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September 08, 1995 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

High-ho, high-ho
It's Ten Hgonly one of the best garage rock bands in our fine city,
Wendy Case leads the group through lots of nasty, intense, '60s-style
garage rock. A band you simply can't miss, Ten High plays Cross Street
(11. W. Cross Street) In Ypsilanti. The show begins at 10:30 p.m. It'siPage 1
8 and over and cover is $3. Call 4855050 for more information' Friday,
Septe'ber 8, 1995

Good to the last 'Crumb'

By Joshua Rich
Daily Film Editor
Unlike "Amadeus," "Lust for Life,"
and even "Backbeat" before it, "Crumb"
takes a completely unusual look at the
artist behind his art, thehumanbehind his
mask of greatness. This film features R.
Crumb, himself-not some handsome
Hollywood actorjust padding his resume
with a portrayal of a truly bizarre charac-
ter. It is a real-life documentary about
Crumb, as toldby Crumb, in only the way
that Crumb couldtell it: through satirical,
usually offensive and often pornographic
comic strips.
What makes "Crumb"truly extraor-
dinary is the manner in which the sub-
ject is examined. In this case he is
Robert Crumb, a popular underground
comic strip writer from the 1960s and
1970s famous for drawing

Crumb
Directed by Terry
Zwigoff; with Robert
Crumb
At the Michigan Theater
groundbreaking images like "Fritz the
Cat" and coining phrases like "Keep on
Truckin'... ." While there are the typi-
cal documentary interviews with friends
and family, Crumb's life is also shown
through the parallel universe found in
his art. And oh what a strange universe
it is!
Robert Crumb would probably be
the first one to admit that he looks and
behaves like a complete nerd. But he
would also want you to look beyond his
atypical exterior into his complicated
heart and mind. And even though we
don't always find pleasant things in-
side, the film performs a discreet dis-
section of his character.
A complete social and sexual devi-
ant throughout his childhood, Crumb
hid behind large glasses as he was un-
able to have any meaningful contact
with women, let alone have any normal
relationships. This is, ofcourse, despite
the fact that he was always quite at-
tracted - sometimes with additional
perversions- to members of the oppo-
site sex (and even Bugs Bunny at one
point).
Hence his hatred and admitted hos-
tility towards women plays a large part

in all his work (which began as a child-
hood hobby and became a lifetime way
for this troubled man to express him-
self). Thewomen Crumb illustrateshave
large breasts, rear ends and thighs, and,
occasionally, no heads. He sees them as
sex objects who deserve to be treated
with the same disrespecthe was awarded
as a young man.
Ironically, his fame grew with the
publishing of such provocative comic
strips. Suddenly Crumb found his work
in every alternative art and comic book
store in the country. And with fame
came hordes of swooning women and
the praise of art critics like Time
magazine's Robert Hughes who went
so far as to proclaim Crumb the greatest
artist of the second half of the 20th
century.
At the same time we are shown
comic strips and bits of interviews that
include members of Crumb's family-
a truly disturbed and bizarre group that
makes even him appear mostly normal.
His current and past lovers, including
wife Aline, tend to appreciate this man
for his wit, intelligence and supposedly
very large penis. Moreover, they typi-
cally resemble the large, submissive
sex-goddesses Crumb includes in his
work.
A stark look into his family lets us
see what kinds of emotional burdens
this artist must really bear. Mother
Beatrice is a mumbling, overweight
amphetamine addict, younger brother
Max is a semi-homeless eccentric, and
older brother Charles -notable as the
source of the family's signature phrase:

Mr. Natural, one of Crumb's cartoon creations. Keep on truckin', Mr. Nataral ...

"How perfectly goddamned delightful
it all is, to be sure" - is a suicidal dolt
who has never held a steady job or left
home (two sisters declined to be in-
cluded in the picture).
As the story unfolds we understand
how all three brothers are exceptionally
artistically talented, but only Robert
has the refined ability and mental sta-
bility to succeed. The others are lost.
Like so many documentaries before
it, this film triumphs where a similar,
yet glossy and big-budgeted drama
would otherwise fail. "Crumb" works

because it takes a completely unbiased
look at a very controversial figure and
his unique insight. Longtime Crumb
pal Terry Zwigoff co-produced and di-
rected this stylish account of R. Crumb's
life story. First-hand accounts and his
legendary comic strips are the illustra-
tors ofCrumb's life, and theyare supple-
mented by a soundtrack of classy old
folk and blues tunes from Crumb's ex-
tensive personal collection.
The movie, thus, makes one feel
like he or she viewing some bizarre
three-ring circus. As the clown dances

around the middle ring makng some
laugh and others cry, freaks vallow to
his left and innovative andbeautiful,
acrobats entertain the crowd to his right.
And all the while a chirpy musical score
is belted out from the background or-
gan.
In this kind of strange way "Crumb"
invades our consciousness and tickles
our interest in the absurd site of life. It
is, after all, an intricate story of pain,
fame, twisted humor and genius -just
like an original R. Crumb comic strip,
wouldn't you say?

I~' i "

7WTI

Stel Pole Bath Tub
Scars From Falling Down
Slash/London
Steel Pole Bath Tub has been
producing harsh music and releas-
ing it to the public for the last
seven years. Now they honor us
with their fourth full album, "Scars
From Falling Down."
The first track, "The 500 Club,"

seems to be about having sex with
people and then not being able to
remember who they are. Begin-
ning with some quick, fast and in
a hurry drums, the music falls into
a loud and pounding groove
quickly enough, with sufficient
samples and instrument deviation
to keep it interesting. The song
keeps a ton of energy just below

breaking level, courting critical
mass but never allowing it to quite
get out of hand.
The album moves along in
similarly directions. "Home is a
Rope" is a much calmer song,
funky while still energetic enough,
combined with vocals that move
in a pretty tight pattern of accents
and beats. "3 of Cups" is a laid
back tune, where both of the guys
who sing in the band do so, sound-
ing very much like a sufficiently
indie male/female duet, reaching
a guitar based crescendo at the
end of the song. Not that all the
songs are so normal. "Four Bar-
rels" is based on the sound of a
motorcycle and is an entertaining
diversion from the more straight
ahead music.
"Scars From Falling Down" is
a testament to what can be done
with three guys playing in a stu-
dio. It even comes in a Gary
Panter-rendered cover. Get it and
learn a little something.
- Ted Watts
Supergrass
I Should Coco
Capitol
"We're not supposed to make
friends with you, but we're going to!"
So sings Supergrass, one of the most

engaging British bands to come over-
seas. Their cheeky mix of punk, fal-
setto harmonies and humor, coupled
with their youth (they're all around
19) make them the British buzz band
of the moment.
This is a band who wanted to use
Hugh Grant's mug shots to promote
theirnew single "Caught Bythe Fuzz."
A band whose lead singer, Gaz, has
been approached by Calvin Klein to
advertise their underwear. A band
whose album "I Should Coco" is ore
of the best debuts of the year.
"I Should Coco" is loaded with
singles, from the aforementioned
Buzzcocks-pastiche "Caught y the
Fuzz," about getting bustedfosmok-
ing pot, to the New Wave thrill of
"Alright" (also featured on the
"Clueless" soundtrack). "Mansize
Rooster," which sounds like an En-
glish dancehall tune, and the glam-
rock of "Time," show how diverse
and musically well-versed this band
is. Tracks like "She's So Loose" and
"Sofa (Of My Lethargy)" reveal a
sensitive-yet-catchy side to this char-
ismatic band.
The singles are also required lis-
tening for Britpop fans. "Lenny"'s B-
sides are especially noteworthy -
the real deal here is "SEX!" A country
ditty about the oldest pastime, it fea-
tures lyrics like "The first time can be
very hard, but you know you wanna
try it again ... and again and again!"
Any band that manages to be this
funny, clever and catchy is bound for
big things.
-Heather Phares

Yes indeedily doodley neighborinos, those fine upstanding local boys
known collectively as the band Philo Beddow are playing their harsh rock
at the Blind Pig Saturday. In the same general musical category as
Helmet and the Melvins, Philo Beddow belts out some interesting barbarko
music with its drum, bass and two-guitar setup. For instance, their song
"White Murder" moves along in various ways, from quick and quiet to
quick and loud, ending up in a ever-slowing punctuation backed up by
background guitar squealing.
With a self-titled CD out and a slew of gigs in the north and east sectiot
of the country coming up this month, they're set to go. As one of the nst
Interesting Ann Arbor bands around, Philo Beddow deserves your
attention. The doors open around 9:30 tomorrow, so get over there eay
to see the boys, and stick around to see other local head smashers Sit
and Wig if you feel like it.

.
..

Steel Pole Bathtub contemplate taking a bath.

4.
t.

I

Career opportunities
at J.P. Morgan
for University of Michigan business
students (undergraduate) interested in
Audit Plus
Financial
Please plai to attend our

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