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November 13, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-13

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 13, 1996 - 9

Mint Condition sweats

By Jesska Slnons
For the Daily
"After seven years in the music indus-
Zty and releasing three albums, some
"mtisic listeners still don't know what
Mint Condition is all about.
On their current album "Definition
Of A Band," the
┬░nembers of Mint
ndition have set PR
tout to clarify what
heir music is all Mil
about. "i think
N're definitely with Keith
Eing to let a lot of
'itlks know that
We're a band, you know. This is our
,Ihtrd. album and a lot of people don't
"thow that we're a band. We just try to
Tet them know the different flavors we
, said keyboard player and percus-
nist Keri Lewis in a recent telephone
interview with The Michigan Daily.
Mint Condition, a six-member band,
consists of Lewis, guitar player O'Dell,
bass player Ricky Kinchen, keyboards /
sxophone player Jeffery Allen, key-
boards player Lawrence Waddell and
, d vocalist / percussion player Stokley.
With the exception of Ricky Kinchen,
:tiese St. Paul natives first came togeth-
in high school. "Most of the group,
verybody except for Ricky, went to the
same high school, St. Paul Central. And
a lot of us kind of hooked up there and
they had a recording studio there also.
We kind of met
each other
music in
the high


school;" Keri said. "In about '86 we got
together and decided to put together
Mint Condition. After that, Mint
Condition went through a couple differ-
ent little things. This cord came together
in '89. In '89, we went after a recording
contract" O'Dell added.
Mint Condition
, is a self-contained
V I EW entity. The band
t Condition plays all of its own
instruments, writes
Saturday at 8 p.m. its own music and
Fox Theatre, Detroit
eat and Deborah Cox sings all lead and
backup vocals.
Another trait that
sets Mint Condition apart is the unique
and diverse sound expressed in the
band's music. Mint Condition mixes
R&B, jazz, rock, funk, Caribbean and
African rhythms in a style the band
refers to as "gumbo.'
"Everybody just comes from a differ-
ent background," Kinchen said. "Jeff,
you know, his dad had a jazz collection.
Everybody just grew up listening to dif-
ferent types of music. Keri was into
more of, or probably started out listen-
ing to, the Luther and Stevie and the
Teddy Riley and Babyface and L.A. and
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. I'm from
a family of brothers who listen to every-
thing like Led Zeppelin, Jimmy
Hendrix, Band of Gypsies, the Rolling
Stones, Parliament and Funkadelic.
Everybody grew up listening to all the
bands of the '70s, so all of them are
basically our influences.
"You hear some of our influences on
our album, but you also hear Mint
Condition too," Kinchen continued.

with Cox
"You don't just hear us, you know,
copying everybody's tunes. You hear
some of the flavor, but you know, I
think we also just naturally put that
together, being six people in a group.
"If someone comes with a different
style, we don't say, 'Nahw, we don't
want to include that,' whereas another
R&B group might just say 'we just
want to sound like what's on the radio
right now,"' Lewis added.
Mint Condition has also begun to
spread its musical wealth to other artists
and groups around the music industry.
"Well, we're starting off our new pro-
duction company, Mint Factory
Productions, and we've just really dab-
bled into the outside production so far,"
Lewis said. "The group Sultry, we did a
couple songs for them. Jesse Powelle,
we did a song for him. Co-wrote some
stuff for Karyn White and stuff for our-
selves on soundtracks. This summer, we
just really got the production company
started. Once we get stabilized with the
new album, then we're gonna start
doing a lot more production. Also, with
the success of the new album, we start-
ed to get a lot of calls from artists, in the
business, that wanted songs from us."
The band members attribute the con-
tinued success of their music to the
refreshing sense the music provides to
their listeners. "People want to hear
something different. Some people don't
want to hear five songs in a row that
sound the same. They feel happy to hear
something different,' Lewis said.
"I guess one of the other things peo-
ple like is that they're basically getting
us - our feelings, our thoughts,"
Kinchen said. "They're not getting a
bunch of producers who put together a
package for some group or artist.
They're basically getting everything
that we go through."
In parting, O'Dell added, "I
waskind of raised in Ann
Arbor, Michigan. I want to
send out some love to
big my family and people
in Michigan
in dthe


Space Jam' Contest
Hey all you sports fans out there! It's time to celebrate the opening weekend of "Space Jam," starring Michael Jordan and
Bugs Bunny - two of the greatest basketball players of all time. Once again we've got prizes galore for you ... but only, of
course, if you can answer our big question. What Is Michael Jordan's jersey number? Come on folks ... you should know this
one. If you do, stop by the Daily Arts office, located on the second floor of the Student Publications Building (420 Maynard
St.) after 1 p.m. today. If you hurry and answer this question correctly, you will become the new proud owners of "Space
Jam" posters, hats or T-shirts. Don't we treat you well? Get here. NOWT Remember ... supplies are limited. All Warner
Brothers and Daily employees are not eligible to win.
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Servotron serves up a robotic masterpiece

No Room For Humans
phetamine Reptile
Think Man or Astro-Man?, if they
always sang, and you get a pretty good
idea of what Servotron sounds like:
Surfy electronic music with mechanical-
ly inclined human voices. Combine that
with the concept of every song's narrator

being a robot and you've got an album
named "No Room For Humans."
As you might expect, the general
tone of the album is hostile towards us
Homo sapiens. Lines pop up like
"Serve us or die," "Match metal to man
the machine lives" and "Today is your
birthday, weare going to kill you."Hey,
as long as we don't have a robotic rebel-
lion, it's all pretty much fun.
Then there's the ode to the syndicat-
ed show "Small Wonder" titled "I Am

Not A (Voice Activated Child
Identicon)." Anyone who remembers
the cheaply produced sci-fi show from
the '80s will appreciate lines like
"Harriet terminated Harriet shall die
never to find out what is inside."
The words slip by quickly in more or
less flat robot inflections and are very
entertaining. The music will shake your
internal organs with Jetsons Armageddon
party style. Serve them or die!
- Ted Watts

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