Page 6 -The Michigan Daily -Weekend etc. -March 18,1993
Bash & Pop
Friday Night Is Killing Me
After the Replacements dissolved
two years ago, everyone knew that leader
Paul Westerberg's songwriting would
continue to thrive.Although Westerberg
hasn't released an album since the
breakup, his two songs on the "Singles"
soundtrack show he hasn't lost any of
his talents. Drummer Chris Mars re-
leased a solo album last year, a surpris-
ist Tommy Stinson formed Bash & Pop
last year and their first album, "Friday
Night Is Killing Me," has recently been
released. Many fans believed Stinson
was the heart of the Replacements
(Westerberg called him "the balls" of
the band), but no one was certain if he
could survive on his own. Well, all of
those doubts were unfounded because
Bash & Pop's debut album is a terrific
record. Most Replacements fans, ex-
pecting an album in the vein of
Westerberg's Stones/Big Star fusion,
won't necessarily be satiated by the
album. Bash & Pop is much closer to
traditional classic rock & roll, often
recalling the raggedness of the Faces
and the rhythmic drive of the Rolling
Stones, yet manages to sound fresh.
Bash & Pop is closer to the actual spirit
of the Faces and Stones, not the sound.
Stinson's voice is surprisingly strong
- high, raspy, occasionally drifting
off-key -and his band is strong, tight
yet loose. What really sets Bash & Pop
apart from such bands as the Black
Crowes is the strength ofStinson's songs.
"Never Aim To Please," "Loose Ends,"
and "Tickled To Tears"are great rock &
roll songs-punchy, concise, and tune-
ful; "Nothing" and "First Steps" nearly
match Westerberg's recent sensitive
acoustic ballads. Although Bash & Pop
isn't as innovative or original as the
Replacements, they are still special,.
because these days it's rare to finda rock
& roll record as good as "Friday Night
Is Killing Me."
Closer to God
Witha voice that combines the phras-
ing of Syd Barret with the larynx of a
five-year-old and an exuberance
matched only, perhaps, by the childlike
optimism of Jonathan Richman, Daniel
Treacy has reunited the Television Per-
sonalities for another pleasing concoc-
tion of fuzzpop.
"Closer to God" is a 79 minute jour-
ney into the disturbed, but ever-ebul-
lient mind of Treacy that runs the gamut
from the lilting suicidal confessions of
"Razorblades and Lemonade" to "Com-
ing Home Soon" which smacks of
Lennon's declarations of love for Yoko
("I'm coming home soon/Tojacket po-
tatoes and cheese on toast/You're the
one I love the most"). He even goes so
far as to rhyme "amytriptiline" with
Ultimately, though, it's the disturbed
couplets that stick longest in the mind
ratherthan the almost ludicrously sweet.
"Faces in the gutter selling envy," Treacy
bemoans in "My Very First Nervous
Breakdown." "Goldfish in the bowl is
screaming... Free me!"
Although Television Personalities
dges not break any new ground musi-
cally on "Closer to God" (with the pos-
sible exception of the 10 minute title
track), the fields they continue to plun-
der are stillremarkably fertile. The band's
breed of fuzzy, upbeat pop sounds as
fresh and energetic today as it did 14
years ago and Treacy's childlike and
shy, reserved vocals still float lightly on
the surface like a flock of humming-
birds and while 79 minutes may be a bit
long for such an album, it does manage
to sustain interest all the way through.
ItAin't Necessarily So...
Remember when you were akid and
your teachers would drag you on field
trips to the concert hall, trying to force
you to like classical music? You'd sit
through endless hours of old people in
black clothes playing long, boring pieces
that didn't even have words. And then,
at the very end, just when you thought
the ordeal was over, they'd come back
out to play something fun, like you'd
heard in "Star Wars" or "Superman."
Now as a mature, discerning music
connoisseur, you still look forward to
the end of a concert, still ashamed to
admit that the best part is when the lady
in the evening gown plays the back-
ground music from a Cheer detergent
commercial, usually to thunderous ap-
plause. The difference is, now you can
cut to the chase and listen to a whole
concert's worth of encores, brilliantly
and gleefully played by that rebel with a
fiddle, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.
You'll recognize by name tunes like the
title track"ItAin'tNecessarily So"from
Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," and
Joplin's "Easy Winners," transcribed by
But there are other nifty numbers on
this disc, too. Schubert's "The Bee" is
nothing if not an amazing display of
technical fireworks, while Sonnenberg's
gift for line and lyricism shine on tracks
like Rachmaninov's "Vocalise" and
Debussy's "Clair de Lune." Accompa-
nist Sandra Rivers provides backup on
some tracks; on others, she's an equal
andclassy partner, as in thejaunty"Banjo
and Fiddle" by William Kroll. If you're
the type to sleep through a sonata or nap
during a nocturne, then this is the one
classical disc in your collection that you
might actually listen to.
A little driving
"Afoot and light-hearted,I take to
the open road, healthy, free, the world
before me, the long brown path before
me, leading wherever I choose."
- Walt Whitman, from "Song of
the Open Road"
Sometime last fall, a friend of mine
told me about the night when, in a lousy
mood, he took his car out on a long
stretch of Plymouth Road to push the
speedometeras farasitwould go. When
he got it up to around ninety, he realized
that, no matter how pissed off he was, it
really wasn't worth smearing his ass all
over the pavement. When I asked him
what had senthim to the edge, hereplied
that it had been that classic combination
of pressure from school, stress at home
and romantic dissatisfaction.
Now, months later, he's probably
forgotten that he told me that story; but,
for several reasons, it's stuck with me.
First of all, at the time, his tale seemed
like an incredibly personal thing to share
with me; nevertheless, I was intrigued
to learn thatI'm not the only person who
has used her car as a late-night decom-
pression chamber. (Though I don' tmake
a habit of attempting to kill myself with
a half-ton of imported steel.) Finally, I
think I remember that conversation most
for the question I didn't ask him and am
still curious about: What was on the
stereo as he shifted into high gear and
floored the pedal?
It wasn't that I was looking for in-
sight into his state of mind - he'd
already made that abundantly clear. It's
just that we, the MTV generation, have
become so used to having a soundtrack
for everything we see, that we also like
to have mood music for everything we
do, and I was wondering what some-
body might choose to listen to while
tearing up southeast Michigan's notori-
ously bad roads.
Traveling is (and always has been,
even before Madonna started losing her
clothing on cable)definitely high on the
list of activities that we seem to need to
do to music. How else do you explain
that every field trip you've taken on a
school bus has somehow turned into a
marathon TV-theme song sing-along?
And it's the only possible explanation
for the popularity of an eight-track tape
my parents own called "Keep on
Truckin"'which we played on virtually
every vacation we ever took in our
motor-home when I was a kid.
At least part of the mystique of rip-
ping down the open highway with tunes
pouring out of the speakers is indelibly
linked to the many "road" songs of rock
'n' roll: "Born to Be Wild," Jackson
Browne's "Take it Easy," the Boss's
"Pink Cadillac," and "Hit the Road,
Jack," to name but a few. There are
others whosegrooves also seem tomatch
therhythm of purring engines, spinning
wheels, and rattling mufflers, like the
Eagles' "Hotel California," Dylan's
"Subterranean Homesick Blues," and
Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer.",
Make no mistake, though, rock:
hasn't cornered the market on cruising.
I've never made it through a long roac
trip without listening to a tape of Ella
Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong duets at.
least once. And I'll never forget driving':
one hot summer day in the Rockies,
awestruck by the scenery, thinking that
Gershwin could just as easily have had
those mountains in mind when he wrote
"Rhapsody in Blue" as a Harlem jazz
But lots ofother serious music could:
fill the bill, too, such as minimalist'
composer John Adams' "Chairman'
Dances" from "Nixon in China." Make^
sure you've had enough caffeine before
popping that one in the stereo, though,'
or the combination of the endless double-
yellow line and Adams' repetitive mo-
tives could have you ready for post-
hypnotic suggestions in no time flat. All
of Stravinsky's and Copland's ballet,
scores have elements of intense for-
ward motion, making them great music
for motion. And you can listen to a
wholeopera-say "La Boh6me," "Die
Walkiire," or "The Barber of Seville"
- during a long-distance ride.
If you prefer to take to the road in a
moreecologically-correct manner, don't
overlook the possibility of clipping a
walkman to your hip-sack and hopping
on a bike or taking a stroll. Only when'
you're wearing headphonesdoes it seem
like the music is actually originating
from inside your head. The swing and
sway of aBobMarley tune is the perfect
accompaniment to a fresh-air sojourn.
With Annie Lennox wailing in your
ears and the spring breeze in your hair,
you can't go wrong. (It will be spring
soon, won't it?) If you're vehicularly
challenged, just fork over 75¢ to the
AATA bus driver, hook into those head-
phones, and turn up Tom Waits'
soundtrack to "Night on Earth," which
was written, after all, for a movie about
people riding around in cabs.
Who knows what my friend was
listening to as he sped along through the
dark. It could have been anything from
The Disposable Heroes or Prince to
Dizzy Gillespie, to Shostakovich or'
Mahler. Or maybe there was just si-
lence, which is also good.
Until next time, keep your mind and
your ears open.
Former Replacement's bassist Tommy Stinson leads Bash & Pop. It's his first group effort since the Mats demise.
GAVE HER A CHOICE.
AS AN ASSASSIN.
NO TURNING BACK.
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WARNER BRaS. PRESENTS
AN AR IINSON PODUcTiON A JOHN BADHAM FILM
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GABRIELI BYRNE DERMOT MULRONEY
wra ANNE BANCROFT AND HARVEY KEITEL
co.PsRocER JAMES HERBERT UsIc Y HANS IIMMER
Roundtrip One Way
FILM EDITED DY FRANK MORRISS
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