'The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, April 14,1992
More than 120 Minutes of MTV's alternatives
Live does its
by Annette Petruso
The latest issue of Musician pi-
geonholes the Pennsylvania-based
M four-piece Live as "the first band of
Rock's New Generation." This is a
hopeful plea for Rock to continue
through the next generation in the
same form that it always has. If
that's supposed to be a compliment,
it certainly passes over Live without
Lead vocalist Ed Kowalczyk
claims, "We're a band and we're all
twenty, twenty-one. You know, I
don't really get into that labels stuff.
I don't believe any of that stuff. I try
to tell people that this is something
we made in Chad's garage, and for
someone to say we're 'the first band
of Rock's New Generation,' it just
doesn't fit. It doesn't mix with what
I'm thinking. This is very simple,
we've been doing this since we were
fourteen and we made it in base-
ments. It's weird. If they feel that
strongly about it that's great, but I
can't relate to it really."
The distance Kowalczyk puts
between his band and the vast gener-
alizations of rock critics is hardly
surprising after listening to Live's
impressive album, Mental Jewelry,
and talking to him about the MTV
120 Minutes package tour with
which his band plays.
Live questions authority, but not
in the self-centered, I-feel-so-sorry-
other young bands like Ned's
Atomic Dustbin and the Senseless
Things have chosen. Live can hold
its own against PiL and Big Audio
Dynamite II on the concert bill be-
cause they don't really care about
those bands and their pasts; punk
and its icons are before Live's time.
At a time when youth is no
longer a guaranteed commodity,
Live is radically blase about the last
true heroes of the young: the punks
who told authority to fuck off.
"People are going to have to deal
with the fact that we were born in
1971 and like we were watching car-
toons when punk was happening,"
Kowalczyk says. "By the time we
got around to playing instruments,
U2 and Duran Duran and R.E.M.
and shit like that was just starting to
be alternative. That's just a fact."
Blind Melon 'comes off sort of groovy'
He's young. He's dynamic. He's resourceful. He's Ed Kowalczyk, the lead
singer of Live. But John Lydon still blows him away onstage.
Kowalczyk's very denial of the
importance of punk could lead to a
dismissal of Live as having no sense
of history, no sense of debt to the
musical past. Instead, their inward
gaze has power because the only
thing they really care about is their
own music. Kowalczyk continually
repeated this fact.
He says, "Whatever happens to
this band, no matter what kind of
press or marketing we get, it's still
the same music. And still the same
four guys making it. It will always
be that way."
But Live broke into a nationwide
forum through MTV's heavy airplay
of their video for the single
"Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of
Tradition)," instead of breaking their
backs touring in small clubs. By cir-
cumventing the accepted path for an
alternative band's success on an in-
dependent label, Live further blurs
the lines between major and inde-
pendent types of success.
"That first video, we did it basi-
cally to get it put on 120 Minutes
hopefully, and they ended up putting
it in the Buzz Bin. It really helped us
a lot, it really helped raise awareness
of the band," Kowalczyk says.
As with the recent history of
popular music, they don't care how
they achieve success for the method
is less important than the integrity of
the music for themselves.
"I don't really give much impor-
tance to MTV or to playing along
some guideline for whatever kind of
band we are. I really just think we're
going to make our music and if
somebody decides to put on a video
channel or whatever, they can do
that, no problem."
Live's music, then, denies the
merit of worshipping the past and
common song subjects - it's not
about love or how much the world
oppresses me daily.
"Operation Spirit": "I guess it's
just a calling to myself and to people
to question the things that are going
on around them."
"10,000 Years (Peace Is Now)":
"It's in the same vein (as 'Operation
Spirit') ... Just the fact that the
world's ruled by tradition and sec-
ond-hand information and we have
to question that," Kowalczyk ex-
plains almost apologetically.
Live's members don't consider
themselves political musicians ei-
"Political music ... sometimes it
just seems as if it's a little too cool
to really be serious about anything,"
Kowalcyzk says. "I don't really
consider our music political in the
sense that it's just one thing. I don't
really know what that would mean to
be just political because the prob-
lems in society aren't going to be
cured politically, they're going to be
cured individually and that'll trans-
late into political change.
"It's just the way I relate to this
music. It's the same way I relate to
politics is that when you're involved
in politics, you're involved in treat-
ing the world as a concept and solv-
ing problems by organizing and
having mass movements and groups.
I just think it's more productive or it
could be more productive to start
solving problems individually."
by Kristen Knudsen
Blind Melon may not be a house-
hold name yet, but most people will
recognize the singer, Shannon Hoon,
as the mysterious stranger who sang
with Axl Rose in the "Don't Cry"
video. He also sang on several other
Guns N' Roses songs.
Blind Melon has their own video
now for a song called "Dear Ole
Dad," and the rest of the band -
guitarists Thomas Rogers Stevens
and Christopher Thorn, bassist Brad
Smith, and drummer Glen Graham
- look at the impressive Guns N'
Roses connection as nothing more
than promotion. Graham explains,
"(Shannon) was friends with Axl, he
sang on the record, and that's that. I
mean, sure, it's publicity."
This publicity could be mislead-
ing, however. One might think that
Blind Melon is a hard rock or heavy
metal band, but Graham says there's
definitely no truth to this. "No, no,
not at all," he laughs. But, for now,
the association with GN'R is fine
with Graham. "I think it's OK at this
point," he says. "I think when the
record comes out it'll be obvious
that we're not Guns N' Roses."
This record is due in August, and
will feature 12 to 15 songs of "va-
ried types of music, all leaning to-
ward, you know, 'rock' type of stuff,
but there's definitely a difference
between us," Graham points out.
"We've been using flute recently,
there's mandolin, harmonica in some
of our songs - as well as just the
regular vibe, you know, two guitars,
There's really nothing "regular"
about Blind Melon. They are signed
to a major record company (Capitol)
and have a record coming out, have
toured with Soundgarden, and are
now part of the MTV 120 Minutes
Tour. And all of this has happened in
the last three years. "We consider
ourselves lucky," Graham agrees.
"Certainly. But hopefully there will
be music to back up what has been
done for us so far."
They've been getting a really
good response at the shows they're
doing now, with Public Image
Limited, Big Audio Dynamite, and
Live. Graham says, "So far, there
have been good crowds and every-
body's really been into it, right off
the bat." In the future, "as far as
people that are out now, young
bands, it would be fun to tour with
Smashing Pumpkins," Graham pon-
ders. "That kind of thing."
But that doesn't mean that Blind
Melon sounds like Smashing
Pumpkins. "I don't necessarily con-
sider us in that. I suppose we'll
probably be lumped in with that, for
various reasons," Graham realizes,
"but I wouldn't necessarily say we
are that. We like 'that."'
For someone who hasn't heard
Blind Melon, Graham tries to de-
scribe their sound. "I would say it's
reminiscent of older music, older
rock music, going back to the '60s
and '70s - we all have influences in
that type, that period of popular mu-
sic." Other than that, Graham can't
give a concrete description.
"Well, we would consider our-
selves basically Blind Melon," he
explains, "which is five people with
varied musical tastes - it's a situa-
tion where everyone is allowed to
play what they want to play.
Everyone writes and contributes
equally to the songs and it comes off
sort of - it comes off sort of
"There are heavy elements to our
music," he continues. "We do a lot
of different types of things, actually.
See MELON, Page 9
Aged Lydon upstages BAD set
MTV 120 Minutes Tour featuring Big Audio Dynamite R, PiL, Live
and Blind Melon
April 12, 1992
Was this concert supposed to feature alternative, cutting edge music?
The MTV (120 Minutes no less) sponsorship should have tipped me off.
This concert would have nothing to do with the current state of the under-
Instead, the show was a tribute to everything wrong with MTV's percep-
tion of a popular alternative: two new bands without individual identities
and two bands centered around aging punks. Who won? The aging punks of
Openers Blind Melon couldn't decide if they were a hard rock band or a
hippie (a la the Dead) troupe. While megaheroes in Pearl Jam have more
than successfully melded these two genres, Blind Melon couldn't even man-
age to rock out. The polite guitars weren't turned up so loud as to bury
Though Johnny Lydon is about 15 years older
than the boys in Live, he projected a strong
frontman Shannon Hood's inadequate vocals and his neat bongo playing.
Give me Pearl Jam, or at least L7, Hole, SuperChunk or Helmet any day
over this band.
Of course, the tour had to include some band heavily influenced by
R.E.M. and U2. Live fit the bill too perfectly, and its members are young
'uns on their first major tour of the States to boot. Though the band sounded
just like their impressive debut album Mental Jewelry, until the last songs in
their short set the production was too clean, stiff, and staid. Vocalist Ed
See 120, Page 9
Produced by MSA Communications
Chair: Steve Stark
M SA NE WIS Vice-Chair: Melissa Sarri
Staff: Meghan Carey, Tom Hemr
MICHIGAN STUDENT ASSEMBLY
We are your government, the student voice. We elected representatives from each school and
deal with issues of student concern on campus. We have direct contact with the administration
and are responsible for the allocation of over $37,000 to student organizations. We meet every
Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the 3rd floor of the Union. At 7:45 any student may address the assembly.
We have many committees and commissions that are always looking for student help and input.
For further information or to voice a concern, call 763-3241.
MICHIGAN STUDENT ASSEMBLY NEWS
" Ede Fox and Hunter Van Valkenburgh were elected as the next president and vice-president of MSA. Their terms begin
April 14, 1992.
" The Assembly passed a resolution requesting that the City of Ann Arbor investigate the tear-gassing incident which
occurred on the night of April 6,1992.
+ The Assembly allocated over $9000.00 to student groups since March 17. MSA funded the annual Spring Fest and the
LSA Graduation Picnic.
" The student body approved a mandatory MSA student fee cap, necessitating the approval of the student body to
increase the fee.
" The Assembly funded the printing of a booklet on the environment of classrooms. Copies can be obtained from the
Women's Issues Commission.
" The Communications Committee plans to have MSA meetings broadcast on Cable Access Television.
" Michael David Warren, Jr. resigned as Chair of the Students' Rights Commission because of the University's lack of
action on the speech code issue.
" MSA issued an apology to Ms. Safiya Khalid and the students of the University for the events of March 24, 1992.
" MSA passed a resulution in support of students' First Amendment right to free speech.
. A chapter outlining the composition and functions of the Environmental Issues Commission was added to the
" The Assembly voted to add Chapter 4 to the Compiled Code. The chapter outlines the general provisions, composition,
powers, and functions of MSA during the Spring and Summer.
. The Acembly snnnrted a renltion endnrsing the SCOR-GEO nroposal to increase the number of students of color in
avz OIl S
Daytona Beach it ain't. But stopping at Shurgard on
yur way hoe ths summer is a lot more fntan huing
you bundt cake pans and limegreen Barcalounger all over
the country and back. Plus with the 10 percent student
discount, you get to see for yourself how higher mathematics
can indeed be applied to real life situations.