Confessin' the blues
Guy Davis, a writer, actor and musician, plays hard-driving Delta tonight
at the Ark. Davis also will delve into old-school blues with tunes by
Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and others. The show starts at 8 p.m., and
admission is free.
April 17, 1996
nn Arbor's favori
By Mark Carison
and Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Arts Writers
Rock critic extraordinaire Lester
Bangs used to say that Iggy Stooge
(long since known to the world as Iggy
Pop) was one of the greatest showmen
Earth. He claimed that what made
so great was
that he wasn't a_
rock star. He
around stage in the
sequins and tas-
sels that were so
popular with his
fellow '70s rockers. He was not the
pompous figure of wealth and greed
*t many of his stadium rock counter-
parts seemed to stand for.
On the other hand, Iggy didn't even
pretend to sympathize with or relate to
the audience that adored and despised
him at the same time. He did not pre-
tend, like so many "musicians," to be
any better or any worse than the poor
schmucks who were shelling out their
hard-earned cash to see him perform.
He was 100 percent willing to do
whatever it took to get his crowd riled
*. If they threw things at him, he
would rub what-
ever it was all over
his face and body,
and then taunt
them to throw
more. Ifthe crowd
cheered wildly for
him, he would tell
i them to shut up.
In a rock world
spoiled and jaded
rock stars, and bar
bands who look
and act just like
the frat boys next
door, we desper-
ately need Iggy
least Iggy Pop.
rggy's still there Iggy attended Ann
forus,just as wild School until he gra
and flamboyant as
he was when the Stooges slashed their
way out of a small but thriving Ann
Arbor scene to take the world by storm
and rock the foundations of live and
Released earlier this year, Iggy's new
ord, "Naughty Little Doggie," cap-
The Afghan Whigs
te son hits the State
Check into the 'Grand
Hotel' this weekend
tures some of the raw and powerful
sound of the Stooges with a batch of
fresh tracks. "I don't sit and listen to it
everyday, but when I happen to hear it,
I always smile, so that's a good sign,"
Pop said in a recent interview with The
Michigan Daily. "I smile and my butt
wiggles or my foot taps, or whatever
part is free at the
Iggy Pop portofhisnewre-
State Theater band (all consid-
April 14, 1996 erably younger
and more Alice .-
Chains looking than the Iggster), tooK
over the State Theatre on Sunday night
for a homecoming show to remember.
At 48 years old, Pop still has the raw
power and excitement to whip crowds
into the same frenzy that he created
back in the '70s.
"Well I guess I'm just a raw guy,"
Pop, a one-semester student at the Uni-
versity, said. "I really hate canned food
and canned music. I think America's
musicians in general have really let the
country down. That's why everybody's
in such a pissy mood here all the time.
Most of them just go along with it.... It
all sounds so
canned like dead
the stage with the
same old violent,
titude, Iggy and
his crew kicked
off the show with
the first track on
the new album, "I
band played hard
rockin', but they
were just trying to
r keep up with Iggy.
ft/ So was the audi-
at he was refer-
ring to them as
rbor's Pioneer High "You fuckheads,"
iated in 1965. and taunting them
when they threw
cups of ice in retaliation.
Next, it was time to remind every-
body of the power of the Stooges.
Launching into "Down On The Street,"
the first track from the 1970 master-
piece, "Funhouse," the band set the
room on fire. A crowd consisting of
Iggy clearly has aged well since his innocent days as a young Ann Arbor resident.
By Melissa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
Gary Bird is having trouble talking
about "Grand Hotel," the Musical The-
ater Department's upcoming produc-
"It's like, how do you talk about
abstract art? You don't," he said. "You
just see it." And the same can be said for
the Luther Davis-George Forrest-Rob-
ert Wright-Maury Yeston
musicalization of Vicki Baum's 1928
novel. You really can't talk about it;
you just have to see it.
What makes "Grand Hotel" so inde-
scribable is what also makes it such an
achievement in musical theater. It is
what critics and aficionados have come
to call a "concept musical," like Stephen
Sondheim's "Company" and Michael
Bennett's "A Chorus Line." Rather than
relying on a linear plot and traditional
narrative structure, the concept musical
relies more on a theme or idea.
In "Company," the concept is a single
man surrounded by marriage. In "A
Chorus Line," it is the notion of audi-
tioning for a show, or being on the
employment line. In "Grand Hotel," it
is life in the lobby of a glitzy hotel in
decadent 1928 Berlin. And as is par for
a concept musical, the story lies not so
much in a throughline as in an inter-
weaving of narrative, musical and vi-
The concept of "Grand Hotel" ap-
pealed to Bird, making his Power Cen-
ter directorial debut. "It's just different
enough so that it's a new kind of musi-
cal without being so radically different
that people won't recognize it as being
a musical," Bird explained. "In other
words, it ain't Rodgers and
One wonders if "Grand Hotel" could
be farther from those old standbys R
Where: Power Center
When: Tomorrow through Saturday
at 8 p.m, Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $12-$16
($6 students). Call 764-0450.
and H. In the lobby of the world's most
expensive temporary residence, we meet
people from every walk of life: the
aging ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya
(Allison Buckhammer), on yet another
farewell tour; the handsome but impov
erished Baron Felix Amadeus
Benvenuto von Gaigern (Glenn Allen),
a nobleman relegated to thievery; the
terminally ill bookkeeper, Otto
Kringelein (Adam Hunter); the ambi-
tious but extremely naive young typist,
Flaemmchen (Jessica Cauffiel).
There are narrative elements in the
story - the Baron's love for the balle-
rina, Flaemmchen's attempted rise from
poverty, Kringelein's search for life in
the face of death - but they come in
fragments, from all sides.
"You know how when you're sitting
in a lobby or in any public place and
you're people watching, you look at
one part of the lobby and you get oreb
scenario just by seeing the physical life
of it? And you look at another part of
the lobby and you see another
storyline?" Bird said. "So these
storylines are happening concurrently,
outside of the linear time frame."
Complementing the simultaneous
storylines is another characteristic of
the concept musical, the use of various
theatrical elements to contribute to the
narrative. In "A Chorus Line," dance is
the predominant narrative tool;in "Com-
pany," the music. But in "Grand Ho-
tel," music, dialogue and choreographed
See HOTEL, Page 9
mostly middle-agedmen has neverbeen
so rowdy. Iggy, who has always been a
purely sexual personality, climbed on
to one of his guitarists' pair of Marshall
stacks and decided that it would be a
good time to, well, um, hump them. A
lot. Iggy's always been into shock value.
Throughout the show, he continued
to run around the stage like a bratty 12-
year-old, humping everything possible
(including a young woman who some-
how made her way onto the stage),
tearing through a set that balanced
Stooges material, his older solo mate-
rial and songs from "Naughty Little
The new songs were not as well re-
ceived by the crowd, although most of
them sounded great. One notable ex-
ception was "Look Away," a slow new
tune that starts dead and never goes
Other new songs were as powerful as
the Stooges' material. "Heart Is Saved,"
for example, found the band playing
something of a midwestern rock an-
them, and playing it well.
"Knucklehead," also from t), new disc,
got the crowd into the show almost as
much as the old favorites.
The rather dubious "Pussy Walk"
was quite a hit with the mostly male
crowd, proving that Iggy's still got the
sexual drive of a 16-year-old. While
one of the more interesting songs on
"Naughty Little Doggie," "Pussy Walk"
talks about Iggy's desire to "experi-
ence" a Latin American woman.
"It's just like the first verse says -
a walk down 14th Street, and basically
it was a moment of crystalline realiza-
tion of the cultural distance between
several of the women I saw and my-
self," Pop said in a rather scholarly
tone. "I thought, 'Gee, do I really wanna
pass the rest of my life without knowing
more about this?' Idecided'No, I don't,'
and then took steps to rectify the situa-
tion. Things have changed, consider-
ably so.... I took a trip to Argentina ...
and I thought, 'Well, here's the perfect
opportunity to learn more about those
Latin American women."
The new material sounded good, but
Pop's older solo material won the crowd
over the most, especially the 1977 clas-
sic "Lust For Life" and the more recent
"5 foot I." In the latter, Iggy brilliantly
cried "I'm only five-foot-one, but I'm
doing everything a five foot one guy
can do." And he certainly was.
In possibly the best performance of the
evening, Iggy kicked out the Jams on
"Search And Destroy," a favorite from
the David Bowie produced final Stooges
album, "Raw Power." Here, amongst the
furious power chord riffing, he demon-
strated exactly why he is often referred to
as the Godfather of Punk, even if he
doesn't take the title too seriously.
"(That title) makes me smile at this
point," he said. "It's been repeated so
often, it's funny. It's like saying fjorded
in your future over and over again. It
just becomes meaningless. I don't think
anything of it. It doesn't matter as long
as they put Iggy next to it. That's all that
"Am I vain? Have I shame? Are my
thoughts of a man who can call himself
ne?" Afghan Whigs vocalist Greg
Dulli has taken introspection and guilt
to a new level, and that's only in the
The Afghan Whigs' newest release,
"Black Love," is a bombastic musical
achievement, dragging cellos, an or-
gan, a hammer dulcimer, a clarinet and
even sleigh bells into the musical me-
lee. The Whigs pull it off with ease,
making blame, denial and crime an en-
able feast for the ears.
The diverse instrumentation makes
for a distinct sound beyond other Whigs
fare. There is a definite funk element
coursing through all eleven tracks, most
detectable in "Blame, etc" and "Honky's
Ladder." A strong bass line weaves and
transforms itself through each song,
most expertly in "Going to. Town,"
which sounds like a lost '70s' track.
The entire album swims in a bluesy
#ment, coming to the surface through
a combination of Dulli's raspy trade-
mark "baby please" vocals and distor-
"Step Into the Light" may be the
sparsest sounding song on the album,
but also the most memorable for lines
like "The drug of your smile has gone
and left me alone." Basically, Dulli is
singing the blues about love and re-
mption against the background of a
,zying musical combination. You can
almost picture him sitting alone at a bar,
lamenting a lost love, while nursing a
All of the tracks complement each
other, alternating between in your face
explosions of percussion and vocals, to
sparse string arrangements and organ
highlighted ballads. The up and down
rhythm of the album creates an emo-
tional roller coaster ride. Tracks like
"Crime Scene Part One" and "Honky's
Ladder" deal with a criminal mind, while
"Summer's Kiss" and "Faded" are
strictly about love and escape. This is
far beyond the ego angst of the bands
last release, "Gentleman." Though there
are points when they get lost in their
own swirl of instruments, and Dulli's
off-key chanting gets monotonous, the
album still remains an excellent display
of talent. "Black Love" is an album
influenced by a gritty city landscape,
which the Whigs expertly draw from
both musically and lyrically, unafraid
to expand on a good thing.
- Shannon O'Neill
My favorite comic in the world is Bill
Cosby. What puts him on a plane above
other stand-up comics is his ability to
entertain without relying on the basest
of vulgarities. He doesn't even curse
(except for maybe once or twice). He's
funny without being overly offensive;
with Cos, we can all laugh together.
New scene: rap music. Back in the
day rap music was similar to Cosby. It
entertained without being overly offen-
sive. As time went on, rap styles im-
proved, but greater reliance on sexual
innuendoes and wanna-be gangsta atti-
tudes began to sink rap music into an
inescapable pit. True, some rappers use
these vices to better elaborate upon the
situation from which many of them
grew. Yet we can't deny that there are a
helluva lot of fakers out there who talk
a bunch of B.S. about shooting glocks,
selling dope and getting jocked by ho's
all for the purpose of selling their piti-
fully wack CDs.
The only people who rap about "fun"
stuff are the Miami sound makers, and
there's only so much 2 Live Crew/95
South music I can stand. This is where
Count Bass-D comes in. He's no booty
music mogul whose videos will feature
50 women shaking it like sluts-for-hire.
He's a normal guy rapping about normal
things. He combines the best of past and
present by rapping a new-school style
with an old-school attitude.
Count Bass-D is a comic trapped in a
rapper's body. His hollow voice and tight,
laid-back lyrics, rapped alongside some
smooth, slightly bassy beats, will have
you chillin', and the jokes he throws in
almost every song will have you bustin'
out laughing before you know it.
Hejumps into his humorous antics in
song one, "The Dozens," with the re-
frain: "Yo mama, yo daddy / Yo greasy
granny got a hole in her panties / Got a
big behind like Frankenstein / Go 'beep
beep beep' down Sesame Street." His
"T-Boz Tried to Talk to Me!" will have
you trippin', as will "The Hate Game,"
where he plays the little word game
they taught us in second grade: "Hate,
hate bo bate, banana-fanna fo fate, fe-
Count Bass-D goes against the ste-
reotypical rapper image many times.
While Biggie Smalls(and everyone else
in some way or another) gloats about
his "pockets filled to the rim with
Benjamins," Count Bass-D discusses
what most of us know more about -
being broke. On "Broke Thursday," he
tells us what his father always told him:
"If you hang with nine broke friends,
you bound to be the 10th one." In his cut
"Sunday School," Count Bass-D be-
gins by singing a little of the children's
gospel song "This Is the Day (That the
Lord Has Made)" before giving a rap
account of his childhood in the church.
He pays his respect "'cause I am where
I am 'cause of Sunday School."
Sometimes he raps; sometimes he
sings. Sometimes he's serious; some-
times he silly. "Pre-Life Crisis" is a
superb collection of 14 cuts that are all
Count Bass-D. Count Bass-D takes us
back while putting out a CD for the
present-day man. In doing so, he has
perhaps created a vision for rap's fu-
ture. He's definitely different, and never
before has being so very different been
so very better.
- Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS, Page 8
'Jessica Caufiel and Adam Hunter star In "Grand Hotel" at the Power Center.
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