The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - October 15,1992- Page 5
I got you under my wheelz
Everything you always wanted to know about a Monster Truck Battle ...
"So Marco," friends and family
members often ask me, "just what the
hell is a Monster Truck Pull, any-
They ask me because I'm the only
person they know who's been to one,
a sad statement about bourgeois
middle-class snobbery. These are
people who think professional wres-
ding is "fake and stupid," yet will
spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon
guzzling beer and watching grown
men really beat the hell out of each
other. People who don't think rap is
music, but will pay money to get into
a classic rock bar and karaoke
"Yakety-Yak." People who make fun
of me for suggesting a tape from the
"Elvis" section of the video store,
then beeline to New Releases and say,
"Boy, that John Candy sure is funny."
Do you fit the description of one of
these hypothetical hypocrites? If so,
this weekend's your chance at re-
demption: The Pontiac Silverdome is
hosting what promises to be the
Mother of all Truck Battles, the Mon-
ster Truck Challenge, Saturday at 8
p.m. Only the strong will survive.
Now, I don't claim to be some sort
of Zen figure when it comes to Mon-
ster Trucks. I've only been to one
Battle, and that was at the Breslin
Center in Lansing, a considerably
smaller venue than the 'Dome. But
using my first impressions from that
formative event in my life, I've put
together this quick and dirty guide to
one of our great country's most popu-
lar forms of "sports entertainment."
Read on, go to the Truck Challenge
on Saturday, and then watch "Ameri-
can Gladiators" Sunday morning.
You'll thank yourself later.
Q. OK, so what do the trucks actu-
ally do at a battle?
A. It's easy. Just think of a Mon-
ster Truck Battle as a simple race. The
only difference is, these trucks are big
enough to crush your house, so to
make it more challenging, they're rac-
ing over a bunch of cars lined up side
by side. These cars are eventually
ground into nothing.
Q. How are the races judged?
A. It depends. Sometimes, the win-
ner is the truck that can get over the
line of cars the fastest, butother times,
it's whichever, truck can pop the big-
gest wheelie without flipping over on
its back like a giant chrome turtle.
Q. IfI wanted to gamble money on
one of the trucks, which would you
A. Well, there's always Bigfoot,
the perennial fave. But Gravedigger
might even be more popular, just be-
cause it's a big, mean-looking black
truck, the kind of truck people imag-
ine themselves in when they fantasize
about driving through the mall or
Disneyland. Attesting to GD's popu-
larity, at the Breslin Battle, an entire
family was dressed in matching
Gravedigger caps and T-shirts. (I'd
recommend steering clear of such
dedicated fans, as they can usually
smell hairspray and Polo cologne a
mile away, and as a rule of thumb, if
it don't smell like diesel fuel, they
don't like it.)
Q. Does anything else go on be-
sides the truck races?
A. Yes, of course. At the Breslin
Center Battle, a daredevil known only
as "the Ice-Man," jumped over a line
of cars on a three-wheeler. Then, he
locked his wife, "the Human Bomb,"
in "the Coffin of Death" and, as the
man sitting behind me shouted
"BLOW 'ER UP!", he blew her up.
They both survived their stunts, and
most members of the audience
breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Q. We've all seen the classic
"Truckasaurus" episode of The
Simpsons. That kind of stuff is just a
product ofMatt Groening's sick mind,
A. No. At the Breslin Center, they
wheeled out TruckZilla, a three-story,
fire-breathing monster. "You wanna
see TruckZilla eat this Toyota?!" the
MC cried. Of course, he was met with
a xenophobic roar of approval. But
unfortunately, as the huge, smoking
American beast tried to grind the tiny,
well-constructed Japanese product in
its massive steel jaws, it got stuck and
stalled out. After a few awkward
moments of trying to revive
TruckZilla, the organizers were forced
to have other trucks push it out of the
stadium in disgrace, a humbling mo-
ment in an otherwise Caligulan dis-
play of unadulterated excess.
EAS' E$ d 'S
The 'What' and why of Common Cents
by Jason Vigna
The good news is now that I'm
done reviewing the album "What" by
the Common Cents, I never have to
listen to it again. It's so bad that the
first draft of this review included the
word "shit" twelve times. Of course,
this was just a first impression. The
Swords I use to describe it now are a
little more civilized. "Misguided"
and "unfortunate" come to mind.
There'snothing disagreeable about
this album,it'sjust that it's so ... well,
bland. I suppose it's the aural equiva-
lent of a dentist's waiting room. The
drums keep the beat, the guitars try to
assert a melody, the keyboards fill it
out, and the vocals are there, but that's
about all. As I listened to "What," I
kept thinking, "Maybe I could toler-
ate this if it had some passion ... or a
tempo above comatose... or if it was
a completely different album by a
completely different band."
The listening experience couldn't
begin in a worse way. Right off the.
bat, we have "Can't Wait 'til It's
Over," and this is exactly what listen-
ers finds themselves thinking. An
overhanded organ riff tries to drive
the song forward, but it can't even
move it out of the driveway. The
guitar solo isn't horrendous, but it
can't even begin to save this wreck.
"Louder," is a weak, distorted gui-
tar jam layered over a rumbling bass
line. The only decipherable lyric is
"louder," which gets repeated ad
infinitum. It makes a bow to conven-
tional songwriting wisdom and in-
cludes a short, but satisfying bridge.
Perhaps this is what makes the song
sound so dated. Perhaps it's just that
every single note is predictable.
"Touch Somebody," is the good
song on the album. The guys in the
group must have realized this because
they took the time to record it prop-
erly, in an actual recording studio (the
rest of the tracks were, quite obvi-
ously, recorded in the lead singer's
bedroom). The standout feature of
this song is the presence of a real
string section, but everything about it
is of worth. Hell, I even caught myself
humming it once. "Touch Somebody"
leads one to suspect that if they had
the money to record the whole album
in the studio, maybe it would have
been more tolerable.
"Could've Been Different" is
pretty decent, too. It's in a jazz/blues
vein, which may actually be the best
mode for this band. Jean Michele
Creviere's vocals come through sur-
prisingly smooth, but the lyrics are
still beyond comprehension. I could
see this one being a real belter live.
Unfortunately, this song, like most on
the album, doesn't have an ending,
and just seems to run itself out.
"What" just drives itself to
submediocrity. Itdoes throw us acurve
in its sixth track, though. At first I
thought, "A song with bite! And those
torturous vocals are gone!" Then I
realized that it was simply a cover of
Van Halen's "Unchained." Despite
the trademark sound of the song, its
identity isn't instantly apparent,
though. The Common Cents get points
for originality by playing V.H. on
electric cello and saxophone. They
would have gotten more if they hadn't
dragged the song on forever.
"What" ends with "Hold On," as
in "Hold on, it's almost over." By this
point the listener can't wait.
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