The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 9, 1993 -13
Primus: Are they ready to battle for the dark heart of middle America?
Lollpaloza eadnerkeeps its bearings amidst sudden fame
Above the Clouds: A
Reunion of Fatherand
William Morrow and Company
Jonathan Bach - the name sounds
familiar, doesn't it? Reminds you of
that book by Richard Bach about a
seagull named Jonathan, right? But Ri-
chard never had any children - or did
Meet Jonathan Bach, the 25-year-
old namesake of the acrobatic, indepen-
dent seagull created by Richard Bach
("Jonathan Livingston Seagull"), whose
uplifting novels, such as "Illusions" and
"The Bridge Across Forever," conjure
up images of a deeply sensitive and
caring man. According to a journal en-
try cited in his son's first work, "Above
the Clouds: A Reunion of Father and
Son," however, Richard isn't "the guru
ofsoulmates thatpeople say he is."He's
the father who abandoned his six chil-
dren when Jonathan was two; the fa-
mous writer "who refused to talk about
the family on radio talk shows"; a man
who, for nearly 20 years, seemed as
distant and frigid as the Arctic Circle.
"Like a cat coughing up a fur ball,"
Jonathan Bach felt compelled to write a
novel that would sear the film of mysti-
cism from the eyes of Richard Bach
readers with its glaring reality, reveal-
ing that the preacher of love, choices
and soulmates was a deserter, a coward
and a hypocrite.
Jonathan's anger and confusion cer-
tainly boil in "Above the Clouds."Any-
one who has not experienced the pain of
a divorce will at last empathize with
someone who has, while Richard's fans
will find themselves as suspicious of the
father as young Jonathan is. Like a hot
scalpel, Bach's matter-of-fact tone cau-
terizes ostensibly innocuous descrip-
tions to expose the raw emotion swell-
I had a feeling they weren't crying
about my broken wrist.
'Jon, your sister ....' one of them
tried to say. Another nurse
broke out into soft sobs. Both of
them tried to mask their tears
with smiles as they prepared things
That explains the sedative."
Journal entries and letters inter-
spersed throughout the work express
Jonathan's resentmentofhis stepfather's
strict rules, his numbing grief at his
sister's sudden death and his fear of
betraying his mother by accepting his
father. They reveal, too, the gradual
reconciliation between father and son,
for "Above the Clouds" conveys as
much hope as it does hurt. Longing to
feel good about being Richard's son,
Jonathan wrote the novel to rise above
the clouds, so he wouldn't "have to be a
slave to them on the ground."
The pain behind the tell-all memoir
still remains in the mind of the Jonathan
who chose to stay hurt rather than to
establish a relationship with his father.
Yes, there is more than one Jonathan,
just as in "One," there are multiple
Richards and Leslies. In fact. Jonathan
agrees with much of his father's phi-
losophy - for example, that we create
our own illusions and that weare not the
products of circumstances, such as di-
vorce, but the products of our responses
to these circumstances.
Although Jonathan eventually takes
pride in knowing how much his father
has influenced him, he assures readers
that he is his own person and that he has
his own voice. While Richard's mysti-
cal philosophy induced a calming eu-
phoria in readers recovering from the
turbulent'60s, Jonathan's down-to-earth
outlook satisfies the more skeptical
reader of thel990s.
Unfortunately, after 278 pages that
detail his personal growth and his re-
union with his omnipresent father, the
epilogue tells too little, merely whetting
our appetites for a full-course meal of
Jonathan Bach philosophy. Wait with
baited breath for Jonathan's next book,
but read "Above the Clouds" to share a
son's poignant struggle to understand
the father who left him and to love the
dad he discovers.
- Colleen Olle
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By NIMA HODAEI
"When we started out," remembered Primus guitarist
Larry Lalonde, "we'd come out (for a show) and there'd be
six people there. We'd be like, 'Hey, we're Primus and we
Oh, how the times have changed indeed. Coming a long
way from playing to near empty clubs in its native San
Francisco, the trio has built quite a name for itself in the past
several years. From Les Claypool's innovative bass style
(earning him numerbus awards in music publications) and
bizarre twangy vocals, to Tun Alexander's tribal drum pat-
tens and Lalonde's knack to turn a harsh guitar riff, Primus
is finally being accepted as amajor force on the music scene.
A quick glance at its recent accomplishments would indicate
In Just the past two years, the band has toured with the
likes of their childhood heroes Rush, Public Enemy and U2.
This culminated with the release of their fourth album "Pork
Soda" and the announcement that the group will be the
closingacton this year'sLollapaloozaFestivalwhichLalonde
* 'We didn't want it to sound lke Def
Loppud or anything Elke that - all
polished and perfect. Most of the stuff
on ("Pork Soda") is pretty much first
takes of things.'
- Larry Lalonde
said, "was pretty much a total surprise."
Ironically, in a time when the group is earning its greatest
success, "Pork Soda" further distances Primus from even the
"mainstream" alternative music scene. The majority of the
album is harsh and raw. It puts forth a live feel that brings to
mind the spontaneity of the band's concerts.'This is not glam
rock; it is, in fact, well under-produced.
"We weren't really after anything," said Lalonde. "But it
was definitely what we were happy with as far as sounding
live. We didn't wantit to sound like DefLeppard or anything
like that - all polished and perfect. Most of the stuff on
("Pork Soda") is pretty much first takes of things."
Primus has fortunately managed to escape most of the
pitfalls that await aband upon signing to amajor record label.
Rather than performing less-than-glamorous opening slots
which often leads to ending up in the "where are they now?"
category, the band had the opportunity to perform and learn
from others they had always admired.
"It's more of athing that keeps touring exciting,"Lalonde
explained. "You get home from a tour and you say, 'Okay,
let's relax and not do anything.' Then someone says, 'Hey,
you want to tour with Public Enemy?' You get all excited
With the level of adulation the groups has received
recently, Lalonde and the rest of Primus have still stayed
fairly level-headed and down-to-earth. Not wanting to take
part in the crash and burn rise to success of bands sucha as
Nirvana or the Red Hot Chili Peppers (last year's closing act
on Lollapalooza), Lalonde even confessed he had half-
expected, "everyone (in the audience) would be gone after
Alice in Chains," on the current tour.
Quite the contrary, Lalonde reported that crowd reaction
has been stunning so far. And how exactly will Primus turn
down the offers that will follow a primetime spot of this
"I think for us it looked like, something that was fun,"
Lalonde said in regard to Lollapalooza. "Because we defi-
nitely don't ever look at stuff and say, 'Oh wow, we're doing
this huge thing!''This is basically just music for us."
And so it should be ...
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