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October 27, 1994 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-27

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 27, 1994 - 9


Buckley makes
music his own

JeffBuckley is his father's son. End
of discussion.
"I'm fine. I'm independent with
who I am. It's just that other people
haven't caught up with me on that," he
asserted. Those "other people" include
music critics, press types and devoted
fans of his father, the late folk-blues
singer Tim Buckley, and they are eager
to compare, contrast and claim Jeff.
"If they come to a conclusion,
there's nothing I can do about that," he
Nothing, perhaps, except answer
them with his own voice, his own mu-
sic. Answer them with "Grace," his
debut album on Columbia Records. An
unusual mixture of influences shine
through on that effort. From Zeppelin
to Dylan, Big Star to blues, it's all there
on "Grace." It shouldn't work, but it
"It all fit together in my mind,"
Buckley commented. "All ten songs
are very personal statements, and they
all belonged on 'Grace."'
Stories about downward spiraling
relationships ("Lover You Should Have
Come Over," "Last Goodbye") mesh
with heavier themes of death and dis-
crimination ("Eternal Life") and three
very different cover tunes. All of it is
drawn together by Jeff's voice-pure,
sweet, and strong over an incredible
The cover songs, Jeff remarked,
"just happened to me. They each
marked a time in my life." The most
beautiful of these is his version of
Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which
Buckley "came across while
housesitting forafriend (before ashow).
I played the song, got into her whis-
key." He laughed, "Oh, it was horrible.
I showed up at the gig completely
sloshed, with tears in my eyes."
Nina Simone's "Lilac Wine,"
Buckley felt, was always "a man's
song, because it's usually the man who
(screws) up, gets drunk. And I also
wanted the band to be able to cover that

territory as well; the intense ballad, the
slow stuff." His justification? "Some
kisses are slow, but you wouldn't miss
a second of those, either."
The final cover on "Grace," Ben-
jamin Britten's exquisite "Corpus
Christi Carol," Jeff recorded for along-
time friend. "It was on a recording he
gave me of operas and oratorios. I've
lived a very transient life where I meet
people, I hang onto them, I love them
and then I have to leave," he explained.
"He's somebody I still have and I love
him, and so I decided to make 'Corpus
Christi' as a gift."
Buckley's "gypsy" childhood was
spent with his mother (he met his father
only once, at age eight) and his stepfa-
ther. It was during that period that he
fell in love with music. "It was just
around in my house," he revealed. "My
stepfather, though he wasn't a ... mu-
sician, he was a car mechanic, loved
buying records. He would bring them
home to us. It was like Christmas twice
a week." Leaving Jeff with an "eclecti-
cism by default" were recordings of
Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Janis Joplin,
"West Side Story," George Carlin,
Booker T and the MG's, and "lots of
Stevie Wonder at one point."
And so Jeff became a musician. Or
he already was one. Whatever.
"I never decided to become a musi-
cian. I just did it," he declared. "It had
nothing to do with anybody else, on
this earth or off of it."
His wandering childhood also pre-
pared him for the eternal tour his life
has become. "We've just come off of
five straight months of touri ng, then we
go on to two more. Then we have
something I believe is called a break
around Christmas. We'll tour the spring
and summer straight through." His
band, consisting of drummer Matt
Johnson, bassist Mick Grondahl and
guitarist Michael Tighe, is "a perma-
nent lineup; a permanent love affair, I
Buckley plans to head back into the
studio with plenty of new songs as soon
as possible. He warned that people's
preconceptions of his music "will to-
tally deceive them" on his next effort.

In case you missed their show at the Blind Pig last night - and you should
feel really guilty if you did - the Brothers Grimm will be kicking up a storm
tonight at Rick's, opening the Deterants.
For the past couple of years, the Chelsea-based Brothers Grimm have been
slugging it out in the clubs and bars, trying to make some headway in the
tight local scene. Fortunately, they've recently been gaining some ground
with their dirty, garagey rock 'n' roll.
Like the Replacements, the Brothers Grimm uses classic rock and punk as
a starting point for their music, which takes some sideroads into country,
blues and even some jazz. Their album, "Fuel," captures both their fiery
eclecticism as well as their loose,, relentless energy.
Make it down to Rick's tonight; you shouldn't miss any chance to see a
rock 'n' roll band this good.
- Torn Erlewine

Jeff Buckley used to play at Espresso on State. Oh the places you'll go!

He expects less songwriting collabora-
tions and coversongs. "The next album
will be more me," he explained.
For now, however, Buckley and
band tour. And tour. "I wanted to come
back to that massive coffeehouse in
Ann Arbor (Espresso Royale on State
Street, where he played in April), but
now the album's out and we have to
play bigger places.
"But I do want to keep it as intimate

as possible."
Catch JEFFnBUCKLEYinthesemi-
intimate Magic Bag Theater in
fashionable Ferndale on Saturday,
October 29 in an 18+ show. Doors
open at 8p.m. Tickets are $10 in
advance. Call (810) 544-3030. Mr.
Buckley will also be playing the Ark
on October 31; tickets for the Ark
show are $5.50 in advance, doors
open at 8 p.m.


Kermit the Frog
BMG Kidz
Almost a full month before the Nir-
vana Unplugged recordings are released
comes the Muppets with their own
stripped down "unpigged" concert. In-
stead of acoustic versions of old Meat
Puppets and Vasolines songs, Kermit
and Co. decided to do an experimental
tribute/concept record, covering 10pop
standards with special guest stars rang-
ing from the laid-back style of Jimmy
Buffett to the country twang of Vince
Gill. But it's the in-between song ban-
ter that truly gives away the pain and
inner turmoil of Kermit. Will he and
Miss Piggy crawl out of their destruc-
tive relationship?
Their stormy relationship almost

overshadows the music. Miss Piggy
has long been the Courtney Love of the
Muppet world, if Courtney Love was a
giant slab of talking bacon; she's vio-
lent, moody, and very possessive. At
the same time, as her duet with Ozzy
Osbourne proves, she's "Born to. Be
Wild." Kermit spends half of the record
fleeing from his raging Yoko, the other
half vainly searching for his cherished
It's Kermit's eclectic selection of
three minute power pop that betrays his
conflicting emotions. "She Drives Me
Crazy" is a call-and-response with Miss
Piggy, addressing their Sid-and-Nancy
feud in a way the Fine Young Canni-
bals probably never intended. Don
Henley joins the frog for a touching
rendition of the old Muppet standby
"(It's Not Easy) Bein' Green," perhaps

knowingly echoing Cobain's sentiment
of "all alone is all we are." Kermit, like
Kurt, was always the one who shoul-
dered the responsibility of being a
spokesperson; not only was he a lonely
frog, he was a role model for talking
rats, humor-impaired bears, suicidal
daredevil birds and Swedish chefs.
A telling moment comes near the
end, when fellow band member Floyd
asks Kermit what he is doing. "Oh, I'm
just playing an unplugged version of
'Wild Thing' on a ukulele," he replies
in a melancholy tone. Floyd protests,
Animal kicks in the drums (literally)
and the Muppets rock. In this one mo-
ment the pig is forgotten and all of
Kermit's inner rage is released into a
reborn classic that reeks of amphibian
- Kirk Miller

Henry Rollins was in the band Black flag from 1981 to 1986. Ten years later he is the singer in another rock band,
the Rollins Band. He is also a writer. His latest book is called "Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag." It is
about the years he sang in Black Flag. Like Rollins, the book is hard. Brutal. Funny.
onight, Rollins begins his first-ever promotional writers' tour. At 7 p.m. he will be at Borders. He will read from his
ook. He might sign some copies of his book, if you're lucky.
Even if he doesn't sign books, you should buy a copy of "Get in the Van." It is one of the most honest rock books
ever written, simply because it shows how crushingly dull life on the road actually is.
-As Rollins rolls through the years in the van, he tells of the endless circle of seedy clubs, bad food, fights and -
most frequently - sheer boredom, where small, cheap thrills are the only relief: "Just got back from another
"installment on my tattoo. Tonight was fill-in. Wasn't that bad. Some parts were real tender, the needle in your back.
You feel it in your stomach. Needles. Lots. Drinking coffee, dropped three Tylenol Extra Strength. I could use some
extra strength."
It's essential reading for anyone starting a rock band, thinking it's just a nonstop parade of whores and cocaine.
- Tom Erlewine

CUT Reading &Study Thn. By 2/3, for


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