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March 02, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-02

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The Michigan Daily

Monday, March 2, 1992

Page 5

Head straight
for Pale Divine
Rock band brews a diverse batch
of sounds in their 'song soup'

by Nima Hodaei

If there truly is an "end of the rain-
bow," where dreams come true, it's
highly possible that Pale Divine has
found it. This St. Louis-based rock
quartet, founded eight years ago, has
played its way from the Midwestern
college bar scene to a major label
recording contract with Atco Re-
cords, a subsidiary of Atlantic.
Led by frontman and vocalist,
Michael Schaerer, along with gui-
tarist Richard Fortus, drummer Greg
Miller, and bassist Dan Angenend,
Jr., Pale Divine has released its ma-
jor label debut, Straight to Goodbye,
amidst good reviews. An assorted
collection of rock songs that vary
from driving rhythm sections to soft
ballads, Schaerer describes the
band's overall sound.
"It's a musical catharsis," Schae-
rer says from a car phone on the way
to a gig. "It's emotionally based,
power pop-rock, English influenced,
mish-mash everything. We just
throw on everything that we've ever
heard and liked about music."
Straight to Goodbye certainly
displays this wide diversity. Sounds
reminiscent of the Psychedelic Furs
(one of the band's biggest influ-
ences, thus explaining their opening
slot on the current Furs' tour),
Bauhaus, and even the Doors, find
their way onto the project. Diversity
aside, Schaerer says that the songs
come naturally to him.
"(I write songs about) given situ-
ations that stay on my mind, like the

kind of things that happen to you
that you then dream about," he
"They gnaw on the back of your
mind. I find what happens is that it's
like 'song soup'. It brews and brews
and then you've got a song. I was
thinking this morning, as we did this
radio show, that I realized as I was
singing a song, that I was thinking
about different things. The words
were just coming out like they were
just a part of me. I didn't even think
about it. That's a really eerie fee-
It's the diversity that separates
Pale Divine from the majority of acts
today. Eluding the all-too familiar
pigeonholing that radio and record
companies try to place over their
performers, Schaerer is quite ada-
mant about not giving in to outside
"I have always written songs and
not commercials," he says. "It really
frustrates me when bands are being
accepted much more readily, espe-
cially by radio, because of the fact
that they've just fit very neatly in the
marketing package that has been set
up by MTV and radio. I refuse to
bend to it."
When asked about their live
show, Schaerer quickly points out
that although the album turned out
well in his opinion, their live per-
formance is energetic and raw, with-
out so much of the "lushness" that is
present on Straight to Goodbye.
He later adds, "I've been getting
a lot of quips about Morrison, and

"It's emotionally based, power pop-rock, English influenced, mish-mash
everything," says Michael Schaerer, second from left, about his band Pale
Divine. But they sure ain't punkish postmodern peppy Pylon pretenders.

it's upsetting me. They say we're
like a '90s Morrison act or routine,
and it's really not. Once again, it's a
catharsis of different sorts."
Whatever Pale Divine may be, it
certainly is not unemotional. The
band strictly pursues emotion in its
music, songwriting, and interaction
with fans. Schaerer readily admits
that this technique and approach are
often times misunderstood by people
outside of the group environment.
Yet, this drive keeps him and the
others in the band motivated and in-
spired to continue.
"You really have to believe in
what you do," Schaerer muses. "I
think I express some pretty valid
emotions, although I've been told
that sometimes it comes across being
a little bit morbid and over-indul-

"I think people need to look a lit-
tle deeper into it if they're going to
critique the emotional content of my
music. I get trashed a bit for that. I
do believe it and I have to go up
against thousands of people every
night that don't know anything about
me and I have to say, 'hey, this is
who I am.' It's no cakewalk."
From being "a very big fish in a
small pond to a guppy in an ocean,"
Pale Divine eagerly anticipates mak-
ing some waves of their own in the
very near future.
CHEDELIC FURS tonight at the
Michigan Theater. Showtime is 7:30.
Tickets can be purchased through
Ticketmaster for $18.50 and $12.50
(p.e.s.c). Call 763-TKTS for info.

Say wnat you wil abouttneir suits -for five centuries the vienna unoir
Boys have been making music that is absolutely heavenly.
The (Vienna Choir)
Boys are back in town
by Roger Hsia
If cherubim and seraphim had given birth to a wealth of musical
progeny, the result might've sounded a little like the Vienna Choir Boys.
This angelic-sounding bunch will descend upon Hill Auditorium this
Wednesday. As Thomas Strode, choirmaster of the Boys choir of Ann
Arbor assures, "anybody who goes should expect to be thoroughly
charmed and enchanted". (His local choir will be performing in the May
Festival on May 9th).
The boys, making their 12th Ann Arbor appearance, will sing the sa-
cred and the secular, along with a favorite of each of their concerts: a
comic one-act opera. This year's opera is Tales from the Vienna Woods,
by Johann Strauss.
The group was founded on July 7, 1498 by the humanist Emperor
Maximilian I. He wanted to have choristers in the Imperial Chapel. Since
then, this organization's talent has compelled the world's premier com-
posers to write for them. The group's greatest prodigy and indubitably, its
most famous member, Franz Schubert, sang as a choir boy from 1808 to
1813. Other not-too-shabby luminaries affiliated with the group include
Mozart, Haydn, Bruckner and Gluck. Needless to say, simply the choir's
"ivy over stone" tradition itself, stamps it as a group of the top echelon.
The choir itself consists of three or four groups of choristers. More of-
ten than not, two choirs tour at the same time. As one would imagine, this
famed group has traveled the world many times over. Although the tours
highlight their year, one would be remiss in assuming that these choirboys
do nothing but entertain. They in fact spend the majority of their time at a
private school in Vienna, benefiting from an intensive, well-rounded pro-
Their entrance requirements and standards befit those of a world-class
troupe. Those who wish to be considered for entry attend a special
preparatory school which pays special attention to theory and practice. All
of this culminates in a rigorous entrance examination taken at age nine.
The advantages of this unique education become evident once the boys
take the stage and begin to work their magic.
As Strode notes, "one of the two things that stand out about the Vienna
Choir Boys is the way that their training brings out their individual musi-
cality. The other outstanding trait that comes to mind would have to be
their first-rate deportment." Indeed, to assemble a mass of such pure tal-
ent is a superlative accomplishment in itself. However, the ability to fuse
disciplined talents into a cohesive unit is what separates the men from the
boys - or, in this case, these boys from all others. See BOYS, Page 8

Streets: A Rock Opera
With all the forays into different
genres, metal nowadays looks noth-
ing like itself even three years ago.
There's funk metal, progressive,
glam, thrash, speed, pop, bluesy,
speedcore, and an endless variety of
new and exciting sounds. So it's a
bit amusing to see veteran head-
bangers Savatage release a concept
album, including a two-page story in
the liner notes.
It gets stranger when the story
unfolds. D.T. Jesus is an aspiring
rocker who gets big, gets into drugs,
gets nowhere, has a comeback,
watches a friend die, and eventually
ends up being redeemed by a dying
homeless person. Original it's not.
But it's also a hell of an entertaining
True, the album is trying desper-
ately to sound like a metal Tommy,
with piano ballads ("A Little Too
Far"), existential brooding ("If I Go
Away"), life affirming rockers
("You're Alive," "Believe") and
even dialogue.
Jon Oliva and his crew have an
honest belief in their music. This is
why it works. After hearing last
year's awesome Gutter Ballet al-
bum, it comes across as a natural ex-
tension of their music.
"Streets" has a classic metal feel
to it, but the haunting children's

chorus in the background gives it an
edge. "A Little Too Far" proves lead
singer Oliva can croon beautiful
songs with more emotion than the
normal Warrant/Poison power bal-
lad. "Heal My Soul" is even based
on an old Welsh tune, and doesn't
sound as stupid as it might in any
other band.
It's not quite Operation: Mind-
crime, but it is by far the best album
in Savatage's long career, and a
ballsy move to do something so ...
'70s. - Kirk Miller
Fact TwentyTwo
The Biographic Humm
Emigre Music
When you pick up a new album
5TH AVE. AT UBERTY 761-9700

by some group or artist you've never
heard of, you want it to be different
or fun or grandiose, or just some
wonderful thing no one's ever done
before. You want to play it many
many many times over so that you
can try to figure out just-what's-go-
ing-on-here. Fact TwentyTwo (a.k.a.
James Towning) is just such a prod-
Towning's work is a conglom-
eration of synthesizers, vocals,
drums (real and machined), and zil-
lions of samples. Even more samples
than any Ministry, Public Enemy, or
Skinny Puppy album and Janet
Jackson's Rhythm Nation smushed
together. All this contributes to Fact
Twenty-Two's groove, which is at

times quite danceable, and at other
times mired in so many sounds that
you may forego any rhythmic body-
twisting ritual to listen attentively.
Towning sometimes uses twisted
nursery rhymes and polka-like rhy-
thms. At other times there are four-
on-floor electronic beats, or hip-
hoppish movements of home appli-
ances. Even some classical or-
chestral fills appear with some plain
'ole piano in Tragedy."
Always, though, his voice is
warped just enough to make you feel
like he's a Cylon renegade from
Battlestar Galactica. Song subjects
range from "James T. Kafka" to
"Watching Children Sleep." Lyric
See RECORDS. Page 8


.t Kk. WNW -t



The Third Annual
"Taking Medicine into the
Twenty-first Century"
Featuring Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Eugene Oliveri, M.D.
Saturday, March 14, 1992
9:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
North Campus Commons
Information and registration forms available at



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