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February 07, 1992 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-07

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 1,1992 - Page 9

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I

The newest vanguard of the over-hyped "Black Rock" revolution, Follow for'
Now owes their to success to their lack o' shirts.

Follow For Now'
Follow For Now
Chrysalis
Here we go again as Atlanta's
Follow For Now noves to reclaim
rock 'n' roll as a genre wherein
Black musicians can play their gui-
tars and moreover, whatever they
want to. True to the real following of
rock 'n' roll as an orgy of hybridism,
the album boasts a nasty mosh
cruncher in "Milkbone," vintage
funk bites with "Holy Moses" and
"Fire 'N Snakes," and even rap with
a cover of Public Enemy's "She
Watch Channel Zero."
Follow For Now plug their axes
into a time machine that could be
Hank Shocklee's digital sampler or
Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine.
The five-piece band integrates its
influences so that the gamut never
staggers or erupts by its sheer diver-
sity. The guitar playing both blurs
this picture and holds it firmly to-
gether, shown in the colorfully-toned
"Temptation" and "6's and 7's."
Like their classmates in this
bright school of Black rock from
' Fishbone to The Family Stand,
Follow For Now's lyrical pen flows
with the poison of society. Vocalist
and guitarist David Harris muses in
"White Hood" for the utopia of '60s
Sly Stone and George Clinton's
mothership, "Chase a child home
from school just to laugh / HA! HA!
HA! your cohorts go / And I'm sup-
posed to pledge allegiance to the flag
that lets this bullshit grow?"
"Ms. Fortune" appears to equiv-
ocally attack materialism and its
proponents, "Ms. Fortune has been a
bitch since the date of her birth/ Ms.
Fortune put a bullet in the heart of
Mother Earth," while "Mistreatin'
Folks" asks upper-class America to
recollect its past and take a look at
the future.
The trippy "Fire 'N Snakes," a
giddy look at the socio-culturally bi-
ased face of America, tells us
"You'd be a fool if you believed /
All life has promised you, you shall
soon receive / It's a hard road, a
princeless toad / A bitter pill to
choke/ Wipe your tears of sorrow /
And pretend they're filled with
smoke:"
But for all of Follow For Now's
musical versatility, the band needs to
perfect a definitive sound of its own.
Their style of playing is refreshingly

Reach for the
ska, Gangster
by Skot Beal
Imagine a group of people from entirely different backgrounds all in a
dark, smoky club together, jumping, dancing, frolicking and sweating pro-
fusely. Some are dressed in ties and some in feather jackets. Others wear
tattoos and mohawks or University sweatshirts and baseball caps.
What, do you suppose, could bring all of these people into one little bar
to drink and be merry as if they were the best of friends? If the scene were
to occur in the Detroit area, it would probably be at a Gangster Fun show.
Gangster Fun is a ten-piece ska band that has been playing for about five
years. Their second album, Time Flies When You're Gangster Fun, is due
out by late March or early April. According to singer John Bunkley, the
album will consist of 11 songs of hybrid ska, including a couple of reggae
tunes, a polka, and an instrumental.
"Some of the songs are fun songs," says Bunkley, "like the single, 'Fat
Lady Skank,' is about a woman who comes into a club and just dances and
everybody's into her. Then we have songs about societal problems such as
problems with guns in the society, and problems with interracial relation-
ships and how society views that and what may be some alternative modes
for people to think for themselves."
One of the album's more amusing songs will be "Brown Paper Bag."
When the tune's performed live, one usually finds the entire audience
bouncing in time (along with most of the band members).
"Actually Dave (Minnick), our guitar player, wrote that one year ago,"
explains Bunkley. "And we just brought it out and started playing it again.
It depends; I might sing, 'Get me a bag, a brown paper bag / I want to put
my life in it /I want to put my wife in it / I want to put my girl / I want to
put my world / I want to put my booze in it / I want to put my blues in it.'
It just depends. Just put in your own words. It's a fun one to sing. You
don't have to think too much," he says with a laugh.
Although there has been a ska revival of sorts in the past few years, hav-
ing a band like Gangster Fun in the area is a bit strange. It seems like there
are only a handful of people who know anything about the genre. So how
did Bunkley, who works in a law office and is on his way to a doctoral de-
gree, and his bandmates get into ska in the first place?
"Ska was the first choice that came to mind ... because I had always
loved it. My mom used to listen to old ska records from the sixties. And
no other band was doing it around this area. I mean, SLK used to do it and I
saw them a couple times, but no one was around here at the time and I
thought it would be the perfect thing, you know? It wasn't too pretentious
and it was good party music."
The bad thing about Gangster Fun is that they don't get out to play as
much as a lot of other local bands do - only once every couple of months.
Of course, most other local bands don't have ten busy schedules to work
around.
Gangster Fun had their taste of touring the nation after their first al-
bum, Come See, Come Ska, was released. They did an opening stint with
Bad Manners, and drove out west on their own to do some shows there.
"We went to California, and we played this ska-fest, right? About
twelve other ska bands; a little reunion of the English Beat, Bad Manners,
just all these ska bands. On the way back, we wanted to hear no ska."
Actually, the band members have very different tastes in music. They
listen to such diverse groups as Parliament and Devo, Marvin Gaye and
Negativland, Kansas and even player-piano music. Occasionally they'll
break out some old ska from the '60s.
"None of us really listen to ska that much, which I think is good," he
says. "That way we can't, like, formulate ourselves around those ska bands.
We can create a sound of our own, but not get stuck in that ska mode. You
would hate ska if you had to play with twelve other bands. If you're out of
town, they want to stick you with all these other ska bands.
"So, it's always a relief when we play with Fugazi or something. It's
not like another ska band. A different crowd can see us, not just like every-
one wearing these ties."
GANGSTER FUN plays at St. Andrew's Hall tomorrow with the Golden
Tones and Black Mali. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at
TicketMaster or for $5 at the door. Call 961-MELT for more information.

who what where when

_.._ a

-1

The Holmes Brothers might be more popular if they wore no shirts.

clean and sparse, but among other
songs, the cover of "She Watch
Channel Zero," with both the origi-
nal Slayer line and Ice-T's "Shut Up,
Be Happy" included, seems to suffer
for it.
But for its place in time, Follow
For Now is an impressive debut.
Expect better - actually, really
great - things from them in the fu-
ture.
-Forrest Green III
Bogeymen
There's No Such Thing As...
Delicious Vinyl
After listening to this record, an
old dB's tune comes to mind: "You
think too hard, you'll tear yourself in
two ...
The debut album by the
Bogeymen, which is made up of
former members of Masters of
Reality, shows that the band does
have some talented writers and
musicians - but the record itself
fails miserably.
The problem is that there is no
continuity whatsoever. Without any
transition, the record bounces from
the acoustic GNR-like "Dancing On
Your Grave" to the Gothic-metal "In
the Cosmic Continuum" to the
extremely bluesy "Damn the Safety
Nets." It sounds like a mix tape
made by one of your friends which
sound self-consciously - and
unsuccessfully - eclectic.
Each song, however, is written
quite well by the band's leader, Tim
Harrington (AKA General Malarky).
If the album consisted entirely of
material vaguely similar to any one
of the songs, it would be a very good
album. Unfortunately, the disc is a
mess and hard to listen to. Better
luck next time.
Andrew J Cahn
I(EY
WE VST01
For Reservations,
call 1-800-695-5150
or 1-305-294-3773

The Holmes Brothers do it
all: gospel, blues, soul. Guitarist
Wendell Holmes, bassist Sherman
Holmes and drummer Popsy
Dixon are reputed to shake the
ceiling with their passionate,
bluesy tunes. We'll see if it's true
at Rick's tomorrow night. Call
996-2747 for info.
Leon Russell, one of rock mu-
sic's most influential figures in
the last 25 years, will release a
Bruce Hornsby-produced album
this spring. This Saturday night,
his comeback trail will stop at
Sully's in Dearborn. Since practi-
cally ruling rock & roll in the
early '70s, he has shunned the
spotlight,, experimenting with
country, jazz and a sappy husband
& wife duo. The good news is that
he will once again be playing the
gospel/bluesy stuff which he
made famous. Call 645-6666 for
more info.
David Grossman, Israeli au-
thor of the controversial and best-
selling The Yellow Wind, will
give a lecture at 7 p.m. tomorrow
at Hillel's Irwin Green
Auditorium. While Wind is a non-
fiction impression of life on the
West Bank, Grossman also has a
flair for fiction. He's written two

11

I

novels, including See Under:
Love, a work that explores the
Holocaust and its aftermath. Play
writing, acting and penning chil-
dren's books are also on this re-
naissance man's resume. Tickets
are $8, $5 for students. Call 769-
0500 for more info.
OOPS. We left an M-Flicks pic
out of yesterday's Weekend etc.
list, and it's a good one.

Arnie
Terminator 2: Judgment Day,
which begins with Arnie walking
nude into a biker bar, plays
tonight at 9 p.m. in the luxurious
Natural Science Auditorium.
"Let's pahhhty." Tickets are $3.

M"M"

Seen any good shows lately?
Read any good books?
Think you've got insight?
really think people care about your opinion?
Think you could do better, eh?

Do you

Write for Fine Arts, Books or Theater!
Call 763-0379 and ask for Elizabeth or Mike.

I

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