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January 29, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-29

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I .VI I l avvI%*IJ-v G L I V U V1 p 5.JJ L i..L.J *IG * LI f t4 K, p1.9 S #5% Iav V .
noticed. The presentation will be at Hill Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets W
are $5 for students.
January 29,1997

Verve Pipe whirls into A2
Latest single, video promise future success

By Brim Cohen
Daily Arts Writer
The trend seems .to be occurring all
* frequently: A new band will land a
hit single on the charts, quickly get
branded as a "next big thing" and then
promptly fall off the face of the Earth.
Fortunately for music listeners, how-
ever, there are a
few bands out there f
with the reservoir .. P
of talent to break Th
that mold and con-
t ue to gain
Ilaim and respect Tickets: $16
with every addi-

to tour.
In fact, The Verve Pipe has been on
tour for the better part of the 3 1/2
years. In a recent interview with The
Michigan Daily, guitarist A.J. Dunning
spoke about the ups and downs of life
on the road.
"We get asked the question, 'Is this


tional release or tour. One such example
is East Lansing's The Verve Pipe, which
will bring its high octane show to Ann
Arbor this evening at the Michigan
A few years ago - just as it would
not have been out of the ordinary to
find the Dave Matthews Band playing
at the University of Virginia - it also
' uld not have been strange to find The
rve Pipe playing colleges all over the
state of Michigan.
In a rather brief period of time, The
Verve Pipe has gone from playing small
gigs, to recording two successful inde-
pendent albums ("I've Suffered a Head
Injury" and "Pop Smear"), to finally
recording and releasing its major label
debut, "Villains," on RCA Records last
After the strong response from both
radio and MTV to its first single,
"Photograph;' the band's premier sta-
tus and unrivaled popularity in the
East Lansing region soon began to
infiltrate the rest of the country -
due in part to its extreme willingness

everything you
thought it'd be and
E V I E WI more?' and usually
Verve Pipe the answer to that
Tonight at 8is yes - solely
Michigan Theater from the aspect of
Cali (810) 645.6666 work. I couldn't
imagine a more
unglamorous lifestyle than the one we
"The work angle of it is not as dire
and gloomy as a lot of people make it
out to be; Dunning said. "We're all
extremely fortunate that we get to do
what we love. It will make a 13-hour
drive not seem so long. It will make get-
ting five hours, or four hours, or three
hours or no sleep not seem so conse-
This honest and selfless attitude
toward its music is only one of the
things that fans find so refreshing about
The Verve Pipe. Perhaps the band's
greatest draw is simply its own power-
fully unique sound.
With his rich and beefy hooks, emo-
tionally energized frontman Brian
Vander Ark has the intensity to grip
listeners of all musical preferences.
The unexpected chord progressions in
songs like "Cup of Tea," "Barely (if at
all)" and the Sugar-esque "Drive You
Mild" boast the raw and uninhibited
spirit of true rock songs lost amidst the
mediocrity of most of today's up-and-

coming bands.
"Music is subjective," Dunning said,
"and if it weren't subjective, everybody
would have the exact same taste, every-
body would listen to the same thing and
everybody would hate the same thing.
We're real persnickety about melody
and about writing things that are valid
as a band - as The Verve Pipe."
And melody just might be the key to
The Verve Pipe's sound. Last week, the
band released a freshly remixed version
of perhaps their most melodic song,
"The Freshman," a poignant and
thought-provoking ballad, which also
happens to be the unanimous favorite of
die-hard Verve Pipe fans across the
"I think the single is almost
anthemic," Dunning revealed. "It's
something that a lot of people have
latched on to. I think it could very well
be a song for us that was like one of
your favorite songs when you were a
kid, and you hear it on the radio now
after all these years and it still invokes
that certain memory or feeling."
Instead of releasing the version of
"The Freshman" that was already on
"Villains," The Verve Pipe decided to
go back to the studio and record an
alternative version of the song.
"The song has gone through a bunch
of different variations amongst the
band," the guitarist said. "We kind of
noodled around with it. But the new
track is, I think, the definite version of
The strength of the single has already
made an impressive impact on radio.
Already, more than 50 radio stations
across the country (including The End
in Seattle and KROQ in Los Angeles)

The Verve Pipe will play the Michigan Theater tonight.

have incorporated the song into their
everyday play lists, all before the offi-
cial radio "add" date. A video for the
suped-up single was also recently shot
in London by Mark Neale (U2,
Counting Crows) while the band was
overseas supporting Kiss' European
reunion tour dates. The video just pre-
miered on MTV's 120 Minutes last
Fans who have seen The Verve Pipe
play live before know very well what
type of explosive show it is capable of
putting on. But concert-goers might

find The Verve Pipe even more
dynamic this time around.
The band has written three new
songs since last year's European tour
and has mixed the new material into
its live set. Dunning described one
new tune, "In between," as being
rather psychedelic and somewhat of a
departure from the more familiar
Verve Pipe-ish sound.
So with a new single and video hav-
ing just been released, what exactly will
1997 hold for The Verve Pipe?
"Everything with us right now is so

much up in the air solely because of
the single," Dunning said. "Lord
knows what'll happen. I can easily see
us out for six months working the sin-
If nothing else is etched in stone for
the future of The Verve Pipe, at least
one thing is certain: The band will con-
tinue to produce great music and
delight its fans with its hard-working,
no-nonsense brand of rock.
Dunning couldn't have said it better:
"It all comes down to the love of what
you do."

Stupidity sinks 'Zeus'

Production humanizes assassins
Basement Arts show offers music, powerful drama

By Juna Shih
Daily Arts Writer
Not long ago, someone told me that
our nation's education system had gone
to hell. Apparently, the people who
made "Zeus and Roxanne" heard the
same thing, as they have created a chil-
dren's movie that
*ults the intelli- R
gence of even the
dumbest kinder-
garten reject.
In the film, a dog
somehow befriends At B
a dolphin, and the
two animals are able to carry out long,
meaningful inter-species conversations.
Not only is that a dumb idea to begin
with, but that's all the plot that this
Movie contains.
Zeus is a dog who belongs to rock-
opera composer and single parent,
Terry (Steve
and his son
While stay-
ing on beau-
tiful Grand
land dur-
gthe sum-
mer, they
discover that
they live
next door to
a dolphin
named Mary
B e t h
m il an)
d her two tt
daughters. Steve Guttenberg stars


In an amazing and stupidly unrealis-
tic fashion, Zeus finds his way onto
Mary Beth's boat, where he meets
Roxanne, a dolphin that Mary Beth is
studying. The two animals begin com-
municating, to the delight of Mary Beth
and the children in the audience. Too
bad everyone else
E V i E W couldn't care less.
While the ani-
Zeus and mals are out hav-
Roxanne ing fun talking
*1 about the weather,
arwood and Showcase the children back
home conspire to
set up the two adults.
"Zeus and Roxanne" is another ani-
mal movie that is targeted toward chil-
dren who aren't even old enough to play
with McDonald's Happy Meal toys.
These children are expected to laugh and
squeal, as the dog does his "cute" head
cocks at the
camera, or as
Roxanne does
the adorable
things that
dolphins do.
these animals
are cute, and
the kids sure
seem to like
them. But for
God's sake, a
semblance of
a plot would
x be nice for
those post
members of
the audience.
"Zeus and e n o u g h,

Free Willy meets Lassie.
"Zeus and Roxanne" desperately makes
an effort to entertain adults who have
been forced to see this trash. The entire
middle part of the movie focuses on the
romance between Terry and Mary Beth.
But these two characters are so unap-
pealing that the effort is a complete
Steve Guttenberg ("Police
Academy") has embarked on a down-
hill slide into abysmal. After last being
seen with the Olsen twins in "It Takes
Two;' he appears to have been typecast
into the role of a single father in a chil-
dren's movie.
Guttenberg's co-star Kathleen
Quinlan's talent is completely wasted in
this preposterous film. Though her char-
acter is probably the most likable in this
movie, that definitely isn't saying much.
The only redeeming aspect of this
movie is the incredible scenery. Miles
of white sand, clear blue water and palm
trees pervade so many shots that most
audience members will be drooling
over the thought of a summer in par-
This film is so unrealistic and stupid
that children should not be allowed to
view it, lest they grow up to have no
sense of reality whatsoever. With so
many other children's movies out in the-
aters, it would be foolish to settle on
this one.
To sum it up, perhaps the only posi-
tive thing that can be said about "Zeus
and Roxanne" is this: At least the Olsen
twins aren't in it.

By Christopher Tkaczyk
Daily Arts Write
For the first time in more than a year,
Basement Arts is producing a musical
in the Arena Theater. Due to a low bud-
get, musicals are not often performed at
the Arena.
However, fine arts senior Randy
Kurstin realized that it was time to
fulfill one of his
dreams. When
S t e p h e n
"Assassins" Thu,




Broadway during -
the Persian Gulf
War in 1991, Kurstin witnessed what
has become regarded as one of the
most daring and enlightening shows
to open in New York City.
Still, Kurstin was not entirely
impressed with the staging of the pro-
duction. He had kept ideas concerning
the show in his head for years before
realizing he wanted to direct it. Kurstin
wanted to keep the same message that
composer Sondheim and book writer
John Wideman originally intended.
And now the time has come. After
three years in production and planning,
"Assassins" opens Thursday to an anx-
ious Basement Arts crowd. Audiences
are excited, not only because of
Sondheim's vibrant score or his moving
lyrics, but also because of the powerful
political message that the show pro-
This musical deals with the lives of
the assassins who have attempted the
life of the most powerful man in the
world - the president of the United

The play does not present these
assassins as crazy neurotics. Instead,
this show humanizes the maniacal
stereotypes who American society has
characterized them to be.
It illustrates the notion that if every
person born in the United States has the
chance to grow up to become president,
then every person
E V i E w also has the ability
to grow up to
Assassins become the a pres-
day-Saturday at 7 p.m. ident's killer.
Friday at 11 p.m. In an interview
Arena Theater, Free with The
Michigan Daily,
Kurstin said that "terrible things can
happen in our country, but no matter
how horrible the events are, the coun-
try will continue. If these people are
just painted as killers, maniacs or out-
casts, then we are just putting them on
the shelf and not dealing with them.
We must make people see that noth-
ing they have done has brought great
change to our country. The United
States is still here and will continue to
be here no matter who kills who.
"Acts like this don't divide the coun-
try; they make it stronger," Kurstin con-
Fine Arts junior Matthew Witten
added, "Everyone makes a choice.
Everyone has their dream and follows
their dream, and that's- what makes
them feel that it is right, because every-
one is entitled to their (American)
To understand what this production
represents, an audience has to be able
to understand the diversity of human

life. All people have their own strong
beliefs on a certain issue. Whether
their beliefs are correct is unimportant.
What is important, however, is that our
country is based upon the ideal that all
people have the right to freely express
an idea or a belief. It is the people who
act out of their compassion who
become our society's heroes. Yet, the
people who go over the edge in their
determination sparks disapproval from
"In order to appreciate America you
have to understand the dark sides. You.
become half a person if you don't,"
Kurstin said.
Audiences should be prepared to
come out of the theater feeling some-
thing for the state of their country -
whether it's a positive or negative feel-
ing depends on the way in which one
interprets the show.
When former New York Times
Theater Critic Frank Rich reviewed
"Assassins" after its opening, he asked
a married couple - who had just come
from the show - what they thought
about the performance. The wife said
that she wasn't sure if she was supposed
to feel pity for the presidents or the
"I think we're supposed to feel some-
thing for ourselves;' her husband
responded. This is what makes
"Assassins" the powerful musical drama
it is. Not only does the play invoke
thought, but it also leaves its audience to
interpret ourselves and our actions.
If you are planning to attend
"Assassins" this weekend, make certain
to arrive early because seating is limit-



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