10- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 17, 1994
English pop only bites itself
DON'T LAUGH AT CHUCKLEHEAD
By TED WATTS
Imagine that you are the English
branch of RCA Records. You have a
band which had its last album debut at
number 17 on the charts. So what do
you do? Drop them, of course!
Well, that's what happened to En-
glish music weirdos Pop Will Eat Itself
F last year. Apparently their unique mix
of trance, rock, ambient et cetera ad
infinitum just wasn't to the taste of the
record company personnel. "With the
major companies, you get a higher
turnover of staff, so the people who
s were into us at RCA there weren't there
by the time we finished up there,"
explained PWEI drummer Fuzz
Townshend. "So people just got us
plunked on their desks and they had to
do something with us, and we might
not be their cup of tea. And of course
they get nothing out of us even if we
have a majorly successful album.
There's no incentive to get behind us in
the majors ..."
But hey, they've moved on so that's
all right. On Trent Reznor's Nothing
label in the U.S., the Poppies find the
indie label world a much nicer place.
"After we had the split with RCA we
were very worried about when we were
going to do our next album, or if we
were going to do a next album ..." said
Townshend. "(But) now we have a
heap more positive people behind us
... by virtue of the fact that they've
picked up the band because they're
into us. It's been a very positive move
for us and has let us concentrate on
what we're doing and get the tracks
down the way we like them."
On their new album "Dos Dedos
Mis Amigo," PWEI seems to be liking
the tracks in a much darker way. The
songs aren't as pop as previous out-
ings, having a much more evil energy
to them. The subject matter even gets a
little serious, from the royal-bashing
"Familus Horribilus" to the anti-racist
"Ich Bin Ein Auslander."
Townshend explains the change.
"We just don't like making the same
album twice... And we've been listen-
ing to a lot of different things. The
combination of our influences have
produced this darker sounding album
that's maybe a little more thoughtful
than others. You've gotGraham (Crabb,
vocals) and I listening to a lot of ambi-
ent stuff, such as Higher Intelligence
Agency, Orbital, that kind of thing. I
know Clint (Mansell, guitars and vo-
cals) and Adam (Mole, guitar and key-
boards) listen to the latest Killing Joke
album and stuff like that. Just a whole
hodge podge of different ideas go in
and once we start working on things
they take a certain tack. On some num-
bers you just get into a mode of work-
ing and other tracks start to follow
"We all write and have initial ideas,"
continued Townshend. "We put them
in the pot and then the obvious best
numbers are worked on. Depending on
who has ideas for the song influences
how the song takes shape. There's no
pulling apart, really. But there is no
general preplanning about how an al-
bum should sound. It comes out of the
most natural and comfortable way for
us to work."
Not that everything is without rea-
son, though. "We went for the title
("Dos Dedos Mis Amigo") because its
ambiguity is pretty appealing to us. the
first time we saw the phrase "Dos
Dedos" was on a tequila bottle. In
Europe dos dedos is known as a two
finger measure of spirits. So it was
quite a cheery cheery title. Also, two
fingers in England is like a middle
finger in America. A fuck you kind of
thing. We like the use of that. Also the
peace sign as well. It just has so many
different meanings it covers everything
we could want to say in the title,"
elucidated Townshend. "A title can
have those connotations cause we're a
little older and a little moodier than we
Of course, the search for meaning
can leave out a bit of the fun of music.
And PWEI seems to certainly have a
bit of fun doing their tours. "We've
been touring with Compulsion. The
more I've heard Compulsion the more
I'm into them. I've been quite happy to
listen to their gigs night after night. I
think they're real exciting... We al-
ways try to tour with bands we're into.
We can have a night out then, too."
But for that "too," you have to have
a night out first.
POP WILL EAT ITSELF plays St.
Andrew's Friday with Compulsion
and Dink. It's 18 and over, doors
open at 6 p.m., and tickets are a mere
$7.50 in advance. Call (313) 976-
MELT for info.
Have you been hankerin' for some funked out '70s retro-funk? Chucklehead is a sextet of Bostonians who have a
marked ability to reproduce the sounds of the aforementioned bellbottom decade as well as integrating a hippitty-
hoppitty vocal style at certain times. They also get a Leonard Nimoy sample in on the opening track of their new
album "Fuzz." And they have a bunch of songs on the new Meg Tilly movie, "Sleep With Me."
They've certainly got a large number of things going for them. They do a kinda reggae version of the Beatles' "We
Can Work It Out." Isn't that bizarre? And they've got a big ball of what looks like pubic hair dyed neon pink on the
cover of their album. They even sing the lyric "Rip your head off like Orca." Hey, they've got da funk, they rap and
they make cheesy killer whale references. The party starts Saturday at Rick's.
Continued from page 9
basically songs that were done by
Johnny With An Eye and Water 4 the
In improving their sound as a whole,
each member has bettered himself in-
dividually as well. Don Brown found
thathe's "been more introspective about
music." Dunning observed, "Guitar
players have a tendency to fall into the
trap of wanting to impress people and
play way too much, way too often. I'm
learning to play more for the song and
not for the sake of impressing myself."
He added, "It's a good thing to improy
once in awhile, but there are certain
boundaries you have to stay inside."
Brian Vander Ark commented, "For
the most part, it's just paying attention
to what's going on musically and see-
ing if you can fit lyrics to it. I think I've
gotten better at that. I've gotten better
at producing tapes and songs getting
the sounds I want on to four track
Ever since "Pop Smear" hit the
shelves, the band has been in perpetual
motion, touring in and out of state, and
as Brown put it, "playing for new audi-
ences and opening up new areas."
Drawing 1,500 for their concert in
Kalamazoo for their current CD has
been a highlight of the year. Brad said,
"(The Kalamazoo State Theater show)
has probably been the biggest boost for
us ... it's a nice place to play because
everyone can see you."
Now what's next for the band?Well,
thanks to their inclusion on the AWARE
IIcompilation, aCDthatfeatures tracks
by unsigned groups, Brown related,
"We're going to be hopefully going out
to Colorado in February, going down
to North Carolina and Alabama, doing
some clubs that are familiar with
(AWARE II), and we're traveling a bit,
hitting other states."
The focus ofthe Verve Pipe, though,
as summarized by Doug Corella, al-
ways remains the same: "To play the
best we can. Maybe look back in a few
years and know that you've really ac-
complished something meaningful."
Let's hope that they can.
TH E VE RVE PIPE open for the
Samples tonight at the Michigan
Theater. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m.
AT POLL SITES
ALL OVER CAMPUS
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