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October 01, 1992 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-01

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc.-October 1, 1992

A Camelot Fountain
White decadence on Lake Michigan

Travelog Entry #1
what: The World's Largest
Stationary* Musical Fountain
where: Grand Haven, Michigan,
just south of Muskegon - take 1-96
west till it ends, follow the signs
when: about 9:30 p.m.
cost: gas
Things got really weird when the
fountain started talking to us.
Before that happened, of course,
the day had already been plenty, well
... different. Only moments earlier,
we'd been standing in front of a ma-

Josephine Wiggs, Mike Hunt, Kim and Kelley Deal, and Tanya Donelly of the Breeders with the standard pose.
B d
Breeders 'ail ffair
by Scott Sterling

Like so many other Pixie fans, I
harbor a secret. Deep down inside, I'd
lbve to see them break up. No, it's not
me being a musical masochist, or
wanting them to quit while they're
ahead. It's because of her.
Kim Deal, the Pixies bassist, has
quite simply outgrown them. Her own
band, the Breeders, is just too good to
be a side project. Originally formed
as a collaboration between Deal, ex-
Throwing Muse Tanya Donelly, and
ex-PerfectDisaster Josephine Wiggs,
the Breeders debut "Pod" topped many
of 1990's year-end "best of 'lists. The
manic juxtaposition ofDonelly's gui-
tar lines with Deal's dreamily dead-
pan vocals and power pop song-writ-
ing "Pod" was an alternateen wet
dream.
Two years later, and the Breeders
have finally answered our prayers by
dropping an e.p., "Safari," and more
importantly, hitting the road for their
first-ever American tour.
"We like to tour, we just wanted
to go out and have some fun," says
Kelley Deal, Kim's twin sister and
new addition to the Breeders.
"After the U2 tour, (the Pixies
opened the first leg of the Zoo TV
tour) I think that Kim had herheart set
on just going out and getting hot and

sweaty again. Plus, we're going to
record an album in December, so we're
throwing new songs into the set," she
says from a New Jersey rehearsal
space.
The Breeders, which is now com-
prised of the Deal sisters sharing gui-
tar duties, Wiggs on bass, and Jim
Macpherson on drums, is the latest in
a long-time series of musical endeav-
ors for the two Deals.
"Kim and I have always done stuff
together. One of our first gigs to-
gether was opening for John Kay
Steppenwolfin Dayton, Ohio, back in
the early eighties. That was our big
claim to fame. We pulled up to the
club and there were all these motor-
cycles and stuff. Just Kim and I and
her little acoustic guitar, singing to-
gether. They loved it, though, and we
had a great time. At first we were like,
'Oh my god, what are we doing here?,'
but the whole thing was just so silly.
It was so surreal we couldn't be
scared," Kelley Deal remembers with
a laugh.
Unfortunately, original Breeder
Tanya Donelly won't be on this trip.
"Her own band (Belly) is doing
real well, so she won'tbe touring with
us. But we've met them, and they're
all really nice. We approve," Kelley

Deal says.
With so much hype surrounding
the current glut of female indie bands,
(L7, Hole, Bikini Kill) I'm curious
how important estrogen is to the
Breeders.
"I think it's totally coincidental
that we're all women," relates Kelley
Deal.
"I don't know if Kim agrees with
this or not, but my theory is that when
we grew up, we couldn't get any guys
to play with us. They were too busy
doing BTO covers. Unless you were
blond, with long poofed hair, really
Holiday Inn style, you couldn't get
gigs. And you could only play key-
boards or sing. You couldn't play
guitar or anything. I think Kim as-
sumed no guys would play with her,
so she just asked girls."
At this point, drummer
Macpherson has brought Kelley Deal
a Mountain Dew, so she passes the
phone to him.
"I joined the band back in May,
right before the European tour," the
newest Breeder recalls. "Kim and
Kelley used to come see me in my old
band (the Raging Mantras) back in
Dayton, and asked me to play with
them."
For him, being a Breeder has been
nothing but a party.
"This has been great. I'll be with
the Breeders until I get fired again.
Everybody gets fired in this band, at
least two or three times a day. I've
fired Kim a couple of times," he
laughs.
The phone is then passed to bassist
Wiggs, who despite having her own
band, (Honey Tongue) considers the
Breeders an ongoing collaboration.
"We're much more of a priority
See BREEDERS, Page 5

jestic statue of a Boy Scout staring
proudly out at Lake Michigan. An
immaculate factory loomed off on the
horizon, like the castle of some indus-
trial-age King Arthur. Even the
smokestacks looked clean.
"Grand Haven was the whitest
town I've ever been to," I later told
my friend Petruso.
"Haven't you ever been to
Roseville?" she asked, referring to
one of the seedier suburbs on metro
Detroit's East Side.
"I'm not talking white trash," I
said. "I'm talking classic 1950s white
American decadence, the kind you
don't see much anymore. I'm talking
Pat Boone and 'Leave It To Beaver.'"
"So you're talking Wonder Bread,
as opposed to, say, cheap generic
Meijer's bread."
Petruso has a way of expressing
things. Except Grand Haven, an ob-
noxiously artificial tourist trap, might
Goober 'S
still the
King,
even on
record
by Michael John Wilson
Goober and the Peas have a shtick.
These suburban Detroiters dress up in
Grand Old Opry-style suits, put on
fakehillbilly accents and play pseudo-
country tunes. Their sound is some-
where between Nirvana and Lyle
Lovett- country grunge? It's so self-
conscious and calculated that I'd de-
spise them if their music wasn't so
great.
Hearing Goober live is always a
wild time, as the band throws plenty
of hay, does some covers (the Gene
Loves Jezebel one is among my fa-
vorites) while Goober declares him-
self "The King of Rock 'n' Roll." It's
fun, but it can also become annoying
as hell.
I alike many local bands, whose
re tings are just a muddled reflec-
tioi .,songs that sounded awfully
exciting live, the debut album "The
Complete Works of Goober and the
Peas" captures the energy and humor
of their shows. A slick production by
John Wesley Harding helps consider-
ably.
What's best abouthearing Goober
on record is that it allows you to
concentrate on the music, apart from
the shtick. (In truth, however, there's
no escape from the shtick, as the boys

be more like some fancy gourmet
bread you'd find at the Farmer's Mar-
ket, perfectly shaped with sprinkles
on top.
Or, abandoning the bread analogy
altogether, more like the brown, gooey
fudge they sold at the expensive fudge
shops on Grand Haven's main drag,
those shops that have the huge store-
front windows, so tourist passers-by
can watch some poor slob in a chef's
hat slavishly mixing the stuff with a
giant shovel. You know the kind of
fudge I'm talking about: Fudge so
sweet that it doesn't even taste good,
but you eat it anyway and feel sick
afterwards.
The fountain was built sometime
in the early '60s. Approximately the
size of a football field, it sits on an
island across from downtown Grand
Haven's waterfront. A grandstand -
conveniently within walking distance
of both a frozen yogurt stand and a
yuppie festival mall - faces the isle,
and begins to fill up around nine.
I learned about the fountain's size
and age from the fountain itself. Or
rather, himself: amale, Ward Cleaver
voice narrates the show, seemingly
emanating from a light at the center of
the fountain. Ward explained that the
fountain has 50 different programs, or
combinations of water (hundreds of
gallons that flood through the half-
hour show every night), lights
("enough to power a small town,"
Ward quipped) and music (mostly
cheesy '50s show tunes and standards,
all blaring through a 40,000 watt
speaker system).
"Are we in a movie?" Lizard, my
partner-in-crime, whispered to me as
the fountain exploded in an orgiastic
array of color, foam and music from
"Cunelot."

"I'm not sure," I said, wondering
if disgruntled C(oiimuiists had ever
swum OeI to the fouitauim uid at-
tempted to sabotage it.
Then I woimdeied, At tins were a
movie, who'd be direciing?" Woody
Allen? The music was definitely
Woody Allen But tile lountai was
too flashy, too ovtcily symoolic David
Lynch'?No. )ecausC the i just weren't
enough tra . 0 ii g be-
neath the s u an
Dream, not nei- 'eside , no-
body was fucku, > Coppola.
He likes oven s)a u an . 'hink-
ing "Tucker" anu tne USG e in
"Apocalypse Now " Yeah
"Hey, isn't that a huge cross be-
hind that America, flag'?"
The flag new high, directly be-
hind the fountain. And sure enough,
whatever was behind Old Glory at
least appeared to be a giant white
cross. As red, white and blue lights
sliced up the dark Western sky, I
sniffled proudly and, unable to bring
to mind the words to "The Pledge of
Allegiance," softly began humming
"Born in the U.S.A."
Soon the entire grandstand had
joined in. We were all holding hands
and loudly singing "We are the World"
when the fountain began shooting off
its final spurts of the evening.
"Damn," I whispered to Lizard.
"This is probably one of the most
beautiful moments in my entire life."
And I really meant it, too.
Apparently, Liberace owned
son.; pretty serious mobile musical
fountains in his time, but God knows
what's become of them since he
kicked. We can only pray that they're
in sane hands ...
Mark I3inelli's column appears bi-
weekly in Weekend etc.

.

It's amazing, it's shticky, it's better than broccoli, it's Goober and the Peas.

provide plenty of embarrassing "Filler
Dialogue" in which Goober talks about
turkey sandwiches in his cheap ac-
cent. The "skip" function on the CD
player comes in handy.)
But shockingly, the recording re-
veals that the band is even better than
first thought. Notonly do the country-
punk songs stand up to repeated
listenings, but moreover, they have
depth- whether the band is aware of
it or not.
The party songs are here, includ-
ing their single "Hot Women (Cold
Beer)," as well as "Funky Cowboy"
with a dance remix. But there are
darker tunes as well, including "Don't
Be Afraid," in which Goober takes on

the role of a drunk, abusive boyfriend
("Don't be afraid to call me ... That
kind of outburst is very rare.") "Gar-
den" throbs with a surprising level of
hurt and feeling, complete with the
sexual metaphor of "the well run dry."
And "My Own Best Friend" is a rol-
licking tune with a subtext of, well,
masturbation, with Goober crooning,
"I guess I'm all alone except for my
number one pal."
Yes, I am reading too much into
these songs. But the very hint of any
kind of depth beyond the self-con-
scious front raises them a level above
a local novelty. Goober and the Peas
justmight be the(ugh) Next Big Thing
after all.

w~ma~. U

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