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September 20, 2000 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-20

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-You can't print that!
Check out r +t'ecii N-Flicks screenint of
"This is Spinl ap!" at 8 p.m. ronight M
Larch Auditorium. Come early to enjoy
46e of En land' loudest hands.
#tichigandaily. com/arts


SEPTEMBER 20, 2000


Stillwater: Still jammin
after all these years

Courtesy of London/Sire Records
The lads in Guster tear up Palmer field today at 4 p.m. The concert is free to all registered voters.

By David Enders
Daily Arts Writer
Somewhere between the worlds of
massive superstardom and painful
obscurity there is a band called
Guster. A band that has opened
shows for Sting and Dave Matthews,
but didn't go to the MTV Video
Music Awards.
"We weren't invited. I don't think
you get invited if your video plays on

Palmer Field
Today at 4 p.m.

MTV just
once," said
Guster gui-
tarist and
vocalist Adam
Gardner from
Boston last
week, where
the band was
taking a short
break before
hitting the road
again. The
band formed
in Boston, at
T u f t s

popular on college campuses, but a
measure of mainstream popularity
came only recently, when Steve
Lillywhite (U2, Dave Matthews
Band) signed on to produce "Lost
and Gone."
This afternoon, Guster will be rat-
tling the windows on the Hill when
they play a free show on Palmer
If you've never heard of the band,
go to see drummer Brian
Rosenworcel, who plays hand drums
instead of a kit. Go because lead
singer/guitarist Ryan Miller is usual-
ly entertaining to watch. Go because
an hour and a half of melodic pop
music never hurt anyone. And if you
live in Alice Lloyd, Couzens or
MoJo, go because you're going to be
able to hear the band playing anyway.
"Part of the thing about playing
colleges is it's not as much pressure.
We can go have fun and fool around,"
Gardner said. "It's not as profession-
al, maybe."
The band has been finding out that
recognition has its pitfalls after pro-
moters of a show refused to pay them
when Miller began making fun of the
shows sponsors.
"There were a lot of bands playing
this show in Chicago at this race
track, there was Barenaked Ladies
and Metallica and Kid Rock - we
showed up and it was pretty much all
Metallica fans.
"The quote from Oldsmobile the
day before the show was this is a
rock and roll concert at which we
can advertise our product to a spe-
cific demographic," Gardner said.
"You show up there, and there's a

gigantic Oldsmobile hanging from
the stage, and between bands
they're showing Oldsmobile com-
mercials. Ryan always just sort of
makes fun of his surroundings -
he was just trying to find some
common ground with the Metallica
fans because we were just trying
not to get lynched up there."
Because of the cracks, the shows
promoters refused to pay the band the
second half of their fee.
"We were paid half in advance ...
when we get the other half - they
don't have a leg to stand on legally -
we're probably going to give it to the
ACLU or we're going to try and find
somewhere to nonate it to, because
it's more a matter of principle at this
point," Gardner said.
Guster fans recognize observation-
al, tongue-in-cheek, frat boy style
humor as a staple of Guster shows,
but managing to offend someone is a
new step for the band.
"We're trying to be careful not
to get up on our soapbox too
much - we just try to keep our
band, as far as how we present
ourselves, as real as possible. I
think people are going to start to
grasp that 'Hey these guys are
real, they're not caricatures of
what rock stars are supposed to
look like or act like.'
"That was the first intelligent
thing I said this morning,"
Gardner laughed.
Heavy stuff from a band whose
online tour diary includes a who-
dunit-style discussion of who was
responsible for stinking up the
band's tour bus bathroom.

By Matthew Barrett
and Christopher Cousino
Daily Arts writers
There's no doubt in the last few weeks
You might have heard about Troy,
Michigan's own Stillwater, featured in
writer-director Cameron Crowe's latest
film "Almost Famous." Crowe chose to
center his new film about his experi-
ences covering the '70s rock scene and
the band's 1973 Almost Famous tour.
The raucous quartet Stillwater made a
quick rise to the top, opening for such
bands as the Alman Brothers and Black
Sabbath while their breakthrough single
"Fever Dog" tore up the pop charts. The
foursome consisted of lead singer Jeff
Bebe, guitarist Russell Hammond,
bassist Larry Fellows and drummer Ed
Vallencourt, with Bebe and Hammond
garnering the most attention for their
wild onstage antics, outspoken drug
advocacy and late-night post-concert
partying, including Hammond's notori-
ous leap from a house roof top into a
pool. Bickering over media coverage,
popularity among fans and songwriting
credits led to a vicious fight between
Bebe and Hammond and the eventual
demise of the band.
Sound like a good episode of "Behind
the Music?" (Producers must be think-
ing the same thing because rumor has it
that an episode is in the works for VH: l's
winter season). Due to the release of the
film, popularity of the legendary rock
band has skyrocketed in recent weeks,
including an increased demand in any
and all things relating to Stillwater.
Several items hit recordbreaking
prices on E-bay, including the rare
Farrington Road demo single of "Fever
Do,' an unused concert ticket from
their March 1973 appearance at San
Diego Sports Arena as well as the very
rare Jeff Bebe t-shirt. A limited edition
animation cell from the unreleased 1974
cartoon "Stillwater and Friends" went
for a bid upwards of S2,500.
A Rocky start
Before Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd's
guitar driven sounds reigned as rock
demi-gods, a young, ambitious Jeff Bebe
started his own garage band in his home-
town of Troy, calling the group simply
The Jeff Bebe Band. Bebe's band went
on to cut their teeth at many metro
Detroit restaurants and clubs, playing in
exchange for food, drink and gas money.
Bebe's favorite venue was Phil's Pizza
(located on Mack Avenue in Warren
before being destroyed by a kitchen fire
in 1987), where the band would rock out
for slices of Chicago style deep dish and
a pitcher of ice cold Pepsi. After winning
the 1970 Michigan State Fair Band Jas,
Bebe coined the popular phrase ,"I'm a
golden god," which later Stillwater band
member Russell Hammond claimed
ownership of.
Parting the water
In early 1971, on a suggestion from
famed rock critic Lester Bangs, Bebe
hooked up with the band Blues
Reduction to form Stillwater. And on a
lazy summer day in the beginning of
June that year, so goes rock history,
Stillwater hit the stage of Callahan's to
play their first set, a monumental jam
that lasted well into the night concluding
with an epic, 25 minute fusion cover of
the Beatles' "A Day in the Life"
Immediately, they scored an instant suc-
cess locally, and it wasn't long before the
ripples of Stillwater's splash into the
music world were felt throughout the

Still Rockin': The Discography
"Fever Dog" - #8 on the Billboard Charts
"Hour of Need" - WKOR (LA) Jam of the Week
"Love Thing" - Future Shining Star Award
"Love Comes and Goes" - Best Love Song, nominee
Village Voice


Courtesyof famed rock photag Neal Preston
Stillwater (from L to R): Ed Vallencourt, Larry Fellows, Jeff Bebe and Russell Hammond.

University. in the early '90s.
"Basically, we're gearing up for the
last leg of our tour. When we're done
opening for Barenaked Ladies, we're
going to really hole ourselves up and
write for a while and start working on
the next record seriously" Gardner
said. The band released its third
album, "Lost and Gone Forever" on
Sire last year, their first major-label
project after independently releasing
their first two discs, "Parachute" and
Since their first release in 1994,
consistent touring has made the band

midwest. College campuses, including
Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue and
Michigan State became popular venues
for the band's epic three set shows.
Riding the wave
On the riptide midwest wave of
popularity, Stillwater garnered atten-
tion from Gregg Allman and Ozzy
Osbourne, respectively, who then
tapped the band to play several open-
ing acts on each of their 1973 sum-
mer tours. Although the band
received critical acclaim and nation-
wide attention in sales and radioplay,
many view the Almost Famous tour
as the beginning of the end for
Stillwater. Reports of drunken back-
stage fistfights and raunchy hotel
sex parties left a bad taste in mouths
of many fans. Though Bebe and
Hammond disagreed on everything
from musical styles to blondes or
brunettes, they both, at times, had a
common distaste for band manager
Dick Roswell.

Water runs dry
We won't tell you how the story ends:
we'll leave that up to "Almost Famous"
writer-director Crowe, a fil mmaker who
has explored everythingfrom the high
school scene in "Fast Times at
Ridgemont High" and "Say Anything..."
to Seattle grunge in "Singles" and most
recently, sports management in "Jerr
Opening this Friday, the film stars
Jason Lee, Billy Crudup and Philip
Seymour Hoffman. Newcomer Patrick
Fugit plays Crowe's on-screen alter-ego
William Miller, a 15-year-old hired by
"Rolling Stone" to write and report on
Stillwater and their 1973 tour. So hit the-
aters this weekend for Crowe's inside
autobiographical look at the ins and outs
of a '70s rock band. If that doesn't satis
fy your thirst, the soundtrack contains
Stillwater's "Fever Dog." And don't for-
get, cross your fingers for "Stillwater:
Behind the Music," because there's
always a reason to keep rocking and
rolling and making better music.

The Chevrolet Soccer Festival is coming to
The University of Michigan *
September 22, 2000 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ,
Come to the North Campus Diag next to the Dow Bldg.
And join the fun'
Admission is free!
All are welcome !
Featuring: radar speed kick, virtual reality goal kick,
inflatable kick wall, memorablia showcase, history wall,
video kiosk of soccer highlights, plus prizes and giveaways.


stc 'w ri - - -



Stop by The Michigan
Daily Arts Office
tomorrow at 2:30 to pick
up posters and passes for
Thursday's screening of
"Almost Famous" at
Showcase Cinema. But,
as always, supplies are
limited so get 'em while
they're hot!

----- -----------

Little A


theater of horrors

By Jaimie Winkler
Daily Arts Writer
The music is inviting and fun, the dia-

Little Shop
of Horrors

logue and lyrics
are funny, and the
premise ... oh the
premise: flesh-
eating plant
comes to take over
the world and

life to these characters in the Civic
Theater's large converted roller-rink the-
ater. The poppy doo-wop girls played by
Stephanie Stephan, Tawna Dabney al
Music junior Allison Soranno, bring
life the trio rich in harmony, laughs and
traditional doo-wop dancing.
Audrey is a nice girl caught up with a
bad guy, a dentist with a "talent for caus-
ing things pain." Played in town by the
talented Michael LaFlamme.




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