The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. -March 18,1993- Page 5
Goth rocker becomes pop star
Daniel Ash loses his morbid attitude and lightens up
Danie! Day-Lewis wasn tas studly in this movie as he was in "Mohicans."
At a recent screening of the Louis.
Malle film "Damage," several mem-
bers ofthe audience broke into laughter
at the tragically intense sexual scenes.
One reason that audiences laugh at
"Damage," a harrowingly cold story of
obsession and control, mighthave to do
0_ with the fact that we've become so used
to adults in the movies who act more
like refugees from "WhoFramed Roger
Rabbit?" than real people. Audiences
might not find the quiet obsession of
"Damage" realistic after experiencing
the roller coaster ride of "Fatal Attrac-
tion," replete with boiled bunnies.
Similarly, films ranging from "Steel
Magnolias" to "Grand Canyon" to
"Used People" feature adults who
couldn't utter an intelligent opinion on
Bill Clinton's economic policy or show
an embarrassingly honest emotion. In-
stead the only things these so-called
grown-ups show any talent for are de-
livering flip sitcom punchlines or pat
adages and bromides that are supposed
to pass for wisdom.
Fortunately, there are a handful of
films out there about real, thoughtful
adults who actually talk to each other
and (heaven forbid) try to make moral
9 judgments about themselves and their
It's interesting that one ofmosthon-
est films about adults who develop
emotionally was made sixty years ago:
William Wyler's "Dodsworth," based
on the novel by Sinclair Lewis. While
Lewis and Wyler are not exactly the
most subtle of artists, together their
work shines with a simple, understated
power. Walter Huston gives a com-
manding performance in the title role as
a millionaire from Oklahoma whose
life is changed forever when he and his
wife (Ruth Chatterton) go on a Euro-
pean tour. While the continent bores
Dodsworth, his wife becomes enrap-
tured with European society. Thecouple
separate after-Huston becomes fed up
with his wife's flirtations. Huston wan-
until he meets the genuinely warm Mary
Astor. The movie's strength lies in the
sway itshows every side of the situation,
rendering completely each character's
rvacillations and confusions.
The romantic triangle in
"Dodsworth" is very similar to a more
decent, and equally worthy film: "The
Accidental Tourist," by Lawrence
Kasdan (who fell so far with the singu-
larly lame "Grand Canyon" last year).
The film, based on theAnneTylernovel,
carefully draws the story ofMacon Leary
(brilliantly played by William Hurt), an
introverted travel writer whose regi-
mented world falls to pieces when his
son dies and his wife (Kathleen Turner)
leaves him. Hurt falls in love with a
quirky dog trainer (Geena Davis) who
listens to him and melts his cold reserve,
allowing himself to become a fully real-
ized human being. Like "Dodsworth,"
"The Accidental Tourist" keeps surpris-
ing you precisely because it's soreal, yet
when it's all over, you feel like it's
Finally, Philip Kaufman, the distin-
guished director behind the unusually
literate "The Right Stuff' and "Henry
and June," struck gold with "The Un-
bearable Lightness of Being," an adap-
tation of Milan Kundera'snovel. Daniel
Day-Lewis, who recently achieved
studdom in "Last of the Mohicans," is a
sexy Czech doctor who woos women
with the command "take off your
clothes." Day-Lewis is caught between
his sexual desire for the passionate Lena
Olin and his more idealized love for his
Similarly, films ranging
from 'Steel Magnolias'
to 'Grand Canyon to
'Used People' feature
adults who couldn't
utter an intelligent
opinion on Bill Clinton's
economic policy or
show an embarrassingly
newlywed bride Juliette Binoche. What
makes this film so amazing is the way
Kaufman weaves the personalstory into
the surrounding political situation to talk
about the chimerical notion of freedom.
What these three films have in com-
mon is a respect for the audience's intel-
ligence.The fiinmmakersare not afraid of
confusing their viewers by rounding out
their characters and painting more than
one dimension to relationships.
These films are just a few highlights
(check out the films of Woody Allen,
Merchant Ivory and Bruce Beresford for
more) for moviegoers who go to see
"Aladdin" and not "A Few Good Men"
when they want to see a cartoon.
by Nima Hodaei
Sure, Daniel Ash may be better
known for his previous work with Goth
Rock pioneers Bauhaus and Love and
Rockets, but the singer/guitarist is mak-
ing aconcerted effort at getting his own
solo career off the ground. In light of his
past accomplishments Ash understands
that solo work will often be compared to
his older recordings. But in typical Ash
form, he'sstubborn nonetheless to make
"In all honesty, I would prefer to
work on my own if it works out," he
admitted during a recent phone inter-
view. "Simply because there's no
amount of compromise. That's being
real blunt about it. I'm pleased with the
way this recordturned out, but I've yet
to see if a public agrees with that."
The album he refers to is "Foolish
Thing Desire," his second solo release.
Moving away from the Gothic com-
parisons that comprised so much of his
earlier work, "FTD," is definitely geared
toward a more pop-oriented audience.
This time around,Ash focuses the atten-
tion on a minimalistic approach, strip-
ping away some of the pompousness
that plagued several Love and Rockets
"I think now more than ever, the
simplest things, the most direct things,
are the most powerful and the best ways
to work," he said in referring to his
outlook on "FTD." "I try with things
like lyrics to keep things very simple. I
think that it's much more powerful than
going up your own ass with a load of
Ash attributes this fresh outlook to
his recording sessions. The entire al-
bum, from beginning to end, was di-
rectly composed at the recording stu-
He walked into the studio "blind"
and worked through most of the ar-
rangements building off drum beats,
instead of the more standard guitar
method.This didn't leave him with a lot
of time to overkill the production of
"I never have a view of what the
whole album is going to sound like,"
said Ash in describing the coming to-
gether of the recording. "What I try and
do is concentrate on making each track
sound like and produced like ahit single.
So, it does stand up in its own right. The
idea of concepts to me within an album
(is) an old fart attitude. I hate all that. It
reminds me of bands like Genesis or
Yes. I've always hated those bands."
Obviously, an article about Ash
would be remiss if it didn't mention his
previous work with bands as influential
as Bauhausand Love and Rockets. Bau-
haus, the group which included Peter
Murphy, defined music back in the post-
punk days of England.
Today, Ash finds the hype behind
the "movement" rather amusing.
"We never thought, 'Alright, let's
wear loads of make-up, and wear black
clothes and use white light,"'"he stated.
"We just went on stage and dressed as
we wanted and that's how it seemed to
develop. It's strange because the press
actually called it Goth Rock. But the
way it turned out, it's something that's
not really tangible. You can't put your
finger on it. We didn't really have any-
thing to do with anybody else."
After Bauhaus' early demise, the
band split up and formed Tones on Tail,
followed by the commercially success-
ful Love and Rockets. After a hiatus of
sorts more than one fan has scratched
their head in confusion about the future
of Love and Rockets, whose members
have released more solo projects than
group efforts in the past few years.
'1 think now more than
ever, the simplest
things, the most direct
things, are the most
powerful and the best
ways to work ... I try
with things like lyrics to
keep things very
simple. I think that it's
much more powerful
than going up your own
ass with a load of
"We've got some material together
but we've all been busy doing solo
things, so we don't know when that's
going to be released," guessed Ash.
"That's in the future. I'm preoccupied
with doing this at the moment."
Not surprisingly, Ash is very vague
when it comes to future plans following
his current U.S. tour. A new five record
deal with Columbia should keep him
busy for a while, but even he doesn't
necessarily view it as such.
"You get good days and bad days,"
he mused. "Sometimes I just want to
jack it all in and ride off into the sunset
and fuck it all. And there are times, if
I'm inagoodmood, Ijustwanttogeton
with it and have fun with the music. I'm
a bit of a moody bastard anyway. It's
very up and down all the time. At the
moment I'm having a good time. I can't
look way ahead."
DANIEL ASH will perform tomorrow
night at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ickets for
his original February 18 show will be
honored at the door. Sorry kids, show
is 18+. Call 961-MEL Tfor more info.
SCOTT STERLING SEZ:
Daniel Ash back in his Love and Rockets days, before he struck out solo.
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The Michiganensian Yearbook is
looking for a business manager
for the 1993-94 school year.
Responsibilities include budget-
ing, promotions, distribution, and
other duties. Applications are due
by March 22nd. If you have any
questions or would like an appli-
cation, stop by the Student Publi-
cations Building -420 Maynard St.,
or call 764-9425 and ask for Randy.
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include design, writing, and staff
off on selected
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