January 16, 1998 in Seven

Man Ray Stays True To Namesake’s Artistry

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Sensual and surreal two words that well describe two artists.

The first is Man Ray - the photographer considered by many to be the father of American modernism. A man born in 1890.

The second is Man Ray - the Seattle band, four men who were mere tykes when their namesake died in 1976.

But it’s not just the name that binds these two. It’s the dreamy and elegant nature of both artists’ work.

“I always thought his photographs represented our music well,” says singer/guitarist Josh White of the cameraman who captured White’s attention just as his band began its career.

The late photographer’s family apparently agrees. Man Ray’s estate not only gave the band permission to use the name, but also requested that, in return, the young men use the artist’s work on all of their albums.

The band happily agreed.

For the cover to its latest album “Casual Thinking,” the band selected two of Ray’s pictures from a series of nude photographs he took in the early 1920s.

“I liked the sensuality in them,” White says. “On ‘Casual Thinking’ I think sexuality played really heavily. I think it’s in an honest way. I don’t think it’s cheesy, like I’m going out of my way to try to be sexy.”

White began singing with his mother in church at age 11 and discovered that he loved performing in front of people.

“I’m into the rock star thing a little bit, but not in a cocky way,” he says with a laugh. “When I’m on stage, I definitely play it up. My whole philosophy is Super Man on stage, Clark Kent off.”

At age 20, White wrote his first song - “some really cheesy Lenny Kravitz rip off” he admits with an embarrassed laugh.

“I played it for some people and they said ‘Hey that’s really good, you should do that.’ That’s when I just knew that was what I should do.”

It was three years ago when White and drummer Duff Drew began jamming together in Seattle. After gathering up guitarist Mark Plampin and bassist Jon Whitney, the group was snapped up by Tim Kerr and Mercury Records.

The label released “Casual Thinking” in 1997. And although Man Ray The Band has not yet developed the maturity of Man Ray The Photographer, its record remains impressive for an early effort.

From the jagged rock of “Iridescence” to the languid beauty of “Forever Lethargic,” Man Ray takes ‘80s Cure/Cult-style pop rock and gives it a ‘90s facelift. White’s deep voice cruises adeptly over both the upbeat tempo of “Want It All” and the crunching moodiness of “Melancholy Tears.”

“The music is very textural and we try to keep it pretty dreamy even though it’s rock,” White says.

A prolific writer who says he’s penned 150 songs since “Casual Thinking” was recorded, White says the next album is tentatively scheduled for early summer release.

“Before we got signed I was totally thinking of just going for the whole thing - like world domination,” White says. “Now I’m just trying to make great music.”

Man Ray plays the middle slot tonight at Outback Jack’s. Seattle pop rock band Salmon Davis headlines the show with Indy 977 opening. Cover is $3. Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Something for everyone

Not one, but two shows for music fans of all ages are scheduled on Saturday night. Imagine that. What a nice change from the usual dearth of things to do for underagers.

So here it is:

Catch hardcore punk bands Deadlock and Face First along with pop/punk band Juggernaut at The Lake City Senior Center in Coeur d’Alene Saturday night. The four-member Deadlock headlines the show with what they call posicore - positive hardcore music.

“We don’t sing about sex, drugs and rock and roll,” says guitarist Sam Palmer. “We sing a lot about friendships. It’s more about fun and having a good time.”

With that in mind, Palmer says the band’s shows are big on crowd involvement. “When we play, the microphone and stage are for everybody.”

Palmer says his group is often lumped with Christian bands because they don’t swear, drink or do drugs and don’t play shows in bars. But, Christianity is not a part of the group’s philosophy.

The two other bands on the night’s lineup, however, are Christian-oriented bands.

Show starts Saturday at 7 p.m. Cover charge is $3. The Lake City Senior Center is located at 916 Lakewood Drive in Coeur d’Alene.

The Libby Teen Center of Spokane plays host to three bands as well - Beggar’s Opera, Tribal Essence and Upper Class Racket. Doors open Saturday at 8 p.m. with music starting at 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $3. The teen center is located at 2900 E. First.

And how about this: Aces Wild (formerly The Edge) in Coeur d’Alene offers entertainment for folks 19 and older. On Saturday night, Portland’s seven-piece acoustic groove band Calobo headlines the show. Civilized Animal opens. Bring $5 and be prepared to dance. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. Aces Wild is located at 4720 W. Seltice Way.

More to do

Plenty of music options to go around. Here are a few more offerings:

Tonight, Spokane’s pop rockers Shrinking Violet headline at Ichabod’s North. Method and Casey open the show. Cover is $4 and the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Get the blues at the Fort Spokane Brewery when D.C. Black and the Healers perform tonight and Saturday. Cover is $4 and the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

If not blues, then how about reggae? Raggs Gustaffe and his band Bush Doktor perform at the Bayou Brewery tonight and Saturday. Show starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $4.

Swackhammer’s is again offering live music. This time musicians will perform in the smaller bar room while billiards tables are offered in the larger attached room.

The Kustums will perform every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening through Feb. 7 starting at 9 p.m. Carrie Brazil performs during happy hour (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) every Tuesday through Friday until the end of January. There is no cover charge to hear the bands.

Check out comedy night each Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Again, no cover charge.

Super Bowl alert

Attention all club owners and managers. We at Nightwatch hear there’s a big athletic event coming up. Something to do with football. Sounds to us like a good excuse to drink and party.

So, we’d like to know of any Super Bowl celebrations. Please jot down the place, time, cost and what your establishment has planned. Then mail, fax or e-mail the info (the address/numbers are below) no later than Tuesday at 10 a.m. (Earlier would be even better.)

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at windab@spokesman.com. Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.

Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at windab@spokesman.com. Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email