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October 26, 1994 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-26

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Pyromania: Flaming Lips are hot

By HEATHER PHARES
Inspired. Inventive. Insane. Ignored.
*All of these adjectives (and more) ap-
ply to the Flaming Lips, one of the most
critically acclaimed but overlooked
bands of recent memory.
Until now, that is. After touring
almost continuously since the release
of 1993's "Transmissions From the
Satellite Heart," with such "alterna-
tive"luminaries as Tool, Stone Temple
Pilots and now Candlebox, the Lips are
g most impossible to miss. Indeed,
ayne Coyne, the Lips' guitarist and
lead singer is starting to feel the burn
from life on the road: "it seems like'
we've been touring since 1975, you
know, it seems like we've been playing
these songs forever," he chuckled rue-
fully.
You'd think that after such an ex-
tended amount of time spent in a bus
that Coyne would be deeply burned-
but on touring, and just dying to get
home? "No, notreally. You get tired on
tour, like if you do ten shows in a row
and you have to drive to each one of
them. But some shows are great, it
doesn't matter how many you do. I
equateitwithpeoplegoing to theirjobs
everyday. Some shows are really great,
and some shows, for whatever reason,
just suck," he explained in his Okla-
oma City drawl.
But touring with acts so much big-
ger than the Flaming Lips, it seems
likely that some people might think
thatthey'rejumping on the sellout band-
wagon. Not so, says Coyne: "I don't
think the idea of contamination by as-
sociation necessarily holds true for

music. When we toured with STP we
were touring with the Butthole Surfers,
and it was like a big summer rock tour
sort of thing. We do tour on our own,
but it's these big tours that everyone
looks at.
"The first couple of shows that you
play with anybody are a little weird, but
for the most part the bands that we've
gone out with have never done the
really big, overblown rock star thing.
It's always been sort of just guys.
Whether you like their music or not is
sort of a moot point, when people are
nice. I always think it's better to be a
nice person than a famous person.
Sometimes famous people suck, but
the people we've toured with haven't
been that way. If we were on a tour with
people that we just couldn't deal with,
we'd just go home; we always have
that choice.
"The guys in STP are very nice
people - and the way they treat their
fans and their crew - was great. They
were very nice people, and the way
they did their business was fine by me.
And Tool is much the same way; they're
very cool people, and their ethics are as
righteous as anybody's. Candlebox are
much the same way; we know a little
something about each of the bands
before we tour with them."
Far from being an alienating expe-
rience, supporting these big bands has
actually given the band a chance to
strike up a rapport with their audiences.
According to Coyne, "In mostparts it's
young girls, who applaud when you
play and are just glad you're there."
Coyne is surprisingly unconcerned

with whether or not his fans think that
he and the rest ofthe Lips have sold out,
yet has faith in those who truly like his
music. He illustrated it humorously: "I
think that people who like the Flaming
Lips like us because of the music we
make, and if someone is going to say,
'Well, now that they've toured with
Candlebox I don't like them anymore,'
I'd be like, 'Well, fine.' If someone
was going to decide the fate of our art
based on something like that, well,
who fuckin' needs them?
"If I saw that the Jesus Lizard was
touring with Metallica, I would think
that's funny, and it wouldn't make me
think that the Jesus Lizard's music was
any less than before. I guess it crosses
the minds of fans - 'Gee, what are
they doing? Are they selling out?'-
but I don't care. We play the music that
we play, and we do the records that we
do," he said firmly.
Perhaps the Flaming Lips are the
ideal band to open for these relatively
new, rapidly successful bands. After
10 years in the music business - the
band's first EP came out in 1984 -
Coyne and his bandmates are unfazed
by big venues and other trappings of
success; "we often sell out shows in
1,000 seat venues on our own." he
said.
That ability to take things in stride
was especially helpful on this summer's
biggest tour, Lollapalooza. As headlin-
ers of the second stage, Coyne feels
that he and his band had the best of both
worlds: "there were so many bands that
we know and like on the bill. It was
great for us. I got to watch bands like

Evidently, the excitement of opening for Candlebox has gotten to the Flaming Lips and everyone in Wayne's world.

L7, th e Boredorms, Nick Cave,
Rollrskate Skinny, Guided By Voices
and the Breeders. To see them every-
day was just great.
Indeed, he believes that the hand's
place on the hil couldn't have been
better. "The spot that we had in the
show was just about as good as it gets
for a hand like us. I saw the Boredoms
and Nick Cave play to almost no one
most of the time. If you play too early,
there's no way most people are going
to see you." He added, "there were
some ven ues that were general admis-
sion. where it didn't matter where you
went. But a lot of them had reserved

seating and the people in the front row
were there to see Smashing Pumpkins,
who didn't come on until eight o' clock
at night. Those seats were empty when
the earlier bands were playing, so our
slot was fun. It was a blast!"
But when a band has been around as
long as the Flaming Lips have, the
question of just how successful the
group is going to be is bound to be
asked. Coyne considered this with his
usual laid-back diplomacy. "There's a
couple of different categories of suc-
cess, I think. There's some people that
succeed financially but not at all artis-
tically, which doesn't really bother me

one way or the other, and then there's
people who make good music and make
money and support themselves. When
bands who are in it for artistic reasons
get successful, they will usually use
their art in other ways -- a band like
REM comes to mind --and make and
promote artistic music, as opposed to
money-making music.
"That's the sort of thing that a
band can't control. The only thing that
we can control is how we make our
music. If we succeed artistically, then
we win, because people give us a lot of
money to make our records, and we
See LIPS, Page 8

..........

Various Artists
Music From the Motion
Picture Clerks
Chaos/Columbia
Yes! Another haltf-assed Genera-
tion X Soundtrack ! With movies such
as "Singles, "Reality Bites" and now
"Clerks." movie makers are trying to
sell mediocre pictures with mediocre
soundtracks, made up by anything but
mediocre bands. "Clerks" has such
"alternative" powerhouse acts as Alice
In Chains, Bad Religion, Soul Asylum
and the Jesus Li/ard, but the album is
just a collection of less than average
material, bound together by the touch-
ing story. of e ty ehing conve-
nience store clerks.
"Clerks" does offer some good new
material, but the majority of it is aver-
age at best. The now defunct-Alice In
Chains' contribution, "Got Me Wrong"
is a good song, but is the only track on
the soundtrack that was previously re-
leased; it appears on the band's 1992
EP, "Sap."
Others like Bad Religion's "Lead-
ers and Followers" and the Jesus
Lizard's "Panic In Cicero" are average
tracks for the bands, and are most likely
outtakes or B-sides that didn't make
the cut for each of their latest studio
albums.
Soul Asylum's "Can't Even Tell"
is reminiscent of the bands earlier days,
with even more loose rhythms and
more whining than anyone thought
Dave Pirner was possible of. The track
is one of the better ones, and is one of
the few big-name successes on the al-
bum.
Many of the smaller bands' tracks
outshine material from some of the big
fish. Seaweed's cover of Fleetwood
Mac's "Go Your Own Way" is one of
the best on the album, and gives new
life to the song.
Howevermostof the album is chock
full o' filler. The remix of Stabbing
Westward's "Violent Mood Swing"
and Supernova's "Chewbacca" are very

pathetic tracks, and well, suck.
As like many other recent
soundtracks, "Clerks" has a bunch of
stupid dialog clips from the movie.
These make the album even more un-
bearable, and drives it further down
into the pits of soundtrack and showtune
hell.
-Brian A. Gnatt
M elvins
Stoner Witch
Atlantic
Yep, right on the heels of this
summer's "Prick" album, the Melvins
are blasting back with this mostly more
commercial offering. Ever-changing
for the better, the band has gone off in
several directions on this album.
Overall, the album has many types

of sounds on it. The first song,
"Skweetis," is a noisy but powerfully
melodic (for the Melvins) number. The
first single, "Queen," has some almost-
whispered vocals and some catchy
hooks, making it nearly a viable single.
Certainly a change for these ex-Se-
attleites.
Several songs (like "Revolve") ac-
tually have a Metallica or Anthrax feel
to them. This is not a good thing for the
Mel vins.The guitars are way tooheavy
in the mix. Not good.
But most of the songs are still cool.
Some songs are more Ministry than
Melvins, and that's fine. "Sweet Willy
Rollbar" is one such song, and moves
with speed and energy that'd make Al
Jourgensen proud. Several songs also
See RECORDS, Page 9

My God, Donald! What have you done? After all these years, you've actually mE
'up asr pl te
Pppet MaStell 5pus hISe

By SHIRLEY LEE
There is something lackadaisical
aboutprincipally terrifying horror films,
something unenlightening, something
that is undeniably unheavenly.
"The Puppet Masters," molded to-
getherby Stuart Orme and based on the

Robert
A Heinlein's
The Puppet Masters
Directed by Stuart Orme
B with Donald Sutherland,
Julie Warner, Eric Thal
00 and Richard Belzer

ing characters; this one spark of genius
in this film cannot go unnoted.
The all so wacky and pain-inflict-
ing creatures do not divorce us from
our concept of reality. Although ex-
treme violence, one trite commonalty
often associated with all Hollywood
fictional thrillers, is very much present,
Orme's careful manipulation of funda-
mental human concerns between An-
drew Nivens (Donald Sutherland), Sam
Nivens (Eric Thal) and Mary Sefton
(Julie Warner) puts "The Puppet Mas-
ters" at the forefront of a rapidly grow-
ing genre.
On par with other ever-popular slick
Hollywood scientific motion pictures,
"The Puppet Masters" throttles us into
theslimy interiorofaspacecraft, where
an eerie alien with thick-stringy ten-
drils shoots out a tentacle into its host,
leaving him screaming inhorrified pain.
It is painful. But for all its startling
and somewhat gruesome scenes, star-
ing at thousands of these silicon gelled
creatures is like mouth pain, wiggling
that loose tooth or biting that canker
sore. You keep at it because you get
some kind of sick pleasure from it.
"The Puppet Masters" gives you that
same kind of "I can't believe I'm en-
joying this" feeling.
Yet when it comes to its storyline
and its ability to engage you in its

ade a half-decent movie!
right strigs
horrific world, Orme's arguably fruit-
less efforts fall short. Frankly, gross
and tasteless creatures with five-foot-
long tentacles salivating in every frame
of film can leave you feeling more than
somewhat nauseated.
Beneath all its attention to sophisti-
cated technology and believable char-
acters, "The Puppet Masters," is, in the
most endearing of ways, a light and
fluffy film. It encompasses a three-
some who seek to rescue the world
from the slimy tendrils of these ruthless
invaders and ends with everyone living
happily ever after.
Fear not. Grit your teeth and see it.
Just be prepared to need a stiff drink
afterwards.
ROBERTA HEINLEIN"S THE
PUPPET MASTERS is playing at
Showcase.

*k
T-shirts $
Long sleeve T-shirts $1 t
Sweatshirts $30
3 colors available:
air
Ash Grey, Navy Blue & W I
' ' *
On sale now at the Michigan
Daily Board Office
420 Maynard, 2nd flo:.:
Meet Henry Rollins
author of
Get in the Van:
Life on the Road with Black Flag

cience-fiction thriller by Robert
Heinlein, plummets you into a futuris-
tic infinity so insidious and nonsensi-
cal that your first instinct is to wince
and cover your eyes.
Chronicling alien parasites that fas-
ten themselves on the backs of human
beings and send piercing tendrils to the
brainsoftheirhosts, Orme's fantastical
creation juggles the pulp prose of the
"me with a string of futuristic actions.
'The Puppet Masters" evolves into a
shockingly believable tale of convinc-

_

A MAYOR WHO CARES ABOUT
THE YOUTH OF ANN ARBOR

T/77 "

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