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June 06, 1986 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1986-06-06

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, June 6, 1986 - Page 9
Femmes speak on success, proms

By Beth Fertig
band as being a success, even if
(it) never gets any more popular,"
concedes Gordon Gano, lead singer,
lyricist, and guitarist for the Violent
Indeed, the Femmes have come a
long way from their sidewalk playing
days in their hometown of Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, where legend has it that
Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde spotted
the trio one day and asked them to
open for her own band.
Although the gig was certainly not
their ticket to fame, it did serve as a
harbinger for greater days to come;
and if you like, tonight's performance
at the Fox Theater would be sure to fit
into this well deserved era of Femme
While the Femmes' first two
albums, Violent Femmes and
Hallowed Ground, sold quite well and
made a name of the band among hep
listening circles, their new release,
The Blind Leading the Naked, is the
hottest item of the three as far as hit-
ting the charts. One might say that
this is due, in part, to the band's new
sound, obtained with the help of
producer (and Talking Head
keyboardist) Jerry Harrison. While
the band's earlier material was
awash with an eclectic assortment of
styles (ranging from Velvet Un-
derground-esque minimalism, to
punk, blues, and beyond) and well-
charged angst, the new record-while
equally varied-features a stronger
sense of song focus, and tighter
arrangements. Says Gano:
"(On) this one we wanted to do
things to make more use of the studio.

That's where Jerry came in-with his up with the jamborees of instruments .. ,
knowledge of the studio. It's more used on record-every thing from jew
produced, more 'textured,' and in- harp, slide whistle, and trances phone
struments ... The songs were more and two back-up artists known as The
'built'... laying on a track, laying Horns of Dilemma. While this might'
on another track. Basically our first seem like a wild combination of
two albums were recorded, if not things for the trio to be juggling, the
purely live, were definitely recorded formula has only proven successful.
from a live aesthetic. And yet this The Blind Leading the Naked
album wasn't." recently reached number one on the
Gano concludes, "What we were af- college radio charts. It boasts the hit
ter is how is came out." single (and MTV video), T. Rex's
Over the course of the Femmes' "Children of the Revolution," the ban-
three albums, one can see how d's first cover song. Says Gano,
religious inspiration has become a "College radio is real important. Just
pertinent theme. At first, one might 'cause, there, you're number one on
suppose that there are strong elemen- college radio.
ts of sarcasm behind this, especially "Recently, with the new record, some
in light of songs like "Old Mother commercial stations have started
Reagan" or the adolescent, sexual playing us but not really that many.
fervor of "Blister in the Sun." But Going back to our first album, there
Gano, whose father is a minister, at- was no airplay-on commercial radio
tests, "I'm sincere about what I stations-but (we were) one of the
would refer to as my (gospel-type) top bands in the college radio and
songs; totally sincere. Certainly there the alternative radio around the coun-
would have been at first some thought try. And really, that's made a huge
about the strange context it was in, difference (cause then people can
about doing it in a band called Violent turn on to the band.
Femmes and with a lot of the other "We'll go play in a town and won-
songs that we do. But I'm glad that der, 'have people heard of us here, Brain Ritchie, Gordon Gano, and Victor DI
we're doing it like that." will there be anyone at the show' and Femmes.
If Hallowed Ground's "Jesus it'll be a couple of hundred
Walking on Water' or "It's Gonna people-and this is back on our early things like that ... You know, I'm now."
Rain" were any indicators, then Blind tours-and they'll be singing along, interested in it but on another level I
Leading the Naked offers ample con- knowing all the lyrics. Just 'cause we really don't care." Howe
firmation of Gano's belief with have a hit song on their college radio As to Gano's aspirations, he says, for suc
"Faith," where he juxtaposes station." "There were a period of a few years med ti
any cynicism with conviction. He adds Gano is very pleased with his where I would dream of playing my Saginaw
"The more material that comes out band's success, testifying that he's music and being able to play it all when h
and that relates and that connects, I where he always wanted to be. "We'll over the world to appreciative Detroit
think that that would start cutting hear of some bands who are maybe audiences. To be able to have it as a respond
down on the misinterpretation of it in viewed as our contemporaries," he career and not have to have some blooded
thatarea-and then seeing us live." adds, "English bands, and we've other job. And that's been done, out thos
As a live act, the Femmes are heard that they got paid for this one
rumored to be quite a show. Picking gig what we made in the whole tour,

eLorenzo ARE the Violent
ver, Gano proves he's not out
cess at all costs. When infor-
hat a ninth grade girl in
will have to miss her prom
er boyfriend goes to tonight's
show without her, Gano
ded, "Oooooooh, that's cold-
... she must be just cursing
e Violent Femmes."

Sly Fox parodies old favorite

By Kurt Serbus to Frisco in the 1890's, adding a strong
element of vaudeville to the tale of a
crafty miser who sets out to
EN JONSON'S satirical, manipulate the virtues and the vices
comedy Volpone geta a (slightly) of the people around him.
more contemporary bent in Perfor-
mance Network's production of Sly
Fox, which will run consecutive "He fakes a terminal illn ,
weekends June 6-22. The play, plays off the greed of the people
authored by Larry Gelbart, takes around him by telling each one they'll
Jonson's scenario and transplants it be his sole heir if they give him all

more animate objects of Sly's lust,
and Lindel Salow as the obligatory
"wily servant," Simon Able. The play
is directed by Phil Milan, for whom
the project is more or less a labor of
"Phil saw the play about eight
years ago with Robert Preston, and
liked it well enough to want to direct
it," says Linda Milan, "and now he's
getting his chance."
Sly Fox will be shown Thursday
through Saturday at 8 p.m., and
Sundays at 2 p.m. at Performance
Network, 408 W. Washington.
For reservations or information,
call 663-0681.

their possessions" is how producer
Linda Milan describes the action.
The cast includes Robert Bardy as
Foxwell J. Sly (guess which charac-
ter he is), Gloria Zuber as one of the

Stadium Centre, 18%W. Stadium at Pauline
Ph. 662-2602
I. .
' Bonus Coupon
I One Week of Unlimited Tanning for $24.95
I (1 session per day in a bed or HEX)
I Expires 30 June 1986 MD
AT ann arbor civic theatre
JUNE 11-14, 1986, 8P.M.


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