The Michigan Daily--Weekend etc. - January 16, 1992- Page5
y Skot Beal
n discussions about local bands,
ve never heard the name
2estroom Poets" uttered by any-
ne - a definite testimony to the
:clining interest of Ann Arbor res-
ents in local music. It's unfortu-
ite that a band this exciting has
-en unheard of for so long. The
estroom Poets have existed in var
us incarnations for about five
ars, and within the past year have
ttled on a strong lineup and begun
make a more serious move onto
e local music scene.
"We immediately got some in-
rest from some local bands that
ere kind of established," says
son Magee, the guitarist/ singer/
ingwriter for the band. "Anne Be
avis, The Difference - we were
>ening up for both those guys and
ill nobody had ever heard of us.
'e' ve been playing for a while but
e've just never publicized."
"It's funny," says Chris Jasinski,
pother guitarist in the band,
>ecause we've been playing more in
>ledo and elsewhere than we have
:en in Ann Arbor because Ann
rbor's such a difficult scene to
eak into. And we've got a follow-
g everywhere else we've played
:cept Ann Arbor."
So what do these, guys sound
ke? If I had to compare the
estroom Poets to other bands, I
ould probably mention the names
oul Asylum and Too Much Joy,
id occasionally U2. "Whenever
nybody asks me to describe the
:oup I always say it's a cross be-
veen Woody Guthrie and Black
ZEPP L 7
The Music Box
A nd you thought vinyl went the way of Mr. Microphone... Remem-
ber singles? I always threw my little Disney records at my sister and
screamed "Catch!" They never broke like they did for the Three Stooges.
The sure sign of growing up was owning ydur first LP - it was big-
ger. You had it made when you cleaned "Night Fever" and it didn't skip.
Tapes don't have the same romance and neither do CDs. Vinyl seems to
come back from the dead to remind us of the times when heat was the en-
emy of music.
The final gasps of vinyl expression that I came across were not only
45s but in colored, see-through form. Ultra Violet Eye, the Vagabonds,
and Love Camp 7 apparently felt the need to express themselves on this
dying art form, but with a mixed effect.
Ultra Violet Eye "She Forgot/Wharf Rat" (Cocktail) had an average
garage-ish sound. It's been done already, but never on blue vinyl.
The Vagabonds "Laugh or Cry" (Animal Five) produce hard-driven
power trio music that's college bar scene-ish. Black vinyl. Get with it!
Love Camp 7 "King Sex/Sour Old Man" (Bowlmore) was almost
palatable. Not only was it on orange vinyl, but the band layers "King
Sex" with more flying bass parts than your average jangly-guitar band.
I wanted to hear more, but alas, the vinyl single permits teeny tastes
of excellence. Could vinyl become the ultimate form of low-budget
- Andrea Kachudas
Sabbath," says Jasinski.
"A lot of my songwriting is
blues-based," says Magee. "See, I
write all my songs on an acoustic-
guitar, so there's that acoustic feel
to a lot of the stuff, even though it
may not end up sounding acoustic at
all. A lot of our material has a
melodic quality even if it is really
fast and hardcore. I don't think
that's what we're trying to do.
We're not trying to be a fast hard-
core band, but at times we can sound
"My job as songwriter," contin-
ues Magee, "is basically to bring the
framework of what everyone's go-
ing to explore inside themselves
with their own respective instru-
ment. Everyone's got to figure out
why they play what they play and
what's gonna set them apart from
the billion other people who play
the same thing. ... And if you don't
do that, then what's the point of
even doing it? Just buy somebody
The diverse array of influences
which each member brings to the
band also affects the band's song-
writing and original sound. "We're
trying to not just make music and
present it and just do gigs," says
Jasinski. "We want to make music
that is interesting and in some way
Jasinski personally is influenced
heavily by The Edge (of U2) and
Neil Young. Magee is influenced by
Lennon and Dylan, as well as blues
Brian Poore, the bassist for the
band, listens to everything from
thrash and hardcore punk to classi-
cal music, and is even a big Chicago
fan. And Ben Lorenz, the drummer,
listens to Led Zeppelin and Rush as
well as jazz and big band.
Actually, everyone in the band
likes Rush except for Magee, who
hates them. When asked why, he
says, "They just sound too technical,
plus Geddy Lee's got a big nose."
This active sense of humor pours
See POETS, Page 8
-- - - - -
Continued from page 1
of issues and viewpoints, the
greed mentality's greatest vic-
tims are the films we're never al-
lowed to see, especially foreign
Though distributors like
Orion Classics deserve credit for
releasing films like Slacker,
brand new films by European leg-
ends like Fellini, Godard and have
not been shown in America
because, the distributors believe,
the audience for these films is not
large enough to make a profit.
Unfortunately, they're proba-
bly right, and there's nothing we
can do about it. While the L.A.
film critics pass a resolution con-
demning the trend, we can only
give our continued support to the
outlets we do have - The Michi-
gan Theater, Campus Cinema
groups, the Detroit Film Theater,
the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and
the raw, original work shot on 16
millimeter by your next door
Such is the nature of the art of
the film, the costly art that can-
not exist in its highest form
without an industry. 1991 saw
some progressive ideas in excep-
tional films. We can only hope"
that sooner or later, these ideas
will catch up with the industry,
Alternative to what?
or years, people seeking out
sser-known bands have had a rough
ne. Radio listeners tired of the
nited choices that Metro Detroit
fers have had to turn to public ra-
o or college stations, with their
ually limited broadcast areas.
ven though a few stations tried to
commercially successful using an
Iternative" ormat, R.I.P. WLBS
d WDTX, they eventually failed.
it in less than two years one sta-
>n has made the change to a unique
rmat and met with nothing but
CIMX, aka 88.7FM, aka 89X, aka
he Cutting Edge, aka the Rock of
e '90s, has been touted as the sav-
r of "alternative" music by many
ople in Southeastern Michigan
d the Greater Windsor area. But
en though Program Director and
isc Jockey Greg St. James admits
at CIMX is different than most
ations, he is wary of the
"Alternative to what? We cer-
inly feel that classic rock perhaps
an alternative to us, but we prefer
think of 89X as the rock of the
[s. And this type of music is alive
d well. You need to look no fur-
er than a band like Nirvana for ev-
ence of this," St. James says.
Unlike other stations which of-
i have a constant group of listen-
s, CIMX's audience has steadily
:reased. From the beginning of
91 to the end of the year, the sta-
m's ratings quadrupled. These
numbers were undoubtedly helped
by a barrage of publicity ranging
from station-sponsored concerts to
full-page ads in Detroit publica-
And their ratings were certainly
not hurt by some unorthodox pro-
gramming. Ranging from environ-
mental bulletins to concert simul-
casts, CIMX has waged a successful
campaign to become more than just
another radio station.
"We try to be involved in the
lifestyle of our listeners," says St.
James. "I think that a radio station
should be more than just records for
twenty-four hours a day. This is dif-
ferent than the strict commercial
radio standpoint which is like 'Fuck
that! Play another record you ass-
hole!' But we feel that our listeners,
intelligent people want more. They
have a hunger for something other
than the same old crap."
But what makes a band cool
enough to fit into this lifestyle?
What does it take to become a cut-
ting edge artist? Do they first have
to be blessed enough to be on a hip
radio playlist from London, LA or
NYC before CIMX will take them
St. James explains, "For current
records we have a playlist. There's
really no other way to program a
commercial radio station. But really
there's not a formula for that. What
we try to find is a balance between
stuff that's rockin', stuff that's
danceable, and maybe a little more
folk. I mean we do everything from
Enya to Front 242. The idea is to
find a balance of those artists. And
it's very much dependent on what is
out there. The ideal case is to find an
artist that's going to grow and
grow and we stay with them."
But what happens when a cutting
edge artist grows and grows into a
number one hit? Unlike the often
fickle cutting edge listener, St.
James vows not to drop artists who
happen to cross over to Top 40 radio.
"I think it's foolish for us to
think, 'Well, our job is we'll break
'em and let the other guys reap the
benefits.' Fuck that! When bands
like Nirvana become successful and
DJs on other stations say 'Oh, here's
this new single by this weird band,'
we'll just move to their other good
songs," says St. James.
"That's great (when artists catch
on)! If it's good music and more
people play it and more people get
to hear it, that's good for everybody.
We just try to remind folks that
'Hey, we really do play it here
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s FMAbl k M3AN
Joseph C. Phillips, Halle Berry and Tommy Davidson star in the moderately successful Strictly Business.
Theater this weekd
the Gingham Dog
Aichael L. Geiger, Director
tarring Alicia Hunter, Peter Hopp, John Connon III and Amy Raasch.
People fall in and out of love, whether they are Black or white. Lanford
Vilson's play The Gingham Dog, produced this week by the Serpent's
'ooth Theatre, deals with these simple facts. The Tooth's production of
his Civil Rights era script efficiently, and for the most part, effectively
resents the hardships involved in the dissolution of a marriage that just
appens to be interracial.
Alicia Hunter's portrayal of Gloria, a woman whose loyalties are
>rn between her past life spent in poverty and the uptown "white"
ociety to which she has become accustomed, is strongly multifaceted.
he is cold and resolute when introduced, but by the end of the second act
ve have seen glimpses of her candid and feeling nature.
Hunter shows us the perfectly poised and then unraveled Gloria in
erfect contrast, without exaggeration. The rest of the cast, however,
ails to enhance the subtle complexities of personality inherent in