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December 02, 2002 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-12-02

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 2, 2002 - 7A

Chicago's Allister confides their turkey tales

By Tony Ding
Daily Arts Writer
There were no parking maids directing traffic, no
tour bus and auspiciously no line out the front steps of
St. Andrew's Hall on this chilly Friday evening after
Thanksgiving, as I scurried across Congress Street
under the looming glow of the GM Renaissance tow-
ers. Upon closer inspection, my fears for arriving too
early were calmed by the sight of a black Dodge van
towing a U-Haul trailer and the muffled hum of bass
guitar emanating from within St. Andrew's doors.
This was a punk rock gig in its simplest form.
Safely inside, the scene was, well, cozy - per-
fect for interviewing Chicago-based Allister, on
tour promoting their new record Last Stop Subur-
bia, released this October on the Drive-Thru label.
With influences from the Queers, Screeching
Weasels and Green Day, as well as Nirvana, Allis-
ter follows a simple edict of high velocity rhythms
and comprehensible, not-so-poetic lyrics. They've
been embraced by the new punk-rock industry,
with quiet followings spotting the two coasts.
Sitting in a row in St. Andrew's upstairs lounge,
the quartet nursed cold beers to their sweaty fore-
heads and shared what they did for Thanksgiving on
the road. "We ate at the Golden Corral in Cincinnati
after our gig there," Murphy the bassist replied. "We
had a $9 buffet, it was so good," adds Chris Rogner,
on guitars with his older brother Tim, who confesses
that they also got drunk and went bowling. "Then
we rolled some dice and gambled some money,"
quipped Dave Rossi, the drummer.
Allister credits its success to a lot of luck, but it's
evident that its good fortune are partly a result of the
positive energy they produce on stage for the
impressionable youths below. Like this show in
Detroit, most tour stops have been intimate garage
venues and basement clubs, with the exception of
this summer's Vans Warped Tour. Allister is psyched
about playing larger crowds though, for their next
stop will be at Chicago's House of Blues, where as
Rossi explains, "it's the first time we get into such a
big venue. It's rippin'!" The band is definitely on an
upswing as just this summer, they faced breakup
after co-founder John Hamada left Allister to go
back to school.
"He fights crime as a ninja now," jokes Tim Rogn-
er. The group was saved, however, when Tim's
younger brother Chris Rogner picked up the vacan-
cy. "I joined in June of 2002, right before Warped
Tour started," explains Chris. "We were desperate,"
says Murphy. "I pretty much just got a call from
these guys one day begging me to join," Chris adds,
"I've known them since they started." It didn't take
too much begging five years ago however, when
Allister wooed, the then also young, Californian
indie-punk label Drive-Thru to sign one of its first
bands, with a debut album that cost only $700 to
record, and with which Allister garnered its follow-
ing. "Drive-Thru helped us out tremendously,"
recalls Tim Rogner, "We had recorded the shittiest
quality 4-track demo tape that you could ever imag-
ine and we sent it out to a bunch of labels and they
were one of the only ones that responded. They were
like 'this is a real shitty recording but your songs are

really good.' The nicest thing (now) is we don't have
to work real jobs. This is our nine to five."
One of the unique aspects of Allister that sets
it apart from the rest of punk rock is their home-
town of Chicago. The band pays homage to a
local hangout called the Fireside Bowl in its
song "Somewhere on Fullerton," which has a
special place in the hearts of many Midwest
punk fans as an outpost for good live gigs, a rari-
ty in the region. When asked whether Allister
feels like a significant contributor to the often
non-existent scene, Tim Rogner asserts, "I think
we've carved a little bit of a niche for ourselves
within the scene." Yes, but what about that
scene? It is truly paltry in comparison to those in
Southern California or on the Jersey shores.
"Kids take a while to warm up here," notes Scott
Murphy when asked what he disliked about
Detroit. "I think kids in the Midwest are kind of
hesitant to start pits and kind of go crazy, like
say on the East or West coast," Murphy adds,
"But I think generally they're still having a good
time."
A telling stimulus for whatever punk scene may
exist in the Midwest lies with the suburban kids
whom mysteriously flock the genre. Allister
encapsulates this notion in their new album,

which, as Tim Rogner explains, "has to do with
the fact that a lot times there's a negative connota-
tion to the word 'suburbia,' where people think of
rich kids and white picket fences, shit like that."
When asked if they've found an older fan-base
Rogner laughs "I think it gets younger!" Teenage
fans, surreal sheltered neighborhoods and a
ramped lust for rebellion, independence, and sin
are the fuel feeding this ever-popular chic with
punk rock, pushed into mainstream by suburban
kids and a media hungry for their fat allowances.
Unfortunately, the money and fame won't last
forever, even for Allister. But with their former
band-mate John Hamada quitting the business for
a more stable future, Allister's current line-up still
denounces formal education. "Fuck school man,
get out of school!" toted Tim Rogner, who is him-
self ironically the only band member with a col-
lege degree. Scott Murphy, on the other hand isn't
shy about dropping out. "I think taking some time
off was the best thing I ever did, because I was
going to school just going through the motions,
like I didn't really know what I wanted to do and
felt like that wasn't where I wanted to be," rea-
sons Murphy. "Now when I do go back to school,
I want to be there, so I'll try harder. For some kids
I definitely think it is a good idea."

Davey Stone has so much strength in him.

Nights' a Hankkah hoot

By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer
There's a new grinch in town only
this one isn't green and doesn't reside in
Whoville. His name is Davey Stone and
he lives in the little town of Dukesberry.
Adam Sandler's "8 Crazy Nights"
(stemming from the phrase he coined in
his famous "Hanukkah Song") is a new
addition to the animated holiday cannon
complete with all the humor one would
expect from the creator of "Happy
Gilmore" and "Billy Madison."
Before the main feature, "8 Crazy
Nights" opens with the short, "A Day in
the Life of Meatball." In the short, San-
dler documents the events of his pet
bulldog throughout the day - from
going to the gym to having a tryst in a
hotel. Short and hilarious, it helps to set

the tone for the film that
follows: funny, juvenile, S
totally Adam Sandler.
Davey Stone is a men- *
ace to the small town of
Dukesberry. A once local EIGH'I
basketball legend, he has NI(
become a bitter drunk
who detests the holidays At Shoi
due to the death of his Qua]
parents on one of the Coll
nights of Hanukkah. One
night, Davey skips out on
a bar tab and destroys the town's holiday
ice sculptures. This leads to a courtroom
scene where an all-too-forgiving judge
finally has had enough. Enter Whitey, a
short, crippled little man with a big
heart. He offers to take Davey under his
wing as an assistant referee for the
town's youth basketball league, thus
saving him from being sentenced to
prison.
Davey wants nothing to do with this
funny little man and opposes him at all
times. Davey makes fun of the fat kid,
steals from the good-hearted woman

and turns Whitey into a "poopsicle."
These are just a few of the bad deeds
Davey continues to commit while
under the supervision of the very sweet
old man.
The misdeeds persist until Davey's
home catches fire and he is forced to
move in with Whitey and his sister.
Davey's cold heart finally begins to melt
and his antics slow down. Whitey is
intent on winning the annual Dukesber-
ry badge of honor and after Davey's
catharsis, the reformed delinquent is
able to help Whitey achieve his dream.
While short, "8 Crazy Nights" holds
many humorous moments through both
its musical numbers and the outrageous
toilet humor that can be expected from
Adam Sandler. Both Christmas and
Hanukkah are treated in the film, but
the emphasis is clearly placed on the,
Jewish holiday. Few, if
any, holiday movies cen-
ter on the Festival of
kk ALights as can be seen
with such recent releases
CRAZY of films like "The Santa
HTS Clause 2" Sandler leaves
the holiday in the back-
case and ground, however, and
ty 16 never brings it up in
mbia terms of an "issue" or
treats the subject with
any sort of severity. It is
for this reason that the film is refreshing
in that it isn't saying, "Hey everybody,
there is this whole other holiday out
there," but there is clearly a statement
being made in terms of recognition.
Sandler provides many of the voices
in the film, and his talent for characteri-
zation really shows. Each of the unique
voices he creates is very funny and one
might be surprised to find out just how
many he did for the film. While a bit
juvenile and most likely a Sandler-fan
film, "8 Crazy Nights" offers a humor-
ous getaway for the holidays.

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lit
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