19 -TheAichigan aily--W gnesday June 19,1996
Ben Harper slides into
opens for Dave Matth
By Greg Parker ... It just happens to be a very diverse
Daily Arts Editor group of people ... the definition is in the
Ben Harper takes his music serious- music."
ly. It.is this attitude that has brought Harper doesn't approach rock and roll
worldwide success for Harper and his in the traditional sense. Rather, he places
band, the Innocent Criminals. Harper a Southem-Delta-blues spin on his music
has nearly reached gold-record status in that, when coupled with Harper's hollow-
Europe, and the band has attained fame necked Weissenborn or his dobro, creates
isthe United States as well, recently a truly unique sound. Harper acknowl-
touring with Pearl Jam and playing in edges the Southern influence in his
front of more than music, but doesn't
40,000 people. Ben PREVIE W single out the South
Harper and the as the only influ-
Innocent Crinminals B en e a indl ence, stating that he
is now touring with Opening for Dave has been influenced
the Dave Matthews I Matthews Band by "different musics
Band;, the tour PikeKnob - Sold Out that moved me in
extends to the my lifetime, as well
Detroit area on Saturday with a show at as inspiration."
Pine Knob, in Clarkston, Michigan. Harper said that while "a youth there
Perhaps Harper's success is mated to was so much music in my home, and I
his diverse audience. Harper finds audi- started playing guitar and drums, and as
ences in skaters and on adult-oriented I got older, you do other things, like
Eick radio stations, and it is this untradi- sports ... In my late teens I really started
tional approach to rock that grants him involving myself in bottleneck slide."
this wide listening base. When asked Slide guitar isn't exactly a common
why he attracts such a crowd, Harper, in instrument for a young adult to learn,
an interview with The Michigan Daily, but Harper "felt (the bottleneck slide
said he "can't say why that is ... I'm not guitar) said what I was trying to say ... I
musical analyst... I'm not a psychologist started playing bottleneck, then lap
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slide. Playing lap slide was the first step
to the Weissenborn, with a very unique
sound to itself" Harper said.
Harper attributed his success with the
slide guitar to listening to piles of Delta
blues records, as well as a great deal of
time simply practicing with a slide.
Looking at Harper's influences explains
the rather odd combination of a twenty- M
something musician incorporating slide
guitar into his music. Harper lists his
three biggest influences as Bob Marley,
Blind Willie Johnson and Jimi Hendrix.
With Johnson probably paving much of
the inspiration for his spirited slide-
playing, Hendrix and Marley also affect
Harper's music to a great degree.
Harper's more "rock and roll" side
exhibits definite influence from
Hendrix, and his songwriting takes a
more political tone at times, a' la Bob
Marley. When asked about some of the Ben Harper's Southern Delta-nfluenced rock takes root in his slide playing.
political messages in his songs, Harper
said that it would be more apt to quote After his tour with the Dave Matthews like Michigan a lot ... Ann Arbor,
the lyrics themselves and let the listen- Band concludes at the end of this month, Detroit, it's the soul state," Harper said.
ers/readers decide what exactly the Harper said that he will do a few more He also wished to "thank everyone in
messages were. shows in the United States, and then Michigan for strong support every time
Harperhas neverhadthechance to play bounce back and forth between the West we come ... I always look forward to
with his mentors, as Hendrix, Marley and Coast and Europe. He plans to get into being there." In any event, Harper will
Johnson are dead, but Harper has played the studio in September. be able to express his gratitude in per
with legendary Bluesman John Lee And what does Harper think of son, opening for the Dave Matthews
Hooker. Harper commented that Hooker Michigan? "I like Ann Arbor a lot ... I Band this Saturday at Pine Knob.
is "one of the baddest cats ever" but he is
also quick to point out that it's not just a
big name that matters when playing. "I've
played with a lot of great players, but you
wouldn't know because they're not in the
mainstream," Harper said.
ROADW AY P ACK AGE SYST EM
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you are not afraid of hard work, are DC popsters Velocity Girl return to
at least 18 years old and want to Michigan, after headlining at the Blind Pig
work 4-5 hours per day, Mon.-Fri., last April in support of its latest effort,
we can offer you $E.SOhr to start, N ew sletters "Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts." With
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student and after graduation. album, "Copacetic," and staying with the
Respond to: Newsletters classic pop sound of its last album,
"Simpatico." In concert, the sweet har-
SDEMPCGE Newsletters monies between guitarist/vocalist Archie
SY6JasEMPlNCBig savings on newsletters for Moore and vocalist Sarah Shannon are
298 Jackson Plaza all clubs, businesses, and highlighted on songs like "Just Like That."
Ann 52 organizations. Headlining the show is Seattle's
...o , r 1111111,1, r 1, ffffl-J& finest pop band, The Posies, who have
released "Amazing Disgrace," its first
effort since 1993's "Frosting on t
Beater," while the band Lucky Me starfr'
. offthis night of tasty ear candy. Yum.
Velocity Gid plays at St. Andrew's Hall,
Sundayune 23. Forinfcal (313) 961-MELT.
EAAgE, -Victoria Saapande, Dal Arts Writer