The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 6, 1998 - 9
with hardcore sound
'Homicide' slays competition
By Colin Bartos
Daily Arts Writer
If you're looking for more of the
same bland, mindless crap that's been
circulating throughout the airwaves
lately, don't look toward Stanford
You say you've never heard of it?
Shame on you, because the longer
you stay ignorant, the longer you
Tool and other
bands of the
early '90s Los
SPE attacks you
rock and intri-
which could mean good things for
May of this year will see SPE's
first major-label release, titled
"Wrecreation." It's been more than
two years since "The Gato Hunch,"
and Jimenez said the new record is
well worth the wait.
"I think we wanted our bass sound
to come up a bit. We've always
thought of ourselves as a bass-heavy
band ... it kinda captures where we're
at right now."
"It's a more varied record. It's got
slower songs, it's got fast songs ... it's
kind of a spring board off the other
two. It's got more dynamic to it -
more heavy tunes."
One of SPE's strong suits has
always been in the lyrics department.
Jimenez said that he likes to talk
about "things that tend to concern us
daily. Some reflecting kind of social
issues, but not overtly political ... we
like to examine the mental framework
of people - like the whole thing of
war. It's obvious that war is bad,
right? But what's not so obvious is the
mentality of the person who wants to
go to war."
"Lyrically, you try to bring some-
one to a certain area," Jimenez added,
"You want to bring them to a certain
place and then ... let the listener
make up their own mind about it."
Someone might question why a
quality band like SPE hasn't broke
through yet, while numerous other
talentless bands like Smash Mouth
and Matchbox 20 rule the airwaves.
Courtesy of World Domination Records
This Stanford Prison Experiment has
little to do with social psychology.
It's simply politics, Jimenez said.
"All these bands do well,' Jimenez
said, "because the music industry is a
very powerful thing and they sell
what they think people will buy, not
what's necessarily good. I just know
that it's a business. It's not about aes-
thetics or art or ideas ... that's what is
pushed. People just kinda grow used
to it and think that's all there is."
"I think most people are really
smart. I don't believe that the average
American is stupid," Jimenez said.
"They don't know what's really out
there. The average person doesn't
have the time to seek out new and
interesting music. If they hear some-
thing cruisin' down the road on their
radio, they think that's their option
and so they go with it. People don't
have time to be musical researchers."
And dammit, you don't have to.
I've already done the research for
you. Now all you have to do is go see
SPE live. If you like catchy, aggres-
sive rock that is definitely not what
you've come to expect from the radio,
come on down and witness a real
band rip it up.
sons, not just one
on the Street
or two episodes. Much of the show's
genius is that it relies on the intelli-
gence of the audience. Unlike
"Brooklyn South" or "Cops,"
"Homicide" does not pander.
Recently, "Homicide" ran a two-
hour, movie-length episode that sent
the detectives of the Baltimore
Homicide Unit looking for a suspect
who kills priests. But rather than
focusing on the spectacle of the deaths
and violence, the episode focuses on
the emotional and spiritual impact on
These two hours of television do not
culminate in a shoot-out with explo-
sions and guns blazing, but in a deeply
By Ed Shoiinsky
For the Daily
Since 1993, "Homicide: Life on the Street" has been a
rocket, exploding onto the small screen with the power of
"Hill Street Blues" and "The Fugitive." It is also one of the
first mainstream shows to put its heroes at odds with each
other, accusing one another of being racist and competing for
the impossible cases. Instead of acting like street toughs or
action stars, the characters of "Homicide" distinguish them-
selves by using their brains.
"Homicide" also happens to be one of the most creative
shows on television, using crossovers with "Law and Order"
and story lines that develop over the entire season, or sea-
The cast of "Homicide" takes a break from life on the street.
middle-class suburban life.
Anchoring the show is the immense talent of its executive
producers, Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson and
Emmy-winning producer Tom Fontana ("St. Elsewhere").
Combine this with the outstanding ability of Braugher,
Richard Belzer (Det. John Munch), Kyle Secor (Det. Tim
Bayliss) and Yaphet Kotto (Lt. Al Giardello), and the incred-
ible writing, directing and jump editing, and the resultis a
gripping crime drama. Although the cast is frequently chang-
ing (four of the original nine cast members have left the
show), "Homicide" manages to keep the characters fresh,
never settling for sub par actors, writers, or directors. Added
to the cast this season are Thorne, Gerety and film star Jon
Seda as Det. Paul Falsone.
This series has never been nominated for an Emmy for
Outstanding Dramatic Series, but that has not limited its
acclaim. "Homicide" has won the Peabody Award twice
(only accomplished by one other series in history) and won
the 1996 Viewers for Quality Television Award for lest
series. Maybe sometime soon, the Emmy people will give
up nominating safe choices like "Chicago Hope" and pick
the daring "Homicide" as one of the outstanding programs
While "Homicide" airs at a bad time for college stu-
dents (that ever coveted 10-1 1 p.m. time slot on Friday),
the show is well worth viewing. So, set the VCR and egch
this under-appreciated series at the earliest possible 9n-
releasing two records on World
Domination Records, and a tour
through late 1996 with Rage, SPE
recently signed with Island to broad-
en its horizons, so to speak.
The tour with Rage was a rousing
success, as lead singer Mario Jimenez
explained in a recent interview, for
the fact that it "makes you a better
band in the sense that you play every
day ... playing in big places."
The mainstream audience seemed
to accept the band as their own,
moving scene in the great outdoors. The detectives find the
best way to appeal to the suspect is not with his sense of vio-
lence, but with his sense of redemption and inner peace. In a
world of murder and death, the homicide squad provides
hope and life to someone who has never known anything but
the streets. In a vile, terrible work, the homicide squad is the
unlikely calm center.
"Homicide" originally came out of David Simon's non-fic-
tion book "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," mixing
the facts of the novel with intense dramatic action. To call
"Homicide" the best cop show on television would not be
broad enough, it is the best dramatic series on television -
the best show without filthy-mouthed third graders or a bald,
animated character exposing the banality and dark side of
a :: r..
Poet Jackson stays 'Alive'
* By Erin Diane Schwartz
-ave you ever started a conversation
wtth someone, only to interrupt yourself
multiple times within the conversation
while continually returning to what you
started talking about in the first place?
Award winning poet Prof. Richard
Jackson tries to emulate this style of
thinking in his book of poetry, "Alive All
Attempting to imitate the natural pro-
gression of his thoughts, Jackson elimi-
nates the idea of a linear pattern of
thought in these poems. He describes
his poetry as "discontinuous." He says,
"I write like a nervous person trying to
eat lunch." Jackson's first books tried to
progress in a linear style with a begin-
ninag, middle and end until a friend said
to him, "But, that's not really the way
Jackson's poetry in "Alive All Day"
attempts to become more natural and
honest than in his previous books of
poetry, "Part of the Story" and "Worlds
Apart." It also allows him to convey a
wider range of emotions in the poems.
Through this freedom, he not only
retains the quirky style for which he is
known, but also adds the element of
humor to his work. He tries to convey
messages into his poems so that by the
end, the reader does not know whether to
laugh or cry. By forming the poems in
this dual manner, he says, "I wanted the
responses within the poem to be as com-
plex as human responses."
The title, "Alive All Day," tries to
encompass the intricacy and weaving of
tone in the poems. The title initially
sounds positive, "But then," the poem
says, "What happens at night?"
Jackson brings many such questions
to his students at the University of
Tennessee at Chattanooga. Not only has
he won numerous awards in writing, but
he-has won awards in teaching as well.
"I love the energy in my students,"
Jackson said. "My students are painful-
ly honest with each other. They want
crificism, but after a workshop class,
they are still good friends."
Jackson also has much criticism - for
the way in which students are taught poet-
ryin the United States. "Poetry is taught
in a meaningless way. The process which
the author takes you through is the value
of poetry and writing and that requires
effort," he said. "Our culture likes things
effortless. This is a problem with our edu-
cational system. Students can barely read
prose and think that poems are hidden
with all kinds of hocus pocus."
Tomorrow at 8
Jackson said he
believes that a vast
poetry and listen-
ing to poetry.
poetry is an art in
itself," he said. He
thinks of it as,
"Listening to a
flow of images
like listening to
songs on the
radio. There is
basic music and tone. If someone was
listening to the radio, would they ask to
hear a line again?"
In his future writing, Jackson would
like to see his poems becoming shorter
but still retain the power of emotions as
well as the humor.
Jackson explains, "The way when you
meet someone interesting, you can't
quite figure them out" He wishes his
poems to retain the interest of his readers
while leaving them wanting to still try to
figure out his poems.
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