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April 07, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-07

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Patti Smith Comes Back to Ann Arbor
Patti Smith will perform at a Bosnia Benefit Concert at the First Methodist Church (State street and
Huron). Also appearing will be Ivica Misic, representative of the UN mission to Bosnia, and the Metro
Catholic Gospel Choir. The concert will last from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.; call 6634870 for details. Later
in the evening, Smith will hold two acoustic concerts with Lenny Kaye in honor of her late husband,
Fred "Sonic" Smith, at the Ark. Shows are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $15 and are available
at Schoolkids. Call 763-8587 for more information.

Page 8
ADMi 7. 1999



Friars: Shenanigan

By Melissa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
The Friars seem to love giving inter-
views. They've just finished a four-
hour dress rehearsal with the Men's
Glee Club, but they're relaxed, ready
and excited to talk about their 39th
Annual Best Concert Ever, which hap-
pens tonight at Rackham Auditorium.
"Probe! Probe!"they yell. Suddenly
this is very different from your average
interview. They really want to be inter-
viewed, they want to publicize their
concert, they want to be funny. "We're
not funny in print," said Tom Vesbit.
But with the Friars it's not about how
many jokes they can crack in one ses-
sion - it's about a group of fine musi-
cians, with a comedic overtone.
They claim to "freeze up" around
reporters, but the eight men are laugh-
ing,joking and insulting each other as if
I weren't even there. Witnessing this
display of camaraderie and, well, light-
hearted spontaneity, you'd think these
eight guys had been together forever.
But five of them are in their first year as
Friars, and four of them are in their final
year. That hasn't stopped them from
bonding, and it hasn't tarnished their
reputation forstrong musicianship com-
bined with sharp wit.
"Will you call the article 'she-
nanigans aplenty'?" someone asks.
Sixteen Stone
Trauma / Interscope
It's a little too easy to write Bush
off as purely manufactured because,
in a sense, they are manufactured.
Every member of the band is a perfect
alternative teen idol - frontman
Gavin Rossdale used to be in a Wham!
rip-off band in the mid-'80s."Every-
thing Zen" manages to sound simul-
taneously loud and radio-friendly.
"Sixteen Stone" was produced by
Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley,
the kings of Brit-pop of the early '80s
(Madness and Elvis Costello). Bush
is touted as a leader of the new British
Invasion, yet they sound American,
like a hybrid of Nirvana, Pearl Jam,
Jane's Addiction and Dinosaur Jr.;
not surprisingly, they have yet to re-
lease a single in their homeland.
Even with all the strings behind
the band so readily visible, Bush does
deliver with "Sixteen Stone." All of

Dan Ryan and Jason Menges are ar-
guing about who has been in the group
longer. Trevor Sprik is making a
honking noise. "Write down that Dave
(Hoey) is a whiner," Matt Laura tells
me. "I am not. Don't write that down,"
Hoey retorts. If this is freezing up, can
you imagine them cutting loose?

is aplenty
stage, Bejin makes a purring noise
(really, it's alittle too harsh to be a purr,
but not gruff enough to be a growl),
Hoey is the showtune-singin' show-
stealer, Fortner "doesn't do anything,"
he says. "That's my mystique." Ryan
never really named his claim to fame,
but is known across campus as the Friar
who proposed (successfully) to his girl-
friend at last December's Study Break
As for this Friday's concert, there
will be no marriage proposals, but there
will be a "BIG SURPRISE," according
to Ryan. "Actually, we're going to aban-
don the whole a capella thing. We think
it's a crock of shit," Vesbit says.
Seriously, "you'll see more of the
Friars than you ever have," Bejin said
with a knowing smile. "Shhh!" Ryan
yells. "Don't give anything away!"
This "revealing" concert also
marks the final one for Menges, Ryan,
Laura and Hoey - a swan song, if
you will. And this concert is also the
last one before the monumental 40th.
In honor of the big birthday, Ryan
let us in on plans for a reunion concert
and a "greatest hits" CD. Since they'll
be 40, the Friars see themselves going
through abitofamid-life crisis. "We're
buying a Friars' sportscar, and going to
said. "Hey, at 40 you're not getting any

This year's eight-member a capella
group is made up of Ryan, Menges,
Laura, Sprik, Hoey, Vesbit, MattBejin
and Greg Fortner. And while together
they form a dynamic, fascinating
eight-person core, each has his own
personality, his own trademark.
"I am the master of ending sen-
tences with prepositions," Menges
says. "It's something I've worked very
hard at." Similarly, Vesbit is famous
for his green-and-yellow Snoopy hat,
Sprik is known for the aforementioned
honking sound, Laura always says
something mean about Menges on

J "U""'nP""NNSfU8ily
Call 'em handsome, call 'em cool, call 'em great artists, but whatever you do - don't call the Friars "wacky."

younger!" Vesbit sighs. "We'll be go-
ing through menopause."
Something tells me that even "the

change" can't interfere with the Friars'
success. And their ambitions are grow-
ing. "We want our own 900 number,"

says Vesbit. "That would be cool."
And these guys claim they're n
funny in print.

Hill's 'Tokyo Bound'

the kinks and quirks have been ironed
out of their music, leaving a stream-
lined, muscular roar that has a mass
appeal. Bush follows all of the guide-
lines of "grunge rock" - the guttural
vocals, the loud-soft dynamics, the
thundering rhythms, the moments of
angst-filled introspection - but they
.manage to put everything together in
the right order. It's nothing new or
inspired, but it fits into all the radio
formats and MTV playlists.
"Sixteen Stone" is hardly an en-
gaging record - none of the melo-
dies or riffs catch hold immediately
- but it follows through on the gui-
tar-drenched sound of "Everything
Zen." Fans of that single or its follow-
up "Little Things" won't be disap-
pointed with the record, since nearly
every track follows the same blue-
print. Bush doesn't have much style,
but they work hard and have good
taste, which means that "Sixteen
Stone" is competent modern hard-

rock, but little else.
- Tout Erlewine
Kitchens Of
Cowboys And Aliens
A&M Records
The Kitchens ofDistinction's fourth
album continues along much of the
same lines as their last two releases, but
it's clear that they've progressed quite a
bit from their enjoyable but somewhat
inconsistent albums, "Strange Free
World" and "TheDeath Of Cool." While
both albums had several amazing tracks
such as the unforgettable "Drive That
Fast" and "Can't Trust The Waves,"
many of the songs seemed to lacking in
their melodic arrangements, being too
heavy on atmospherics.
"Cowboys And Aliens," on the
other hand, rectifies this problem bril-
liantly, mostly thanks to guitarist
Julian Swales' attention to melodic
detail, and his knack for balancing the
atmospherics with the perfect hooks
and song structures. As usual, Swales
rarely strays from the high end of his
guitar, but instead of playing pretty
but simple chords, he chooses instead

to fire off some incredible hooks and
melodies, which are present right from
the album's very first track, "Sand On
As is the standard for the Kitchens,
vocalist Patrick Fitzgerald turns several
clever lyrical twists throughout the al-
bum, but his vocal dynamics don't al-
ways appear up to the task of keeping
up with Swales' guitar work. While
does manage to carry the slower songs
such as "One Of Those Sometimes Is
Now" and "Here Come The Swans,"
he tends to hold the songs back some-
what on "Thought He Had Every-
thing" and "RememberMe?," though
the latter remains one of the album's
best tracks due to guest vocalist Katie
Meehan's impassioned vocal stylings.
Even the Kitchens first earnest
attempt at rock music on the title
track benefits from their new ap-
proach, even if it does seem some-
what out of place the first time
through. Overall, though,"Cowboys
and Aliens" is the their strongest
work to date, with songs are both
passionate and beautifully con-
structed throughout.
- Andy Dolan
See RECORDS, Page 9

Hoppy and
Slightly Sweet
Come tast Ashly's
April Guet Draft
338 S. State
Made by thea $ Y unaiewing Company
Thomas M. Cooley Lectures
Forty-first Series

By Gail Mongkolpradit
Daily Staff Reporter
Before this decade, there were
few well known Asian-Americans
in the media such as Bruce Lee,
Pat Morita (also known as the fa-
mous Mr. Miagi) and Connie
Recently, Asian-Americans are
becoming more visible in the me-
dia. On the big screen, viewers
can watch performers such as Joan
Chen. It's not surprising to see
Amy Tan's bestseller books, "The
Joy Luck Club" and "The Kitchen
God's Wife" in bookstores. And
listen to the voice and lyrics of
Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha
on the radio.
Another name you may or may
not recognize today is Amy Hill.
Hill is a Japanese-Finnish-Ameri-
can actress, writer and director.
Although you may recognize Hill
from her various film and televi-
sion credits including "Scrooged,"
"Ghost Dad," "Singles," "Rising
Sun," "Dim Sum," "Beverly Hills
90210," "Night Court" and "The
Tracey Ullman Show," she is most
famous for her role as Grandma
on ABC's "All- American Girl."
Even though Hill had very few
Asian-American role models in the
media when Amy Hill was a child
she always knew that she wanted to
become an actress. "When I was
young, I use to always perform on
my front porch," said Hill. "Be-
cause there were not enough Asian
actors, my dream to become an ac-
tress was a personal fantasy and not
Hill's mother was very support-
ive of Amy's decision to pursue her
acting studies and career. "Because
my mother faced oppression as a
woman in Japan, she could not ful-
fill her dreams to become a per-
former," Hill said. "Now that we are
in America, I can do the things she
never could do."
In the past, it was very difficult
for Asians to go mainstream in the
entertainment industry. As a multi-
racial (Japanese-Finnish-American)
individual trying to start an acting
career, Hill found it extremely diffi-
Amy has definitely fulfilled her
childhood dreams of becoming an
actress. Her theatrical background
includes eight years and over thirty

geles Theater Center.
Hill is happy to be a role model
for Asian-American youths with
dreams. "I want kids of color to9
know that anything is possible for
them," Hill said.
As for her ABC sitcom, "All-
American Girl," Hill is thrilled to
be working with Margaret Cho, the
star of the show. "I'm also proud to
be (in) one of the first Asian-Ameri-
can families on television," Hill
"All-American Girl" focuses
on the trials and tribulations of
Asian- American Margaret Cho,
who is attempting to balance
American culture and the tradi-
tional values of her Korean fam-
When asked about her feel-
ings of another Asian-American
sitcom to follow the trend of sev-
eral African-American and Cau-,
casian sitcoms Hill said, "We live*
in a multicultural world. There
should be a series that shows a,,,
races living and working togetherd
instead of producing more televi-;%
sion series that separate each
At the age of eighteen, Amy-
moved to Japan and lived there,
for six years. "At first I felt like a;
stranger," Hill said. "But then I
explored the experience."
Hill's experience in Japan in-k
spired her to write a semi-autobio1'
graphical cultural odyssey -"To-
kyo Bound." "It started off as a
chronological exploration of (thee
main characters') trip, but gradu-
ally it began to take shape with me-
as the narrator," Hill said. "The
people I met were embodied asĀ°-
"Tokyo Bound" explores Hill's'
internal feelings - from insecurity'
and alienation to understanding and-
acceptance - as she returns to hers
mother's homeland. "

productions at San Francisco's
Asian American Theater Company,.,
The Eureka Theater, L.A.'s Mark
Taper Forumand and The Los An-;

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