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March 14, 1996 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-14

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4B - The Michigan Daily - WIe , e4. - Thursday, March 14, 1996

Where have the glam bands gone?
Mediocrity abounds in 'rock star' wasteland today

migr te from thDelta and Piedmont areas. He, along with Muddy, By Shannon O'Neill
Howlin' Wolf and Pinetop Perkins, helped establish the sound of For the Daily
post-war blues, some of the most influential music in American It must have happened at the same
history. With his old partner, Sonny Terry, who joined him in moment the first strains of "Hold My
1941, Brownie helped to carry the torch of the old-fashioned Hand" violated my safe and warm uni-
country blues before many current bluesmen were even an itch in verse of musical bliss, forever shatter-
their fathers' pants. So long, Brownie, The battle is over, but the ing my innocent belief in the connec-
war goes on. tion between sensuality and what was
The four original Sex Pistols will be announcing their plans for once known as rock'n'roll. Where are
reuniting at a press conference on Monday, their manager said therock stars? As I wander throughthis
recently. No official word yet, but rumor has it that the world tour schlocky wasteland of generic mono-
will begin in June. Meanwhile, Pistol vocalist John Lydon (for- syllabic bands, I often wonder who the
merly Johnny Rotten) has been whoring himself and recorded the average Joe American was that stole
vocals fora Mountain Dew commercial that's been airing nation- the style from an art form that used to
wide. John Lydon is the real Dirty Old Bastard. dependon acertain sashay, awink. Hell
Blame it on having your Grammy taken away. Milli Vanill lip- even lyrics like "let's spend the night
syncher Rob Pilatus had a little run-in with the law last month. together" sound good compared to the
According to people magazine, the dreadlocked rock star was self-absorbed world-on-our-shoulders
hanging out in Hollywood, early in the morning of Feb. 2, allegedly mockintensityrockoffour-letterbands
intoxicated and drinking from a paper bag. Apparently very drunk, like Bush.
Pilatus decided to try to break into a car parked in a couple's Whaexactlyis"Glycerine"anyway,
driveway. When the wife emerged from the house to scare Vanilli and who cares if Mr. Bush can toss his
away, the lip-syncher attempted to charge through the door, but her bed-head hair and mug for the camera
husband whacked the intruder on the head with a baseball bat. whileholding aguitarat thesametime?
Pilatus was arrested, and later released on bail. Since the infamous Where is Ziggy Stardust? What hap-
expos' of Milli Vanilli, Pilatus was hospitalized after threatening to pened to the glamour? Do we really
jump out of a hotel window, and has openly admitted having a want to pay money to see some dumpy
cocaine problem. Pilatus has reportedly been working on his debut lookinggangofguyshumbly playsongs
solo release, tentatively sat to hit shelves this summer. Can't wait you could hear at any bar? Take care,
for that one, perpetuatorsofmediocrity,becauseyou
The Brit rock band Verve that called it quits last year has decided and your kind are simply a short-term
tonref rm a -butwithout guitarist Nick McCabe. The ne w lineup illness on the timeline of pop culture.
includes -vocalist Richard Ashcroft and the rest the moelicewhptm hscoetosnasep h
except Simon Tong is replacing McCabe on guitar. The band is Rock Stars from the Rock Zeros, but
already in the studio recording, and management is saying they may then we are faced with defining this
even get the record out before the end of the summer. Good luck. ever-ellusive term. Letsjust say arock
- Compiled by James P. Miller and Brian A. Gnatt star is the definition of ego, unbridled,
unyieldingtotheho-hum ofthemasses.
Hearken back to the glory days when
James Brown defined soul and ruled
every inch of the stage, when Jim
Morrison bared it all in the name of
music, and Prince was a one-man sex
machine. What has happened to the
gaudy excess and sexually flamboyant
performance tactics of Jagger and
George Burns, who audiences all over will remember as the cigar- Bowie? Yes, Prince and Madonna still
smoking comic, died this past Saturday, just a few weeks after his 100th carry the residue of '80s raciness, but
birthday. Spanning more than 90 years, Burns' career included what has happened to the '90s?
performances with love of his life, Gracie Allen, movies such as 1970's What's with this new goody-goody
"The Sunshine Boys, the "Oh, God" series, "Just You and Me, Babe, clean-cut approach to performing?What
"18 Again," best-selling books and even an Oscar. Showbiz will we need to cleanse our palates is a new
certainly miss Burns' charisma, wisecracks and witty smile. "Material Girl" video, not another fe-
Check out the 34th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival at the Michigan male singer wallowing alone in her
Theater, from March 12-17. Films by independent and experimental bathroom, or flailing around in her car.
filmmakers from all over will be featured, along with other activitics If'90s rock, however it may be defined
and performances. Hey - maybe you'll even get the chance to meet a this week,expectstoescapethis decade
director at the Festival. Well, what are you waiting for? GO, GO, GO! with agrain ofself-respect, then it must
Batman, anyone? George Clooney is rumored to be the next return to the excess of the great rock
Batman in the flick, "Batman and Robin." Oh no! What happened to monarchy, and embrace the beauty of
our lovely sexpot Val Kilmer, the first Batman ever to have a ego and decadence. British bands like
costume with Bat-nipples? Well, supposedly, Kilmer has some the cockier-than-thou Oasis and the
"scheduling conflicts" (what the hell is THAT allabout, huh?). synth-pop savvy Elastica proudly sup-
Hey, all you "Star Trek" fans: Listen up! According to Entertain- port this image, so why are American
ment Weekly, after months of negotiations, Paramount has finally bands stuck in the Mr. Nice Guy and
picked Jonathan Frakes (that's Commander Riker to you) to direct Ms. Timid Girl rut? It's wrong, it's
the next "Star Trek" movie. The S40 million film will, we hope, land nauseating, it's boring and I don't buy
in the theater this Thanksgiving. thenewcompulsive-martyrdisorderthat
In other humorous news, don't forget to check out Joel and Ethan every new band seems to have con-
Coen's new black comedy "Fargo." And while you're there, don't tracted.
forget to stay for the credits: Listed as "Victim in Field" is none The absence of the sensual swagger
other than our favorite-symbol purpe friend (you know - Prince). of caral bliss that Elvis so kindly pro-
But noooo! Apparently "Victim in Field" is not really the Purpl vided us with in the '50s has ironically
One - Prince has competition for his name ... or symbol ... or been replaced with stifled inner pain,
whatever. In "Fargo" the symbol belongs to the Storyboard A rtist, embodied in the new school of grunge-
formerly known as J. Todd Anderson, who changed his name for his influenced male rockers who thrash,
huge role. But, hello - there's no problem, claims Coen. stomp and frown their way across the
Anderson's symbol is sideways, while Prince's is longways. DUH! stage as if having eternal PMS. Where,
- Compiled by Jennfer Peulinski oh where, have the glam bands gone?
Kiss is "unmasked," Poison has long

Kiss. shown here in a file ohoto. cerformf
good. Now these guys are real rock stars

ed on MTV's "Unplugged" recently, without makeup too, and sounded amazingly
s.

-I

been forgotten, Axl and his bad boy
swagger exited when flannel entered
and frankly, Steven Tyler'sgauntprance
routinehasnotimprovedwithage. Some
wish to bida hearty adieu to these hard
rock standards forthe newly-borsmemo-
tionally aware and faux intense shtick
of the spotlight timid men of rock.
Perhaps such music fans have mis-
taken public conscience-cleansing tac-
tics and Jesus Christ posing for enter-
tainment. I, too, would be willing to
accept this if it were a one-time occur-
rence, but when it becomes a recipe for
"How to Look Like the new Humble
and Socially Enlightened Rock Star," it
fails to tantalize. It's not the content of
the music, nor the integrity of artists
like Eddie Vedder, Trent Reznor and
the late Kurt Cobain that is lacking.
Unfortunately, it's the angst-faced del-
uge of no-talent bands who sneaked in
on their coattails and exploited an art
form into an art farce.
So, where has the masculinity and
sexiness of libido and spotlight em-
bracing gone? Amazingly enough, in
an attempt to sensitize themselves, the
men of rock havetossedthespiritedego
into the hands offemale rock musicians
like Kim Gordon, PJ Harvey, Liz Phair
and the ever-abrasive Courtney Love
-all female rockers who aremorethan
willing to use what they have without
an ounce of shame or self-pity.
These women sashay and swagger to
the unbridled sensuality of power, and
are thankfully using the stage of music
not to hide, but to display both physical
and lyrical ingenuity. When these
women pick up a guitar, they define
rock'n'roll and its hearty "screw you"
mentality, not to mention its flamboy-
ant style. You wouldn't see these ladies
strut onto the stage in yesterday's T-
shirt and jeans, because they know the
world of rock is more a show than
anything else.
Maybe the boys have had it too good
for too long, and the excessive living
was too much to handle. An evolution

The artist formerly known as Prince will now be known as Prince again.
towardmalevulnerability afterallthese eyeliner and a sequined shirt now and
years? Ha. I would rather see intelti- then, so be it. We need more female
gence swathed in ego, rather than hid- musicians who can manipulateacrowd
ing behind the guise of musician as with a mighty cynical presence --:
martyr. Inner conflict is well and good, more gratuitous whining and dodging
but self-destruction in the form of the ofthespotlight. Rock'n'roll isdesigned
Atlas complex has gotten boring. to give pop culture a sound smack, not
What the '90s music scene needs is a to be a forum for self-flagellation. So
return to the sweet decadence of style. let's demand a return to the glory days.
We need men who are willing to take Music is crying for sassiness, and tbi
the power back, and give the music days will be dark until it returns.
back its flavor. If it employs hair spray,

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