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March 25, 2004 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-25

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6B - The Michigan Daily - Weekelid Maazile - Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Michigan Daily -- Weekead Magazii

READING THE BOOK:
LOCAL BAND SOUNDS OFF

25 Suaves strives to avoid traditional
musicians of the past and present

By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
"I believe everyone here has brand-
new strings," announces Mike Hoener-
hoff, guitarist for the Ann Arbor band
The Book Was Better. Not to be left
out, drummer Bill Davidson replies, "I
have new shoelaces!" That's the
essence of the band - down-to-earth,
funny guys who will accept you, with
or without strings. Hoenerhoff, David-
son, lead vocalist and guitarist Dan
Jones and guitarist, keyboardist and
percussionist Erich Harowby all went
to high school together in Lansing,
while the latest member, bassist Alain
Watts, hails from Ann Arbor. With

Watts in the mix, the band has been
together six months or so, but you
wouldn't know the difference since
they play. together so naturally - each
with an original style.
The guys consider them-
selves to be something a little
like Sunny Day Real
Estate, with songs rang-
ing from intense
vocalized screams
accompanied by
heavily layered
verses to mel-
lowed-out Radio-
head-like
releases. In fact, fa'.
Radiohead are a

huge influence to the guys, especially
to Hoenerhoff, who claims, "they're
bigger than life." The Book Was Better
have hopes of blowing up to the status
of a band like Radiohead. It's a slow
process but they're making progress. A
tour is in the works, and the guys have
their first album, Believe Me When I
Say..., coming out next month. One of
the songs, "Eleven: Eleven," stands
out with a solid baseline, a tam-
bourine that adds a
lighter, faster beat and
synthesized vocals that
are reflective of Robert
Smith.
Watts says that playing in the
band is "something we have to do to
maintain a semblance of sanity." This
dedication to music shows through in
their live performance. Their show at
the Blind Pig last week was so energy-
filled that Jones was doubled over from
the sheer power of belting out the
music, while Harowby slammed
against the wall from the adrenaline of
bouncing on the crowded stage.
Unfortunately, the band members
are paying for all the album and con-
cert equipment themselves. Jones
explains that without a label, every-
thing has to be done from the grass-
roots. The band, however, has had
some help along the way - namely
from the juke-
,,, box at
Leopold's.
T er s o n g s
Iph a v e
racked up
more than 30
plays on what
Jones feels "is the
best jukebox in
town." Leopold's
has helped spread
their music
around town,

rr;UtOSb y UAVtI 1UIYMN/umIy
Though you're not likely to hear The Book Was Better on the radio, they still
attract a strong local following.

By Forest Casey
Daily Arts Writer
Velocity Hopkins and DJ Party
Girl have been steadily producing
large, loud rock for Rhode Island-
based Bulb Records since 1996.
Their music would be as appropriate
coming out of a rusty pickup truck
as it would filtered through white
iPod earphones. It is unapologetical-
ly loud, with the low, fast guitar
rumble more important than the
actual notes. As cheesy as it sounds,
25 Suaves' idea of success rests with
an enthralled audience and not a
bottom line or a merchandising deal.
Hopkins (a.k.a Peter Larson), then,
is fully qualified to preach a tradi-
tional, selfless rock gospel.
The Michigan Daily: What can
you tell me about life on the road?
Peter Larson: Life on the road is
more often than not, really unevent-
ful, full of long drives and many
hours sitting in a bar waiting for the
show to start. I personally like going
on the road because I don't have to
mow my lawn and have some extra
time to read, which I don't have at
home. The shows themselves are
always good, we are always in top
form in any situation. Some
bars/clubs/places are better than
others, but we just don't care. Once
the show starts, it starts and the
energy of the sound and the people
kicks in and I forget about the world
and my lawn.
TMD: You described the popular
Yamamba girls at your show in
Tokyo - are they anything like the
scenesters in the USA?
PL: Scenesters in the U. S. are
really just sad kids who don't have
much to do in their life other than
reading Vice magazine and buying
crappy clothes. I got back into rock
because there's something much
more real about people who go to
work so that they can save up money

to buy tickets to Ozzfest than people
who use their parents' money to buy
expensive used clothes and try to
impress their friends. I want to play
for people who like music, I don't
care what the fuck they wear. More
and more I see people in the indie
scene who don't care about music.
It's all like Pokemon cards to them,
or some popularity game. It makes
me sick and I hope that we can
change them and help to do some-
thing constructive, like learning to
cook or caring for their lawns.
TMD: In the past, so many of the
movements in rock have started in
New York - what does it feel like
to be lumped in with the "garage"
rock movement out of the Detroit
area?
PL: We don't live in Detroit, nor
do we ever want to. Nor do we con-
sider ourselves a garage band or part
of any facet of the Detroit "scene"
which I find uninteresting and bor-
ing. But that's my personal opinion.
People can like what they like. I was
never able to join the soccer team at
my school, why should I think that I
should be a part of a scene here in
Michigan?
We live in Adrian, Mich., a town
of 20,000 about 50 miles southwest
of Ann Arbor. There are no bands,
no places to play, hardly any people
under 80. It's great. We can do what
we do and not be bothered by any-
body, just making music for the sake
of making music, not trying to
please anyone but ourselves. I
wouldn't have it any other way.
TMD: You've recently performed
with Japanther. Does the consistent
pressure to produce unique music
require something truly different
like Japanther's performance art act
or Wolf Eyes' wall of noise?
PL: I don't find that real people
are pressured to do anything
unique. People just do what they do
and what they like. If they feel

The Foundation for the Defense oj
~ "Defending Democracy, Defeatin

pressure to do something unique all
the time then they most likely
aren't real people at all and are no
better than all the popular people
you hated in high school. (My
friends and I) do this stuff 'cause
we like it. What motivates is the
love of music and performing and
good times ... There is nothing bet-
ter or more real.

a lecture by
Dr. Tom Regan
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
North Carolina State University
Author of Pulitzer-nominated
Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights
Critical Acclaim for Empty Cages:
"Every so often a book is written that is
destined to change the way people think.
Tom Regan has written just such a book."
-Jane Goodall
"Will do for the animal rights
movement what Silent Spring did for
the environmental movement."
-Howard Lyman
Authordand former rancher
"The animal rights movement may have evolved from
the humane feelings of compassion and mercy. In
Tom Regan, it has found the voice of reason."
-Paul Watson
Co-founder of Greenpeace
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award
Book signing to follow!
Wednesday, March 31st
7:00 PM

Peter Larson of 25 Suaves enjoys the n

which according to the guys, is diffi-
cult in Ann Arbor. Local bands with no
labels have a difficult time of sharing
their music because zl. promotion is
done by word of mouth. "There is a
whole world of music but you only
hear what's on the radio," Hoenerhoff
says. Without a radio station like East
Lansing's "The Edge," "most people
are ignorant to (the local music
scene)."
The band members say that when
bands finally do get the attention and
play at some of Ann Arbor's few last-
ing venues like the Blind Pig, there's a
lack of audiences. "People would
rather watch reality TV than hear
music," Watts explains.
Jones points out that even if he does-
n't like the type of music being played,
he would go to a concert just to help
out a fellow band: "I'll go pay five dol-
lars and support (the music scene)

because I want it to keep going. I don't
want to leave (Ann Arbor) without
helping the community." So instead of
watching reality TV, Watts suggests, "If
it's a Friday or Saturday night and you
need something to do, go see a show."
At a show, Davidson feels that "you'll
find a band out there that can change
the way you feel about something."
And that's what the group is trying to
do - change the way people feel by
filling them with music or, like Watts
says, "dig a little deeper and look for
the things that are important."
The Book Was Better still has hur-
dles to overcome like publicity and
finances. And then there are always the
small things like Watts being late to
practice because he forgot his bass -
all the guys show him no mercy of
course. But for a band of five good
friends who can rock out, you can
expect an encore.

The Foundation for the Defense of Dei
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The year-long fellowship begins with a
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