"As much as I love rap, there's no
black bands playing like all the bands
we grew up loving - Funkadelic; Earth,
Wind, and Fire; The Ohio Players -
There's none anymore."
_ Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers),
Rolling Stone, September 17, 1992
No, Flea, I guess there aren't any
more "black bands" playing in that
tradition anymore. But there's a le-
gitimate reason Black people aren't
kicking that raw, funky stuff so much
anymore. It's simple, actually.
You, Mr. Flea, and your band of
blood sugary cohorts, have driven yet
another nail in the coffin of true Black
music in America.
Much like Hall & Oates ('70s),
Get outta town
Where to go, what to do and how to do it
Simply Red ('80s), to personal faves
House of Pain today, the Chili Peppers
represent the latest in a long legacy of
musical colonialism: We came, we
took, we called it our own.
From Janis Joplin to Swing Out
Sister, to Marky Mark, White musi-
cians have built entire careers on imi-
tating Black artists, watering them
down, repackaging them in pretty
little MTV-ready boxes, and calling it
soup. Much like Brit "explorers" look-
ing at Africa and seeing an endless
supply of labor and resources, White
musicians look at Black music and see
a wealth of "inspiration."
So what's wrong with that
Shouldn't we be encouraging more
cross cultural expression? Look at Paul
Simon's "Graceland," and how it
brought African music out of obscu-
rity? Or how Sting's amazing "Blue
Turtles" jazz band gave people like
Omar Hakim and Branford Marsalis
Due to this "cross-cultural" stuff,
legions of Blackmusicians have never
received theirdue accolades, often slip-
ping miserably into impoverished ob-
scurity. Flea wonders where are the
new Funkadelics; Pal, they're prob-
ably somewhere out there trying to
sound like you. Because ever since
their first disc, the Red Hot's have
shamelessly attempted to recreate the
frizzle-fry, stinky-buttfoonk of prime
Funkadelic. Unable to get their shit as
on the one as Bootsy and Co., they
came up with their own punk-funk
hybrid sound. So far, so good.
But then, the puzzle falls apart.
After a Red Hot Chili Peppers be-
comes popular in the "mainstream"
(read: White) arena, the Black artist
they've copied are in a precarious po-
sition. They see the blond, blue-eyed
versions of their sound selling mil-
lions; The logical thing to do? Start
trying to sound like the people that are
imitating them. Theend result? Brown-
Eyed Soul: Black musicians trying to
sound like Whites trying tosoundBlack
Now that R&B radio is saturated
with generic, faceless pap Flea won-
ders where we are.
We're George Michael, Lisa
Stansfield, Michael fucking Bolton.
That's where we are. Hopelessly
trapped insideCaucasian facsimiles of
ourselves, unable to get out. Invasion
of the Body Snatchers meets the Bill-
board charts. That's where we are.
Which is where hip hop comes in.
Much like how be-bop took jazz back
from the hands of pale imitators, rap
has reclaimed the voice of urban,
Black America. Long a frightening,
inaccessible medium, hip hop stared
me in the face like bright light: We still
got our own thang.
Until now. I see our struggle being
reduced to a posture, our faces being
covered with White masks, yet again.
C vnu'11 hv t n arin me if I
A good city to visit for spring break
that you'd probably never think of is
London, England. February is pretty
dead as far as tourists go, so you'll
probably get treated like royalty with-
out spending a lot of money. A round-
trip plane ticket from Detroit Metro to
London nonstop, normally around $600,
can go for as little as $370. Sometimes
the airlines will even give you a free
ticket just for going to London!
Be sure to buy a pass for the London
Underground, known as "The Tube,"
good for a week. Your pass not only
allows you toride around on London's
subway, but also lets you ride those
famous double-decker buses.
As far as sights go, the Tower of
London is fun but usually overrun with
annoying tourists. Covent Garden fea-
tures agreat flea market, street perform-
ers and cafes.
The prime attractions in London,
however, are the museums. Spend a day
in the British Museum and checkout all
the cool stuff the British stole from
other countries. The National Gallery
and Tate Gallery are incredible, but
don't miss the lesser known Wallace
Collection, and the Courthold Galleries
with their brilliantly-colored large-scale
views of London by Oscar Kokoschka.
The best value in London has to be
its theaters. If you stand in line for about
ahalf-hour or less in the Lecister Square
discount ticket booth, you can getsame-
day tickets to shows like "Miss Saigon"
and "Les Misdrables" for a quarter of
the price you'd pay in New York.
You're going to L.A. You're trying to find the Hollywood mystique. So your
first stop is obviously Mann Chinese Theater, right? Wrong! That's alright if you
want to see dead stars with their names on the sidewalk, but to become a part of
the real L.A. scene you have to know where to look.
If shopping and people watching is what you're after, then you have to check
out Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and Melrose Avenue (not Place!).
Third Street, located (coincidentally enough) three streets from the beach, features
everything from street entertainment and trendy bars, to coffee houses, and of
course, the home of Doc Martens - Na Na.
Melrose is the definition of funky. The clothes, the people and the attitude are
definitely something to behold. On the same block as a huge thrift store
(Aardvark's), you'll find a series of expensive, chic women's clothing stores.
Don't be surprised to see a purple-mohawked person walking along side Luke
Perry. You'll find all types here.
If sun is what you're seeking, Venice Beach gets the nod. In addition to the
California sun, Venice Beach offers a lot of additional activities. Rollerblading,
bike riding and jogging along the beach should keep fitness enthusiasts busy. The
rest of us can keep quite busy observing one of the world's greatest people
watching extravaganzas - full of thong bikinis, and Muscle Beach men and
women strutting their stuff. This place makes Melrose look conservative.
Of course you could stick with old L.A. standards, such as Disneyland, and
Universal Studios, but why not get out and experience L.A. like it was intended
... minus the Mickey Mouse.
Spring Break actually falls within the same week as Mardi Gras this year,
which makes a trip to New Orleans this year even more worthwhile. In addition
to all the great parades and parties that center around the Mardi Gras celebration.
Louisiana celebrates through-out the state all during February, so you don't have
to worry about not getting a chance to go to at least one parade.
In addition to the parades, New Orleans is actually a warm place, so pack your
shorts and your walking shorts and get out there and experience what this great city
has to offer. First of all, you cannot go to New Orleans and not walk through the
French Corridor. The French Corridor holds such wonders of tourism as Bourbon
Street, Jackson Square and the French Market. The buildings are beautiful, and the
best way to get a decent tour of the area, complete with comedic commentary, is
to take a ride in the mule drawn buggies, it's a real hoot.
Of course, if you're already in the French Corridor, then why not skip on over
to the Riverwalk to the shopping center or the new Audubon Aquarium (sure it's
expensive, but it's more than worth it). You can even take a boat down the river
from the Audubon Aquarium to the Audobon Zoo, one of the prettiest zoos to ever
Don't forget that New Orleans just screams great food (raw tonnage alert if
you're a lover of good cajun food). The best restaurant by far has to be Mulatte's,
although if you're up for the trip, the one in Lafayette is even closer to perfection
than the one in New Orleans. If you're looking for a winning bar, go to Tipitina's
first and early, it's probably the hottest one around.
Chicago, Chicago-it's a toddlin'
town... Okay, so the shores of Lake
Michigan are hardly the tropical escape
you've been dreaming of. But it's virtu-
ally impossible to be bored in the Windy
City, just four hours from humble Tree
For you culturally elite-types, Chi-
cago is a virtual Six-Flags-over-Art.
There's Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chi-
cago Opera Theater and of course, the
venerable Orchestra Hall, home of the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The
CSO can provide for a cheap yet classy
evening, since student rush tickets are
usually available for around $10. But
the uncontested mecca of artistic ex-
pression is the Art Institute, just across
Michigan Ave. from Orchestra Hall. It
has one of the finest collections in the
country (if not the world). Note: go over
those old notes from art history class, so
you can impress your date. Seriously,
though, they've got more Picasso,
Matisse and Monet than you can shake
a stick at.
If you've squirreled away some cash
this winter, god knows Chicago is the
place to spend it. Top spots to spend
include The Water Tower, the newly
refurbished State Street area and, of
course, Lake Shore Drive. For the fi-
nancially challenged, there are great
deals to be had at outlet stores in the
Just two travel caveats: carefully
read the signs that advertise "parking
$3" - that may well be the hourly rate.
Also, make sure to roll up your win-
dows as you pass through Gary.
For all you country-western buffs out there, we think Nashville, Tennessee is
the place to go. It is the heart of today's country music as well as a place were we
can almost guarantee most of your friends have never gone before.
Contrary to what you may think, Nashville is not a hick town full of uneducated
rednecks. In fact, Vanderbilt University is one of the central attractions. Nashville
has a fairly well-known art museum, not to mention a vast array of bars.
Of course, there is always the Opryland theme park, which unfortunately will
be closed except for tapings of everyone's favorite TV. show, "Nashville Now."
You can always stay at the Opryland Hotel, one of the most beautiful hotels in the
country with an entire indoor garden.
Yeah, I know it hurts. Listening to all of your friends go on about their
impending Spring Break sojourns to warm, exotic locales like Cancun, South
Padre, Fort Lauderdale ... While you're gearing up to jump start the jalopy and
head home to glamorous Detroit (and it's fab surrounding suburbs).
But instead of blowing your week off getting loaded with your high school
friends, waxing nostalgically about "the good old days," listen up: Contrary to
popular belief, there are lots of fun, exciting, and yes, even culturally stimulating
things to see and do during your week off!
For one, the club scene is alive and kicking in the Motor City. Hip hop fans
should check out The Shelter, (431 East Congress, underneath St. Andrews
Hall) with DJ Soulfinger & JP The Hypeman. From dancehall to hardcore,
you'll hear the latest and greatest from thehip hop nation. Fridays at St. Andrews
are also jumping, with 3 Floors of Fun. Tunes for every taste, and more people
than you thought still lived in Detroit.
The State Theatre is still pulling huge crowds with Club X every Saturday
night, spinning alternateen cutz for the Lollapalooza generation.
New club on the block Twenty-36 (2036 Woodward) is also proving to be
a contender, featuring live bands, DJ's, and live bands on alternate floors. And
best of all, they never play Nanci Griffith!
Caffeine fiends can get their fix over vacation at downtown Royal Oak's
Java (806 N. Main). Much like being inside a "Details" mag photo spread,
trendoids and grunge-a-be's sip tasty espresso in a stark, post-mod setting.
Getting a table can be tricky after 7:00 p.m., but it's worth the wait.
The cold, sunless break is also the perfect time to warm up to those Detroit
bastions of cultural eliteness you often hear about in Ann Arbor. The Detroit
Institute of the Arts should have their Matisses back from the MOMA by now;
thanks to Johnny Engler, it's only open Wednesday through Sunday,11 a.m. to
4 p.m.. Also at the DIA is the Detroit Film Theatre, showing hip art films that
won't make it here for months. Call 833-2323.
Even though Neeme Jarvi's out of town, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
is still worth hearing. Call 833-3700.
Sheesh, we're outta breath already. There's so much to do in our beloved
-.,....... l~ .,-, rn a n n ct'm n allhpPCn fill vnne noe tnkornh
We would definitely be remiss if we
didn' tmentionFloridaas aSpring Break
option though this is not to be consid-
ered an endorsement for the Sunshine
State. While Florida is a fine place to
catch a few rays (provided the unpre-
dictable weather cooperates), we prefer
a little more creativity when choosing a
place to relax.
If you insist on going to this south-
ern peninsula, we do have a few sugges-
tions. Fort Myers Beach is a great place
for tanning. The beach is beautiful and
it's far enough south that your chances
for at least some sun are pretty good.
And of course there are all the tourist
places which make up Orlando. Disney
World, Epcot Center, MGM Studios
and Universal are only a few of the
tourist traps which draw millions every
year. Sure they can be fun, but do you
really want to spend the better part of
your vacation waiting in line for Space
But be prepared for all the crowds,
not to mention hordes of old people who
can't drive. Since our break falls so
early, scoping opportunities won't even
be at a premium. But hey, at least you
may come back with a tan.