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November 17, 1994 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-17

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 17, 1994-9

*Galas, Jones make us
believe in living dead
By JENNIFER BUCKLEY
"Do you believe in the living dead?" demanded Diamanda Galas during
Tuesday night's concert with John Paul Jones. Well, that depends. By many
estimates, the former Led Zeppelin bassist should have been dead long ago
(plenty of people thought he was), and in the cheerful words of one Daily editor,
"Diamanda Galas looks like she needs
about a quart more blood in her." So if
these two are the living dead, then we
Diamanda believe, we believe!
Galas with It was a truly bizarre pairing, which
was reflected in the crowd facing them.
John Paul Jones Halfleather-clad,heavily eyelinedcol-
Michigan Theater lege kids, half balding, graying
November 15, 1994 boomers, they listened attentively while
Galas shrieked, howled, moaned and
thrashed her way through an hour and
half of intense, amazing psycho blues.
Resembling Trent Reznor in drag with her black leather pants and bra, Galas
opened the show with the totally unintelligible rant "Skotoseme."While no one
could determine that Galas actually sang the song in English, Greek and Spanish,
itculminated in one hellaciousjam. The hilarity ofthe recent single "Do You Take
This Man?" was played down in favor of a bitter, fiercer version. A cover of"At
the Dark End of the Street" showed off Galas' gospelly growl as well as her
Hammond organ playing.
On the wild "Hex," Galas leaped from octave to octave with incredible ease,
reveling in her almost operatic vocal style. "The Sporting Life" revealed why she
end Jones both insisted that guitars would be an excess on their record - Galas'
voice at times became indistinguishable from guitar feedback. A piercing yet
obviously trained and controlled shriek punctuated every song, soaring over
Jones' virtuoso bass playing and Pete Thomas' (of Elvis Costello's band the
Attractions) apocalyptic drumming.
A remarkably obscene string of insults preceded the spiteful "You're Mine,"
while the homicidal "Baby's Insane" and bluesy "Tony" were characterized by
Galas' powerful, throaty croon.
Jones remained deceptively mellow through the tempest of Galas' passions,
executing complex bass lines with laid-back ease. The two rarely played off each
other; instead they worked separately, only tied together by Thomas' ricocheting
*Teats.One notable exception occurred when Jones sat down to play an amazing
lap steel guitar, almost perfectly' replicating Galas' vocal.
He began the encore in the spotlight with an atypically bright, beautiful bass
solo which reminded everyone in the roomjust how good the man was -and still
is.
"The Sporting Life" isn't sweet. It's dark, bitter, savagely funny and one hell
of a lot of fun to visit for an hour and a half - especially in the company of a
psychotic diva and an aging legend or two.
,Verve Pipe moves u in the
music world, keeps their focus

You won't find the Samples rolling around in the MN buzz bin or sprawled out on the cover of Rolling Stone. But you'll find them at the Michigan tonight.
Samples jusct want to playvgod music

By ELLA DE LEON
To say things are going well lately
for the Verve Pipe would be an under-
statement. The East Lansing-based
band has sold close to 19,000 of both of
their self-released CDs and played in
umerous venues, including
k -alamazoo's State Theater and
Detroit's St. Andrew's Hall. They have
been featured on Detroit's major alter-
native radio stations, Planet 96.3
(WHYT-FM) and 89X (CIMX-FM,
88.7). Not to mention the rave reviews
for their latest effort, "Pop Smear," the
two songs on the AWARE II compila-
tion, and the numerous awards they've
Won. Not bad for a band which has only
ten together since 1992.
So who are these guys? Originally
comprised of members of the defunct
local groups Johnny With An Eye and
Water 4 the Pool, the Verve Pipe is
currently made up of brothers Brian
and Brad Vander Ark (vocals/guitar
and bass, respectively), A.J. Dunning
(guitar), DonBrown (drums) and Doug
Corella (percussion/keyboards). And
a o, their name has no real significance;
ere's not a story behind it, really.

"We were kinda throwing names
around and those two words came to-
gether," explained Brad Vander Ark.
"It just doesn't mean anything."
But you certainly couldn't say that
about their music. The VervePipe com-
bines lyrics about anything from poli-
tics to love lost. Their textured pop
melodies and four-part harmonies give
rise to the emotional acoustic numbers
and driving rock songs on both 1992's
"I've Suffered a Head Injury" and this
year's "Pop Smear." There is, how-
ever, a noticeable difference between
the two albums.
AsBrian VanderArk stated, "There
were more life experiences on the first
album than on the second album. The
second album was a State of the Union
and a couple of political songs," refer-
ring to their successful singles "Sena-
tor Speak" and "Spoonful of Sugar."
A.. Dunning added, "The second
album was more of a band type of
production, in terms of the compilation
efforts within the song writing, as op-
posed to the first record, which were
See VERVE, Page 10

By KARI JONES
You won't find Colorado based
band The Samples rolling around in the
MTV buzz bin. You won't catch them
sprawled out on the cover of Rolling
Stone, either. So what? Hype be
damned, these guys just want to play
good music.
"I certainly don't want to switch to
a major label that's going to spend a lot
of money on us just so we can get on
MTV," drummer Jeep MacNichol
laughed. "It would be nice to be on
MTV, but it's definitely not the 'make
it or break it' thing for us. Touring wise
or even album selling wise, we're as
successful, if not more successful, than
half of the bands on MTV."
With their fifth and most recent
album of ambient pop, "Autopilot,"
debuting at number one on Billboard's
national heatseaker's chart, The
Samples have become one of the few
bands to break the standard "exposure
equals success" formula. They have
sold hundreds of thousands of records.
They have appeared on "The Tonight
Show" and were featured performers
at the H.O.R.D.E. festival. Obviously,
they have arrived at what most people
would consider a level of success. They
just took the back roads to get there.
"For a lot of people, there is a pres-
sure that if you're not on MTV or in
Rolling Stone, then you're not doing
anything, but that's just the obvious
perspective of whether bands are suc-
cessful or not," MacNichol said. "It's
really not the bottom line."

The bottom line is that after leaving
a major label (Arista) in the fall of
1991, vocalist Sean Kelly, bassist Andy
Sheldon, keyboardist Al Laughlin, and
MacNichol signed with the indepen-
dent label W.A.R? and found success
on their own terms.
"We weren't the right band for
(Arista), and they weren't the right
label for us," said MacNichol. "They
wanted to change our music. The cool
thing about W.A.R.? is that it enables
us to keep our fingers in every aspect of
our career instead of having to answer
to some big-wig in a suit."
Perhaps because they have the free-
dom to control what happens to their
own material, The Samples are by no
means one man's band. All band mem-
bers contribute to the songwriting,
sometimes writing on their own, and
sometimes developing a song around
improvisations and chord progressions
that come up in sound check.
"The Last Drag," the group's fourth
album, featured individual songwriting,
which, in the end may have only suc-
ceeded in making it sound less cohe-
sive than it could have. The fairytale-
ish "Little Silver Ring" (written by
Kelly) and the down to earth
"Eatonville" (written by Sheldon) are
excellent songs in their own right, but
tend not to flow smoothly in the album's
overall view.
"It was sort of disjointed. It's more
like a movie soundtrack because there
are a lot of different styles on it,"
MacNichol admitted. "But I think in

the span of our whole catalogue it's a
really cool album."
With "Autopilot," however, the
band has reeled in the loose edges and
come up with a focused and energetic
album which MacNichol feels "is one
of the first albums that has captured our
live feel."
This may have something to do
with the fact that, unlike "The Last
Drag," the music on "Autopilot" was
written as a group effort. It was re-
corded immediately after a 37 show
tour, and this constant practice shows
up in soothing and "to the point" songs
like "Buffalo Herds and Windmills"
and "As Tears Fall."
"We came right off the road, went
into the studio and cranked it out,"
MacNichol stressed. "We were in such
good shape from playing live that I
really think we captured that 'live vibe.'
That's essentially why we called it
'Autopilot.' There wasn't much sitting
around time trying to figure out what to
do. Everything sort of happened on
your first intuition."
The Samples plan to continue hon-
ing their live playing skills on a tour
that will continue into the spring of
1995. As for any future albums,

MacNichol said that all the band mem-
bers are writing so much good material
that eventually, they'll probably end
up releasing solo albums. (Kelly has
already recorded a solo album which
will appear in stores sometime this
fall).
For now, The Samples are content
to switch on "autopilot" and kick back
in the driver's seat of their musical
career.
"We definitely are in the control
position with our whole situation right
now," MacNichol said. "We've been
able to do what we do and grow beyond
the point of being a one hit wonder, and
it's all kind of been on our own. It's
almost like the people come to our
shows and buy our albums, and we
know they're not buying them just be-
cause we have a 'hit song.'
"It's kind of a good feeling to know
that we're not just here one year and
gone the next depending on if MTV
will play us or not."
THE SAMPLES will be playing an
all ages show tonight at the Michi-
gan Theater. Tickets are $12.50
(balcony) and $15 (main floor).
Doors open at 7p.m., showtime is
7:30. Call 668-8397.

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Full Breakfasts, American Owned
Harold & Cindy Mondol
of Michigan, Innkeepers
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BEACH!
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THE FOLK ART C
LATIN AMERICA
OCTOBER 16-JANUARY
Featuring more than 275
vibrant, colorful objects
from 17 countries.
The Toledo
Museum of Art
2445 Monroe St., one block off I-75
(419) 243-7000 ,.iz7W
Organized by the Museum of American Folk Art,
New York. The exhibition and its national tour are
made possible by46

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Cover Starts At 9:0

WI i I

The Asian American Association and
the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
invites you to
a lecture on
"Anti-Asian Violence"
by
Roland Hwang:
Assistant Attorney General, President of the American Citizens for Justice /
Asian American Center for Justice

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