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October 24, 1995 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-24

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 24, 1995- 9

Dance hall crashes into shelter

By Use Harwin
Daily Arts Writer
V ihat dothefollowing three bands-
Operatip Ivy, Rancid and Dance Hall
Crashers - all have in common? The
answer is easy: All three bands some-
how involve punkgurus Tim Armstrong
and Matt Freeman. Operation Ivy, be-
cause both Tim and Matt were previous
members. Rancid, because both Tim
and Matt are current members. And
Dance Hall Crashers because both Tim
and Matt are the founding fathers.
They've been busy guys.
In fact, way back in 1989, Tim and
Matt were actually members of Dance
Hall Crashers. "Tim and Matt from
Operation Ivy started the band as a side
projectsaid Elyse Rogers, the lead
M~nger~pf the Crashers. "Originally, it
was the two of them and Grant and
Andrew who are now in a band called
Screw) - in Berkeley. I came in a
4ou months after they had started the
bn6,"ig~ht after Tim and Matt left.
Jason nmon [guitar]was already in,
cid S t thereafter we got the other
fbur w1 are in the band." Even now,
Whet Armstrong and Freeman are no
longerin Dance Hall Crashers,thenew
band itsemnbers still feel that they have
i ad a giat impact on the current sound.
-"Obvioesly we're influenced by Op-
ieratkion\vy. But we're also influenced
by the Specials and the Clash. Maybe
Chuck Berry a little bit..." the singer
said.
Dance Hall Crashers have been a
force to contend with in the Bay Area
for quite some time. Though not all of
the band members live in Berkeley
A wispy
By Alieandra Twin
,Daily ArtsEditor
"Cigarettes are like a reminder of
your own mortality," says New York
musician/hero Lou Reed as an epony-.
mous, yet non-descript Brooklyn, NY
neighborhood guy. "Each cigarette is
a passing thought .."
Much like their original collabora-
tion --this summer's acclaimed, art-
house hit "Smoke" - the latest joint
effort by Brooklyn-born novelist Paul
Auster ("The Music of Chance") and
Hong Kong-born director Wayne
Wang ("The Joy Luck Club") is an
understated, playful and inventive
study inhuman nuances. It is a film
that often deftly disturbs the quiet
terrain of the familiar using a dusty,
yet insistent microscope.
Thrown together at the last minute
and filmed in six days, this is a
loosely-structuredbig-league"experi-
mental film." A "Smoke" companion
piece, it has all the makings of bril-
liance but none of the organization to
follow through on its promise. Al-
thoughnot forlack oftrying. Ultimately,
that Which makes it so unusual is also
what serves to undermine it. "Blue in .
the Face" is a quirky pattern that begins
half-finished and ends up something
And somewhere else entirely.
Set up as a series of familial vi-
gnettes, the half-improvised, half-
scripted narrative is never as tight or
as poignant as the more incise
"Smoke."-But, for what it's worth, the
film does manage to almost transcend
the hot, thin air that surrounds its
'gentle and tremulous flow.
'Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel) is, as
in "Smoke,"themanager ofBrooklyn
Cigar Company, a local bodega. He
banters .with the customers, waxes

ohilosophic with his good-hearted

DANCE HALL
CRASHERS
Where: The Shelter
When: Tonight
Tickets: $7.50 in advance
Doors open at 7:30.
Call 961-MELT for more information.
themselves, they still associate them-
selves with the East Bay punk sound.
"I'm actually from L.A.," admitted
Rogers. "I moved up to Berkeley when
I was 18, and now I'm back in L.A.
again." But, just as the Dance Hall
Crashers like Berkeley, Berkeley seems
to have a strong affinity for them. When
the band broke up in 1990, members
found that they were deluged with let-
ters from disgruntled fans who wanted
them to take the stage again. On a whim,
Dance Hall Crashers made the decision.
to reunite for one show in 1992. In the
end, the response to the show was so
overwhelmingly positive that the band
decided it was timeto return. As Rogers
remembered, "We couldn't believe that
the people knew our songs and were
singing along! We barely knew the
words to our own songs at that point."
Following the decision to reunite,
Dance Hall Crashers released a compi-
lation entitled "1989-1992" which con-
sisted of their debut album plus a few
newer songs. Unfortunately, the label,
Moon Records, was not a good partner.
Dance Hall Crashers made "Lockjaw"
forthe new (510) Records label. "We're
really happy with the new album,"
Rogers confirmed. "We were a bit ap-
prehensive going into it since we hadn't

done anything in a few years. But, we
love the way it turned out."
For "Lockjaw," Dance Hall Crashers
had the opportunity to work with Stoker
and Jerry Finn, the latter of whom has
currently finished projects with the likes
of Rancid, Pennywise, and Green Day.
"We chose Stoker because he knows the
British two-tone scene better than anyone
and Jerry because he gets great American
punk sounds," the band added. "Stoker
was completely crazy so it made the
whole process really fun."
Even while recording, the band man-
aged to meet new people. "Rancid was
there, of course, but so were Aerosmith
and Jawbreaker," Rogers mentioned.
And, despite theirbusy recording sched-
ule, Dance Hall Crashers managed to
listen in on at least one other band.
"Jawbreaker is really good. It's a great
record..." And you probably thought all
lead singers were self-centered.
Other than having a new record come
out, Dance Hall Crashers also had the
opportunity to be featured on the
soundtrack for the recent movie "An-
gus." "Jeff Saltzman and Elliot Cahn
were the music supervisors for the movie
and they also run (510), our label,"
Rogers admitted. "They asked us to be
on it. But, it was a lot of area bands too.
Yes, there was a bit of nepotism, but it
fit in there alongside all the other acts."
While the band has left their "com-
fort zone" of the Bay Area, their tour
has met with comparative success
throughout the country. "We just got
back from Honolulu last night. That
was absolutely amazing. A couple thou-
sand kids. It was extremely, extremely

Here are the dance hall crashers. They're wacky.

cool," the vocalist mentioned.
However, the East Bay is still home
and Dance Hall Crashers are proud of the
newfound popularity of local bands. "I
think right now there are a lot of really
insanely creative musicians in the Bay
Area. I'm really trying to figure out if it's
that the area is conducive to it, if it's a
complete coincidence or if it's just that
the Bay Area music scene is so incestuous
and close that people are just learning so
much from each other," Rogers contem-
plated. "We've learned an incredible
amountjustfrom listeningto [otherbands]
play over the years and being with them."
So was it just a matter of time before the
Bay Area began to appeal to the main-

stream? "I think so. I mean, we've known
it forever!"
While Dance Hall Crashers do blend
together ska rhythms and aggressive
punk/pop melodies expertly, one oftheir
most noticeable characteristics is that
fact that the two vocalists, Rogers and
Karina Denike, are both female. De-
spite this fact, Rogers doesn't feel that
they're really breaking any ground for
female ska groups. "I never really think
of us as being a girl-type band. I think
we're just breaking ground for the en-
tire thing. Which is good. There's a lot
of really good bands out there that have
gone unnoticed for a long time and if we
can do anything to change that, that's
maran Carey
Daydream
Columbia Records
It's not like you really need me to tell
you this. It's not like the moment you
found out that Mariah Carey was re-
leasing a new LP that you didn't know
it would be great. It's not like you
didn't look forward to seeing her fine
ass on a new MTV video. We all know
that Mariah Carey has it all - beauty,
poise, style and a voice that is like
manna to the gods. "Daydream" is the
latest platter upon which it will be
served.
"Daydream" marks a period of con-
tinuing change in Carey's vocal perfor-
mance. Whereas in many of her earliest
songs Carey depended heavily on her
ability to hold her very soprano notes
for very long periods of time, she has
for some time begun showing that her
singing abilities are more expansive
than simply chanting "wooo" for forty
seconds or so. "Dreamlover," the first
single from her "Music Box" CD was
among the first songs to demonstrate
that Carey can straddle the line between
R&B and pop rather well. Her 12-cut
"Daydream" album includes cuts like
the fairly upbeat, "Dreamlover"-styled
"Fantasy" and "Long Ago" with East
Coast, hip-hop beats you wouldn't be-
lieve in a million years Carey could
sing to yet she does. (Hell, after a
Michael Jackson/Notorious B.I.G. duo
being successfully pulled off how can

great."
Fans can look forward to their first
video, "Go," to appear on MTV in the
near future. "It's very cool. It's got
aliens in it," Rogers laughed. But for
now, Elyse Rogers will just continue
looking out for her favorite muppet,
Fonzi Bear. "Hejust looks so soft! All the
other muppets look dirty, like Animal.
But Fonzi just looks nice and fuzzy."
While Dance Hall Crashers may be
down to earth, their music definitely
soars to new heights, as far as the punk/
pop scene is concerned. And, even
though one of their songs is titled
"Enough," it'll be awhile before we've
had enough of this Bay Area band.

you doubt the plausibility of a hip-hip
Mariah?) Another excellent faster-
paced song is "Always be My Baby."
Although it opens with some country-
bumpkin, fiddle-sounding mess, it is
soon morphed into some hip, yet laid-
back, R&B music. For a minute there,
though, I thought my girl had lost her
mind.
Of course, the faster cuts comprise
only a small portion of "Daydream."
Carey's voice is meant more for slow
songs and ballads than for pop, and this
she knows. "One Sweet Day," a duet
with Boyz 11 Men member Wanya
Morris (a.k.a. Squirt) captures Carey's
spectacular voice in all its wonder. The
simple, synthesized sounds which ac-
company the Carey/Babyface "Melt
Away" duet is equally memorable.
"When I Saw You," which in many
places sounds much like "One Sweet
Day," starts off creating a soft-toned
lullaby aura yet eventually fills your
speakers with full-scale lyrical and
musical aptitude.
"Daydream" is what it is, the em-
bodiment of R&B greatness teleporting
you to a world where the sun always
shines and everyone is happy and in
love. Just when you thought Mariah
could get no better she does, and what
she has produced this time is much,
much more than just another album; it
is a pinnacle of '90s R&B excellence.
- Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS, Page 10

"I gotta do a smoochle-smoochie scene witchoo? Whadda ya kidding me?" - Harvey "Harvman" Keitel and Roseanne.

boss, handles his hot-headed girlfriend
Violet (Mel Gorham) and generally
serves as the store and the
neighborhood's anchor.
The corner store is stuck in time,
straight out of the '70s with its an-
cient porno mags and cigarette para-
phernalia. But it is ultimately time-
less in its transient, other-worldly
quality; its Brooklyn location is inci-
dental.
With "man-on-the-street" reports
of facts about Brooklyn, clips from
old movies and news reels,
"Slacker"-like plot digressions and
big-name star cameos, the synthe-
sis does not so much attempt to
work as a standard scene-by-scene
progression but as an assemblage of
thoughts. It is an ascending spiral
of smoke, a feral, visual, chain-
smoking of the eye.
Actors were asked to improvise
in character. Meanwhile, co-direc-
tors Auster and Wang held up signs
that said "faster" or "change sub-
iect" to give the improvs direction.

Blue in the
Face

Directed by Paul Auster
and Wayne Wang
with Harvey Keitel
At the Michigan Theater
But they were never restrained; ac-
tors were encouraged to talk until
they were "Blue In The Face." Later,
additional scenes were written to
bridge the gaps and the actors were
brought back to fill in the nooks and
crannies.
Unquestionably risky and origi-
nal (and admirably edited by Chris-
topher Tellefsen), the resulting film
could be starkly impressive if it
were not so tremendously dis-
jointed.
Some of it works nicely - the tem-
pestuous Mel Gorham and non-

"Smoke"-ers Lily Tomlin as "The
Waffle Man" and Madonna as the
"Singing Telegram Girl" are humor-
ous. Guest philosophizing by fellow
New York renegades, filmmaker Jim
Jarmusch and the afore-mentioned
Reed provides an effortlessly cool,
laconic charm. Jarmusch's exchanges
with Keitel on sex, death and ciga-
rettes are an easy match with Reed's
self-effacing warblings for the film's
most poignant and therefore success-
ful moments.
On the other hand, sketches includ-
ing Roseanne, Michael J. "ForeverAlex
P. Keaton" Fox and mega-babes Mira
Sorvino and RuPaul, are embarrass-
ingly awkward. Veteran character ac-
tors Keitel and Giancarlo Esposito (as
another neighborhood guy) easilyshow-
up the more famous faces-they should
be ashamed of their amateurish floun-
dering.
Where there was "Smoke," there
was fire, but here, we are left standing
mostly "Blue in the Face" ourselves:
Flustered, talked-out and unfulfilled.

Career opportunities
at J.P. Morgan
for UlirersiIP qf Michigan engineering
students (undergraduale) inlerested in
(;loyal Technology and Operations
Please plan to attend our
in formation presentation on
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