
It's very common when I give a
reading for people to come up af-
terwards and say, 'Wow, I don't re-
ally read a lot of poetry, but I really
enjoyed that."'
What is the element in poetry
that people relate to like this?
Where is the source of poetry's
magic, separating it from other
forms of communication? Tilling-
hast feels that it lies in the personal
nature of poetry. "We live in this
mass media age," Tillinghast says,
"and I think what's valuable about
poetry is that poetry, above all else,
is the voice of the individual. An in-
dividual who has no special agenda,
who is communicating on a purely
human basis."
RICHARD TILLINGHAST and
WILLIAM BOLCOM will be ap-
pearing at 4 p.m. today in the
Pendleton Room of the Michigan
Union. Admission is free.

If you'd just close your eyes for a moment and envision the type of guys
who would whip a horde of teenagers into a frenzy, your mental picture
might look a lot like the members of Loudhouse. Tattoos, shav.ed heads,
crucifixes and Mickey - we're sure their mommas are plenty proud.

that they are also influenced by
Michigan's rich cultural heritage.
"A lot of things have been hap-
pening in Detroit lately," with
the Romantics, Rhythm Corps and
Second Self, Mugwump says, "but
nothing that really strikes a nerve

like MC5, Iggy Pop or the old
Cooper band. The MC5 were a real
threatening band. Although we
don't necessarily sound like them
or Iggy Pop, we want to be in that
vein."
In addition to being inspired by

UU

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fortune on
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11

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Am. 0

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Looking Ahead
to the MBA
The Harvard University Graduate School of
Business Administration seeks top graduates
with a career interest in general management.
An Admissions Officer will be on campus
Tuesday, December 3
12 - 1 and 3 - 4
Michigan Union-Kuenzel Room
to speak with students about work experience
and the two-year MBA Program.
For more details and to sign up for an information
session contact:

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