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April 18, 1995 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-18

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 18, 1995
Nixon's got his touring Mojo workin' now

Iy Ted Watts
>aily Arts Writer
Some things are harder to explain
;an others. Like, what was there be-
ore the big bang. How Silly Putty
)icks up newsprint. And the sound of
,ojo Nixon and the Toadliquors.
"I'm a particularly good example
f why the genre thing doesn't work,"
Where: Blind Pig
When: Tonight at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $8 in advance
The Plumbobs open the show.
Call 645-6666 for information.
xplained. "It's not like a lot of other
ats are doing the - same thing. It's
)ck 'n' roll, the way Chuck Berry
nd Jerry Lee Lewis are rock 'n' roll,
end it's funny, but it's not Weird Al or
Rrnest Goes to Camp.' And it's po-
itical, but it's not like Bono moaning
bout something, it's more of a psycho
.-all to arms. I don't know what genre
ye are. When we're touring, we think
ie're the last roadhouse rock 'n' roll
Well, whatever Mojo Nixon's slot
;, he's made a new album to help fill
. "Whereabouts Unknown" is a col-
xtion of rollicking songs that shoot
4e shorts off of nearly everything
.nd everybody. From the penis-
iemed "Tie My Pecker to My Leg"
a the less-than-Morrissey-positive
:over of the Smiths' "Girlfriend in a
Coma," Mojo's music could be de-

scribed as irreverent. It could also be
described as a thing of beauty that
needs to be heard. "There's three kinds
of songs," said Nixon. "Drinkin',
fuckin' and killin' songs. In the Mojo
world that's really true."
But Mojo's songs are branded as
separate from the standard drinkin',
fuckin' and killin' songs. A tasty little
trademark of a Mojo song is an aside.
He'll break into a rant in the middle of
just about any song. In the middle of
"Girlfriend in a Coma" he explains to
the listener that it is Morrissey that
needs to be held accountable for the
insensitivity of the song. It's amaz-
ingly different from what most every-
one else does in music.
"Even if I did do a really straight-
forward album, I'd still do it. That is
me. What I do best is hold forth. I'm
not the greatest singer or songwriter,
or guitar player, or record producer,
or arranger, or any of that stuff. I have
kind of figured all that stuff out dur-
ing a very public learning process.
But what I can always do and what my
real talent lies in is holding forth, with
fervor. I could be selling used cars, or
be a bigtime wrestling manager. I
could be a politician or a preacher."
But, fortunately, Mojo Nixon is a
music guy. And "Whereabouts Un-
known" is his first normal-for-Mojo
release in several years. In 1992 he
released a Christmas album entitled
"Horny Holidays" that contained wild
versions of all types of Christmas
songs, from "We Three Kings" to the
song from "How the Grinch Stole
Christmas." Following that was

Mojo's foray into a punk/country
crossover with ex-Dead Kennedys'
frontman Jello Biafra last year. But
these albums are a bit off the beaten
path of Mojo's roots.
"The reason we did those other
things was we couldn't get another
record deal, with Enigma going out of
business and IRS fucking us in the ass
.. I wanted to do a Christmas album
and I didn't mind doing the album
with Jello - the motherfucker drove
me crazy. They're both pretty good
albums, but ("Whereabouts Un-
known") is your straight-ahead Mojo
album - full Mojo headlock, so to
In an effort to avoid the type of
legal problems encountered when
Enigma went under like the Titanic,
Mojo has started his own label, Ripe
and Ready Records. "There are the
great big giant labels who have mil-
lions of dollars," explained Nixon,
"and then there's all the little labels
from Rykodisc on down that are es-
sentially four people in a room trying
to do their best. So Bullethead (Mojo's
management) and me figured we could
do that ... If I ever take off, it'll totally
be by accident. But if something does
take off, we own it, not some other
weasels. We're the weasels!"
Well, it was probably inevitable
that Mojo and his especially unique
vision would ultimately move to their
own label. The mix of obsessions that
span from Elvis and Jesus to
McDonald's and killing people in the
music industry is bound to push to-
wards self-determination.

Mojo illustrated: "McDonald's is
putting something in their food to
make us weak, sterile and subservi-
ent. And they're also putting some-
thing in their food to make us think
McDonald's tastes good. And on top
of that they've got us convinced that
English weenie twit bands are some-
how good. (Screaming:) THEY'RE
They're all just Doo-ran Doo-ran in
my head."
There's obviously something
about McDonald's which gets Mojo
to holding forth. From the song "Jesus
at McDonald's" on his first album in
1985 to one of the asides on "Where-
abouts Unknown," Mojo keeps talkin'
'bout McDonald's. I couldn't really
tell you how the English twit band
thing follows from McDonald's, but
it doesn't really matter. The rapid fire
of attack aimed at big and powerful
targets (like McDonald's or Jesus)
also might have a tendency to push
the man towards his own label, so he
might control what's released, if noth-
ing else.
Mojo has more mundane fixa-
tions as well. "I have a little prob-
lem with sports. My roomate on the
road, Earl, will watch anything. He
especially likes to watch bad talk
shows. I don't think there is a good
talk show. And it just drives me
crazy. But motorcycle racing from
France ... Anything fast and going
in a circle, I'll watch. Any sport
where they're about to break into a
fistfight, I'll watch." That's Ameri-
can for you.

ever seen them together?
political feminists, anarchists. There's .
even a whole lot of people who like it
and nothing else. There was this one
guy who said I only like Mojo and
the Eagles.' What? You can't pin 'em
down. Most of them are nuts, though."
And always remember the story of
how Mojo got his name: "I just made
it up. It was so wrong, it was right."
Realize how right it is to be wrong and
be one of the unpinnables.

Mojo is Grizzly Adams. Well, have you
So who is it that listens to this self-
described psycho? "I think my audi-
ence truly is the people who are not on
demographic surveys," said Mojo.
"The five percent they don't get. When
they say '80 percent of 20 to 25 year
olds do this,' well, the other 20 per-
cent go to Mojo shows. There's really
a little bit of everyone. There's pro-
fessor cats with patches on their el-
bows, there's frat boys, there's free


Continued from page 112
World TourAnd Other Desti-
Simple Machines
Simply put, "World Tour And Other
Destinations" may be the most essential
compilation album since The Jesus &
album's 22 tracks comprise the vast ma-
jority of Tsunami's non-album singles, b-
sides, split-singles and compilation ap-
pearances, and each track is every bit as
amazing as those that have appeared on
their first two albums, "Deep End" and
"The Heart's Tremolo."
As everyone should know by now,
Tsunami rock, but they don't pull it off
withthe loud, distorted abandon thattends
to put style over substance. Instead, they
nail it down with a keen sense of how to
give their music a genuine, raw intensity

without falling back on the usual tools.
The first two tracks on the album,"Flame-
proof Suit" and "World Tour," are the
most perfect examples of this; both of
these tracks are absolutely explosive, but
this is mainly due to Jenny Toomey's
wonderfully angry and sad vocal style,
which is strengthened by the raw yet
intricate and edgy guitar work.
The tracks on the album from 1991's
"Headringer" EP and the "Diner" 7-inch
make up the strongest moments, but there
are so many great songs that there's no
reason not to listen to the album from
beginning to end. There'sevenacoupleof
excellent covers, of "Beauty Pt. II" by
Flower and "Courage" by The Minute-
More than anything, though, this
compilation affirms the fact that Tsu-
nami are simply one of the most unique
and powerful bands around. If you
haven't already, now is a good time to
discover what they're all about.
- Andy Dolan

Interscope Records
Three members of All have
been tantalizing and taunting the
world for close to 15 years, first
in the legendary Descendants and
now in All. When Green Day broke
the entire California punk band
scene wide open last year, All was
touring (and they are constantly
on the road) in support of its supe-
rior release "Breaking Things."
That record marked the addition
of new singer Chad Price who
added deep vocal melody to All's
pop-punk shine, and it was supe-
rior to Green Day's "Dookie.".
Of course, All isn't as young or
hot or suave as the tykes in Green
Day, so they'll never have their own
Saturday-morning cartoon for all the
teenyboppers in La La Land. But
the band continues to deliver ma-

ture yet snotty rebellion. It takes
guts to deliver a CD with a song like
"Uncle Critic" with the line "Uncle
motherfucking critic, chicken shit,
jealous, stupid idiot, bastard, wanna-
be, fucking critic" to critics around
the globe.
All is all about guts: the guts to
confront critics, the guts to con-
stantly deliver intelligent punk love
songs in a medium that's becoming
more angst-ridden every day, the
guts to change their focus a it into a
more metallic punk territory on
songs like "Stalker" (which show-
cases all of Price's ferocious snarl)
and "This World."
All is more mature than Green
Day, more focused than Bad Reli-
gion and more talented than the'
Offspring. Will they get the same
respect? Of course not, but "Pum-
mel" is certainly worthy of that
- Matt Carlson

Me Against The World
Interscope Records
Shakur is unquestionably one of
the most controversial rap artists.
His life is as tumultuous as one
could imagine. Yet, for all the twists
and turns his life has taken, his abil-
ity as a rapper has remained con-
stant. His debut, "2Pacalypse Now"
(1991) and later release "Strictly 4
My N.I.G.G.A.Z." (1993) hit gold
and platinum, respectively. Last
year, Thug Life, a rap group formed
by 2PAC and featuring his lyrical
prowess, hit big with "Volume 1."
Now, we have "Me Against The
World," a continuance of his rap-art
"This isn't huffing and puffing
and posturing," 2PAC said. "This
is emotion, and in emotion and in
music is where I express myself."
With his rough-edged, bass


voice, bald head and string of
tatoos, 2PAC more than fits the
bill as a hard-core rapper. His
deeply emotional lyrics, which
oftentimes focus on life in the in-
ner cities and the relationships
both good and bad - that can
form there, reflect the time he
spent there. He speaks from expe-
rience, and he speaks from the
heart. This fact can be seen in this
album than even in his previous
"These are some of the most real
things I've ever written," 2PAC re-
flected. "I'm not saying I have the
answers, but there's a lot the main-
stream public doesn't know about,
and somebody has to tell them."
In one listening of "Me Against
The World," the truth of 2PAC's
statement becomes readily appar-.
ent. His talk of drive-bys, dope
deals and lives broken, not by
choice but by circumstance, will
be replayed over and over in your
mind. His deeply rhythmic, yet
cold and unfeeling beats will serve
to facilitate the somber mood that
shrouds this 15-cut release. When
you listen to this CD, prepare to
experience wave after wave of
sadness and anger. If you're in a
jolly mood before, you won't be
after you listen to 2PAC.
The first single off this album,
"Dear Mama," chronicles the ex -
perience of being a.single mother
raising children in the ghetto with
the all-to-easily-realized fear of
drugs, gangs and death lingering..
"So Many Tears" is a heartfelt4o
composition, and one of the best
verbalizations of being poor in
such a merciless world to come
out in quite awhile. The title track
(which also features the higher=
pitched rap vocals of Dramacydal)
captures 2PAC's feelings of iso-
lation as does the aptly-titled;
"Lord Knows," which chronicles
suicidal thoughts -- the ultimate
expression of hopeless rage.
No one can possibly begin to
imagine the rage and self-torture
currently residing in 2PAC's head.
It is only through his music that
some inkling of understanding of
the true, emotional 2PAC - be-
neath the iron-curtain front of be-
ing hard and unable tv be hurt he
puts up - can be sought. "Mel
Against The World is not a CD to'
be listened to; it is one to be felt
and experienced.
-- Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS, page U

'Me Against the World' is an
album to be felt and experienced.

-. .
ranning to be in the
Toledo area

this summer?
to sign up for
Summer Classes at
The University of Toledo
that will transfer back to

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