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January 30, 1995 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-30

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'se4i cartoon makes It allithe more impressve. Catch the final episode I onay
(whee eil aien invde art) toigh at 0 pm.onda,
January 30, 1995
This band rocks, come Helmet or high water

By Ted Watts
Daily Weekend Editor
Imagine that it's the '50s or early
'60s. Whatwouldyourdesires be?How
about ahouse in Florida and a couple of
pert blondes? Well, that'sjust what you
get on the sleeve of Helmet's third
album, "Betty." The New York-based
quartet has a distinctly modern sound,
however, resembling metal more than
Mitch Miller.
Ever since their first single in 1989,
Helmet has been releasing some ex-
quisitely tight.gitarrock. Singer/gui-

ment, and it wasn't musically or per-
sonally enjoyable with him in the
band anymore," explained Hamilton.
The member change has not hurt the
band's performances or recordings.
But despite the band's high level
of quality (and fairly large fan base),
it's hard to find them on TV. "MTV
hates us," ventured Hamilton. "MTV
has no taste. We're not a hit oriented,
huge selling platinum/Billboard band
and that's who they play. I don't think
MTV makes any bones about the fact
that they cater to the taste of the masses
and that's how they make their money.
We're basically still an underground
band on a major label."
But they are not exclusively on a
major label. Interscope doesn't put
out vinyl, so Helmet has a special
relationship with indie label Amphet-
amine Reptile. "We are still vinyl
stalwarts. We love vinyl. I've always
liked looking at the front and back.
And, like on "Betty," being able to
open it up. And we have a good rela-
tionship with AmRep still, and as
long as Tom (Hazelmyer, headhoncho
of AmRep) will put out our albums
(on vinyl), we'll keep doing it ... It's
nice to have your album on vinyl."
And just likethe formats of Helmet's
albums. Hamilton's musical ideals are

varied. "I listen to everything. I spend
around 10 percent of my time listening
to rock, about 30 percent to the blues,
another 10 percent listening to classi-
cal, and the rest of it listening to jazz ...
I'm kind of back into Bird (Charlie
Parker) right now. He's phenomenal.
He's an incredibly important cultural
and musical figure. I think he's prob-
ably the most significant figure of the
last 100 years as far as having an impact
on a whole direction of music... He
completely revolutionized jazz music
and does not get the recognition he
deserves on alarge scale. But that's OK
'cause his music still belongs to us, not
to punk rockers."
Helmet's connection may be a bit
hard to see, however. While they cover
the jazz standard "Beautiful Love" in a
nicely unconventional way, improvisa-
tionon stage is not an evident character-
istic. They are reknowned for the tight-
ness of their live set as well as their
intensity. "It's a really exciting and
satisfying thing to play music and it
requires concentration," explained
Hamilton. "We're not so much into
putting on a show as playing the songs
we've written. You really get into it and
it's fun. A lot of people perceive us as a
boring band that just gets up and plays,
but that's alright. I think if you can't

maintain someone's attention by just
playing your music, the music may not
be worth that much. People appreciate
that dig us and people who want to see
us pull our cocks out of our pants prob-
ably are disappointed."
As for song writing itself, Hamilton
describes it as pretty straightforward. "I
write the songs with Helmet in mind.
I'm not trying to fulfill my vision of
eclectic music. I write stuff I think the
band will like and focus on Helmet for
Helmet's sake."
Some songs on "Betty" do stray
from the general sound of the band,
most notably "Sam Hell" and "Silver
Hawaiian." Hamilton explains:
"Henry wrote the music for 'Silver
Hawaiian.' I thought it was really
cool. I didn't want to stay away from
something because we had to sound
like Helmet. You read a review and it
says 'It's angry young men spitting
and testosterone and blah blah blah'
and that's pretty far away from the
kind of person I am. I'm not a bone-
crushing karate guy or a weightlifter."
So he destroys more subtly.
Hamilton's lyrics do tend to stray from
the understandable. "It's my reaction to
my early experiences with rock. The
subject matter doesn't matter. It's about
writing a song and it was about a girl or

tarist Page Hamilton has provided
harsh vocals that at times exist as a
completely different layer of music
while at others fade into the music
tracks like butter into hot waffle
dimples and bassist Henry Bogdan
and drummer John Stanier have cre-
ated the rippling rhythms that give
Helmet's songs a strong foundation.
However, original guitarist Peter
Mengede was replaced by Rob
Echevarria. "(Helmet's) ultimately
about musical and personal enjoy-

a relationship or love or lack of love or
Satan or whatever. I made a conscious
effort to steer clear of anything I was
familiar with. And I think in fragments,
soI step back and try to glue it together.
Sometimes things are clear, sometimes
they leave a lot open. And there's a
fascination with language. I got that

from Wire and David Bowie ... I have
more faith in the images I come up with
than with stock images of a cigarette
burning or being downtrodden and be-
ing a victim of a relationship or of my
environment." And it's probably pref-
erable to destroy rock clich6s than
knotheads.

Romeros are thrice classical guitar royalty

By Sangita M. Baxi
Daily Arts Writer
In an incredible concert, the
Romeros, "The Royal Family of Gui-
tar," brought Ann Arbor to its feet-
not once, not twice, but three times.
This quartet, which encompasses three
generations - Celedonio, his sons
Pepe and Celin, and Celin's son Celino
& RayaVW |

1w

The Romeros
Guitar Quartet
Rackham Auditorium
January 27, 1995

the hands and faces of the performers.
Whether it was a piece by Georg
Philipp Telemann or Enrique Granadas
or Manuel de Falla or Celedonio
Romero, it was brought to life by the
dexterity of the fingers of the quartet. It
was amazing to watch their manipula-
tion of the strings to produce such clear,
sweet tones and beautiful harmonies.
However, there was never excess of
movement - their hands and fingers
were very subtle and gentle in playing,
making it even more astounding when
the notes and harmonies emerged from
the body of the guitar.
Yet, despite the subtlety and gentle-
ness or maybe because of it - the
motion of the fingers was one that was
rapid and fluid. The emotion as they
played was reflected on the faces of the
quartet. They were very involved in
their music, and attuned to what every
other member of the quartet was doing.
The beginnings and endings of their
musical selections were always together,
and this ability to be in perfect accord is

one that gives the Romeros a certain
element all their own.
Not all thepieces wereplayedby the
entire quartet - there were duets and
solos, as well. There was a duet be-
tween Celin and Celino, and another
between Celedonio and Pepe, and both
Celedonioand Celino gave solo perfor-
mances. Though the playing in these
pieces was excellent, it emphasized the
talent in one family -not only are they
able to play individually, but together
they bring an unbelievable dimension
to classical music.
There was a minimum of speaking
- just to announce changes in the
program. Occasionally, there would be
some teasing banter in the group-not
only verbally, but musically as well.
During the encores, there was a friendly
competition whilemembers played mini
solos. It brought the Romeros closer to
the audience, and showed how much
love and dedication they have for each
other, and how they are able to be so
much together in everything.

N ws& $##|||| N
No, this isn't a photo from "Death and the Maiden," so shut up already. But we love Sigourney anyway.
'Death' brings new life to important play

By Sarah Rogacki
Daily Arts Writer
In "Death and the Maiden,"
Paulina (Sigourney Weaver), a politi-
cal prisoner confronting the doctor
who tortured and raped her 15 years
ago. Living in seclusion in South
America, Paulina shares abeachhouse
with Gearardo Escobar, a lawyer who
Death and
the Maiden
Directed by Roman Polanski
with Sigourney Weaver
and Ben Kingsley
At Showcase
led a student resistance against the
now-fallen political regime and cur-
rently heads a human rights commis-
sion in the new democracy. After be-
coming stranded on a rainy night, he
brings home a helpful motorist who
Paulina swears was a physician at the
death camps. Dr. Miranda (Ben
Kingsley) unknowingly walks into a
grueling night of interrogation by a
woman who has never actually seen
her former captor. Facing the tough-
est case of his life, the lawyer Escobar
must mediate between the justice of
the individual and the mental torment
of his own wife.
The film is based on an interna-

tionally acclaimed play by Ariel
Dorfman, a Chilean citizen forced
into exile by her government. Co-
written with Rafael Yglesias, the
screen adaptation retains the theatri-
cal resonance of Dorfman's work
through the psychological portrayals
of its characters. Weaver's chilling
accounts of her treatment during cap-
tivity takes the viewer beyond the
walls of the beach house to witness
the wires and wooden torture table.
Unlike past blockbusters r
"Chinatown" and "Frantic," Polanski
sticks to a strict theatrical adaptation in
this film by limiting the characters and
setting. However, he brings the viewer
over the threshold of the stage with
elaborate camera movements that draw
us into the psyche of the characters.
Polanski's expert articulation of space
surrounds the audience in the rage and
anxiety of this unconventional court-
room drama.
Although Polanski stays true to a
theatrical unity of time in the film, this
can cause problem for moviegoers un-
accustomed to the stage. For the actors,
the tightly constructed narrative gives
them a chance to closely develop their
characters. Weaver give one of her best
performances, and Kingsley gives Dr.
Miranda a coldly calculating dimen-
sion as well as an unassuming inno-

and body become the stage for the
politics of truth. With Mandela's po-
litical captivity, the work of Amnesty
International, and the trials of Nazi
war criminals in mind, the audience
assumes the responsibility of a jury
while watching the film. By bringing
Dorfman's play to the screen, Polanski
engages us all in a universal plea for
human rights.

- gave a performance full of skill,
precision and intense emotion.
The stage was set only with four
black chairs and four music stands, and
no microphones. The overall effect al-
lowed for concentration on the music
being played, and the chance to watch
e7cALtlEDARK
Get in line now for the biggest hip-
hop concert to hit Ann Arbor in a
long time. Tickets for the March 14
Digible Planets / Spearhead con-
cert at Hill Auditorium go on sale
today at 10 a.m.; tickets are $12 for
all University students, $14 for non-
students. Skip your class to get these
tickets -it will be worth the trouble.

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cence.
As Weaver takes on the role of the
prosecutor in the film, Paulina's mind

MEDICAL
CAREERS
SOAR IN THE
AIR FORCE.
There are many direc-
tions your medical career
can go. But only the Air Force

qm

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