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September 18, 1997 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-18

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12B The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - Thursday, September 18, 1997r


The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazin

'10Music Feature
Jewel adds faux shine to industry

r University Feature
'U' marching band
brings spirit to fans VT

Jewel uses her sappy face and whimpering eyes to win an empathetic following.



By Anders Smith-Lindall
Daily Arts Writer
Jewel. We all know her - the shy
Alaskan with an acoustic guitar who
recently played a sold-out show at
Meadowbrook. The vulnerable, wispy
blonde, beloved by trendy chicks, gra-
nola girls and 'sensitive' guys through-
out the land. The singer whose debut
album, released in 1994, is still in the
top 10 and has gone platinum five times
over. We all know Jewel.
1, for one, don't really understand the
phenomenon. It's not that I don't like
her - I mean, all those 5-million-plus
record-buying fans can't be wrong.
I hope not. Personally, I'd rather
believe that I'm just failing to under-
stand something here, instead of having
to believe that the rest of the world real-
ly likes Jewel, because the Jewel I know
is a symbol of everything that is wrong
with a fundamentally flawed music
The Jewel I know is fresh off a sum-
mer spent headlining the traveling
Lilith Fair. Marketed as a feminist love-
in, the tour's lineup featured such easy-
listening faux-folkies as the Indigo
Girls and Sarah McLachlan, the Fair's
founder and organizer. What I would
not have given to see Sleater-Kinney or
Ani DiFranco or Patti Smith take to the
road with a sort of anti-Lilith.
But that might be too much attitude
in one place, far too much to be consid-
ered safe. And if Jewel is one thing,
she's safe. You won't see her taking any
chances or straying too far from her
tried and true. I'm talking about lipstick
shade here, of course.
You know, that's precisely what
stayed with me after I saw Jewel per-
form her song "Foolish Games" on the
MTV Movie Awards this summer - lip
gloss. I hadn't seen anything that slick
since the Exxon oil spill.
Actually, that's not my only lingering
impression of Jewel. I still recall how
taken I was by her body language and
emotive voice -- taken aback, that is.

The Jewel I know
is a symbol of
everything that is
wrong with a..
music industry,
You know what I'm talking about. The
pouty face, the perfectly coiffed hair
that falls into her eyes at just the right
moments, the wet breaths and sighs and
sobs in between verses. I saw all that,
and I said to myself, "What the hell is
she so distraught about!?" (Please,
spare me the rabid letters to the editor
about her years of suffering from that
struggling songwriter's favorite cliche,
an unhappy childhood.)
Maybe that's why she doesn't really
sing about anything at all. Listen to her
smash singles, "Who Will Save Your
Soul" and "You Were Meant For Me."
Have you ever heard anything more
mundane and pedestrian? Especially
those impalatable verses in "You Were
Meant For Me": Jewel describing her
breakfast in minute detail; Jewel getting
ready for bed - putting on her jam-
mies, brushing her teeth, turning off the
light, blah blah blah. That must set a
new record for vapidity.
But I guess it really doesn't matter
much what you have to say in these
days of video, as long as you have a
pretty face and a hefty major-label pro-
motional machine behind you. Sheryl
Crow knows that, just like Celine Dion
and Alanis Morrisette. Men are taking
advantage- of this scheme, too - just
ask Gavin Rossdale as he laughs all the
way to the bank.
Jewel is cashing in the same chips.
Specifically, she's going for the
look, and, with her shirt unbuttoned to
her navel and her painted-on jeans, she

seems to be succeeding. This is, of
course, an insult to the American pub-
lic: It's degrading to women, who see
that to succeed they must objectify
themselves, and men, to whom the
record companies think they can peddle
worthless albums as long as they're
wrapped up in a skinny blond package.
And it's also a complete affront to all
the hard-working and talented artists
who toil in anonymity because they
don't have an MTV-approved face,
voice, countenance and bod.
What does Jewel herself have to say
about this? Well, if you saw the MTV
Video Music Awards last week, you
saw Cindy Crawford asking her about
the clothes she wears. Jewel replied that
she's no fashion plate - no, she's a reg-
ular Jane Doe, just like her fans. In her
words, she "wears simple clothes."
Funny, then, that the Sept. 18 issue of
Rolling Stone reports that, while fash-
ion guru Tommy Hilfiger is "sponsor-
ing Sheryl Crow's summer tour and cre-
ating a line of clothing for the singer
(in) just the latest example of how
designers are marketing rock stars, and
vice versa," Jewel is playing clothes
horse for Prada. That is, she wears
Prada and gets paid to do it. Simple,
indeed - simply pretentious.
Speaking of pretentious crap, what
about this one-name-only shtick. Works
nice for marketing purposes, I know.
But get it straight: Jewel is the first
name, Kilcher is the last name. Jewel
Kilcher. Two names, just like the rest of
us. (Same goes for Madonna Ciccone
and Prince Nelson. Beck's excused
because he doesn't want to be confused
with the brothers from Oklahoma.)
If you're sitting in class and you've
read this far, you're probably either in
complete agreement with me (I know
you're out there) or you're mad that I
could dare to criticize Jewel. Well, you
have a right to be angry. And I
empathize with you - but I'm sure
you'll go home tonight and listen to
your Jewel CD and you'll feel better
about the whole thing.

By Jason Stoffer
Daily Arts Writer
They have performed in two Super
Bowls and 14 Rose Bowls, but nothing is
comparable in excitement and revelry to
a football Saturday in Ann Arbor. The rit-
ual stays the same throughout the ages,
with hundreds of uniformed Wolverines
storming out of the tunnel. As they take
the field, the crowd's subdued rumble
instantaneously crescendos into an ear-
shattering roar. The Michigan Marching
Band's spirited march onto the gridiron
has led more than 100,000 fist-pumping
Michigan Stadium fans into a fervor for
almost a century.
Being a marching band member is
more than just another extracurricular
activity, it is a lifestyle.
"Band members have as many or
more practices as the football team, with
practice lasting an hour and a half each
day;" said Michigan Marching Band
Director Kevin Sedatole. These prac-
tices pay off-- the band is arguably the
best marching band in the nation. In
1983, more than 700 marching band
directors and journalists voted the
University marching band to be the first
recipient of the Louis Sudler
Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy
- an award designed to honor excel-
lence in the band community.
For marching band members, precise
ritual goes hand in hand with a football
Saturday's extraordinary titillation.

Practice begins on Elbel Field, bright
and early, at 8 a.m. The sound of snares
and trombones causes many nearby res-
idents to prematurely roll out of their
slumber, forcing their football tailgate
into an earlier-than-expected start.
At 10:30, outside of Revelli Hall, flags
and percussion, two groups that often go
undeservingly overlooked, get their
moment in the spotlight. They give a step
show featuring cadences and the famous
"War Chant," and hundreds of onlookers
greet them with riveting cheers.
Afterward, the band marches down to
the stadium, with fans lining the streets
to view the procession.
"We stop in the Victors Club parking
lot" for a few minutes, Sedatole said.
"Then we load the tunnel, and do our
Every exemplary performing group
needs a dynamic and inspirational
leader - marching band Drum Major
Ramon Johnson epitomizes these traits.
His personality drives others to perform
at levels they never dreamed possible.
"I play tenor sax and I've been play-
ing since sixth grade,' Johnson said. "It
was always my dream to be in a march-
ing band like Michigan's."
Many first-year band members are a
little in awe at first - striving only to
earn the opportunity to strut onto the
field. From the start, loftier goals drove
an unintimidated Johnson.
"The first day I walked into Revelli

The marching band takes the field before last Saturday's game against Colorad

Hall for my band orientation, it was
kind of embarrassing," Johnson said.
"My mom went up and asked how I
could become drum major."
Two years later, his dream came true.
The 10-step audition for drum major
includes high-stepping, baton twirling
and vocal and whistle commands. The
job requires more than just competence,
but flair, charisma and athleticism.
As the maize and blue take the field,
forming its traditional block M,
Johnson high-steps through the band,
doing a high kick at the 20 and saluting
the crowd. He proceeds to arch his back
and touches his plume to the ground.
The job is not without pressure.
According to tradition, Johnson has the
game's outcome resting firmly on his
shoulders. Toward the middle of the
pre-game festivities, he does a goalpost
toss, throwing his baton through the
uprights. If he catches it, the team will

win. Alas, if he drops it, a long day
lie ahead for the mighty Wolverine:
Johnson's enthusiasm permeates
rest of the band. "As soon as you .
you have 400 friends you can talk to
study with, euphonium player
Engineering sophomore Scott Lat
said. "It's a thrill coming out of that
nel in front of 100,000 people, It's or
the greatest experiences you'll
Johnson said band members are r
than just average college students.
"Members of the band are the el
me of Michigan," he said. "I've n
seen such excitement, drive and de
tion from a group of people.'
Members of the marching band
Johnson as a role model in these c
"It's incredible he can lead an e
band practice almost solely on
own;' Latham said. "He's an extrei

September 24
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Marching band facts and figures
4 Number of band members: 265 on the field, 156 in reserves
:" Practice time per week: 10-12 hours
* Average number of songs played on a football Saturday; 15
+ Average length of a halftime show: 7 minutes

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