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October 17, 1996 - Image 20

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-17

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8B - The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - Thursday, October 17, 1996.
Los Lobos sizzles
with Tex-Mex mix of
funk, jazz and blues

0

The Michigan Daily Weekend M

Student Focus
Student revives environmental "

group, builds up

By Anders Smith-Undall
For the aily
Ia you're going to be in the audience
a<t tonight'sappearance of Los Lobos at
the Michigan Theater, be sure to brig
an appetite for fun - and you'd better
not be a finicky eater. Known as an
energetic and entertaining live act, Los
Lobos will serve up a generous portion
of rock 'n' roll, funk and blues, spiced
heartily with plenty of traditional
Mexican folk and sizzling Tex-Mex
styles.
Los Lobos began its career more than
two decades ago in the Latino barrio of
East Los Angeles, playing traditional
Mexican folk music. In time, they
began to broaden their style to incorpo-
rate rock and blues. By the mid-'80s
they scored their first major hit song
with a cover of the Richie Valens-
penned title
track from the Los Lobos
movie "La v~WithguesNilL
Bamba."
In 1992, Los v When: Tonight
Lobos released
the album V Whre: Michigan
"Kiko" to
much critical ~ Tickets: Availabk
acclaim. Over Schoolkids' Recofds
the last decade, TicketMaer outlet
they have been 6666'
nominated for
s e v e r a l
G r a m m. y
Awards and have become a mainstay on
adult album alternative radio stations,
one of the country's fastest-growing and

most popular formats.
Throughout its development and rise
to critical and commercial success, Los
Lobos has continued to explore and
expand its sound, incorporating a truly
diverse set of influences which run the
gamut from blues to free jazz to pop. In
a recent interview with The Michigan
Daily, Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin
discussed, among other topics, the
roots of the band's genre-bending
sounds.
"Guys like Howlin' Wolf, John Lee
Hooker, Jimmy Reed; (they influenced)
everyone.... For myself, Tom Waits is
one. Sun Ra. And NRBQ. To be honest
with you, they've always been inspiring
to me," Berlin said.
"I think one of the cooler things
about my band is that everybody's got
different people that they would
name(as influ-
ences). I know
David (Hidalgo,
-a Lobos guitarist,
vocalist and song-
writer) would prob-
heater ably say early
Fleetwood Mac,
torn Peter Green and
rnd all Albert King. Cesar
810) 645- (Rosas, singer-
songwriter-gui-
tarist) would proba-
bly say Hendrix,
more than
anybody. Everybody in the band would
probably have a different list,' Berlin
said.

Eclectic Los Lobos is set to rock the Michigan Theater tonight.

Undoubtedly, each of the influences
named can be heard in any Los Lobos
record. But Berlin is quick to state that
this is not the result of any meticulous
planning on the part of the band. "We
never really think about, 'Oh, what a
jumble of stuff we've used.' To us, it's
just kind of like the threads of the fab-
ric; we just kind of weave it together.
"But I'll be totally honest with you.
We never, ever premeditate anything.
Ever. So, basically what we do is we
show up at the studio and just see where
our music's going to lead us that day,"
Berlin said.
"It's never like, 'Oh, gee, we'll use
funk and blues influences on this
record.' It's a combination of being
open-minded and having (longtime
Lobos producers) Mitchell Froom and
Tchad Blake there to encourage that.

And having a really low boredom and
bullshit threshold. Whenever anything
seems even remotely off or fake or

Berlin said.
This sense of spontaneity was only
exacerbated by the conditions under

weird or not
part of the
Gestalt, if you
will, it gets
tossed out and
we start over
again or we go
back to where it
last was honest.
So with all
those different
coefficients on
the deal, the last
two records
have been really

We show up at
the studio and just
see where our
music's going to
lead us that day. "
- Steve Berlin
Los Lobos Saxophonist

which

the

Lobos' current
a I b u m,
" C o l o s s a I
Head," was
recorded. "We
had just finished
a really grueling
soundtrack for
the movie
' F e e l i n g
Minnesota,"'
B e r 1 i "
e x pl1ai n ed:

pleasant to make; really enjoyable,
very exciting, every day there's some-
thing cool and different going on,'

ware RecordinT * I-
s ~Artists from t ant?-4 a t'oO'.3GP= N M
'Ba IV * MULTI COLOR SPECIALISTS
ee " ARTIST ON STAFF
f " RUSH ORDERS
k NEAR U OF M CAMPUS
S1211 PROSPECT,ANN ARBOR 665-1771
-&@i Pc Hour 49 FFwith this ad.

I

"Usually when
we go into a record we will have had a
little bit of time off; in this case, we
didn't ... So just sort of being deplet-
ed, in a sense, made this record simpler
and closer to the bone ... I think we
made a really cool record and I'm real-
ly happy with it and really proud of it,"
he concluded.
"Colossal Head" was released in
March of this year; since then, the band
has spent a considerable amount of
time on the road in support of the
record. While the members of Los
Lobos love performing, such extensive
touring takes its toll. Said Berlin,
whose wife is currently expecting the
couple's second child, "I can't say that
(touring's) like a complete nightmare,
but at the same time, everybody's got
families that they miss a lot. Quite
frankly, the way I look at it is that's
what they pay me for -- to put up with
missing my family."
Consequently, the band intends to
continue to contribute to movie
soundtracks (their credits to date
include "La Bamba," "Desperado"
and "Feeling Minnesota") partly
because these projects do not require
a touring commitment. As Berlin said,
"It's a really good way to not have to
leave home, and to make money, and
to make music. For creative guys like
ourselves - and I say that with all
due modesty - it's a great way to do
stuff and to keep going and to make
interesting music between albums." In
addition, the band plans to "either dol
v i rr 'See i:SSOPage9B.

By Elizabeth Lucas
Daily Arts Writer
If a student organization were not all
they expected it to be, most students
would leave the group and try to find
one they liked better.
When Ami Grace was in this situa-
tion, she did leave temporarily - but
returned to strengthen and improve her
organization.
Grace, a School of Natural
Resources and Environment senior,
joined the group ENACT
(Environmental Action) in her first year
at the University.
ENACT has
existed at the
University since A lot L
the 1970s, but it
has "gone don't rea
through fluctua-
tion periods," environn
Grace said. "It
kind of died at i
the end of my
s o p h o m o r e
year."
year."the rainh
Although
Grace and Angie
Farleigh, also an School of Na
SNRE senior, sehorfa
were the only senior and
two members of
the group at the beginning of their
junior year, Grace was motivated to try
and reform the organization. Grace said
she had been interested in environmen-
tal issues since high school, but had
specific ambitions for ENACT.
"The reason I'm so into it now is that
1 quit ENACT my freshman year,"
Grace said. "There was all this stuff that
could be done, but wasn't getting
done. "
At that time, Grace had several other
commitments at the University. She
was active in Phi Sigma Pi, a coed
honor fraternity, and was part of the
University's peer mentorship and public
service internship programs. Still, she
saw ENACT as a higher priority. As she
ruefully commented about her senior
year, "I quit everything for ENACT this
year."~
Farleigh agreed with Grace on the
importance of ENACT. "I think that
having people aware of environmental
issues is important," she said. "A lot
of people don't realize environmental
issues are more than saving the rain-
forest. It has to do with drinking a
glass of clean water, or breathing
clean air.,
Grace said that ENACT is currently
working on increasing its membership,
which has been the most difficult part
of restarting the group. "Since last year
we've been kind of building up num-
bers," she said. "We know there are
people who care about this issue. The
problem was getting them, then getting
them excited and interested enough to
want to stay."
Grace has worked to maintain
ENACT's ongoing projects, such as
petitions and letter-writing campaigns.
"We tend to get a lot of people who

A people
Mize
rental
re more
tsaving
rorest"
-Angie Farleigh,
aural Resources
ENACT member

want to do stuff int
added.
ENACT should be]
campus for the res
"We're going to work
again, and we'll pro
Great Lakes issues,
We'll be working o
cling easier in the do
said.
The group has also
er events. Last year
sored projects for E
organized a benefitc

membership
the dorms," she plays a part outside the University.
"We're part of a group: called SEAC
highly visible on (Student Environmental Action
t of this year. Coalition).- we're a chapter of
on Earth Week theirs;" she said. She also described
)bably work on ENACT's work with other college
like pollution. environmental groups during the Free
n making recy- the Planet campaign, which fought
rms, too,' Grace against environmentally harmful leg-
islation.
worked on larg- Farleigh was confident that
ENACT spon- ENACT will remain a strong organi-
Earth Week and zation after she and Grace graduate.
concert to raise "There are two or three people that I
money for envi- know will carry it on. I think that it'll
ron m ental stay active."
issues. While For her part, Grace plans to continue
the group is working actively on environmental
funded by issues. She is currently double-major-
MSA, ENACT ing in resource ecology and environ-
also holds fund mental policy.
raisers to sup- Grace has already made several plans
port its pro- for her future. "I'll probably work in the
jects. nonprofit scene for a couple years, then
One major go to grad school. I want to look at the
project for interface between science and environ-
ENACT was mental policy."
completed last Still, Grace's graduation will most
week. The likely make a difference to the group.
group arranged Not everyone can revitalize an organi-
for Sierra Club zation in a matter of two years.
President Adam As LSA senior Jason Pasatta
Werbach to summed it up, "Ami Grace is one of the
ty. most devoted people at this University
he group is also - she makes a real conscious effort to
nter 1998 theme do things that make a difference. She
have to do with goes out and does things, instead ofjust
ies. She said talking."
possible speak- EIf you know someone you would
sses. like to nominate for the Student Focus,
hat ENACT also e-mail estavros@umich.edu.

School of Natural Resource
ronmental group ENACT.

speak at the Universi
Farleigh said that t
helping to plan the wi
semester, which will
environmental issu
ENACT will suggest
ers and topics for cla
Grace explained th

f>

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