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 ?A guide to CITR fm 102
& CABLE 100
**•••••••*••*••••••••••••••••••*•**••••*•*••••
•*•*••**•••••*••*•**•••*•••• August 1984 Vol. 2 No. 7
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
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DISCORDER August, 1984 Page 1
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For some reason, I expected NoMeansNo to be
a group of very serious individuals. Not po-faced
mind you, just very...serious, maybe a little bit...dour.
Maybe it was my political preconceptions running
away with me. Maybe it was the band's name, taken
from an anti-rape slogan. Maybe it was the band's
intensity, both musically and lyrically. NoMeansNo's
music is a furious blend of mutant jazz, funk, and
hardcore backing lyrics that deal with very...serious
subjects. Like sexism. And militarism. And detente.
Very serious subjects indeed.
So maybe my expectations are justified. But are
NoMeansNo a very...serious group of individuals?
Well, that all depends on who you believe.
"The thing that holds this band together," explains
guitarist Andy Kerr, "is that we're basically all goofs."
The other members of the band, the Wright brothers,
John and Rob, greet this declaration with a torrent
of laughter. As the torrent subsides, Rob, who plays
bass, is left with a grin on his face, a grin which could
only be described as, well...goofy.
The grin is, however, only one part of Rob Wright.
Behind the grin, the bemused glint in his eyes, the
elder Wright is an articulate, concerned and well,
...serious individual. The origin of the band's name
is no accident. Most of NoMeansNo's songs deal
with the inherent difficulties and absurdities in the
relations of the sexes. "I think the most attractive
thing about the band is that commitment," explains
Rob. "I mean, I don't see many bands that have any
conception about what they're doing when they write
their lyrics about male-female relationships. It's
depressing. If this band has one thing to say it's
that...well...as far as I'm concerned men and women
are fucked. If men and women were abolished tomorrow, I'd be joyfully happy. 'Cause the fact that you
have a penis or a vulva as being intrinsic to your identity is weird to me. It's like having black or blonde
hair as being intrinsic to your identity. It's depressing because it's so primitive. And it's the basis of a
lot of political things that happen. The politics of a
man and a woman, when I come down on a woman, ||
when instead of dealing with her as a person, treat l|l
her as a thing to be controlled, and dominated, and 1|
owned, I'm doing the same thing as Reagan, and
the leaders in Russia, or dictators around the world
are doing with everyone. It's the same spirit. And if
people don't deal with that in their own lives, you
could talk for years about political solutions and it
won't mean a thing. If you're a fascist in your own
life, you can vote Democrat, call yourself a socialist,
but you're still a fuckin' fascist."
Confused? You might be. There isn't anything really simple about NoMeansNo, nothing really cut and
dried. "We're a band that works in paradoxes and
oppositional forces, saying yes and no at the same
time, showing good and bad at the same time, and
switching them around, showing them as part of the
same system," says Rob Wright of the band's approach to its chosen craft.
It's the tensions that exist between those oppositional forces that makes NoMeansNo an interesting
group of people to talk to, and I would imagine, that
makes for the energy and power that fuels the
maelstrom that is their live show. They are both
"goofy" and "serious." But that is not the only
paradox. They are a band with a message, and yet,
because of their concerns about preaching to their
audience they are, as John says, "in constant danger
of becoming Victoria's first comedy-rock band." They
are critical of the sexism and violence they see in
society, but are aware that those tendencies exist
within themselves. And while the band's musical
range is astounding, they are harsh critics of the 'virtuoso' mentality that tends to infiltrate music every
couple of years.
In short, if you are confused, it's not without
reason.
This contradictory bunch got their start four years
ago in Victoria in the great repository of rock bands:
a basement. Rob and John Wright would go downstairs and play around performing four-piece rock
stuff with the aid of a mixer and a tape recorder. Without ever emerging from their subterranean haunt to
play live the brothers released one side of a single
and an EP, entitled Betrayal Fear Anger Hatred.
"It was pretty derivative stuff," says Rob. "I like
some of it, but it was pretty straight rock stuff. Then
we decided we had to play live, 'cause it was turning into the 'artist-in-the-basement' thing, just playing for ourselves. But we didn't want to form a band.
We'd been in bands and personalities always got in
the way. So we said, 'Let's just do a two-piece, that'll
be kinda different.' So we wrote about five songs that
turned up on our album, just so we could play live
as a two-piece. We played that way for about a year-
and-a-half."
The album, entitled Mama, was released in 1983.
"It was a sort of cottage project," explains John. "We
paid for it ourselves, made our own covers, did our
own distribution." Although muted by muddy production and shoddy mastering the LP contains some stirring, exciting, and intelligent music. The two brothers
used the studio to expand on the basic bass/drums
live lineup.
Kerr joined the band shortly after the release of
the album. "John was playing in the Infamous Scientists with Andy. When that band broke up, Andy got
tired of not being a rock star," laughs Rob. "So he
joined us and we wrote a bunch of material as a
three-piece. That's what we are now."
Through all the changes, NoMeansNo's commitment to their ideals has remained.
"I hope people who listen to our music get a
chance to hear the lyrics. Because the music is often
very heavy, it's a lot like heavy rock. But in a sense
I try to use that as a counterplay to the lyrics to
debunk a lot of the things rock has been about in
the past. I mean the energy in most rock is very
good, but encasing that energy has been a pile of
shit, hateful stuff, murderous stuff. And most people don't realize that, you don't even think about it,
it's just normal. Y'know 'kick that bitch in the face.
Arrright, Iron Maiden.' If that's normal, then I'm very
weird."
But," counters John, "if a lot of the things we deal
with are very serious, we don't necessarily deal with
them in a serious way. Like, some bands take such
a confrontational attitude towards their audience, like
'Listen to us. This is serious business. Don't party
around.' We try not to be like that."
"The thing we worry about," adds Kerr," is that
sometimes when you get really political, you can get
Definitions: CD
really didactic, like 'This is the way things are. Believe
us, we know.' So occasionally we have to take the
piss out of ourselves, because we're as full of bullshit
as anybody else."
A distaste for the 'guitar on the pulpit' syndrome
is not the only thing that tempers NoMeansNo's
message. The realization that they are part of, and
vulnerable to the very things they criticize also plays
a part. "I haven't broken out of this thing," says Rob,
" 'Red Devil' (a vicious dark parody of heavy metal
lyrics on Mama) is about me. That's something every
man is going to have to realize, that it's not somebody
else looking at those dirty pictures in that magazine,
that Cliff Olsen is not the only person who wanted
to go out and kill 12-year-old girls. He's the only one
who did it. The rest of us are a little cooler, we have
it together."
"There's always a potential," injects Kerr, "and it's
both men and women. There's always a potential in
everyone for a monster inside of them and a lot of
people just say 'It can't be me' and push it down."
"It's in everyone's cultural heritage," continues
Rob, "there's no way of getting around it. You can't
disown it, you can't say 'It's not me. I'm politically
correct. I've learned my lesson.' You've got to take
a look at yourself."
"And it's that way with the music," adds Kerr, "we
have to be honest about that too. When we write
something that stinks we have to be able to go
'blagghh'."
"This culture likes to sweep negative things under
the carpet," says Rob, "and I can understand that.
You don't want to dwell on the ugly things. You dont:
/ do. Because the good things you don't have to worry
about. You don't have to say 'We've got to deal with
this problem with Mozart,' 'cause there is no problem;
it's beautiful. Olsen you have to deal with. You can't
just throw him in jail for 300 years and say 'Isolated
case...he came from Mars...he's not any mother's
son.' These things you have to look at. It's kinda
schizoid. You have to take a step outside of yourself,
and take a good look at yourself."
"And then have a good chuckle," says John.
And NoMeansNo does just that.
If the three musicians have any advise to give
others aspiring to make music it is "Do it." Even if
you can't play.
"That was the great thing when we got started.
The order of things was reversed," said Rob. "First
you formed a band, then you learned how to play.
Now it seems everyone's getting back to 'How good
can I play? I'm not good enough to be in a band.'
I realize that we're a little more technically adept than
a lot of new bands. But that's just a sidelight. The
style of the music is not that important to me. It's the
meaning behind the music, and the spirit of the
music, which is what really keeps us going. Intensely
complex music by itself is, to me, totally boring, and
that's what fusion jazz and so on is. I mean, I know
people who can type 80 words a minute, but I
wouldn't want to sit down and hear it on my stereo."
"It was great when we were starting," said Kerr,
"because it never occurred to us that you had to
know how to play to be in a band."
Four years later, the band has learned to play, and
play very well. It is refreshing to see, however, that
they have not lost their enthusiasm enroute. "We're
basically hacks in that sense," confesses Kerr. "We'll
play just about anywhere, as long as we can make
it to the gig. The only reason we never played Vancouver before we did was because we didn't know
anyone here, and no one knew us. If someone had
said, 'You can play for five minutes in this closet in
Vancouver, and you have to pay to do it,' we'd have
said "We'll be over tonight."
"We don't have much business sense," admits
Rob.
Now, however, NoMeansNo is armed with a
manager, a sound-man and a desire, if not to take
the world by storm, at least present themselves to
that part of it that is accessable to them. Plans are
afoot for a follow-up to Mama. ("Actually, we're working on our fourth album now. We've got an album
title, songs, a cover, and all our thank-yous for the
second LP. All we need is the money to record it,"
explains John.)
In the meantime, you can expect to see NoMeansNo around town, playing live. Take the opportunity
to work on some of the band's contradictions for
yourself.
Seriously. Page 2    DISCORDER August, 1984
The Georgia Straight & CFMI present
ERIC
BURDON
band
WITH
Wfalin Wblker
& the
jHouse Rockers
THURS. AUG. 23
COMMODORE
BALLROOM
NO MINORS
Doors: 7 pm, Show: 8 pm
Advance Tickets Available
at VTC, CBO, Eatons,
Woodwards, & all the
usual outlets.
Produced by AMS
with Special Guests
FRIDAY AUGUST 24 • 8 PM
UBC VMir Memorial Gym
ADVANCE TICKETS AT CBO/VIC, EATONS, WOODWARDS,
AHS/UBC BOX OFFICE. TICKET INFO: 280-4411 CHARGE BY PHONE 280-4444
PRODUCED BY AMS CONCERTS
PRESENTS
King Sunny Ade: "1983 CONCERT OF THE YEAR"
Georgia Straight, Vancouver
KING SUNNY ADE
PLUS FIRST VANCOUVER APPEARANCE
BLACK UHURU
FEATURING SLY DUNBAR & ROBBIE SHAKESPEARE
WED.AUG.22
UBC WAR MEMORIAL GYM
TIX CBO, 501 W. Georgia:
VTC, 630 Hamilton; All Bay,
Eatons & Woodwards Stores:
Zulu; Highlife; Black Swan;
Odyssey; Collectors RPM;
Breeze; Indo-Caribbean
Spice Mart. A Timbre
Production 1984.
INFO 280 4411
PHONE CHARGES
280-4444
*****•******••••**•*
**¥**¥***¥¥*¥¥¥*•¥■*•¥-¥¥¥*
C-FOX presents
THE PSYCHEDELIC
FURS
with guest POISONED featuring
ART BERGMANN
August 11 • 8 p.m.
Orpheum Theatre
Tickets: VTC/CBO, Eatons,
Woodwards, and usual outlets
Charge by phone: 280-4444
Info: 280-441 1
Produced by Perryscope
*****••****••••****••••
******************** Zulu Records Presents
The Second Annual
Bud Luxford
Buy Invitational
Masters Handicap
Golf Classic
FIRST PRIZE $200
Tee Off: 12:30, Sept. 23
Newlands Golf Course
21025-48th Ave., Langley, B.C.
$30.00 entrance fee includes
Green Fees, Dinner, Drinks
Entry Form
Handicap
Witness.
Send Money Order to: ZULU RECORDS
1869 W. 4th
Vancouver, B.C.
Deadline Sept. 5th.        INFO: 682-2994
Artwork by Sandra Prahara
DISCORDER August, 1984 Page 3
c/o CITR Radio
6138 S.U.B. Blvd.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6T 2A5
RHiA^
Hello Editor;
Having picked up a copy of
Discorder (May-ish) while in Vancouver, I found the "Airhead" column, Vinyl Verdict, etc., very interesting. "Airhead" especially interesting. All around, a good publication.
When I am in Vancouver (4
times per year), I tune in to you as
well as CFRO.
Although I live in Regina, I was
wondering if you could (would)
send about 3 guides per month.
I'd be more than happy to send a
donation in exchange for the
guides.
Keep on pumpin' out those 40-
watt signals from Gage Towers.
Most Alternatively,
Terry J. Gibson
Dear Hairhead,
I have been reading your publication from its inception. Recently I've noticed an interesting trend.
The contents of Discorder has
been getting progressively better
while the covers have been getting progressively worse. Presumably your recent covers are meant
to be artistic but to me they look
fmlOS Cable 100 August 1984 Vol. 2 No. 7
paper published by the Student Radio
i.isM Columbia. DISCORDER provides a
throughout the Vancouver area at
signal from Gage Towers c
ion problems, CITR
, West Vancouver,
,   Port   Coquitlam,
calling 228-3017. General
renting the CITR Mobile
e request line is 228-2487
CD
Mike Dennis
Doug Gordon
Kandace Kerr
Jeff Kearney
Jim Main
Rob Simms
Richard Putler
Jason Grant
Photography:   Dave Jacklin
John Knowles
Layout: Insomnia Layout In
Distribution:     Harry Hertscheg
Advertising:     Dave Ball
Harry Hertscheg
free      at      these      locations
DOWNTOWN
A&A Records & Tapes
Arts Club on Seymour
Black Market
Camouflage Clothing
Check-It-Out Clothing
Collector's R.P.M. Records
Concert Box Offices
Duthie Books
The Edge
F°451 Books
Kelly's Electronic World
Luv-A-Fair Cabaret
MacLeod's Books
Oddyssey Imports
Railway Club
Towne Cinema
Unit/Pitt Gallery
Vancouver Ticket Centre
The Web Clothing
WEST END
The Bay Theatre
Benjamin's Cafe (on Davie)
Benjamin's Cafe (on Denman)
Breeze Record Rentals
Camfari Restaurant
Denman Market
Downtown Disc Distributors
English Bay Book Co.
Little Sister's Book & Art Emporiur
Manhattan Books & Magazines
Melissa's Records & Tapes
EAST SIDE
A & B Sound - Car Stereo
Collector's R.P.M. Records
Highlife Records & Music
Kelly's Electronic World (Oakridge)
Memory Lane Records
Neptoon Collectors' Records
Octupus Books East
Roxy Theatre
Treacher Records
Vancouver East Cinema
Vancouver East Cultural Centre
Western Front Lodge
KITSILANO
Bill Lewis Music
Black Swan Records
Broadway Records & Tapes
Deluxe Junk Clothing
Hollywood Theatre
Lifestream Natural Foods
Neptoon Collectors' Records
Octopus Books
Ridge Theatre
Scorpio Records
The Side Door Pub
X-Settera Select Used Clothes
Yesterdays Collectables
Zulu Records
GASTOWN
Be-Bob Beatwear
Cabbages & Kinx Clothing
Deluxe Junk Clothing
Golden Era Clothing
Pow-Wow Clothing
Reptile Leather
Re-Runs Recycled Apparel
The Savoy Nightclub
Sissy Boy Clothing
Smilin' Buddha Cabaret
The Waterfront Corrall
ZZ...on Water
ZZ...West
POINT GREY
Dunbar Theatre
Duthie Books
Frank's Records & Books
University Pharmacy
Video Stop
The Video Store
NORTH SHORE
A&A Records & Tapes (Park Royal)
Kelly's Electronic World (Park Royal)
Sam the Record Man (Capilano)
Deep Cove Bike Shop
jhout the UBC campus and some
like they've been stolen from a
local nursery school. Any chance
of a return to past (cover) glories?
Your avid reader
Ibyte Dingus
First Paul Wong, now the
Discorder cover. Will the wrath
of Luke Rombout never cease?
Dear Shit Airhead:
So, no one knows what an
Actionaut is, eh? Well, let me tell
you what an Actionaut is: an Actionaut sails the waves of excitement, just as Jason's Argonauts
sailed the seas (argo in Greek,
right?) and Nikita's Cosmonauts
sailed the voids of space (cosmo
in Russian, right?) Anyhow, that is
the etymology of "Actionaut."
But there's more! Everyone is
an Actionaut, because everyone
craves rock party action all night
long; everyone who is anyone, of
course. Actionauts provide the
rock party and the action happens, so an Actionaut is anyone
who likes to rock out totally.
More subtly, however, the term
Actionauts can be spelled "Action-
Oughts," meaning, if it ain't obvious already, when there oughtta
be Action there oughtta be
Actionauts.
Perhaps a few examples of
what an Actionaut isn't would be
helpful: An Actionaut is not a football player from Toronto. An Actionaut does not sell things to the
highest bidder. An Actionaut is not
a nerd and an Actionaut is not an
Airhead.
So now you know...
Authoritatively yours,
Jahszboh Jones
Oh yeah? Well, let me tell you
what an Airhead is: an Airhead
likes to slag the effluent of
diseased grey matter just as the
Pictish Ayrheads bashed in
brains they didn't like (Ayr as in
Scotland, right?).
But there's more! Everyone is
an Airhead, because everyone
loathes "clupping" of any sort
(clupping as in failing, right?);
everyone who is not already a
failure, of course.
Perhaps a few examples of
what an Airhead isn't would be
helpful: an Airhead is not a haircut from Britain, and Airhead is
not afraid to call bombast what
it deserves to be called, and an
Airhead doesn't use "Valleygirl"
terms like nerd. Above all,
under no circumstances, will an
Airhead tolerate any jazzing.
■¥■¥*"¥■¥¥<¥■•¥•¥■¥■¥•¥•¥
A few recent develoments at
Radio Hell... It's been a long
time coming and a lot of you
have been lobbying for it and
now it's a reality. Behold! Stereo
Hell. Although CITR is broadcasting in stereo, not everything
we broadcast will be in stereo
until our current technical renovations are complete...just in
case you were wondering.
And from the Never Say Die
Dept., we here at Stereo Hell
would like to inform you that the
Hot Air Show, tragically cancelled last year by UBC's Pit, has
found new life. Starting September 10th, CITR presents the new
incarnation of the H. A. S.
"Shindig II."
New bands will once again
have an opportunity to slug it
out in front of a live audience.
For thirteen consecutive Mondays the Savoy Nightclub will
host Shindig II as the best and
worst of Vancouver's new bands
compete for the chance to go to
the finals and win pretty damn
good prizes. Once again, there's
more to Mondays than football.
In the last month's issue, I
gave an address to obtain information  on The Cure.  Unfortunately, it was incorrect. The
proper address is:
The Cure
P.O. Box 2AL
London, W1A 2A1
Keep those letters coming in.
We   buy
used &   collectable records
SOUTH VANCOUVER:
5766 Fraser Street.
Vancouver, B.C. V5W 2Z5
(604)324-1229
KITSILANO:
1520 Yew Street,
Vancouver, B.C. V6K 3E4
(604)731-1013
Rock Videos available
 TVe. place -te> ©TCpec^Ve-uAe-xpedfed!
\yu\w\$tob -to c/etde,flA& luficd OAdJfeel
Vfwk*> ^/omtv ^u/e- b<u*>	
125 5 w.pender 681-5201 Page 4 D|SC0RDER August, 1984
Michael Shea goes indie
r$ & Tf6 L0ST
When you saunter into your
favourite record store with a few
hard-earned bucks in hand, what
is it you're looking for? Perhaps a
record you recently heard on your
favourite radio station—one that
was played so many times that its
melody has become a narcotic.
You want to hear it again and
again and again.
Or maybe you're an intrepid individual willing to take a chance
in the hope of discovering something new, relevant, and exciting.
Indeed, it can be a turbulent and
murky ocean, with a shark behind
every slick album jacket ready and
willing to chomp at your investment to fill its hungry stomach.
In the madcap world of contemporary music, the "sharks" are the
big shots with the big money. They
are out there to make more big
money and will employ almost any
tactic to keep themselves afloat.
Market research, promotional
campaigns, corporate endorsements...it is a business like any
other except that music is the
commodity. They want you to buy
what they are selling, whether it
is good or bad, or whether you
need it or not. Fair enough, it's
free enterprise, isn't it?
Or is it? Free enterprise in the
music business, as in so many
others, has evolved into a corporate monopoly. Less than ten
major companies control more
than 90% of the music market.
This monopoly makes it very difficult for those without the money
or resources to even be heard by
the general public, let alone compete with the major companies for
recognition on a larger scale.
Commercial radio stations and
record stores tend only to play and
sell 'music product' that is financed by the corporations because of
A)OSIC rteTWORK
?P
the secure and almost inflexible
system of distribution and promotion developed by all of the above
to maximize profit. But wait...there
are individuals, co-operatives, and
even businesses producing, promoting, and selling music that are
not entirely pre-occupied with
maximizing profit. Who are they?
...the artist with an electronic
piano and a portable recording
studio...artists releasing their own
compositions on cassette or vinyl
...projects financed by a family inheritance or a student loan...supporters of local music..radio stations like CITR...and publications
like OP Magazine.
OP Magazine first began
publishing almost six years ago at
The Evergreen State College, an
alternative school in Olympia,
Washington. The project was initiated by John Foster, a student at
the college and a member of its
radio station, KAOS-FM...and,
yes, it was financed by a student
loan. OP's mandate was to
wholeheartedly support those
music-makers and promoters independent of the corporate interests that usually dictate
mainstream tastes, and those who
are primarily interested in producing something of quality, rather
than in quantity. OP was to act as
a forum for discussion amongst
those who believe that music is
not a commodity, but a relevant
reflection of different cultural
values that can be expressed by
a language that transcends the
limitations of the spoken or written word.
Indeed, OP Magazine has lived
up to those expectations. In the
six years since its inception it has
become a veritable 'bible' for the
independent music network in
North American and to a lesser
*>F
degree, Europe. Going to print
four times a year, each issue of OP
contains a feast of independent
music reviews and entertaining articles on intriguing subjects that
would otherwise remain unrecognized due to the lack of popular
appeal. But, all things must come
to an end, and OP's is very near.
Last month, John Foster and his
associates at OP held a meeting
at the Tropicana Club in Olympia
to discuss the future of the magazine and all other matters of
music.
"Basically, OP began in a silly
way. We decided to call the first official issue A,' and proceed along
to 'Z.' We never even considered
continuing this indefinitely. Well,
the T issue is out this winter, and
so am I. The future of OP is in your
hands," a weary Mr. Foster told the
60-odd interested individuals in
attendance.
OP Magazine is too valuable a
source of information to let disappear; in its back files are thousands of reviews and contact addresses that would be impossible
to locate anywhere else. It has
become an integral component of
the developing structure of a
North American independent
music network that unifies and
supports those lovers of music for
its own sake.
Pick up a copy of OP Magazine
at Zulu Records or Octopus Books
and judge for yourself. If you are
interested in aquiring any back
issues write to the Lost Music Network, P.O. Box 2391, Olympia,
Washington, 98507, And if you
would like to know more about
what might happen to OR address
your queries to California Outside
Music Association, 5153 Hanbury
Street, Long Beach, California,
Radio Hell Wants
Hello, Crisis centre...
Uh, hello...Uh, this is kind of
hard for me to talk about...
It's okay. That's why I'm here.
What's the problem?
Well - uh...it's my radio.
/ beg your pardon?
It's my radio. There's nothing
good on it anymore. I keep turning
the dial and - well, there's nothing
worth listening to anymore. I -1
don't know what to do about it.
Well—
I've thought of tossing it out the
window.
No. That's never the answer. Have
you tried CITR?
You mean the UBC student radio
station?
It's not just a UBC station. It just
happens to be on the campus.
No. I hadn't...
You
You can also become a member *
and get on the air! *
Do I have to be a student?        +
Not at all. Membership fees are ^
$20.00 a year for UBC students, and ^
$25.00 for non UBC students.       ^
And if I want to get on the air? T
Call the station at 228-3017—or£
better yet, fill out the applicaton^
form, send in your money—and*
you're in.
WOW—I feel better already! Gee,*
thanks a lot. I'm going to join CITR,*
become a d.j. and play the kind of*
music I like to hear on the radio.*
Radio's not boring anymore!       *
Great. CITR is normal radio for^
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V6T 2A5 DISCORDER August, 1984 Page 5
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M^r
Williams
wow
When I first saw the ad for this
album I was sure it was a bad joke.
Wendy 0 Williams? produced by
Gene Simmons of Kiss? with
guests ex-Kissers Ace Frehley and
Paul Stanley? Ha ha. Two days
later the album arrived at the station (two copies yet).
It's still a bad joke—bad nasty,
not bad ha ha funny.
Wendy O Williams' major claim
to fame is that she is the first
female musician to have a
mohawk haircut. As the lead
screamer for the thrash and
smash band the Plasmatics, she
growled her way through sex-
saturated lyrics, saved only by the
on-stage antics of former porn-film
actress Wendy. Chain-sawing a
guitar in half paled only beside the
spectacle of a Cadillac driving
through a wall of colour televisions. The ideals of American
consumer and capitalism destroyed, night after night, in arenas
around the world—and on national television. Wendy built her
reputation as a woman to be
feared: violent, law breaking, able
to beat the system.
Once the Plasmatics dissolved,
Wendy gave her life to heavy
metal. It hasn't been all that great
a leap, as the producer of the
Plasmatics' first album, Jimmy
Mitchell, also produced such
heavy metal bands as Motorhead.
On the Plasmatics' third album,
Metal Priestess, the band began
their final fingernail rasping slide
towards the heavy metal abyss.
On their last album, Coup d'Etat,
produced by Scorpions producer
Dieter Dierks, the Plasmatics and
Wendy O were full fledged band
banging tune spewers.
Now on her own, Wendy O has
placed herself squarely on the
heavy metal sacrificial altar. With
her first solo album. WOW, Wendy attacks anyone who cares to
listen to these nine tracks of droning guitars, wooden drumming
and buried lyrics, challenging the
listener who lasts through this
thudding collection of three chord
wonders to support her theory that
whatever this women gets, she
soundly deserves.
It would be so easy to say, "god,
this record is really stupid," and
leave it at that. So what follows,
Discorder peruser, is less of a
review of a bad record, and more
of a genre analysis, using WOW
as one example of the image and
presence of women in heavy
metal.
To be blunt—WOW is a heavy
metal rape fantasy: woman as
bitch, nasty and needing to be
conquered, ready to fight but wanting to get fucked. The image of
women in most heavy metal music
is that of a sexually insatiable
woman  who  uses   her sexual
power to destroy men. The only
way to conquer these evil women
is to rape them. And Wendy O fits
right in there.
Women are the enemy. So
when Wendy snarls, "It's my life
and I'll do what I want," you can
almost hear male listeners adding, "Sure bitch, until you run into me." Produced by Gene Simmons, he of the long curling
tongue and funny face paint (remember the cover of Love Gun?
Hundreds of half naked women
crawling towards our boys in
grease paint and sparkly platform
shoes?) and marketed as a 'concept' by ex-porn entrepreneur Rod
Swenson, Wendy O has been slotted firmly into the role of heavy
metal woman. Rather than offering positive images of male-
female relationships, Wendy O offers nothing more than vinyl
violence against women. Being
handed this by a woman who declares herself musically to be independent and autonomous is not
only embarrassing, it's enough to
make you puke (or, perhaps, bang
your head against a brick wall?).
You hear enough of this bullshit,
and pretty soon you get men and
women acting towards each other
just like it says on their record collections at home.
All of the songs were written by
Simmons and Swenson, among
others. So we get Wendy giving us
a distinctly male view of women-
it's kind of hard to take her
musical declarations of independence seriously once you realize
that.
I don't like heavy metal. I will admit that, at times, it is hard to distinguish between my first musical
love, good hardcore thrash (which
has its own problems) and heavy
metal. The sound of grinding
guitars, pounding drums and
screamed lyrics is music to my
well-hammered ears. But WOW
isn't even good heavy metal. I've
heard much better music coming
out of East End Vancouver garages. And the music contains the
ultimate insult to Wendy's questionable music talents: her voice
is buried so deep within the repetitive three chord braaaggggssss!
of music that you can't even hear
what she is snarling. And whereas
Van Halen, Motley Crue and Scorpions give us lyric sheets so we
can marvel at the fact that they
have grasped basic syntax, there
is no lyric sheet for Wendy's nine
rants.
I'm bored. If you really feel the
need to assert yourself, to teach
women a lesson, there's a very
simple way. Don't buy this record.
Ordinarily, I'd do almost anything
to support women in music. But,
this time, I'd gladly throw the
switch.
—Bits of Black Tape
The Young
Fresh Fellows
The Fabulous Sounds
of the
Pacific Northwest
The first time I heard of this
band was one cheery afternoon
when our illustrious station President clomped into our on-air control room (during my airshift while
I was busy grooving to the sound
of the Simpletones classic "I Like
Drugs") and, while he pogoed
along with me, informed me that
he had some young chaps fresh
in from that wet sponge of a city
called Seattle that he wanted to interview. In strolled these four grin-
ing, quite amiable fellows to our
plush, state-of-the-art interview
studio. All of a sudden these cats
simultaneously spun around and,
while by now obviously feeling the
effects of the refreshments good
'ol Uncle Mel bought them, acca-
pelled "We're the YOUNG FRESH
FELLOWS and we're just regular
joes in our bright green sports
coats..." I thought to myself, "Gee,
these guys seem quite normal,
but how do they sound?" Great.
Their debut LP The Fabulous
Sounds of the Pacific Northwest
is a refreshing change from most
of the crap being marketed these
days. It's entertaining, humourous,
melodic, and all quite innocent.
No songs about lynching Uncle
Ronnie Reagan, or about getting
laid six times in one evening on
this disc; just fun, rambling,
tongue-in-cheek lyrics about such
important, worldly topics like on
"Teenage Dogs in Trouble."
The YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS' sound can best be described as up-beat pop, which
reminds one very much of those
Demi-Gods The Kinks. So much
in fact, that more than once I
found myself checking the song
credits to make sure some of the
tunes weren't Ray Davies' creations. This is more of a compliment to the Fellows' songwriting
than an accusation; all musicians
have their influences.
Standouts on this record are the
surfy-sounding "Rock'N'Roll Pest
Control," "The Little Mystery" with
is its infectious melody, or the
totally non-sensible "Power
Mowers Theme."
The production on the record is
quite good considering the use of
a living room studio, although the
drums are a tad too prominent,
and the bass could have come
through more distinct. But these
miniscule nitpickings are more
than overshadowed by the added
bonus of the ferry boat whistles,
seagull honks, rodeo hoofbeats
and even a narrator, who sounds
like the guy from those educational films you were forced to
watch in grade two, to guide you
through this wacky documentation
of the Pacific Northwest sound.
Primo cover and nifty liner notes,
too: our copy was personally autographed, in crayon, by the band.
Fantastic back-up vocals by the
three young ladies formerly with
the Dynette set. If you like fun, accelerated pop done by creative,
top notch musicians, you'll definitely enjoy this record. If not, flip
over that Laurie Anderson record
another time, and go back to
sleep.
—Mike Dennis
tess
Elvis Costello
Goodbye Cruel World
This is a fourth attempt at a
review for Goodbye Cruel World.
And each attempt takes a different
approach from a different direction. Reactions have ranged from:
disappointing, to mediocre, to
good, to very good but not (yet) up
to the lofty heights of Imperial
Bedroom and Punch The Clock.
To explain this gradual change
of heart is difficult. A reduction of
my thoughts is best stated in these
words: introverted and sublime.
Where Punch The Clock was
brash, full of verve, and laden with
forward melodic songs, Goodbye
Cruel World features songs
whose character takes time to
develop, much in the manner of
Imperial Bedroom. Melodically
insidious, the songs on Goodbye
Cruel World require and eventually bear repeated listening before
they fully reveal themselves.
Lyrically Costello, as ever, is
strong. The songs are varied in
subject and tenor. Almost without
exception, Costello avoids the
smart-alec couplets and silly allusions which occasionally rendered his material a touch contrived.
Some of the same themes are
explored—'Room With No Number" reprises "Motel Matches"
and "Peace In Our Time" does
similarly for "Shipbuilding" and
"Pills And Soap'—but this lyric
sheet is one which makes enjoyable reading. The songs are witty, interesting and touching, if on
occasion depressing.
These lyrics are joined to music
which lies at the root of many initial reactions to the album. In our
instant society, most people re
quire their music to be instantly
obvious too. If the hooks are not
there on first listen, then the music
must be mediocre. Get Happy
and Imperial Bedroom elicited
similar responses and yet these
albums, particularly the latter, are
among Costello's best efforts.
Punch The Clock was more easily accepted because it was up
front with it's melodic content.
"Everyday I Write The Book" was
crafted for those denizens of the
Land of the Obvious: MTV.
Goodbye Cruel World takes
the Imperial Bedroom approach,
asking for time, patience and effort. Two songs, "The Only Flame
In Town" and "I Wanna Be Loved,"
feature that warm uplifting R&B
feel of Punch The Clock. But the
remainder are formed from a
hybrid of the loud, raucous rock
of Trust and the polished ac-
coustic sound of Imperial Bedroom. Nonetheless, each song on
the album, without exception, is
based on an appealing melodic
line and the now standard impeccable playing and production
which marks each Costello
release.
So if at times the best qualities
of Goodbye Cruel World are not
obvious, the album is still worthwhile. Repeated listenings will
bear the fruit of effort—an album
of depth and sincerity featuring
songs with character, songs which
range the emotional spectrum,
songs which entertain and impress without being trite.
Goodbye Cruel World, another
fine album from one of our finest
writers.
—No. 1 Violent Femmes
Hallowed Ground
I
No matter what they decide to
have done/
Burn up the clouds, blot out the
sun/
My hope is in what they can't bring
down/
My soul is in hallowed ground.
These lines from the title track
of the Violent Femmes' second
L.R Hallowed Ground outline the
theme that runs through the
record. In a world where inequity
and madness often seem to
dominate, man's hope lies within
his soul. Gordon Gano writes
songs about the realities of life
and death with a style and
humour which inspires interest in
the subject matter rather than
depression or resignation. A belief
in the spiritual to cope with the
world is not a new philosophy
and this simple summary does not
do justice to the depth of the
album. Each song is an individual
source of wit, emotion and great
music.
The Femmes' debut album displayed their ample musical talents
and Gano's ironic sense of humour, both evident on Hallowed
Ground. A complaint that could
be made about the Femmes' first
album is that its songs dealt with
the narrow subject of unfulfilled
male-female relationships with
Gano coming across as just too
whiney. Hallowed Ground finds
Gano singing better and the
songs and music having been
broadened in perspective. The
emotions portrayed on this album
are more varied and the musical
styles are, to say the least, eclectic. The music encompasses blue-
grass, country, rock, jazz and even
spiritual, yet it comes across as
the Femmes' own music. "Never
Tell" shows the Femmes at their
best, with the music going
through numerous changes and
still forming a complete song.
Whatever the song, the music is
played with a skill and energy that
induces repeated listenings.
The beauty of Gano's songs lies
in the way he deals with the subject of man's ills. He can put
across a message without becoming preachy, despite even overtly
religious songs such as "Jesus
Walking on the Water," and writing
about nuclear terror. For example,
"Country Death Song" is the story
of a man who kills his own daughter, but the tale can be applied to
many situations in the world: the
madness is when man gets the
idea to "kill my own kind." The
Femmes' first album was very
good, and Hallowed Ground is
even better. The soul is your hope
and the Femmes have put theirs
into this album.
—Kevin Smith
DISCORDER August, 1984 Page 7
Siouxsie
and the
Banshees
Hyena
Praxis
Praxis
Because I am such a dedicated
fan of all the Material gang, I tried
for 2 weeks to figure out how to
write a rave review of the Praxis
E.P. and still make a few not-very-
nice cracks about it. There is no
elegant solution.
The credits are impressive: produced by Bill Laswell for Material,
the group includes Anton Fier,
Afrika Bambaata and several
other competant if not downright
brilliant musicians/tecnicians.
Considering all of the above,
buying this album should be a
low-risk investment. If that's not
enough, consider also that it's only an E.P. (three songs to a side)
and not even an expensive Japanese pressing or some-such-thing
and you should all run out and
grab it—right?
Well, sort of... The sound is
great. It's probably the best scrat-
chin'/looping/splicing and all the
other assorted non-accoustic gad-
getry that has been the rage since
"Rockit" made it trendy last year;
but it's all the same. There isn't
enough variety. One gets the
definite impression that if this effort had been stretched into an
L.P it would have simply been too
much—which is how I tend to
regard this whole movement: too
much....enough, already!!
Everybody on this E.P. is a good
artist—they have pointed us in
some very interesting musical
directions and if anyone deserves
to make a bit of MONEY and gain
a little RECOGNITION, they do;
however it is time to make a stand.
I don't intend to buy this record,
or any similar record until this particular genre of music has been
laid to rest and all the musicians
involved in this latest oversell have
decided that it's time to move on
to something else. Then it will be
possible to examine what they
have done and pick the best—
which I'm sure Praxis is close to'
being.
—Larry Thiessen
Billy Bremner
Bash!
Ask the average teenager who
Billy Bremner is and the response
you're most likely to get is a contorted facial expression accompanied by a "Billy who?" But ask
the same teenager if he's familiar
with the guitar work on The Pretenders' "Back On the Chain
Gang" and "My City Was Gone"
(provided by Billy, in case you
didn't know) and you'll undoubtedly receive a smile and an enthusiastic "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah."
The whole point of that opening
paragraph was to put forth my
hypothesis that Scotland's answer
to Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe
is the most well-known unknown
performer in contemporary music.
Billy's long-awaited debut album
might change this. If it doesn't,
nothing will because this is a very
strong effort.
The songs run the gamut from
pure pop/rock ("Fire In My
Pocket" and "Losing My Touch")
to the toe-tapping rockabilly of
"Tired and Emotional (and Probably Drunk)" to "The Perfect
Crime" and its pub rock flavour.
And while I'm at it, let me mention
a previously-unreleased (I think
so, anyway) Elvis Costello composition called "Shatterproof."
And the high quality of the fine
tunes is reinforced by some fine
backing musicians. Billy uses his
former Rockpile mate, Terry Williams, on three tracks, as well as
Noise to Go drummer Bobby Irwin, ex-Noise bassist James Eller,
and Pete Wingfield, a veteran pub
rocker.
Perhaps some day in the not-
too-distant future when we ask
that same average teenager who
Billy Bremner is, the lad's eyes will
light up ahd he'll exclaim, "Billy
Bremner used to be in that great
band called Rockpile and he put
out that fantastic album called
Bash! back in the summer of
1984!" Perhaps—but I wouldn't
count on it.
—Doug Gordon
k•••*••••••**•***•••••••••
*••••**••••***••**••••***•
*••*•••*••*••••*•**••***••
*••••• Psychedelic Furs *******
*•••••
A-*************************
*•••••••••*•*••••••••*••••
I can remember, in those long
lost days of yore, when I was
eagerly awaiting Siouxsie and the
Banshees first album The
Scream. They were the days
when just being able to walk onto
a stage, pick up a guitar and play
something that wasn't fifteen
minutes long, had interminable
guitar solos and ended in a resounding crash of A-major, meant
instant cult status, rave reviews in
the music press and, perhaps, a
piece of vinyl to call your very own.
Siouxsie and the Banshees, perhaps more than anyone else,
typified this syndrome, forming
after the initial shock caused by
the Sex Pistols and The Clash
(among others) but before the
subsequent rush where record
companies were falling ovei
themselves to sign anybody with
a leather jacket, spikey hair and
a borrowed satellite copy.
But this is 1984, Siouxsie and
the boys have been around the
block a few times now and the
release of their sixth L.P. Hyena
was greeted, by me, with what
could only be described as great
indifference.
Hyena is the first Banshees
release since The Creatures
(Sioux and Budgie) and The
Glove (Smith and Severin) released their LPs and it appears to be
an attempt to combine the two. An
interesting idea you may think.
Wrong. To merge those two distinct styles would have taken the
musical equivalent of dovetail
joints, patient sanding and a
French polish. This album was
knocked together with a couple of
six-inch nails and a lot of glue to
fill in the cracks. The result is an
unappealling mess, no finesse, no
subtlety.
Listening to this album took real
perseverance. The guitars, the
vocals and drums just drone on incessantly, like some auditiory
water torture and were it not for
the opening track "Dazzle" and
the single "Swimming Horses" I
would be firmly embedded in the
local psychiatric hospital (the
tracks are hardly gems but they
came as a welcome relief). In
some cases an album of weak
songs can be saved by good production but in this case, if I may
return to a previous analogy, all
the production does is slap on a
lurid formica top.
Nothing disappoints me more
than seeing (hearing) a band that
consistantly brought out good
material early on in their lives
disappearing up their own anal
sphincters. This is not meant to
sound like Siouxsie and Co.'s
obituary but on this evidence it
looks terminal.
—Richard Putler
Mirror Moves
•••••*•
Warning: The following review
contains very few references to
David Bowie or the Beatles.
Mirror Moves, the fourth album
by what's left of the Psychedelic
Furs. I'm going to go out on a limb
and predict two more albums for
the Furs, the last one being called But Enough About Me by the
Psychedelic Fur. Richard Butler
"" then fire himself citing artistic
differences and declare himself
bankrupt.
The loss of one band member
after each successive album has
reduced the Furs sonic wall of
sound to something resembling a
picket fence. They no longer bombard you with wave upon wave of
deeply textured noise, opting this
time for clarity and crispness in
the mix. With only brother Tim
Butler on bass, and John Ashton
-guitar, left in the lineup to support Butler's vocal incantations it
may have proved difficult mounting a formidable sound.
It seems more plausible though
that this paring down of their
sound was done intentionally to
make the band more accessable.
If mass acceptance is their goal,
releasing drivel like "The Ghost In
You," the album's a lead-off track
as a single is definitely detrimental. It's a weak, maudlin song that
won't appeal to even their most ardent followers.
In fact, all of the first side of Mirror Moves is questionable. "Here
Come Cowboys" is a throw-away
track that could be an out-take
from any one of their albums and
"Heaven" and "Heartbeat," released earlier as dance mixes,
have already disappeared from
clubs and alternative playlists.
The album title seems very appropriate after listening to Side
Two which is a complete opposite
of the first side. Each track is
singularly strong, yet all five songs
are cohesive, almost flowing together like a suite. In light of this,
I'll forego a blow by blow analysis.
The side has a light feel to it, leaning more towards Pop than Psychedelia, and is lyrically much
more upbeat than in the past.
John Ashton's guitar has been
toned down somewhat, blending
in with the mix rather than raging
above it, and the drumming which
has always been fairly rudimentary has been left up to producer
Keith Forsey. Taken as a whole,
Side Two shows that the Psychedelic Furs can safely tamper with
their sound, producing some
music that, though not as overpowering as their earlier work, can
certainly stand alongside it.
Mirror Moves will probably gain
the Furs some new fans. These
fans may in turn discover their first
album. This discovery will probably prompt them to say like so
many others have, "They'll never
surpass that one."
Note: If you place the cover of
Mirror Moves next to a ticket for
their upcoming show at the Or-
pheum the two appear to be
almost identical. Just a coincidence?
—Jim Main
••••••*••**••••••••••••*•• Page 8 DISCORDER August, 1984
Uust before we take a look at a
limited number of the many non-
L.R local recordings that have
come to CITR in the last month,
a quick apology and correction
with regards to last month's
"Demo Derby" article. The writing
credit for the bassline in the Mike
Club's song "Riff Rapp" goes not
to Rachel Melas, as stated, but
rather to Vagari, who now plays
with the calypso/reggae band
Karib.
"Socred Youth," by Five Year
Plan, is a wonderful swipe at the
boys in Victoria, and their offspring. In terms of sound quality,
this is probably the worst (read
best) recording to hit our airwaves
in years. Muddy, inaudible vocals,
buried somehow beneath equally muddy bass and drum parts (no
guitar). None of this matters,
though: the lyrics are great! How
can you go wrong with an opening verse of: "I'm a Socred
Youth/and I live at home/I go to
school now 'cause/I got a student
loan?"
At least half the enjoyment of
seeing Mode D'emploi live is their
impressive film/slide presentation,
which ideally complements their
montage style of music. Their
sound chiefly consists of snippets
of funk rhythms and riffs and
sound effects, which, although individually interesting, are difficult
to listen to as a single extended
recorded work. By all means, see
Calgary's Mode D'emploi live.
Worth the effort.
How do you describe a band
composed of accoustic guitar,
synthesizer, violin, the occassional rhythm machine, flute,
taped sound effects, and both
male and female clear, strong
vocals? Here's a new hyphenated
style for you: pastoral ambient.
Courage of Lassie's C-50 cassette
release "Threshold of Hearing" is
half new/half old material of this
variety. Although you likely won't
find yourself humming their works
in the shower, these slower paced songs are very pleasant to
listen to.
In the past, Moev was an
alright, if somewhat repetitive
electro-plonk, all-synth band with
a spark of dark colour provided by
Madelaine Morris, who is now in
Family Plot. With her departure,
we are left with...oh well, anyhow,
the production is really good.
All that's wrong with electro-pop
has been made good and whole
again by a wave of the magic
wand of Kraftdinner. "Dewdney
Trunk Road" is a brilliant parody
of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express "; a great novelty hit until
it got overplayed.
Two Vancouver bands are finally
starting to fill the massive rockabilly void that has existed in this
city since the demise of the now
legendary Buddy Selfish And His
Saviors.
The Edsels five-song E.P. called "Rock Five Screaming Alive"
is a good mix of upbeat Eddie
Cochran-type tunes, along with
slower, vocal dominated numbers
(i.e. a gospel version of Guthrie's
"Bound For Glory"). The production is straightforward and the
songwriting is good. With additional harmonica provided by the
Harmonicat, this release should
easily sell out by the end of the
summer.
The Twanghounds two-demo
tape songs, "Clouds In My Eyes"
and "Set Aside A Fool," are currently working their way up the
CITR weekly chart. Squeaky
clean rockabilly with a strong pop
feel, this is a fine debut for the
Twanghounds.
Take the drive and noise of early
Killing Joke and Cabaret Voltaire,
mix in the raving of a certified
manic-depressive and the soundtrack of a violent axe murder. Add
on top of this a guitar that feeds
back like fingernails on a chalkboard. Now condense all this
down into 51/2 minutes. "Self
Pity" by NoMeansNo is part of the
fantastic-terrific-great follow-up
recording to the 1983 L.P.
"MAMA." The music is harsh,
biting and violent. The band is
very together. Soon to be released on a local compilation cassette
of non-pop/experimental bands.
Keep Aware!!
Here are a few more releases to
look out for in August.
Bolero Lava will be releasing a
disc by the end of the month, including their songs "Inevitable"
and "Click Of The Clock." They
won the recording time for the project at last year's CITR Hot Air
Show, which is starting again in a
few weeks as the All New Shindig
II talent show at the Savoy in
Gastown.
The Enigmas are halfway
through recording the follow-up to
their sold-out debut E.P, and will
complete it when they return from
their west coast summer tour.
Poisoned may be putting out
their recent ten-song studio recording as a limited edition, cassette
only release. Coming in September, a new L.P. from Der
Laderhosen. Support local music,
at an independent record store
near you. R
E
M
Now wait a minute. Just what is going on
here? I thought this was supposed to be the
age of peacock pop, of the return of style
to the charts. You know what I mean: Boy
George, Annie Lennox, and the other followers of the new androgyny. So do you
mind telling me what R.E.M. are doing? I
mean, haven't these guys heard? They don't
even use eyeliner! I thought everyone used
eyeliner. They look like they get their haircuts
from some guy named Pete, for $6 in a barbershop that still has a candy-striped pole.
Where do these guys get off looking
so...so...ordinary and still being touted as
the best things to come out of the states
since Mom started buying apple pies at the
Pay 'ri Save? I mean look at 'em. Look at
'em! The bass player looks like my little
brother, who incidentally, is about 12 years
old. So the guitar player has a leather jacket.
Who doesn't? But it doesn't even have studs
on it fr'chrissake! And they don't even have
a synthesizer. Don't these guys know it's
1984?
High style has never been R.E.M.'s
strong suit. Fortunately, it hasn't seriously
impeded their progress. Sure, they look like
walk-ons in their own videos, but the band
has still been able to catch the attention of
critics and the public alike with their sound.
And what a sound: Peter Buck's spare, ringing guitar, Michael Stipe's soulful delivery
of lyrics which, once one gets past a slurred vocal style, reveal a depth of feeling and
sense that few pop musicians can match,
a rhythm section limber enough to bend
with the band's mutation of pop structures
while still retaining that catchiness that
makes pop music so endearing. It's not a
flashy sound but it is infectious. R.E.M.
write songs that grow more rewarding and
more revealing with each listen.
One might even say that there is something dreamlike about the music. The
temptation is understandable. The band
takes its name from a term used to describe
the physical changes that take place in the
deepest part of sleep, when most dreaming takes place. Guitarist Buck prefers to
play down the connection: "It's just a name
really. It doesn't necessarily stand for Rapid
Eye Movement. Y'see, all the good
names—Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Sex
Pistols—that we really liked were taken.
And we had about five horribly obscene
names that would guarantee that we
wouldn't get any dates. But we settled on
R.E.M. because it wouldn't pin us down as
any particular type of band."
R.E.M., dreams or no dreams, started on
in the musical hot bed of Athens, Georgia
(home of the B-52s, Pylon, and the Method
Actors). The band was formed when Buck
and Stipe, neither of whom had ever played
music in public before, were introduced to
Mills and drummer Bill Berry by a friend
who was having a party. "We figured we'd
just play that party and then break up," explains Buck. "Then for the next year or so
we were expecting to break up any day, that
eventually we'd say 'this is taking up too
much time' and call it quits. But then we
just kept getting better, and it kept getting
more...pleasurable."
For Buck, R.E.M. was a chance to get on
the other side of the stage. "I'd always been
a fan, worked in record stores, read about
rock 'n' roll, but I'd always thought you had
to have some special knowledge or talent
to do it. Michael Stipe convinced me you
didn't, that it would be okay to try it. And
y'know, he was right."
After paying locally for about a year, the
band ventured further afield, touring the
South and the east coast of the US. "It got
pretty hairy sometimes, explains Buck, because we hadn't recorded anything and we
hadn't received much attention from the
press. So we got the curious. And sometimes people really dug what we were doing. And sometimes people would follow
youto the van and threaten to kill you. Looking back it's pretty amusing to think that
there are all these guys with no teeth, still
around, threatening local bands."
The band released their first EP Chronic
Town in 1982. The record received limited
distribution, but nonetheless, ended up on
a number of critics year-end Top 10 lists.
R.E.M.'s popularity with the critics has
continued, with the band's first LP, Murmur
receiving almost unanimous approval
(including "album of the year" from the
Rolling Stone critics). "It's nice that these
people who have to listen to alot of music
for a living like our stuff," says Mills, "but
you can't take it too seriously. 'Cause if this
makes you feel real good, the bad press
you're going to get eventually is going to
make you feel real bad."
The public's response has been as
enthusiastic as the critics'. If R.E.M. doesn't
sell quite as many copies as Michael Jackson, the bands following makes up in devotion what it lacks in numbers. The band
has received a lot of mail from people
who've been deeply affected by the music.
"One woman in Forida sent Michael Stipe
a copy of Ulysses" Mills explains, "and said
that his lyrics reminded her of James
Joyce." Of the four members of the band
Stipe seems the least comfortable with the
adulation. He has said in the past that "being onstage is basically pretty absurd" and
at R.E.M.'s Vancouver show he asked for
a show of hands from those who'd followed the band all the way from L.A. About
twenty people lifted their hands. "And now,"
said Stipe, "in twenty-five words or less:
'Why.'"
Buck and Mills seem more comfortable,
and have their own answers to Stipe's question. "I think it's because our songs aren't
too specific," says Mills, they're really open
to interpretation. People feel they can apply the songs to themselves."
"It's also that most of the stuff on the
radio is so impersonal and bland," adds
Buck. "You dont get the feeling that anyone
makes those records. I turn on the radio
and everything sounds the same. It's like
there's these five guys in LA that get together and make that year's records. We're a little different than that. We're a band that has
personality. I mean, we're not the most
original band in the world, but we're kinda
unique."
R.E.M. is kind of unique, despite critics
attempts to define and pigeonhole them.
Comparisons have ranged from the Byrds
to the Beau Brummels to the Cure. To these
ears, none of the comparisons do the
band's sound justice. It's sound rooted in
Socred cuts won't stop us!
K/MEJiS
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DISCORDER August, 1984 Page 9
various American musics: country, rock 'n'
roll, psychedelia, folk music, but the various
influences are so well absorbed and
synthesized that it is seldom that one can
pick them out. It's almost impossible to say,
"Well, that's their country song, and that's
their rock song, and that's ..." When asked for their description of the band's music
Buck and Mills reply "loud" and obnoxious." "No, really," continues Buck, "we
can't think of a real good term for it or we'd
use it. Rock 'n' roll's the term I always think
of, but all the guys in platform shoes, with
shirts open to the waist have made rock 'n'
roll sound pretty foolish. I think of us as rock
'n' roll the same way Chuck Berry and Jerry
Lee Lewis were rock 'n' roll."
Response from the press and public has,
however, had an impact on the bands music. The band opted for a sparser sound on
their second album, Reckoning, dropping
backwards tape effects and strange noises
that made Murmur such a dense album.
"We dropped that stuff because people
thought that that was what we could do,"
explains Buck," that we were this folk band
that used all these neat psychedelic things
that sounded neat, but there was nothing
there. This album we decided to strip that
all away and just present these ten songs
and show that we were songwriters, that we
were a good band and that we had soul,
rather than a band that had this sorta
psychedelic sound that was kinda neat."
When all the analysis is through, however, R.E.M.'s achievement comes down to
this: they are the first band to break out of
this generation of the American underground, the first '80s local band to achieve
acceptance in the mainstream. And they
have done it without forsaking, as so many
have done before them, their roots as a
local band. They make records that chart,
they get critical raves, they tour with a light
show that looks like something out of Star
Wars, but this same band has spurned offers to toil on the coliseum and stadium cur-
cuit, continuing to play smaller, more intimate halls "because, basically, it's more
fun." They insist that the only worthwhile
music being made in the states is being
made by local band's and offer up a list of
favourite bands that read like a Who's Who
of the American underground.
Despite their commercial success
R.E.M. remain unimpressed by the offerings of the mainstream. When asked what
advice he would give to some of his favorite
bands if they wanted to follow in R.E.M.'s
footsteps, Peter Buck replies: "I'd probably
tell them not to bother. Let's face it, anything
Black Flag or any of these bands could do
to make themselves acceptable to the
mainstream would probably ruin them. And
really, hit singles don't seem to mean that
much anymore. I'd rather make an album
that people will look back on in ten years
and say, 'they made good albums and
they're still making good albums! That's
how Talking Heads did it. Most of the stuff
on the radio is garbage. If we get played,
it's by accident."
If Buck's outspokeness seems uncharacteristic for someone who plays in a band
like R.E.M., his modesty does not. And if
the transition from the first to second album
is any indication Buck may get his wish; it
seems likely that R.E.M. will still be making music in ten years. Which would be not
too shabby. For a band with no style.
-CD
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CITYSCAPE
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January 16-26
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COMING SOON TO THE
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SHINDIG II
CITR and the Savoy are pleased to
announce the all new SHINDIG II
Battle of the Bands, running from
September until December of this
year, every Monday night at the
Savoy
Because this is a four month event,
with a semi-final each month, only
18 bands will be chosed to compete (thafsjust 6 bands a month,
kids!)
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL
GORDON OR DAVE AT CITR'S
BUSINESS OFFICES, 228-3017.
PRIZES INCLUDE:
RECORDING TIME, CASH,
AND MUSIC EQUIPMENT
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AUGUST
HIGH
PROFILES
High Profiles are 45 minute specials, providing music and biographical information
on a particular band, record lable or or
music style. MonrSat., every night at 8 p.m.
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Mon
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1 The Gun Club
2 The B-52's
3 "Good Girls"
4 70's Rock Fashion (pt. 2)
6 The Meters
7 Bands From Edmonton
8 The Ramones
9 The Bongos
10 "Bad Girls"
11 Jiswopp—a way of life?
13 Dwight Twilley
14 Neglected Springsteen
15 Chris Spedding
16 CRASS
17 King Sunny Ade
18 Throbbing Gristle (pt. 1)
20 The Mark IV/The Creation
21 The Moondogs/The Nips,
22 Wall of Voodoo
23 The Fleshtones
24 Plasticland
25 Throbbing Gristle (pt. 2)
27 Rockabilly Women
28 Van Morrison
29 "Jesus Hits Like An Atom
Bomb"—Music for a pro-
nuclear mentality.
30 Grace Jones
31 Van Hagen (this is not a typo)J
' Buy your CITR T-shirt *
50C from every sale goes to
purchase new eyeballs for
defaced movie stars.
FINAL VINYL
every night  at 11 p.m.
New and neglected albums played in their
entirety. Refer to a CITR Playlist (available
at various locations) for full listings. Home
taping is killing the big music industry.
Monday - Jazz Album
Tuesday and Wednesday - New Playlist
Album
Thursday -
Mel Brewer Presents
Weekly showcase of local artists. Highlights
include interviews, new releases, demo
tapes and plenty of juicy gossip.
Friday - Mixing, Matching, Blending,
Scratching ALBUMS
Saturday - CITR #1 Playlist LP
Sunday - Neglected LP with Mark Mushet
50 Most Played
Artists on CITR
1.
Public Image Limited
2.
Lou Reed
3.
Poisoned
4.
Elvis Costello/The Imposter
5.
The Damned/Naz Nomad
6.
Violent Femmes
7.
New Order
8.
Iggy Pop (and the Stooges)
9.
The Cure
10.
Echo and the Bunnymen
11.
Rank and File
12.
Siouxsie and the Banshees
13.
Peter Gabriel
14.
Brian Eno (and friends)
15.
Special AKA
16.
X
17.
David Bowie
18.
Nick Lowe
19.
Moev
20.
Talking Heads
21.
Nina Hagen
22.
Shriekback
23.
Kraftdinner
24.
Gang of Four
25.
Sid Presley Experience
26.
NoMeansNo
27.
Mike Club
28.
Psychedelic Furs
29.
Actionauts
30.
Hiroshi Yano
31.
Ultravox
32.
Dream Syndicate
33.
Bob Marley and the Waiters
34.
The Associates
35.
Bauhaus
36.
The Cramps
37.
The Ramones
38.
The Fall
39.
The Stranglers
40.
The Buzzcocks
41.
Rockin' Edsels
42.
Dead Kennedys
43.
Trevor Jones
44.
The Smiths
45.
Frank Zappa
46.
Red Dress
47.
Holger Czukay
48.
Legendary Pink Dots
49.
Young Fresh Fellows
50.
Family Plot
Another month, another lot of bands,
another slew of numbers...! don't know how
long I can keep this up! The list shows a
number of new faces: Poisoned, The
Damned, and New Order all crack the top
10 for a change, but there are still many old
favourites hanging around. Maybe I'm starting to get jaded about the whole concept;
perhaps a change is needed in this column.
It has served a useful purpose both
within the station and for you, the listeners
(whom we cherish, respect, and obey-
sometimes). The list has given us a goal—
to decrease our dependency on 'old stan-
bys,' those artists who crop up every month,
without fail; and to increase the variety of
noise on-air even further. The list has shown
you that our tastes are broad, and that we
are trying very hard to cater to a multi-
faceted audience. The station as a whole,
and I, personally, would like to have your
unfettered opinions—should the list stay in
its present form, or should it be modified,
dropped, or savagely beaten? Vote early,
but not often!
Send a letter to our illustrious Airhead,
and we'll give your suggestion our fullest
attention.
Short Notes...13 local acts; a record, I
think! Thanks to all Wet Coast types for
demo tapes and vinyl slices; remember the
reincarnation of the Hot Air Show down at
the Savoy... Legenday Pink Dots in a Top
50? It can't be! FIE ON GREG RUM!... Bob
Marley is reverently played by many, sort of
an RIP on RPM (33 and Vs, that is)...
G'bye!!!
—Jason
P.S. Help! I'm being held prisoner in East
Vancouver!!! DISCORDER August, 1984 Page 11
PROGRAM   GUIDE
SUN  MON
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OF OUR   10AM MORNING ,REPORT WITH NEWS,'SPORTS AND WEATHER ~
TIME
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— NEWS—NOON
SUNDAY    I
BRUNCH    I '
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THE
ROCKERS 2pm
SHOW
FOLK
hIm inter-
National
NOON—NEWS—
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THE
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5PM
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-\ PLAYLIST
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