The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 23, 1996 - 7B
Velocity Girl picks up speed, heads into Ann Arbor's Blind Pig
toy Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
They met in college - four young, hard
working students trying to get an education,
playing some groovy tunes along the way at
parties for extra money, etc. No, they're not
Hootie and the Blowfish. I said groovy tunes.
And well, there was a fifth person, but hey.
It's the typical band-formation story for Ve-
locity Girl. In 1989 Archie Moore (guitar), Kelly
.Riles (bass), Sarah Shannon (vocals) and Jim
Spellman (drums) were all students at the Uni-
versity of Maryland, College Park, and together
with their friend Brian Nelson (guitar), they
decided to make some music. That's where it
has gotten interesting.
With Shannon's sweet songbird-like vocals
and the group's beautiful pop songs played
through their jangly guitars, and don't forget
lots and lots of hard work, Velocity Girl has
established itself as one of the best pop bands
Named after the Primal Scream B-side, "Ve-
locity Girl," Moore said in an interview The
Michigan Daily that the
group's name really
doesn't have any type
of underlying mean- VELOCITY
ing. "We didn't choose F
it out of any loyalty or FUZZY AN
love for that band or Where: The Blin
song. We just thought When: Friday, Al
it sounded good and Doors at 9:30 p.
didn't think anyone Tickets are avai
would pick up on Ticketmaster, (8
where it came from
and about a million people have," he said.
Both Velocity Girl's 1993 debut, Copacetic."
and 1994's "iSimpatico!'
proved the band was a force to
be reckoned with. With the re-
lease of its third LP, "Gilded
Stars and Zealous Hearts."
Velocity Girl proved once
again that powerful pop melo-
ugh dies with good songwriting and
6666 loads of energy can take y\ou to
"Everyone in the band feels it's our strongest-
record yet," Moore said. "We feel that each
record has been a noticeable step for us person-
ally, as far as writing songs and things goes, so
w e're all very happy with it.
"It seems to be a lot more direct and clear," he
continued."The lyrics are a lot less impression-
istic and more understandable. Basi cally, I think
we all played a little better on this record too. We
had more time to lay down our parts and I think
we were more confident in our playing."
With each record, Velocity Girl improves its
See VELOCITY, Page 88
p oppy 1lo.t
By Victoria Salipande
For the Daily
Boston's Fuzzy, like most of the
Northeastern U.S., has had to deal with
the unseasonably cold weather that
plagued the area this Spring. An inter-
view with The Michigan Daily found
the band escaping the frozen tundra of
Massachusetts and taking a break from
touring in sunny Florida.
Featuring bassist Winston Braman,
guitarists Hilken Mancini and Chris
Toppin and drummer David Ryan,
Fuzzy was formed in 1993 when Braman
and Mancini wenttoseeoneofToppin's
soloacoustic shows and decided toform
a band together - a common thing for
Weople to do in a hip city like Boston.
Months later, Fuzzy's self-titled de-
but was released on the pseudo-indie
label Seed, a label Braman called "a
masquerade for Atlantic (Records)." A
move to the TAG/Atlantic label signi-
fied the release of their second effort
"Electric Juices" last March.
With'the exception of "Pop a Dime," a
song th'at Ryan sings, the pretty harmo-
nies of Toppin and Mancini dominate
KYElectric Juices" creating a sound remi-
niscent ofthe Go-Go's during their punk
years. And like Fuzzy's rawer debut, the
album displays the band's ability to write
immediately addictive power pop songs.
Lyrically, "Electric Juices" isn't as
B-52 ffies into area as Just Fred'
By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
Taking a little vacation away from the love shack, B-52's
flamboyant vocalist Fred Schneider is hitting the road with a
brand new record and a brand new sound, potent enough to
rust that tin roof and hard enough to crack the shell on the
toughest rock lobster.
On his second solo effort, "Just Fred," (*** / Reprise)
Schneider's nasal singing finds itself surrounded by swirling
Sex Pistol-distorted guitars and without the B's girlie harmo-
nies to create one of the most original sounding and quite
entertaining albums this year.
"I think it's the best work I've ever FRED SCH
done," Schneider said in an interview
with The Michigan Daily. Where: St. Andre
Don't worry though - the B-52's When: Friday, Ap
haven't called it quits - quite the op- Tickets at all Tic
posite,actually. Schneider, Kate Pierson outlets or by pho
and Keith Strickland have reunited with (810)645-6666.
Cindy Wilson (who was absent from
the B-52's 1992 album "Good Stuff'), and are gearing up to
record a new album sometime, hopefully later this year. In
the meantime however, Schneider has been working with
punk-noise producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Jesus Lizard) to
record "Just Fred," I1 songs of the most serious music
Schneider has ever recorded (although that doesn't say all
With a full record of wild punk anthems, featuring
with '70s punk guitar and Albini's trademarked pounding
drum sounds, "Just Fred" shows a great new dimension to
America's favorite party band's vocalist.
"With the last B's album, we had songs that had no humor
- they were really serious and insightful and all that, but
they're the ones that never get played because everybody just
wants us to be America's party band," Schneider said. "You
do want people to see more than just one side of you, and I
think that frustrates the band because we have all these
different types of songs, but it's like, can't we balance this
out? But that's beyond our control. So for this I said 'Well,
now I'm not gonna give them any joys."'
With guest musicians Six Finger Satellite, Shadowy Men,
Russell Simmons, Rick Simms and a slew of other punker
and new wave pals, Fred pulls off his hard-hitting tracks like
the album's thrashing opener. "Whip," and the goofier "Ra-
dioactive Lady Eyeball."
Other greats like the Pistols-esque "Secret Sharer" and the
rockabilly "Sugar In My Hog." (written about the biker wars
in Montreal), prove that even Fred can put some beef back
into punk rock.
"I'm not Mr. Upbeat Party Boy 24-hours a day," he
admitted. "Actually, to do that, I have to go beyond myself.
What you see on the stage is just an aspect of my personality,
but I have to really
ril 26, 1996.
push everyday when I'm touring. I'm
pretty low key in real life."
The pounding cover of Harry
Nilsson's "Coconut" and the eerie
interesting if nothing else. But it's the
fresh energy and hard rock driven songs
mixed with a voice you expect to scream
"Love shack baby!" at each and every
turn that makes the record a tub of fun.
We are Fuzzy little devils.
cute and sweet. The bitter lyrics to the
hyper "It Started Today" and the lush
"Throw Me A Bone" get covered by the
sugar coating of the music.
If the members of Fuzzy have any-
thing to be bitter about, it would be the
frustration they feel dealing with the
bureaucracy ofa major label by moving
to TAG/Atlantic. For example, a deci-
sion the band members weren't happy
with was the label's decision to release
their cover of the Beach Boys' song
"Girl Don't Tell Me" astheir first single,
instead of an original track.
"It's weird. You find yourself going,
'Well... It'snotwhat I would've picked.'
But I'm not a businessperson. They must
know something that we don't know,"
Braman said of the decision.
Along with the frustrations of being
on a major label, the move from Seed to
TAG/Atlantic also gives rise to inevi-
table topic of indie credibility. "I felt
like we really never were indie. Are we
(indic)? I just want people to hear our
records," explained Braman,
Fuzzy may not be indie, but their
"Electric Juices" are sure to please the
choosiest pop fan and go down easy in
any kind of weather.
"I tried to do really different songs because my voice is sort
of identifiable, and I know I really have to do something,"
Schneider said. "Since I'm not known as a singer, and I don't
consider myself that technically good a singer, I've really
had to work at it so that every song really has a character of
Working hard to be different has always been part of
Schneider and the rest of the B-52's work ethic. The revolu-
tionary new wave band from Athens, Georgia, shook up the
music scene when it began its crazy legacy 20 years ago, and
it's still pushing the boundaries of creativity today.
"That's where we were in Athens, Georgia in 1976 -
we wanted to do music that was totally our own," Schneider
said. "People would say 'Oh, they're bringing back the
'60s.' It's like, we don't want to bringback the damn '60s,
we want to move to the '90s. The clothes we wore were
just a hodgepodge of whatever we could afford in the thrift
shops since none of us had a job that paid more than $50
a week. Our sounds were cheap because we couldn't
afford new instruments, and we6 just wrote the way we
wrote. We listened to a lot of the new wave and punk
things that were coming out, but we weren't going to do
what other people did."