Star-Phoenix from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on May 28, 1987 · 37
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Star-Phoenix from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada · 37

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 28, 1987
Page:
37
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o Perry Mason helps NBC in ratings .....D3 o Ann Landers: Minister learns lesson ...D5 o Economic restructuring of Sask. urged D9 Governor General's prize to Munro........D4 Nylons out to crack record marke By Tim O'Connor of The Canadian Press When The Nylons' Paul Cooper suggested the group record Kiss Him Goodbye, the '69 Steam hit that's become a mocking victory anthem among sports fans, the rest of the group reacted: "Oh, that stupid song." After all, it doesn't exactly require the harmonic precision thai has made The Nylons one of the world's most revered singing groups. The song's main requirement is that the famous chorus "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye" be shouted in unison. Art it ain't. Before a recent Los Angeles concert, fellow Nylon Marc Connors said the group recoiled intial-ly at the suggestion, but it discovered the song had a "singable" verse that could be enhanced into a harmony extravaganza. "The other half of (doing) it is: Yes, it's a popular tune. And (pausing) damn it, we don't always want to be shunted aside as 'Oh yeah, it's a cappella'," exclaimed Connors, his voice rising. "We want to be up there (on the charts). People go NUTS in our shows, and it's just stupid that we're not able to crack the record market as well. And we've been frustrated. We've been doing it a long time now and it's time!" said an exasperated Connors. Connors, Cooper, Claude Morrison and Arnold Robinson have been working out of Toronto as The Nylons for eight years. But. most of that time has been an endless stream of airports, hotels, concert halls and white lines on the highway. Despite critical acclaim for its remarkable sound four wondrous voices accompanied only by electronic percussion the group doesn't sell many records. That's partly because it doesn't get radio airplay. Two Nylons albums have sold more than 100,000 copies, but they still lost money. With production costs, an album must sell at least U ' ) v.N 1 ' Mir- 4 C ' r'i'r i 'V jV.)J JWi The Nylons Paul Cooper, left, Claude Morrison, Marc Connors and Arnold Robinson 200,000 in Canada just to cover expenses. Therefore, the foursome must tour constantly to make money, and Connors said the group is getting tired of the road. The Nylons kick off the Canadian portion of their tour to promote the new album, Happy Together in Toronto today. They will play five other Ontario dates, then go south again stateside before coming back in late June for other Canadian dates. They are scheduled to perform at Saskatoon's Centennial Auditorium on July 30. (The date when tickets go on sale will be announced later. ) They will later venture to Japan, where the group won the best singer award at the 1986 Tokyo Song Festival. In discussing the album, Connors said the group wanted proven cover tunes like Kiss Him Goodbye and Happy Together, the 1967 Turtles hit, that had a good chance of snaring airplay in these nostalgia-filled times. (Kiss Him was No. 57 and climbing the Billboard singles chart the week of May 25. He said there was tension between members over how many cover tunes (four) and how many originals (six) they would do on the LP, but they realized artistic satisfaction must be sacrificed at this stage of their careers. "Listen," a worked-up Connors states, "you've got the great public out there, but you have to get by about 3,000 or 4,000 people who work in radio first and you better appeal to them or all this work and the hundreds of thousands of dollars of effort can sink With modest or embarrassing sales. "When we have guaranteed sales of 500,000 to a million, then we can do something because we want to do it. Until that time, we just want to recoup our costs on an album. "We've never made one red penny off an album, and we're in the hole to the record company (the Canadian label Attic) for this album to the tune of many, many thousands of dollars. "But nobody wants to be a hack. We want to inject our own personality and artistry into them (covers). And I think with the oldies, it's important we try to re- Lang at crossroads of meteoric career MOMENTS BEFORE taking the stage Saturday night at a cabaret in the downstairs hall at Centennial Auditorium, K.D. Lang surveyed the crowd. The dance floor in front of the stage was empty and patrons sat at their tables eagerly awaiting the show. But when she picked up the microphone and began belting out a torchy blues number called Don't Ever Leave Me Again, the front of the stage was jammed eight rows deep with admiring fans who came to bask in her glory. The performance was billed as a show and dance. Although Lang is marketing a country sound, it is her eccentric personality and soaring neo-traditional vocals that brought out a wildly divergent crowd, some of whom were content to just stand at the lip of the stage, while others tried their best to waltz and polka across the crowded dance floor. As an indication of Lang's appeal, silver-haired seniors glided across the dance floor, gracefully swinging to the strains of a polka or foxtrot. They competed for dance floor space with other, younger members of the audience, whose dance style was light years re- Terry CRAIG Pop scene moved from their older compatriots. From the star-gazed looks of those at the front of the stage, Lang was obviously playing before devotees. And while the 25-year-old singer-songwriter thrilled the crowd with her show, she was not that happy about playing a show and dance. She made that pretty obvious during a break in the action when she told the crowd she would much rather play the more sedate confines of the upper hall. Since Lang first burst on the scene four years ago, she has constantly gathered glowing reviews for both her stage performances and recorded work. Now she is at the crossroads of her short, meteoric career. Does she continue to play dances, where the on-stage action competes for attention with party-goers who, fueled by alcohol, just want to kick up their heels, or does she take the plunge and restrict her performances to strictly concert settings? Lang herself says she prefers the concert settings, where all attention is focused on stage. But would she have drawn the same numbers to a concert that she drew to the dance? I doubt it. She is stuck somewhere betwixt and between. Certainly after at least four dances in Saskatoon the past three years, she is justified in wanting to play a different type venue. And the numbers who stood and watched rather than par-tied add to her argument. But the step from the basement to the upstairs hall is a big one. Ask any promoter who feels he has a. sure thing booked into the main hall only to see a patheticly small crowd attend. Lang's time on the main stage will come and, when it does, it will no doubt be a memorable performance. But in the meantime, as frustrating as it might seem to her, the Saskatoon market, at least, just wants to party. GOLD FEVER Festival is rising. The four-day talent search, held in conjunction with the Western Canada Games in Regina later in August, has lined up music industry heavyweights to judge the talent. A screening committee to narrow the selection down to finalists has been formed. Included on that committee are Regina record retailer Martyn Hill;. CBC radio producer Bruce Steele; Ed Walker, program director for Regina's Z99; Steve Glassman, a CBC variety producer; Richard Kerr, a faculty member at the U of R's video department as well as producer of Parachute Club videos; Brian Eaken, WEA Records representative in Saskatchewan; and Rob Bryanton, a Regina-based singer. Once the tapes have been judged, the winners will advance to the finals, held 'during the Games. Christopher Ward, a MuchMusic VJ; Rob Roper, WEA Records; Daniel Richler of the CBC's Journal; and Cliff Jones, manager of Rock and Hyde, will select the winner. Replacements album captures vitality of punk's early days By Terry Craig of the Star-Phoenix Listening to the Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me is much like having a tornado lift you up in the air, whirl you around for 40-odd minutes then drop you hard on your rump, gasping for breath. Like their fellow Minnesotans, Husker Du, the Replacements are stylistically somewhere between punk and early Teenage Head. Manic guitars, gutteral vocals and thrash and thump drums mark the record. The group has taken from great guitar-based bands of the past, Rolling Stones and Clash, and built on those strengths. The Replacements of 1987 are a Slightly toned-down version of the Sex Pistols of 1977, capturing all the vitality and spirit of punk's early days. Like its spiritual godfathers, the band plays everything fast and furious, but at times is capable of some tenderness as on the pseudo-piano lounge tinged Nightclub Jitters. The group has slightly refined its sound, adding saxophone, organ and vibes on some of the cuts. An off-beat ode to Alex Chilton, featuring jangly guitars and voice locked in an echo chamber is just one of many highlights. Pleased to Meet Me should serve as an inspiration to millions of garage bands out there, their maturity is obvious and a portent of things to come.. Girls, Girls, Girls, the latest from Motley Crue, landed with a thump on the desk, an omen of what's contained in the grooves of this Hollywood grunge band. The noise coming off the turntable later confirmed my suspicions. In addition to the monotonous thump, thump, thump, Girls, Girls, Girls is dull, dull, dull. Obviously, Motley Crue owes much of its success to its visual presentation. There is nothing on this album to indicate the band has any musical talent. Attempts at socially relevant themes, coming from a band whose sexist !oses are stock-in-trade, are aughable. This is the fourth Motley Crue album foisted on the world and they are four too many. . Once upon a time, rock 'n' roll and country music were not that easily separated. Now a new breed of country singers, led by Dwight Yoakam, are bringing back the rock to country. Hillbilly Deluxe, his second album, furthers the notion that rock and country are intertwined. Backed by the Babylonian Cowboys, a crackerjack band, he recorded this as far away from Nashville as possible to escape the sugqr-coated pap that currently masquerades as country. Yoakam is rooted in the sound of early Merle Haggard, and his voice is exquisite, be it on the uptempo rockers or the crooning ballads. He even covers an old Elvis Presley chestnut, Little Sister, with a faithful rendition sure to broaden his already growing appeal. IJ (JWJWAU.'.'M'I'.IJMJUAM) ft Dwight Yoakam If Dwight Yoakam represents new country, then Chris Isaak is a Roy Orbison reincarnate. On his self-titled debut album, Isaak blends age-old rockabilly with 1980s sensibilities, adding a dash of psychedelia here, some mournful soul there. He even pays homage to the British invasion with a cover of the Yardbirds hit, Heart Full of Soul. Isaak's smoky, smooth voice fits right alongside such original and disparate stylists as Tom Verlaine and Mark Knopfler. But it is the Orbinson connection that rings true throughout the album. Isaak is more than capable of capturing the searing melodrama that marked Orbinson's greatest works. veal that song in a way it's not been done before." Even though a large part of the band's repertoire is golden oldies such as The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Connors said the band tries to be as modern as possible. That's despite being pegged as a doo wop group or even rockapella, one of the dopiest PR tags ever invented. "We're not doo wop because . . . we don't have a specific allegiance to that area of music," he said. "We're a modern vocal band. We're trying to make music of the '80s, not be some museum piece. And that's why we use electronics in our music. We're trying to take vocal music into the present." D SECTION Star-Phoenix Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Thursday, May 28, 1987 Australian band tours to win fan support "Regardless of how good our music is, and we think its great, you've got to get people to listen. And the only way to do that is by playing to as many people as possible." That pretty well sums up Mark Seymour's music business philosophy. The lyricist and frontman for ' the Hunters and Collectors, an Australian group which plays the Broadway Theatre on June 4, recognizes that touring is the best way to attract followers. In a telephone interview from Toronto, where the seven-man group just completed a showcase date, Seymour said the group wanted to return to North America for more touring. The band was in North America 18 months ago and again late last year. "We wanted to tour again but our record wasn't ready," he said of What's a Few Men, a full-length album due for release by September. Meanwhile, the group's record company pulled three songs from, the album, together with a pair of remixed four-year-old tunes, and released the results on an EP, Living Daylight. Seymour, who describes himself as a "political animal," writes from personal experience. One song on the EP, Inside a Fireball, is about Broken Hill, an ore and zinc mining town not unlike many of the small mining towns throughout northern Canada. The band played at the decaying town while the mine workers were on strike. "Although the town is controlled by the union and is going through a gradual decay, the miners have this incredible sense of pride in the place," he said of the town that inspired the raging lyrics. "But I feel the song is a bit of a rant of optimism, despite all the hardships the people are facing. I try to use the general mood of society as a background." He says the new album is the result of more confident songwriting by the group members. Greg Edwards, noted for his work with R.E.M. and John Cougar Mellan-camp, produced the album. Although Seymour is responsible for the lyrics, each of the band members has musical input into the project. "He (Edwards) said we were compromising .our music too much. In the past we've tried to feature all the instruments, and as a result we sacrificed some power. On the new record we've got the power, the drums are really powerful. The tour that brings Seymour and company to Saskatoon gives the Australians another glimpse of life in North America. "I think we have a better perspective on North America than we did 18 months ago," he said. - CRAIG

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