BY JAMIE PIETRAS
The Clash Triubte
Van's Warped Tour
Who needs guitar lessons to
make it in the music biz? When
Aram Sarkissian, guitarist/vocal-
ist for Stunt Monkey, told his gui-
tar teacher he wanted to play
punk, he got the boot. And
Michael Rossi, the bassist for
the San Jose, Calif., trio suffered
a similar fate. His guitar teacher
"strongly recommended" that he
stop taking lessons.
But this story has a happy end-
ing - kind of like a Stunt
Monkey song. After jamming
with different bands In high
school and taking a short break-
to attend college, the two start-
ed playing together. They picked
up drummer John Velcamp, record-
ed their debut album For the Ear
(Tastes Like Chicken Records) and
grew up to be shiny, happy rock
stars. Or at least they're well on
"Right now, we're on fire,"
Sarkisslan says. "We're totally
into it. It totally makes us
Three months after sending out
a o-fi demo CD, the band is
already playing San Francisco
and L.A.area clubs, and have had
two singles on Live 105, the Bay
Area's alternative rock station.
Stunt Monkey combines clever,
catchy and happy lyrics with a
unique pop sound - and a little
but of old-school punk thrown in.
There's no tormented or mean
punk attitude here. Even
"Suicide" sounds happy when
Stunt Monkey sings It.
- Jessica Lyons
To buy For the Ear, check out
' ,he Clash were the sem-
inal punk band of
the late '70s/
early '80s, so
the number of high-profile
rockers that turn up on
this tribute album should
come as no surprise.
The Urge and Rancid churn out a
pair of straight-up punk covers of
"This is Radio Clash" and
"Cheat," respectively, while the
Indigo Girls chip in a folky,
acoustic rendition of
works a lot
Bury the Hatchet
Don't expect any surprises here, just ano
er solid record from America's favorite Iri
import. Sticking with tried and true Cranberri
formula, frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan revs
up for some hard-edged rockers like "Promise
and tones it down again on ballads like "You a
Me" and "Dying in the Sun." We've got to s
though, O'Riordan isn't the most intimidati
lassie when she tries to lash out agair
poseurs on "Copycat." She's just too darn cu
to get mad.
This trio has made quite a
name for themselves in the
United Kingdom for their ability
to cold rock a party. Fortunately,
they've packaged up their killer
dance floor skills into something vocal
we Yankees can enjoy, too. Their break
latest full-length CD is an elec- mind
tronic head-trip, meshing spacy beauc
Ben Folds Five
The Unauthonzed Biography
of RehinoW Messner
Sure, liking Ben Folds Five might not be the most
macho thing in the world, but give these guys credit for
wailing out some gutsy little numbers. From the meticu-
lously orchestrated opener "Narcolepsy" to the "Lullaby"
that gives the album closure, singer, songwriter and
pianist Ben Folds strikes a chord with clever tunes about
better than you d imagine. But the high everything from sitting in a hospital bed to joining a rock
point on the album has to be the band. And who can deny the guy's sense of humor?
Mighty, Mighty Bosstones frenetic "Choose from any number of magazines, who do you
take on "Rudy Can't Fail," though want to be, Billie Idol or Kool Moe Dee? ... there ar
the Afghan Whigs mellow remake 100 ways to cover your redneck past," he sings. V
of "Lost In the Supermarket" and dig the new Piano Man.
Moby and Heather Nova's ethe-
real collaboration on "Straight to o W
Hell" aren't too far behind.
Unfortunately, like all other tribute Mule Variations
albums, this one has its duds. Third Epitaph
Eye Blind's as annoying as ever on "Train
in Vain," and "London's Burning" just
doesn't sound quite the same coming
from Silverchair. But, if you can pro-
gram your CD player to skip a few Tom Waits can do no wrong.
choice tracks, then you've got It's been six years since the heralded songwriter last put his
a worthy tribute to the gravelly voice on record, and he hasn't missed a beat. He's
founding fathers of back with Mule Variations, a dark and bizarre yet poignant c4
politically charged lection of blues-inflected folk tales. Over low, acoustic strums,
punk rock. Waits conjures vivid imagery of America off the beaten path.
"I run my race with burnt face Jake, gave him a Manzanita cross.
I lived on nothing but dreams and train smoke," he growls on
"Pony." On the album's opener, "Big In Japan," he gets a little
Get the groove on help from Primus' Les Claypool, one of several musicians and a
www.umagazine.com turntablist who all chime in at times to create Waits' eerie, exper-
-_ imental musical backdrops.
e What better way to start out the sum-
mer than sun, sand and ska? And with their
upbeat, fun lyrics, blaring horns and high
energy tunes, Buck-O-Nine is just the band
to do it. San Diego's ska/punk favorites are
hitting the road this summer to tour the
U.S. and promote their new album, Libido.
Guitarist Jonas Kleiner says he can hardly
wait. "i'm really looking forward to getting
back on the road. It's a part of who I am and
I really enjoy it." So grab the sunscreen and
a beer (or two) and put on your dancing
shoes. Look for these boys of summer head-
ing to a campus near you.
" Sugar Ray - those fly guys who are
really stretching out their 15 minutes of
fame with their latest CD 14:59 - are play-
ing on campuses now through May 7 as part
of the MTV Campus Invasion tour. Hottie
Mark McGrath and company are teaming up
with Orgy for the tour which Is currently
rocking schools in the Northeast. To find
out if your school is one of the lucky ones,
go to www.campusinvasion.mtv.com.
The Lucy Nation
Ever since those Cardigans
hit the music scene, Sweden
seems to be pumping out more
and more great singers who look
good, too. And Anna Nystrom,
vocalist for The Lucy Nation, is no
exception. Her sexy voice, cou-
pled with the musical talent of
Andy Cousin makes for one of the
most infectious collections we've
heard in a while. One thing's for
sure - we love Lucy.
What do you do when life
gives you a good, swift kick in
the ass? No, you don't mope
around feeling sorry for yourself.
You pull yourself together and
then you write a brilliant, heart-
wrenching song about it. At least
that's the theory these New York
City indie-rockers live by. And it's
made for a pretty sweet debut.
Kick back, rock out and think
distortion and furious
beats into a truly out-of-
collage. We guarantee it's
14 r April/May 1999