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April 24, 1991 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-24

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 24, 1991 =-Page 15

Mudd Puppies mean no harm

by Annette Petruso
"We just throw everything into
our music" -Ben Reynolds of the
Jickasaw Mudd Puppies
The Chickasaw Mudd Puppies do
-what many bands would like to:
make "real music," humor-filled
with hand-picked, wish-list guests,
such as Willie Dixon, who wrote a
song for them, played on their
tecords and co-produced it. Dixon's
presence adds an extra dollop of
blues to the rock/blues/etc. hybrid.
"It's definitely got some of the
blues in it. It's real stomping mu-
sic," says Reynolds. Spice this with
the driving rhythms of that found
percussion and other sounds, plus
guithr and Brant Slay's hiccupy vo-
cals, and you have ideal Mudd
Puppies music. "Whatever we see
that makes a good sound we use. We
did a radio show the other day in
Atlanta and we had a drummer sit in
with us and he just turned over a
plastic trash can and played that and
it sounded great," Reynolds ex-
plains.
With two excellent records,
White Dirt and 8 Track Stomp, under
thpir belts, the Puppies prove
they're no one-hit-wonders or nov-
elties (like They Might Be Giants),
0reven a cheap gimmick by a band to
get attention, to be distinctive from
the rest of the bands on the al-
terna/college-circuit. While Dirt
kept up the beat and the weirdness
with more percussion, Stomp has
more experimentation with
rhythms and tempo. The words
throughout both of their albums are
a hodge-podge of Slay's images and
Reynold's relatively straightfor-
ward songs. "A lot of the stuff is
Southern simply because that's
where we're from," says Reynolds.
Because they are from the South,
their music has some distinct re-
gional touches, more than just their
lyrics, for which they could easily
be pigeon-holed. They are from
Athens, Georgia and Michael Stipe
from R.E.M. co-produced both
records. "I think there are some pre-

RECORDS
Continued from page 13
gle and funereal swells of mandolin
and strings - waits for the sun
with a bitter rebuke of Old
Testament God.
And on "The Sly Persuaders," a
triumphant swagger of Rat Pack-era
Vegas swing, Crime and the City
Solution shows how its '60s-lizard
sense for hip - aided by the free
jazz capabilities of bassist Thomas
Stern and keyboardist Chrislo Haas
and the tragic swings of Bronwyn
Adams's violin - manages never to
slink into parody nor peddle the de-
signer retro-psychedelia of outfits
like the new Bunnymen or
Charlatans U.K.: Bonney & Co.
don't ply a particular style so much
as they inhabit it in the space of a
song, stretching the maximum pos-
sibility out of a single movement.
That's because CCS's unpre-
dictable sound - masterminded by
percussionist Harvey, who moon-
lights on guitar in the Bad Seeds -
crests and falls like a soundtrack to
Bonney's rambling narratives.
The expressionistic third part of
"The Last Dictator," indeed, makes
use of the same eerie circus steam-
organ found in Cave's "The Carny,"
from Wenders' Wings. Like Cave's,
Bonney's lyrics are heady, allegori-
cal stuff: you tell me w h a t
Bonney's referring to in "The Sly
Persuaders" when he sings of
"Foreign Saviours/ Violin players/
Tax evaders/ Soothsayers/ The door-
to-door pest," and "the permanent

guest." Whatever it means,
Paradise Discotheque is the haunt
of Berlin's coolest permanent
guests since Bowie lodged the
Ku'damm - in days when there was
still a Wall to make the prospect of
new doors compelling.
- Michael Paul Fischer
Skatenigs
"Chemical Imbalance"
(CD single)
Wax Trax!
The Skatenigs are probably the
most obnoxious band ever. The most
memorable part of their stage show
is when lead singer Phil "Phildo"
Owen straps on a giant plastic penis
filled with whipped cream, strokes
it, and yells, "Every ejaculation
increases the death toll/ I'm on a
roll!" Family entertainment they
aren't. Nonetheless, by virtue of the

fact that the band knows techno-
wizard Alain Jourgensen, they
found themselves in the opening
slot on last summer's Revolting
Cocks tour and are now signed to
Chicago's Wax Trax! records, with
producer Hypo Luxa (Jourgensen's
pseudonym).
But the Skatenigs don't fit the
typical Wax Trax! profile -- they
don't use any electronics. Instead,
they are a punk band through and
through, which means that the
music is equally as obnoxious as the
stage show. Both of the songs here,
"Chemical Imbalance" and "Dam-
age 43," are odes to rudeness. As the
former song says: "Skatenigs!
Mortal but invincible/ Skatenigs!
Making life liveable!" Well, I
don't know about that, but they are
having a good time as they do it.
-Mike Molitor

Uue to technical ditticulties beyond this reporter's control, this story aa
not include such gems as Ben Reynold's (left) opinion of the southern
image as expressed in The Dukes of Hazard, the demise of 8-track tapes
at the evil hand of the music industry in favor of CD's and his rave of

fellow Athenian artist Vic Chestnutt.
of the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies.
conceived notions ... I guess it's the
whole thing like Manchester is now
from what I'm hearing. I can't
worry about it. I just don't worry
about it," says Reynolds. "We don't
sound like R.E.M.... it's a real fash-
ionable thing sometimes to put
down those that are around you that
are popular, I don't know if that
happens everywhere but it does
around musicians.... I am grateful
for everything that R.E.M.'s done
for us."
On other southern popular bands,
most of which do not sound much
like the Mudd Puppies, Reynolds
has very distinct opinions. "I think
ZZ Top is cool. I don't know any-
thing about their new music. I mean
if I started naming ZZ Top songs,
I'd start naming 'La Grange' ...
stuff like that from ten or fifteen

Brant Slay, at left, is the other-half
years ago.. There's something about
the way they meshed blues with
rock and roll," Reynolds says.
"They're in music for music's sake."
But when asked for his opinion of
the Black Crowes, he quickly asked,
"Can we change the subject?"
More importantly, the Mudd
Puppies make distinctive, complex-
sounding, yet simply elemental mu-
sic. How to label it? "Musicians
don't need to classify music," says
Reynolds.

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BOOKS
Continued from page 14
writer, says, "What you are seeing
tonight is the longest fight in his-
ry! Thirty-three years... and no end
in sight!" as the real Melissa stands
in the audience, bewildered, asking,
"Hey! Who won?... I got a lot of
money riding on this fight." But
nobody talks to her.
You're right. Why would anyone
want to turn on the television, our
comfortable medium of escape, to
find mindless babbling and cultural
and sexual stereotypes and see sup-
posedly whiny, thin people kvetch
about their clogged drains? For me,
it's knowing that I have an ally in
being genuinely upset when a little
trauma disturbs the exactitude of
my existence (and don't tell me that

you don't do the same thing, because
I know you do.) It's also being able
to laugh at ourselves and understand
each other. "That's the road to hap-
piness? Self-induced schizophre-
nia?" Michael asks Elliot, who
replies, "You want to have a life
right here, today? Then pick your
battles and learn how to compro-
mise. Now, where do you want to
have lunch." The writers pinpoint
the elements that demonstrate peo-
ple's humor, pain and weirdness; in
short, life.
thirtysomething Stories is about
making choices. In the characters'
cases, the choice might be in taking a
career risk, having a second child or
following an artistic dream. While
we twentysomethings are making
choices in different circumstances,
the difficulties and the fears are not

CHICKASAW MUDD PUPPIES
open for the FEELIES at the Blind
Pig on Monday, May 6. Doors open
at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 in
advance at TicketMaster (p.e.s.c)
The Puppies will perform an
acoustic set at Schoolkid's on the
day of the show at 4 p.m.
age-specific. Those decisions are
made by all of us, and thirtysome-
thing reflects that. Melissa may say
it best for many of thirtysome-
thing's non-viewers: "I think reality
is overrated." But for those of us
who need a partner in misery, thir-
tysomething Stories is the perfect
companion.
-Elizabeth Lenhard
Write for summer artst
If you have some back-
ground or Interest In a
form of self-expression
-related to the arts, call
763-0379 find out how you
too can express yourself.

S

Peple"Kii gonydw" anaoue rwerry "*I Rasbery" Wtemeln.4Baan

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