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March 06, 2008 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-06

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6B - Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page lB
With its latest release, Good Bad Not Evil, the Black
Lips have an even wider arsenal of material to stretch
out during a live show. A new twist the album brings
to the table is a greater appreciation for country music.
Standout track "How Do You Tell A Child That Some-
one Has Died" is about as country as you can get in indie
rock, outside of Jason Molina. When asked about the
unexpected influence, Bradley made an easy-to-follow
distinction between good and bad country: "We love
country music. But you got to cut it off after 1974. Some-
thing went sour. Maybe they threw away the original
The single consistent factor in the band's live show
is an undeniable feeling of love. It's typical to see crowd

members strip and drop to the floor, presumably to
groove, but probably to vomit a little bit, too. And the
guys in the band certainly aren't afraid to show their
affection for one another, having been known to make
out on occasion. The good spirits that arise during a
Black Lips show are, of course, derived from the music,
but there must be something else that makes the band's
concerts so scandalous and exhilarating.
"It must be a whole lot of alcohol," Bradley said. "The
two go together quite nicely."
Despite touring constantly, the Black Lips seem to
pack a wallop at each individual show, and Thursday
night in Detroit shouldn't be any different. Bradley
warns that those who decide not to go will "miss 100
percent of the shots." But if you do show up, the band
will throw out a shot of something for you. Just don't
be surprised if it doesn't taste like whiskey, or any other
alcohol for that matter.


From Page 3B

And t

luxury. artists
Let's face it, they're called starv- a prof
ing artists for a reason, and that
reason isn't a discerning palette.
Most aspiring musicians don't have
much for money, and anyone who T
has tried eating passion can tellyou
it's no steak. Those who are not in a
Bolcom's position need money -
money which is provided, depend-
ing on the level of success, by the
music industry.
The music industry may be a ties fo
perversion of the art, as Bolcom that al
would have it, but there's no deny- and g(
ing its importance. The industry tinue]
isn't interested in the artistic value being
of a record, but rather in its sales. ping t

:hat's precisely the way it more profitable.
i be. Without some ground- Poetry and art have something
of commercialism, starving to learn from music and the grow-
would stay that way, and it's ing theater industry. While the
ession with few opportuni- "Legally Blonde" musical will
never be called "enlightening,"
the same entertainment industry
is giving birth to shows such as
he industry is "Spring Awakening" and modern
d, but it's also lyrical masters like Feist. Decry
A b imass-produced entertainment filth
important like the Backstreet Boys if you will,
but the same industry is providing
for those who do perform because
it's something they love. The soon-
r advancement. It's a system er the rest of the arts learn how to
lows the talented - artistic finance their advancement through
old-seekers alike - to con- commercialism, the sooner we'll be
producing material without seeing the next Edgar Allen Poe -
in constant danger of drop- even if we do have to slogthrough a
he profession for something swamp of verse first.

The juke joint that Robert Johnson was poisoned in. It's been converted into a house.

From Page 1B
is two miles down a winding, one
lane dirt road that takes a guide
to find. Driving down one of the
many identical highways, you'll
come across a sign that says he
grew up in the area. From there,
it's a 15-minute drive through
people's backyards and a weav-
ing forest until you find his head-
stone. Charley Patton's grave
quietly rests alongside a func-
tioning plantation. Drivers of
enormous machinery who used to
work the fields pass the site daily,
many of them unaware that one
of the most important musicians
of American music is buried only
yards away.
Many residents of the Missis-
sippi Delta echo this sentiment.
The current caretaker of Stovall's
Plantation, Norma, where Muddy
Waters grew up, offered her expla-
nation: "We live with this every-
day," she said. "I always wonder
what people come down here for.
I truly question their intelligence.
What out there is the blues?"
Maybe these sites have fallen by
the wayside because the residents
are so accustomed to seeing these
graves that they've forgotten
their importance. When there's a
gaudy Coca Cola-sponsored ban-
ner on the property where Robert
Johnson lived that reads "The

son pla
And se
ary to r
ing. Sor
still wo
be the
vest co
have be
sites or
son pla
in bare
But for
seem n
the cou
ple live

arybluesman Robert John- Everyone seems to do things on
yed music and died on this their own agenda, no one getting
" you might try to ignore it. uppity if something doesn't hap-
veral of the other historic pen with urgency. Southern com-
gs have actually been con- fort is as strong as ever. Traces of
into people's homes, their the lives these men led, the way of
ance most likely second- life that presumably inspired the
enovations. music, are everywhere from the
y of the plantations these age-old buildings to the belea-
grew up on are still stand- guered rail lines.
me are still operational. For But unquestionably the most
e, Stovall's Plantation is visible aspect of the early Delta
irking, although 2008 will blues is the juke joints. Places
named Po' Monkey and Ground
Zero are dingy old buildings
out of which the blues scream.
ie landmarks Names like Big George Brock
and Mr. Tater stand as local
ay be gone, favorites, drawing crowds on
casual Thursday nights. These
ut the music jukes open when they want to
and boast the most authentic
will live on blues still played today. You can
go for a beer or just to listen to
the tunes; no one will look at you
twice either way.
first year it doesn't har- So in a sense, the blues are still
itton. Meanwhile, others very much alive. The music is,
'en converted into historic anyway. It's unlikely that we'll
"resorts" - like the Hop- ever have another Charley Pat-
ntation, where we stayed ton or find Robert Johnson's first
ly renovated slave shacks. wife's grave, but the music will
the most part, these plan- continue in the bars and in the
are similarly forgotten. fields where they worked. The
yet strangely, the blues music will never die.
elatively alive in Missis- As it's written on Johnson's
and not just because of grave, "Jesus of Nazareth. King
untless museums. There's of Jerusalem. I know that my
ing about the way peo- Redeemer liveth and He will call
that invokes the music. me from the grave."




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