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October 22, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-22

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8 - The Michigan Daly - Friday, October 22. 1999

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Taproot's dark
pop style hits
label success
By Adlin Rosli
Daily Arts Writer
After two and a half years of struggling in the
non-existent local heavy music scene, Ann Arbor's
Taproot has finally struck gold.
The group consists of Steve Richards on vocals,
Mike DeWolf on guitar, Phillip Lipscomb on bass
and Jared Montague on drums. Word of mouth of
the group's forceful music travelled far and wide
across the United States thanks to the Internet and
endless circulation of demo CDs. Inevitably, the
music reached the ears of the folks at Velvet
Hammer Management, System Of A Down's man-
agement company, who
promptly took Taproot under
it's wing and brought the
group to the attention of most
Taproot of the industry's major labels.
The group has since been
Blind Pig continuously invited to play
Tomorrow at 10 p.m. showcase performances in
New York and Los Angeles for
major labels. "'The vibe when
you play a showcase is weird,"
Richards said. "We only play
for a handful of record label
people in a rehearsal studio
they rented and they are stand-
ing two feet away from you."
Despite the rather ominous circumstances sur-
rounding such showcases, being the center of
attention for major label courtship has its perks.
"We get flown to wherever we have to play, put up
in hotels and fed all on the expense of whoever is
interested in us," Richards said. "Except that time
when we were in New York. We had to pay for our
own cab fare and man, it was expensive!" inter-
jected guitarist DeWolf.
The group was actually one time wooed by Limp

ichards and Mike DeWolf have finally struck gold with their band Taproot.

Bizkit's front man, Fred Durst (who is coinciden-
tally a member of Interscope Records' A&R divi-
sion). Durst's interest in the group however, was
never too concrete. It was not until Velvet Hammer
Management showed its strong interest in Taproot
that Durst began scrambling to have the band sign
to Interscope. "The contract we got from Durst was
fair, but at that point we were starting to get the
attention of other labels. So it was only natural that
we wanted to look at what other options we had,"
Richards said.
Durst did not take too kindly to this, and pro-
ceeded to go on the offensive towards Taproot and
Velvet Hammer. In a fit of rage, he left a vulgar
and irate message on Richard's answering machine
ending his relationship with the band. Dust also
slapped Velvet Hammer Management in the face
by kicking System. Of A Down off this year's
Family Values Tour. "All ties with Fred have been
severed," confirmed Richards.

Taproot's music has undergone tremendous
growth from its humble beginnings as a rap-core
outfit. Richards has increasingly sung more than
rap and the group's music has embraced more
melodic vet eerie nuances. Its music still remains
heavy and chock-full of odd time changes, but
these elements seem to flesh out a sound that is
now more dark, melancholic pop than hip-hop
meets metal.
It is a wonder with all the major label attention
that the group doesn't feel compelled to compro-
mise its musical vision a little. Richards said,"We
don't feel any need to do anything like that and
we're happy doing what we do.We don't want to be
associated with just the rap-core scene."
With all the promising events presently occur-
ring in Taproot's camp, it is almost certain that the
group could very well follow the footsteps of for-
bears like Madonna. Ted Kaczynski and James Earl
Jones as famous former Ann Arborites.

The University of Michigan

Friday, October 22, 8:00pm
Rackham Auditorium
The Wind Ensembles conducted by H. Robert Reynolds & James
R. Tapia, the Percussion Ensemble conducted by Michael Gould
and the Jazz Ensemble directed by Ellen Rowe joit forces to offer
an enjoyable evening of music! The Percussion Ensemble will
play the music of Sweden and Cuba featuring Anders Astrand.
Also featured will be dance students from the studio of Sandra
De Young. (Note: percussion ensemble will not be performing at
Britton Hall as originally scheduled this evening.)
Saturday, October 23, 8:00pm
Britton Recital Hall, E.. Moore Bldg.
Program includes: Ttke that (work for 4 percussionists),
" Shadow (Eight serenades for solo guitar), " Abiding Passions
(Woodwind Quintet), " Sonataafor Alto Sax and Piano.
Sunday, October 24, 4:00pm
Hill Auditorium
James R. Tapia, Conductor / Matthew O. Smith, Guest Conduc-
tor / J. Eric Wilson, Guest Conductor
* Rocky Point Holiday, Ron Nelson " Fantasia in G Major, Johann
Sebastian Bach " Psalttfor Band, Vincent Persichetti * Syitphottic
Dance No. 3 "Fiesta," Clifton Williams Sytphtonic Songsforr
Band, Robert Russell Bennett " Chorale and Alleluia, Howard
Hanson " Symphonyfor Band, Morton Gould.,
Sunday, October 24, 4:00pm
Rackham Auditorium
Richard Beene, Anthony Elliott, Sren Hermansson, Andrew
Jennings, Paul Kantor, Martin Katz, Fred Ormand, Amy Porter,
Melody Racine, Stuart Sankey, Yizhak Schotten, Hong-Mei Ziao
" Four Pirecesfor Clarite attd Piatto, Op. 5, Berg Songs, Webern
* Vrklaerte Nacht, Op. 4, Schoenberg " Nnet, Rheinberger.
Tuesday, October 26, 8:00pm
1320 Rehearsal Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg.
Ed Sarath, Director.
Tuesday, October 26, 8:00pm
Hill Auditorium
Theodore Morrison, Conductor: " Te Detmt in C Major, Britten,
" O magnut tystriu, Luis de Victoria " Jubilate Deo, Britten
S0 qtuat gloriosut, Luis de Victoria " Kyrie eleison/Sing for Joy
(Psalt 84), Morrison " The Silver Swtan, Tilley " Mountains/
Woodpecker, Chatman"e Three Scottish Folksongs, Wilberg.
Thursday, October 28, 8:00pm
Britton Recital Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg.
U of M Euphonium/Tuba Ensemble Concert Fritz Kaenzig,
Director. * Light Cavalry Overture, von Suppe " Ave Maria, Territo
* Geographical Fugue, Toch " Meltdowtt, Sass " The Thunderer,
Sousa * Fugue in g inor, Bach " Elite Syncopations, Joplin e
Adagio, Stevens " Picutres at ant Exhibition, Mussorgsky.
Friday, October 29, 8:00pm
Britton Recital Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg.
Saturday, October 30th
McIntosh Theatre, E.V. Moore Bldg., 10:00am
Recital Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg., 2:00pm
Recital Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg., 4:00pm
Rackham Auditorium, 8:00pm
The University of Michigan hosts the 1999 Midwest Composers'
Symposium, a two-day festival featuring new works by student
composers from five midwestern universities. The five concerts
include works for various instrumental ensembles and
electronica. Contact Stephanie Johnson at 913-0125 for more info,
Friday, October 29, 7:00pm
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, E.V. Moore Bldg.
An a cappella mixture of Russian folk and Orthodox music.
Events are free and wheelchair accessible unless otherwise
specified. The E.V. Moore Bldg. (main School of Music Bldg.)
and the Stearns Bldg. are located on Baits Dr., North Campus
(US 23 to Plymouth Rd., Plymouth to Broadway, Broadway to
Baits). For More info, phone (734)936-2214 or visit the web
page at www.musicumich.edu


'Blue' views environme
"Go Blue"
Jack Beam
Face to Face Books
"Mom, is Dad ever going to finish the book about the blue boobs?," Jack
Beatmjovially quoted his son, recalling a bit of personal history in the writ-
ing of his irreverent new novel, "Go Blue," a semi-autobiographical environ-
mental thriller set in West Michigan. The work evolved from "Go Blue
Nipples and Other Pop Songs" to its present title in much the same way Beam
himself matured from a kind of socially awkward college kid to a fed up and
enlightened lawyer.
"Being radicalized has taken a long time for me because I grew up so con-
servatively. I was very naive," Beam said. "I grew up in Grand Rapids, in a
very Christian Reform neighborhood and really missed out on a lot of things.
I am probably one of the few people in America that understood when Clinton
said he didn't inhale. I wanted to inhale, but just couldn't get it out of my
head that it was bad. So I managed to avoid the tear gas in Ann Arbor. But I
also missed out on a lot of sex, though I lived through the sexual revolution.
It was like watching from the sidelines"
"I went to Michigan back in the crazy days, from '67 to '71, but I was polit-
ically very conservative. It wasn't until I went to law school that I realized
what was really going on in this country. Coming from Grand Rapids where
everything was red, white, and blue, I really woke up when I got away."
Elaborating, he said, "I'm just so disgusted with the American legal system
right now, mostly with insurance lawyers. I've learned that law is not a force
for change, but a force for the status quo." And a lot of Beam's disgust comes
through in "Go Blue."
"The judiciary system is just awful. If the NFL refs were as biased and
unqualified as most of our judges, we'd be having riots almost every Sunday
that a game is played."
But Beam is also concerned with the preservation of the Great Lakes, and
that comes through wonderfully in the novel. "I see the Great Lakes as these
feminine, life-giving creatures. They're beautiful. The character Laura, a
musician, is the embodiment of the Great Lakes. We have this beautiful crea-

Berlin Philharmonio
performs Beethoven
By Kate MacEwen in" techntque, but along with that
For the Daily had much emotion in his conducting
Not since 1965 has the world- style. Both pieces performed were
renowned Berlin Philharmonic rhythmically perfect, but not lacki
graced Ann Arbor with its presence, in emotion or depth, mainly du
After 34 vears, a stunning perfor- Abbado's excellent mix of technique
mance as part of their four-stop US and style.
tour compensated for their long The entire orchestra illustrated
absence. why it is one of the best in the word.
Conductor Claudio Abbado led The orchestra achieved a perfect ial-
the orchestra by memory in an'e of loud and soft that only a
B eet h ove n 's highly rated ensemble could achieve
"Symphony perfectly.
Number 4 in B- The only part of the concert t at
Flat Major, proved to be disappointing was the
Berlin Opus 60 " and program selection. The Beethov
Philharmonic Schoenberg's was an excellent way to open
"Pelleas and concert, a beautiful and classie
M ei i s a n d e piece.
Hill Auditorium S y m p h o n i c The Schoenberg, however, did not
0t. 20,1999 Poem for flow as well as a composer of an*-
" Orchestra, Opus cr era. Compared to the Beethoven
5 " Excellent the piece lacked form and was too
performers com- modern. Hearing the orchestra p-
bined with a form something along the lines of
world class Tchaikovsky or Verdi would have
director created completed a near perfect evening
an evening full of incredible music, The Schoenberg, while'perfortn
illustrating that producing quailty flawlessly, lacked the form and per-
music does not necessitate the use of haps some of the emotion from the
a conductor's score. previous piece. Another disappoint-
The ensemble's teamwork showed ment from the concert was that there
in the sound produced. As the first was no encore performed. The
notes of Beethoven's Fourth orchestra is only in the country for
Symphony filled the quiet auditori- four performances this year, and
um, a sense of awe could almost be hearing only two pieces perhaps left
felt in the audience. listeners wanting more.
The music cut through the silence When the Berlin Philharmonic
with a sound the composer must travels to the United States, takio
have desired long ago in his compo- the advantage of the opportunity jo
sition of the piece. hear them play is definitely worth
Abbado had both perfect conduct- while
ntal issue with humor
ture that isn't appreciated and her boyfriend, Rick, the music producer, is out
looking for a rock star that can propel his career, but it's right in his back-
yard." Beam effectively links this idea of sexuality and the life-giving q*-
ty of women to environmentalism in "Go Blue." That's where the original
"blue nipple" idea originated.
"I deal with the issue of water with irreverent tones, but it really is a pret-
ty damn serious issue. Water willebe to she next century wha oil was to this
century and I couldn't have written this book while in Michigan. It tookme
moving to Colorado to really appreciate what Michigan had and to see the
waste." The novel centers on a southwestern company's scheme to drain the
Great Lakes so they can create a kind of paradise down there. "They're try-
ing to blanket the whole southwest with green lawns and sprinklers," he said
with a tone of urgency.
"People out west have got their eyes on the prize. They've got this inca
ible lifestylewhere the sun always shines. But that brings with it the dryn .
Now they're trying to take the green and transplant it to the southwest where
it never rains. And I think it's going to come to roost in our lifetime."
"This book deserves to get out. Even though i's in a non-serious form, I
find it easier to get to people with humor and sarcasm, rather than preach-
ing." But Beam soon takes a turn to the serious.
"Have you ever stopped to think about why the right-wing republicans are
so anti-environment? There is an interesting phenomenon in this country, that
the right-wing religious fundamentalists, albeit a minority, are very vocal.
Jerry Ford couldn't get the nomination for the Republican Party tky
because he is pro-choice, and pro-environment. The religious couldn't
less whether the Great Lakes get sold or pissed in."
"Have you ever seen a right-wing religious fundamentalist, in polities or
anywhere else, out there advocating birth-control, clean water, or conserva-
tive land use? They don't do anything to stop urban sprawl. Have you ever
seen one? Never."
"I think we need to deal with things going on in this world, and we need to
do it now. The environmental issue is the most important thing we're facing,"
Beam concluded. And Beam puts forth this type of fervent sentiment fantas-
tically in "Go Blue."
- Josh Wikerham
SHOTS' effective anyway because it works g
many levels. First you have liquor shots,
Continued from Page 5 then you have the camera shot, meaning

The characters in "Body Shots" are that you're watching a movie. Finally,
based on real people and true events you have the active 'shot'-the abusive
known to screenwriter David McKee. punch or hitting," Cristofer said.
"They were based on several incidents "If there is a message, it's something
with friends of his," Cristofer said, about why sex doesn't always lead to
including the rape that figures in the intimacy," Cristofer said.
film. "This film is not pretty. It's not nice,"
The movie's title, originally called Cristofer said. "It's going to make Eo-
"Jello Shots," had to be changed due to pie question themselves. I think iWWI
a legal conflict. "Because it was brand have an effect on audiences. They might
name, we couldn't use it," Cristofer not like it:'
said. "It's not smart to make this kind of
"But I think 'Body Shots' is more film in Hollywood," Cristofer said


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