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January 15, 1997 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-15

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 15, 1997

The Lizard walks into Detroit tomorrow

0

Bytefin Bartos
Daily Arts Writer
When you tour as much as the Jesus
lizard, you get a little hungry. Night
ate-"night, the Lizard has to whet its
a gite with something to keep it inter-
and new, which is why change
seems to be the
special on the P F
menu lately.
Let's see: The The
last few months
have brought major Tomor
chaltges to the
b d. First, the
band left its long time label Touch and
Go to sign with Capitol. Then, just
recently, drummer Mac McNeilly
decided to call it quits after almost
seven years with the band. Vocalist/
gourmet/resident psycho David Yow
taked about the split while cooking
during a telephone interview with The
Michigan Daily.
"With the amount of touring we've
been doing over the years, (Mac) just
wasn't getting to spend the time that he
needed to with his family" Yow
explained. "He had said that if we could
do half the amount of touring in '97 that
we did in '96, then he said he could
stick with it, but we can't do that ...
Ycan't pay rent and mortgage and

s
roA

stuff on 40 shows a year."
McNeilly was replaced by ex-Mule
drummer Jim Kimball. "He's an old
friend, and Mac even suggested when
he split, he said, 'You should get Jim
Kimball,' and we said, 'OK."'
David Yow, bassist David Wm. Sims
and guitarist Duane
Denison formed the
EV I EW core of the Jesus
esus Lizard Lizard back in
w at St. Andrew's Hal1987, when they
Tickets $10 started writing and
with Brainiac practicing what
would become their
first EP, "Pure" a couple of years later.
"Pure" featured a drum machine, and
soon after its release, McNeilly was
called upon for his services. The group
proceeded through the early '90s with
four full-length albums and one EP on
Touch and Go, and a live one on Giant
Records, all having four-letter titles, for
God knows why.
In late '95, the Jesus Lizard left Touch
and Go to sign with Capitol. "It was
never that we were unhappy with Touch
and Go. I mean, they always did a great
job. We still love them," Yow explained.
"But there are some things they can't do
.... With us getting on in years and
needed financial security for the future,
we needed more money. Capitol seemed

to have the best understanding of what
we were about. They didn't expect us to
write a pop album like some of the other
record companies did"
"Shot;' the Lizard's Capitol debut,
came out last April. It's not pop, but it is
a different .so'und for the band.
"Honestly, I think that in some ways it's
our best t-ecord,"Yow said. "As a whole,
l think it sticks together better ... .I
really honestly wish all our records had
sounded that good." The album sounds
a lot more produced and less muffled,
something owed all to GGGarth.
"He came highly recommended by
the Melvins, who are friends of ours,"
he said. "Those guys are such cynics
that if they say something nice about
somebody, then you can believe it."
Although the music is a little more
adventurous and mature, the lyrics are
just as random and picturesque as on
past albums, all thanks to the Stephen
King-like mind of Mr. Yow.
The Jesus Lizard sound is hard to
describe. "The best comparison I ever
read was a cross between Led Zeppelin
and The Birthday Party," Yow said. "It's
loud, aggressive rock 'n' roll. That's
what I usually tell people my parents'
age. I don't expect them to be hip to
what kind of music's going on nowa-
days." The Jesus Lizard is more of a

schizophrenic, nightmarish horror
movie. Bassist Sims drives the songs,
while Yow's drunken, muffled, unintelli-
gible-at-times vocals add fuel to the
fire.
The best way to ingest the Jesus
Lizard is to see them live. No other
band on tour right now puts on quite as
an intense or beer-drenched show as the
Lizard. Yow said Budweiser is essential
to his theatrics. "There's kind of a fine
line I like to reach which I call 'lubri-
cated.' I don't like to pass that line
'cause then I end up being drunk and
sloppy and liable to hurt myself and get
the other guys mad at me,' Yow
explained.
As for groups who like to stay fresh
with bottled water during a show, Yow
said, "Well, you know, they're all stupid
and they don't know anything about
rock. They're all a bunch of pussies."
After this short tour, the Jesus Lizard
hopes to start recording a new album in
April. It has been 13 months since
"Shot" was finished. "Hey, time flies
when you're standing up,"Yow said.
What's next for the band? Yow replied,
"We're gonna have breakfast in a minute
As we speak, I'm fixing the best
micas anybody ever had." Hope he fixes
enough for the whole band, 'cause
they're gonna get hungry this year.

The Jesus Lizard: (from left) Yow, Denison, the recently departed McNeilly and Sims.

Comedy on the campaign trail with 'My Fellow Americans'

By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
Considering that 1996 was an election year, surprisingly
few movies dealt with the onslaught of political rhetoric that
the country suffered through during:the presidential cam-
paign.
.n fact, the only movie attempting to poke fun at the high-
est office in the land, "My Fellow Americans;' is playing in
theaters everywhere, more than two months after the comple-
tion of the campaign. Although an earlier release date may
have served the film better, it is hardly the main reason that
the movie, despite a few funny scenes, fails to take advantage

of its encouraging premise.
The story begins with a series of acceptance and conces-
sion speeches, highlighting the results of the last few presi-
dential elections. Russell Kramer (Jack Lemmon), a
Republican, serves
R EVIEWone term, only to
REVIE "lose his office to

My Fellow
Americans
At Showcase

Democrat Matt
Douglas (James
Garner), who in turn
lasts only four years,
when he is beaten

L T
till P ETS

IME!s
549 E. University
Second Floor

by the current GOP president, William Haney (Dan Akroyd).
Like most retired presidents, Kramer and Douglas refuse to
give up the limelight, and thus spend their time on the lecture
circuit, writing books and playing in celebrity golf tourna-
ments. That is, until they become involved in a brewing pres-
idential scandal. The ex-Commanders in Chief, who know
enough to implicate Haney, find their lives in danger, as the
President's security team attempts to rub them out.
The only way to save themselves is to go to the media with
proof of the president's wrongdoings. Unfortunately, all of the
incriminating documents have been altered. But, the meticu-
lous Kramer has copies of the evidence in his personal library
in Cleveland. So, the two former leaders must somehow avoid
Haney's men, and get to Ohio in order to salvage their lives
and possibly rejuvenate their political careers.
The first part of"My Fellow Americans" manages to be an
engaging satire of both the office of the presidency and the
men who have filled the position. At this point, the more
politically-based humor is sharper than later on in the film.
All of the charac-
ters introduced
(especially the
presidents) have
major moral,
intellectual, and /
or judgmental
shortcomings that
perfectly docu-
ment the public's
cynical opinion of
their leaders in
Washington.
However, once
President Haney
starts trying to
assassinate his
rivals, the film-
begins to fall
apart. First, it
becomes an irri-
tatingly conven- Jack Lemmon and James Garner wave t
tional chase movie - ---- ---
as the president's bumbling security force tries to catch
Kramer and Douglas. Included are the obligatory train and
car sequences, which lack any suspense, creativity, or realism
whatsoever.
Second, the director attempts to generate laughs simply by

putting two ex-presidents of opposite parties, who hate each
other, together and making them rely on their enemy for s;
vival.
Naturally, Kramer and Douglas bicker their way into
friendship, making the film seem like a kind of "Grumpy Old
Presidents." However, "My Fellow Americans" lacks the
infantile wit of the two "Grumpy Old Men" films, and
Lemmon and Garner's performances are forced. In addition,
the banter between the two politicians, which earlier focused
on the inadequacies of their administrations, is replaced by
jokes about the inadequacies of their erections.
Finally, the tone of the movie shifts in the second half, as
the presidents meet the common people who are being*
saken by the government. Annoyingly, it becomes obvious
that the first part of the film exists only to dramatize the
transformation of the two main characters from selfish politi-
cians to idealistic crusaders. Suddenly, after meeting John
and Jane American, Russell and Douglas develop hearts and
want to save the country. Idealism (or in this case cheese) is
acceptable, but
not when it so
shamelessly abus-
es corruption to
set itself up.
Yet, there
something inher-
ently likable
about "My Fellow
x American s."
There are some

r j
.

VBOOKSTORE I
Call Grade A Notes @ 741-966
Course packets conveniently sold at
"°° Ulrich's Bookstore & Michigan Book & Supply.

9

I

I

. t

amusing scenes
and the general
premise is rather
clever. Moreover,
both Lemmon
Garner have me
type of amiable
personas that
-instantly make
their films more
he crowd as they hit the campaign trail. enjoyable. But the
- strengths of the
movie are overshadowed by its shortcomings. Still, if the film
were compared to a presidential campaign, it wouldn't be
equivalent to Bob Dole's uninspired '96 attempt, but rather to
Jimmy Carter's try for re-election in 1980 - a worthy, losing
effort that could have been successful with a few changes$

I.

The Office Of New
Student Programs
is looking for
ORIENTATION LEADERS
and
DIVERSITY PROGRAM FACILITATORS
for Summer 1997. We will be holding
general information meetings on
Thursday, January 16
and Friday, January 17
from 4-5:30 p.m. in the
Maize and Blue Auditoriums
in the Student Activities Building.

S

m

- f fi f n nE -I-- - Aft

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