SA MULLS FUSING, CUTTING COMPENSATED JOBS

VP, secretary, student regent among positions

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

A Students' Association committee was recently established to examine the possibility of eliminating some SA compensated positions and combining their duties with other positions.

Seventy-one percent of the SA budget is spent on salaries for 11 people, according to SA President Angie Milner.

The bill to establish the Student Compensation Exploratory Committee stated that because the 11 positions' duties could be filled by less people, having one person do the work of two or more could save money for SA. The money from their salaries could be freed to better benefit the students as a whole, it was concluded.

Though setting salaries is not the province of SA, officials said they hope to pay an office-holder either an average of the two salaries from eliminated positions or the higher of the two. The savings will be used, according to Speaker of the House Jeff Fuller, for SA projects and programs, like the recent Legislators Day.

SA is now considering combining the positions of vice president and director of personnel. The bill that would combine the two positions states that not only would the combination free money, but would also allow for specific job responsibilities for the vice president.

"In the Constitution (of SA), the vice president doesn't have a specific job to do, and we need to streamline our spending," Fuller said. "We could be spending the money on something more solid."

The SA committee will consider streamlining several other positions in the future. Among the other combinations being considered are merging student regent with the director of External Affairs and SA secretary with the administrative secretary's duties.

If approved by the committee, the combinations will be in effect during the next SA administration, which officially starts on April 1.

 

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YOUTHS STORM CAMPUS OVER HOLIDAY

by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

Eyewitness reports during the Thanksgiving holiday led to the arrest of eight juvenile visitors Friday by UHPD officers.

According to UHPD Lt. Malcolm Davis, Officer Larry Adams encountered a group of eight juveniles in the Hofheinz Pavilion tunnel area playing with a basketball. Adams told the juveniles they had to leave the campus and issued each one a criminal trespass warning.

One hour later, UHPD dispatch received a report from a faculty member on the sixth floor of Agnes Arnold Hall. The witness complained about a group of juveniles – later found by police to be the same group – making noise and playing with a basketball.

Adams was conducting a search of the campus for the juveniles when he was flagged down by another faculty member who complained about the same group destroying a bathroom in the Fine Arts Building.

Adams was en route to Fine Arts when he witnessed four juveniles running past the Communications Building. He and other officers were able to arrest all eight members of the group in the Communications Building.

Because the group had been given trespass warnings, the district attorney's office agreed to charge the juveniles with criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor.

According to Davis, one of the juveniles allegedly broke the leg off a table in Fine Arts, then used it to smash the glass on a sandwich machine before allegedly stealing aspirin from another vending machine.

This member of the group was additionally charged by the district attorney's office with burglary of a coin-operated vending machine, a Class A misdemeanor, in addition to a charge of criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor.

All juveniles were released to their relatives, except the suspect facing additional charges. He was transported to the West Dallas Juvenile Correction Facility.

 

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LATINO FACULTY UNDERREPRESENTED AT UH

Currently, diversity in institutions is created in response to the call for equal representation of local ethnic groups and women. This includes groups like Mexican Americans, Native Americans and African Americans, who have been historically marginalized in the United States. The new commitment to diversity is proudly displayed through cultural festivities by the administration and slogans like "researching, teaching and service through diversity" in an attempt to be diverse in its mission. However, according to the University of Houston's 1993-94 Fact Book, the status of Latinas and Latinos in faculty positions is not reflective of diversity.

The University of Houston's total faculty population (2,420) in the fall of 1989 for Latina/os was a mere 2 percent (69), and for African Americans, it was only 1.9 percent (48). Embarrassingly, five years later, in the fall of 1993, the number of faculty had only increased to 3 percent (85) for Latina/os and to 2.7 percent (68) for African Americans.

The small percentage of Latina/o faculty constitutes a serious problem of unequal representation. Efforts to diversify faculty are further compounded by the lack of growth in the number of Latina/o faculty over the years despite the rapidly expanding number of Latina/os in the greater Houston area. For instance, Latina/os constitute almost a third of the Houston population and 50 percent of the student-age population.

In contrast, the number of white faculty in the fall of 1989 was 68.7 percent (1,664). It increased disproportionately in comparison with the Latina/o faculty increase, to 70 percent of the total faculty (2,467) population by fall 1993.

These numbers unveil the deception of diversity because the Latina/o and African American faculty populations increased at a lower rate. Yet Latina/o and African American local populations have increased at a higher rate than Anglos. Combined, Latina/os and African Americans now constitute over 51 percent of the Houston population. A breakdown of faculty positions provides further support for the lack of diversity.

Although the increase in the total number of faculty was embarrassingly slight, the number of Latina/o full professors and assistant professors was stagnant in the five-year period between fall 1989 and fall 1993. That is, Latino full professors were 1 percent (four) of the total full professors in 1989 and still 1 percent in 1993!

Assistant professors were 6.8 percent (14) in 1989 and were the same in 1993. As if this halt does not belie the illusion of diversity enough, Latina/o instructors decreased from 1 percent (three) in 1989 to 0.09 percent (two) in the fall of 1993.

During the past decade, the Minority Faculty Recruitment Incentive Program was created in response to a suit that was settled outside the courts. However, the administration has taken great pride and credit in "coming up" with this program without much mention as to why the program initially began.

That is, in order to avoid the consequences of being sued by the state court, the University of Houston "initiated" a program. As it stands today, the program has suffered from inconsistencies in recruitment and retention. Consequently, the MFRIP is in shambles and is being eliminated.

Headlines are also being made across the nation from other institutions like Michigan State University to the West in universities in California and Colorado about the lack of diversity.

Chicana/o and Latina/o students are questioning the lack of progress their prospective universities have made in hiring faculty that are sensitive and aware of their concerns. Today, the lack of access to equal and relative education is still an issue.

For reference purposes, it was 1945-1948 when Mexican Americans sued school districts in California and Texas over segregation and discrimination and won. In 1968, not much had progressed. High school students boycotted classes in Los Angeles to protest educational deficiencies in the public schools.

In the past year, ethnocentric mentalities and ethnophobic attitudes were still present. For instance, after seeing a film on the conditions of workers in the grape fields titled "No Grapes," Stanford University students cried out racist and insensitive remarks like "Go home beaners."

How stereotypical, not to mention stupid, is it to view Latinas and Latinos as foreigners in our own territory or home? Hence, the issue of "diversity" is just as bad in other parts of the nation.

Latina/os make up approximately 40 percent of the population of Texas and continue to contribute economically to public institutions, yet not much tax money is being invested for equal representation in institutions of higher education. Instead, propaganda on campus continues to present a mirage of "diversity" while the core structure lacks much improvement in faculty hiring.

Although cultural festivities are important outside the classroom in order for different ethnic groups to learn from each other and appreciate different ideas, it is counter-productive to have to go back inside the classroom to hear the same perspective by a nondiverse professor who is not representative of the surrounding community.

Moreover, if faculty are to become active in research that serves the public good, it is imperative that faculty be reflective of the local public. Furthermore, faculty should be grounded in their public social need and reality in order to achieve success in this effort.

A program needs to be created that goes beyond what cultural festivities can offer. The program can actively recruit faculty who are poorly represented in departments. In order to function, the program needs to hear from students as well as faculty.

Moreover, the program should consider offering fellowships to encourage students to pursue doctorate degrees at the university with the intention of hiring them as part of the faculty. This will increase the pool faculty from a diverse background.

It is only practical that a research university in an urban area be represented with active researchers and faculty who are representative of not only the city's population, but also its state population. A serious and critical discourse is needed to address the lack of representation of Latina/os in the mission of trying to diversify universities.

La Raza Student Alliance is committed to taking a leadership role. If we do not critically address this issue today, the conditions will be the same in the future. Furthermore, if we, as students, do not voice our concerns, who will?

Jorge Arredondo is a senior psychology major who represents the Committee for Latina/o Faculty Representation.

 

 

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GIVE BIGFOOT THE BOOT – SHOOT FOR THE STAR

by Kristen Liebmann

Contributing Writer

I was sent out into a jungle where the trees were adorned with pepperoni, and the vines were made of mozzarella. The river flowing through the trees was a simmering tomato sauce that put Paul Newman to shame.

It sounds like Willy Wonka's Italian factory, but it isn't. It is a secret jungle hidden between Kirby and Montrose that provides the ingredients for the genuine pizza lover.

As I headed out into this secret location, I found myself sitting at a table in UNO's Chicago Pizzeria. Established in 1943, this restaurant has a deep tradition in deep-dish pizza. With over 10 choices, UNO's takes pizza to a whole new level. Some of the more interesting types are the eggplant and artichoke pizza (pretty self-explanatory) and the Sea Delico, which has crab and shrimp on top of a superb crust.

Speaking of crusts, on a scale of 1-to-4 yummies, Pizzeria UNO definitely receives four. The crust alone is reason enough to try this place. Just go in and say "One crust, please." I am sure they would not mind doing such a strange order.

When I sat down to discuss pizza with Charolette Sykes, the manager, she was more than happy to talk. However, when I tried to pry the secret ingredient out of her, she would not budge. The flavor of the crust was all she divulged to me – not much of a secret there. It is wonderful. Charolette also informed me that "everybody comes out on the weekends," so if you don't like crowds, I would suggest a mid-afternoon on a weekday or late evening.

The atmosphere is anywhere from casual to business attire – basically anything will work. The black-and-white tile, accented in green, makes a nice decor for eating pizza – very reminiscent of the '40s. Pizzeria UNO is a must if you have not tried it before.

Next on my agenda of pizza eateries was Star Pizza. This place is definitely one of the hottest places to eat since it opened in 1976. The pizza is absolutely incredible, which shows by the amount of people that descend on Star every day.

When I visited this establishment, I ordered their famous Joe's Pizza. This consisted of a whole-wheat crust topped with sauteed spinach and fresh garlic. While my friend was in mid-chew, I asked him what he thought. All he could say was, "H-m-m-m, pizza!"

If you are a herbivore, Joe's is certainly a must-try. After such a terrific pizza, I was wondering what their secret was, so I talked to the manager, Danny Jennings, who informed me that "everything was fresh and made to order." Not much of a secret; oh well, it was good enough for me.

Another way to go with Star Pizza is to create your own. With additional ingredients like anchovies, avocado, pesto, feta cheese, pineapple, artichoke hearts, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, zucchini, carrots and potatoes, you can make all the monster pizzas you want.

For those of you television addicts, Star Pizza provides movies upstairs, except on Sunday and Monday, when football takes over the tube. They even have plenty of reading materials on the downstairs walls, but of course, they are all about Star Pizza (go figure).

Now I am not one to tell people what to do, but if you don't go to Star Pizza, you are missing out on some damn good food.

Just a few blocks north of Star Pizza is a newcomer to the pizza world. Loulu's has only been open four months and is already drawing crowds of hungry eaters. With its casual elegance and incredible service, it is no wonder why people flock to Loulu's.

When I ate there, I decided to go for the make-your-own pizza. Of course, it wasn't very interesting – only cheese and black olives. Even though the toppings I chose were dull, that didn't stop the flavor from enlightening my taste buds. You see, the crust that held the cheese and olives was doused in a garlic butter. Believe you me – any pizza with a crust like that can't go wrong.

Besides the make-your-own pizza, Loulu's offers the Pizza Formaggi, which consists of four cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, romano and parmesan) with fresh spinach and mushrooms. Yum. Maybe I should have tried that one. Oh well, there is always the next time – and there will be a next time.

I highly recommend Loulu's for dates. The lighting is <I>muy romantico<P> (yes, I know that's Spanish, not Italian), and the whole atmosphere is warm and cozy. I hope this place, which was formerly Johnny Angel's, then Cliff's, will stick around for a long time.

The last place I checked out did more than fill my tummy – it taught me a lesson. All those places I have never tried because I don't seem to find the time, I will now make the time to check out. The old saying is true: You never know what you miss until you try it.

The Pot Pie Pizzeria was the best place I ate at along my whole adventure. What distinguished their pizza from the others was the sauce. Yes, the sauce, not the crust or the toppings, which are strictly traditional, but the sauce. When I tried to weasel the secret out of owner John Krimm, he would not budge. Because he is in the kitchen on Wednesdays, he gets a chance to play around and create all the sauces. As he told me, "I have always been a pizza lover. My mother was Italian, and my grandmother was an off-the-boat Italian." I know there is pride put into everything he cooks up.

In the beginning, the Pot Pie Pizzeria was a coffee shop, then just Italian, and now it is Italian-American. I think Krimm made the right choice. Another thing that attracted me to this restaurant was the service.

These waiters are some of the best around. They are not afraid to speak their minds in front of customers, and if you are not a regular, you will soon feel like one. Gee whiz, they might even give you a piece of their own chewing gum if the restaurant runs out of mints (if you're nice, of course). I could just go on and on about this restaurant, but you should go experience it for yourself. Kudos to the Pot Pie Pizzeria.

As my adventure drew to a close, I realized I could never order cardboard pizza again. I also realized that eating that much pizza is not good on your stomach. It was a rough assignment, but I handled it with great finesse.

After finishing the tour de pizza, the only advice I can give is – always remember what your mommy told you, "You get what you pay for." In the case of UNO's, Star Pizza, Loulu's and Pot Pie Pizzeria, it is quite possibly the best pizza Houston has to offer.

 

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COUGARS LOOKING TO BREAK OUT OF SOUTH

Lack of respect given to volleyball team fuels fire as NCAA tourney looms

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Respect. It's what the Houston volleyball team is looking for.

The time has come for the Cougars to prove to the rest of the world that Texas is a volleyball state.

With three teams getting into the NCAA Tournament (Houston, Texas, Texas A&M), it could be worse. But California put seven into the mix.

"It doesn't matter what we do," Houston head coach Bill Walton said. "The coaches respect us. It's everybody else. The problem is with the media and the fans. It's the fans who think, 'We didn't know you were this good.'

"Because of what the media write, people only think they play volleyball on the West Coast."

Volleyball Magazine predicted that Texas and Georgia would be the ones to beat in the South region (the Cougars' region). Houston has beaten Texas twice and Georgia both this year and last.

"It'll be us and UCLA in the final (of the South region)," Walton predicted despite what the magazines say.

UCLA is the top seed in the South; Houston is No. 2. The Cougars last faced UCLA in 1992, a 1-3 loss in the Hawaii Invitational. But even UCLA does not worry Walton.

"Stanford is the only team I'm afraid of," Walton said.

The Cardinal, which is in the West, is the team Walton said he would like to face in the championship game in Austin. He said he feels his team has a good chance of getting there.

"You bust your ass all season to get into the tournament, and the team that plays the best for the next two weeks wins," he said. "As a group, our (Texas) A&M match (to win the Southwest Conference Tournament) was as good as we've played all year."

Sophomore hitter Nashika Stokes agrees.

"It's very probable," she said of the Cougars' chances of going all the way.

She added that the team is ready to play and is looking forward to showing the rest of the country that Houston is a team to be reckoned with.

"I don't know what it is," she said of Volleyball Magazine. "We beat UT twice, yet there's no mention of us winning the South region.

"We deserve the respect."

But for the Cougars to get to face Stanford, they must first face the winner of the Clemson/Stephen F. Austin game. Neither Walton nor Stokes said they cared who they faced.

From there, they could face No. 3 seed Florida, a game that would be played in Florida if both teams make it to the regional round.

Both Houston and Florida received first-round byes. They will host second-round games, and Florida won the regional bid. Walton said Houston could not host because of conflicting schedules in reserving Hofheinz. But if Florida loses its match against the winner of the Louisville/Texas game, it will lose its bid. Walton did not know who would then receive the bid.

If the Cougars do win the South, like Walton predicts, they will face the winner of the Mideast region, which has the No.1 team in the nation, Nebraska.

But even if the Cougars win the tournament, Walton said it still might not bring the respect they are looking for.

"They'll call it a fluke."

 

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EVANS DISHES BALL, SPOTLIGHT TO TEAMMATES

Fifth-year senior brings experience to young UH team

by Ryan Carssow

Contributing Writer

As cliched as it sounds, Tyrone Evans is a team player.

In fact, the fifth-year senior's

motto is, "Be a team player." But injuries sustained the last two seasons have limited his playing time.

It has been a wild ride at UH for Evans, the team captain and starting point guard. He was first recruited as a three-time Louisiana Sportswriters Association All-State selection out of Atlanta High School in St. Maurice, La.

He exhibited his vast potential during his first two seasons at UH, but the last two years have been filled with frustration. Evans has undergone three surgeries to repair two different breaks in his left foot in the last year alone.

Evans has seen it all.

"I've got a lot of experience," he says, without a hint of arrogance. "I've been through a lot of stuff since I've been here."

The hardships he has encountered make his unselfishness even more startling. His role on the team does not involve easily perceptible personal accomplishments or statistics. As the point guard, Evans has a different agenda.

"(My role) is to get everybody involved in the game early," he says. "I've got to be aggressive defensively and increase the defensive intensity."

In the Cougars' season-opening 76-74 victory over 1993 NCAA Tournament team James Madison Friday, Evans displayed his team-first playing style.

Midway through the first half, Evans found himself streaking down the court on a two-on-one fast break. Rather than drive to the hoop himself, Evans fired a pass from beyond the 3-point arc toward the backboard. Junior forward Tim Moore grabbed the pass in mid air and rattled the rim with a two-handed alley-oop dunk.

Highlight Moore. Assist Evans.

Two plays later, on the defensive end of the floor, Evans took a devastating charge from 6-8 James Madison forward Charles Lott that sent the 6-1, 190-pound guard flying headlong across the floor.

Despite his size, Evans can play with the big guys. He is built like a rock. During off-season training, Evans bench-pressed 315 pounds.

"It helps me go in and get rebounds when our big guys are blocked out," he says.

His off-season conditioning program also helped Evans come back from the three foot surgeries. After he broke the foot for the second time last season, his weight ballooned to more than 215 pounds. He is now back to a fit and trim 190.

"I've slimmed down, and I'm stronger. It helps my endurance and helps me play stronger," he says, adding that he is playing at about 90-95 percent of full strength.

"I'm almost there. It took a lot of work to get it back. Conditioning was the big thing."

Evans originally injured the foot against North Carolina in 1992, but problems persist. "Sometimes I find myself thinking about the foot and trying not to injure it again," he says.

His other role, it would seem, is to help in the development of freshman point guard sensation Tommy Davis. The 5-8, 180-pound Los Angeles native came to UH this fall with a champion's pedigree, leading Crenshaw High to a No. 3 national ranking last season with 10 points, 12 assists and five steals per game.

But Evans is the starter, and the veteran influence.

"I lead by example," he says. "I help tutor (Davis) along the way."

The media jumped on the Davis bandwagon during the preseason, often claiming him as the heir apparent to departed point guard Anthony Goldwire.

This could be regarded as a slight toward Evans, the upperclassman.

"I can't look at the papers and worry about what others say about me," he says. "Everyone on this level is supposed to be good.

"But that gets me going. It's part of my competitiveness."

Evans' last college season as a player should coincide with his last semester as a student at UH. With 12 hours left to complete in the spring semester, he plans to graduate in May with a degree in sports administration.

"One of my biggest goals coming here was getting my degree," he says. "I'm close to accomplishing that goal."

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EVERYONE SHOULD DIG THIS HIP-HOP ALBUM

 

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

For a band that made its name by popularizing jazzy rap, then seemingly breaking away from it almost completely sounds mystifying, yet when the group is Digable Planets, the new recipe is just as intoxicating.

On <I>Blowout Comb<P>, the band's follow-up to 1992's <I>Reachin'<P> (a new refutation of time and space), Digable Planets put aside the book and the sax in favor of a clenched fist. Elements of jazz are still present, but the lyrics take on a decidedly more politically activist and unabashedly pro-black tone, as opposed to the more spiritual leanings of old. On <I>Reachin<P>'s popular single, "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)," the phrase was "cool like that"; on <I>Comb<P>'s single, "May 4th Movement Starring Doodlebug," the new slogan goes "One time/for your mind/Two times/for Mumia and Sekou," a reference to jailed black revolutionaries Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sekou Odinga. Best of all, the entrancing rhythms make sure the new style works.

All of it is aided and abetted by one of hip-hop's indisputably brightest lights, Guru of the band Gang Starr. Former Gang Starr associate Jeru The Damaja even makes an appearance on the tape loop-thick song "Graffiti." Merging the ingenuity of Guru with Digable's fearlessness in bending styles and challenging accepted musical and cultural mores spawn a record that defies the threat of sophomore blahs. In fact, <I>Comb<P> transcends expectations and even surpasses the vision of <I>Reachin'<P> in a way that can be called nothing less than extraordinary.

Among the reasons Digable Planets is still one of the most interesting hip-hop groups is the chemistry and word play between its principals: Doodlebug, Ladybug and Butterfly. That blend of different voices and different styles only intensifies on <I>Comb<P>, as the band digs in deeper to theory and practice.

Ladybug's vocal performance is one of the best in hip-hop this year – not among the growing crop of female rappers, but in the whole hip-hop scene. Doodlebug and Butterfly are equally impressive, trading off rhymes with the ease that makes Digable Planets one of the most sonically pleasing groups in popular music.

In many senses, the band does not abandon the jazzy rap that made it famous, but uses it as a launching pad for more innovative constructions and deconstructions. Sometimes it is subtle, like the enveloping vocals of UK acid jazz songstress Sarah Webb during "Dial 7."

Often, it is sprawling and at once musically playful and combative, like with "9th Wonder (Blackitolism)," "Black Ego" and "The Art of Easing." There is an underlying pride here that was less evident on <I>Reachin'<P>, as if the band is more confident of what it speaks. Regardless, <I>Comb<P> is effective in every sense.

What is most striking about <I>Comb<P> is its effortless marriage of music and politics in a swirl of passion and power. Black revolutionaries who've passed on, like George Jackson and Fred Hampton, mingle together with contemporary black heroes throughout the smoky vocals. Whereas <I>Reachin'<P> culled philosophers and literature for lyrical inspiration, <I>Blowout Comb<P> summons the iconography of revolutionary nationalism and 1960s polemic. Yet it is all wrapped in a shawl of moody hip-hop, meandering jazz and manic-depressive original scores.

It is also refreshing to see the things Digable Planets address in its music this time around being touched upon with honesty and a personal nature that keep them from being fake or contrived. For <I>Comb<P>'s 60 minutes-plus of music, each artist places an individual touch to what is going on in the world.

The result is a dense patchwork of rhythms, stories, history and politics that simply cannot be replicated by just anyone, but has to come from collective experience and struggle. The backdrop is flawless, as Guru brings in some kinetic rhythms to the table, and a group of studio musicians serve as the glue to each song.

On <I>Blowout Comb<P>, Digable Planets returns to deliver a dose of real rhythms and stories. The music is solid, the lyrics are powerful and the band has only gotten better. <I>Comb<P> is one of the best hip-hop records of 1994 and, like <I>Reachin'<P>, shows a path you should expect others to follow very soon.

 

 

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<I>WITCH<P> ANOTHER WICKED MELVINS ALBUM

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

Stylistically Sabbathesque and lyrically like Kiss, but removing the dopey camp and pomp, the Melvins are mesmerizing any way you look at it. On their newest, <I>Stoner Witch<P>, the band takes its ultraheavy sludge rock to the masses.

The Melvins, composed of drummer/guitarist Dale Crover, new bassman (in a line of many bassists) Mark Deutrom and, of course, the unmistakably friz-haired guitarist/vocalist King Buzzo, were an underground rock staple for years.

The band's accomplishments include a truckload of records, 7-inches and compilations. Its distinctions include having each member do a record cover in full Kiss-style makeup and having had Kurt Cobain haul the band's equipment before he became a star.

On Atlantic Records since its last recording, 1993's <I>Houdini<P>, the band joins a legion of underground acts defecting to majors. Rest assured, though, the Melvins do not lose a step from Black Sabbath's shoes with that leap.

<I>Stoner Witch<P> is likely the friendliest of the Melvins' considerable discography. It is full of the arena rock-mocking rhythms for which the band gained a reputation, as well as the uninhibited love of big guitar sounds that won it a clandestine army of fans. Take "Revolve," which is about as radio-receptive as you can get, yet maintains the kind of energy that can only be propelled by a band with the experience of the Melvins.

<I>Stoner Witch<P> flirts with the disdained heavy metal tag while still keeping true to a heavy underground rock style that gave the Melvins room to grow. There are plenty of meandering tracks that just give the band a place to sprawl out – the chance to experiment, with some room to jam, goes all the way with quasi-instrumentals like "Magic Pig Detective" and "Lividity."

Before you go tossing the Melvins into a bin of hair bands, think again.

Such has been the Melvins' balance. It's precarious at best. At once, the band is able to hold a shoestring-thin grasp on old fans, yet is also able to end up on venues like MTV's <I>Headbangers' Ball<P>. On <I>Stoner Witch<P>, it's like skating on thin ice, as the band barely keeps a handle on becoming a metal caricature. The result on the album is a fascinating, but still ass-whipping record.

Witness tracks like "Queen" or "At The Stake," in which the band's slow-death approach to hammering out a song nearly threatens to bury it in contradictions. Nevertheless, the Melvins come out of it like a wizened, but pugnacious prizefighter, still alive and ready to kick out another jam.

Make no mistake – the new Melvins record easily blows away any number of releases you could name in one sitting. The click of three musicians that is the essence of rock can't be stopped here, particularly when you have a bassist as skilled as Deutrom, who's toured with the band as a soundman and produced one of the Melvins' old records. Yet, at the same time, the Melvins are forced to contend with the problem of being a heavy rock outfit in a heavy metal package.

Once its newer audience can be persuaded to accept a band that combines so many disparate elements, the Melvins will be all the better for it.

 

 

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