UH ATHLETIC DEPT HANDS OUT HCC FLIERS

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

The University of Houston Athletic Department is apparently supplying student athletes with information encouraging them to take UH core-required courses at Houston Community College instead of at UH this summer.

The Daily Cougar recently received a copy of a flier alerting "all athletes planning to attend HCC Summer School" to contact their counselors. The flier, which was distributed across campus, bore no markings identifying its source.

Alexander Brown, coordinator of Student Services for the Athletic Department, admitted Monday that the fliers came from the Athletic Department.

He said, "We don't encourage it, but we know that they do it (take classes at HCC). So, we make sure they have the information they need. We work with student athletes, and it's our job to make sure that wherever they go to school, the classes they take will transfer back here."

Brown said, "Student athletes take core courses at HCC because of scheduling, such as an English class for a kid who is working and needed a night class."

Brown said he didn't think UH offered English classes in the evenings.

According to the UH Summer/Fall Class Schedule, UH will offer both English 1303 and English 1304 in the evening during Summer Session I. The first summer session also offers an evening literature class and an evening drama class that will satisfy UH core requirements.

Daytime core-required classes during Summer I include three sections of English 1303, two sections of English 1304 and five sections of College Algebra. UH Summer Session IV offers several evening core-required classes, including English 1304, Introduction to Drama, College Algebra, Finite Mathematics and Calculus.

Daytime core-required classes in Summer IV include one section of English 1303 and three sections of English 1304.

James W. Pipkin, dean of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication, said, "We normally offer evening classes every semester in addition to day classes. Obviously, we offer fewer sections in the evening than we do in the day, because the demand is less at night."

English Department Chairman Harmon Boertien said students complain all the time about the availability of classes.

"Usually it is because the classes are filled," he said. "We accommodate between 5,000 and 6,000 students at the lower-division level each semester."

Boertien said less money is available for instructors during the summer sessions and, therefore, fewer classes are offered.

"We offer the classes we are able to finance," he said. "Very few of those are evening classes in the summer."

Brown also said that athletes take classes at HCC because tuition at HCC is considerably less than UH's tuition.

HCC's in-district tuition for a three-hour class is $102. Out-of-district students pay $129. Students who are not residents of Texas pay $330.

UH tuition fees for a three-hour summer school class are $213 for Texas residents, $642 for nonresidents.

 

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AH ELEVATOR PROBLEMS AGAIN -- WHAT'S NEW?

by Clydenestra Brooks

Contributing Writer

and

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

When problems with Agnes Arnold Hall elevators were exposed throughout the spring semester, UH administrators responded by initiating a systemwide building maintenance audit. However, the official results from that audit won't be available until July.

Meanwhile, students and faculty are still frustrated with the state of AH's disrepair.

Michael Kaphingst, a teaching assistant in the French Department, and an unnamed student in a wheelchair were delayed for six minutes in AH elevator car No. 2 Monday around 9 a.m.

Kaphingst said the elevator wasn't stuck between floors. "It just wasn't moving."

"I could have gotten off at anytime, but there was a student in a wheelchair in there. I just couldn't leave," Kaphingst said. Without riding the elevators, a student in a wheelchair would be unable to exit the basement in AH. The only other routes are the stairs.

Neither Kaphingst nor the unknown student reported the incident.

Nonfunctioning escalators and numerous elevator incidents plaguing AH have made it seem as though nothing is being done to allay student frustration or students' safety concerns. However, UH maintenance workers are not indifferent to the concerns of UH students.

Howard Rose, manager of Maintenance Services, said, "We have 5.5 million square feet to maintain. Although it may take some time, we're doing well. (Compared) to private universities, who have smaller facilities and who are able to access maintenance jobs more adequately, we're not."

Earlier this semester, Holly Sterneckert, associate vice president of Plant and Operations, said UH was planning to replace the AH escalators with fixed stairs and to add more elevators.

Rose said, "By replacing these escalators, we would be reducing long-term maintenance bills. You have to know where to put your money, and you do that by being smart and spending it wisely, just as you would with any resource.

"The Building Maintenance Department has a lot (of) input in what is really maintainable. Maintenance is expensive, and when it comes to the escalators -- nobody gets a free ride."

 

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nTexas House passes a bill to remove TASP requirement

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that will remove the requirement that students pass the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) test.

Currently, a student who does not pass all three sections of the test is not allowed to accumulate more than 60 credit hours. Students who fail sections of the test are required to take remedial courses.

The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Irma Rangel, D-Kingsville, would prohibit the university from using the results of the TASP to block a student's progress in a degree program.

Rangel said the bill is intended to allow students more freedom in their pursuits, as well as to save money for the universities of Texas.

"I'd hate to have a piece of paper telling me that I couldn't go on with my degree," she said. "Give me a chance to make myself or break myself. Let the professors do the testing. They can decide whether a student is qualified to graduate."

Hyland Packard, associate vice president of University Studies, said the bill is more likely to hurt students than to help them.

"It would reduce the pressure and urgency on students to take the remedial classes that they need," Packard said. "Taking that pressure off is not necessarily doing them a favor."

Rangel said that since the TASP was implemented in 1987, the number of students enrolled in non-credit remedial courses has tripled.

"These courses are just costing the universities a lot of money to do something the public schools should have taken care of," she said. "We thought this would send a message to the public schools that they should do a better job."

The bill also replaces the word "remedial" with "enrichment" in descriptions of course work.

" 'Remedial' has a connotation to it, and some students have indicated to me that they felt they were being stigmatized," Rangel said.

 

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SIP ON A GIANT MARGARITA, CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO

by Fernanda del Villar

Contributing Writer

The world's largest margarita, Mexican music and a chance to win a trip to Mexico are all part of the Mexican Cultural Institute of Houston's Cinco de Mayo celebration.

The first will be Friday from 6-10 p.m. at the Miller Outdoor Theater and is free to the public. It will consist of a night of music hosted by Gloria Calzada, announcer for MTV Mexico.

The main performer will be Angeles Ochoa, a singer of ranchero music and hostess of the Mexican program <I>Noches Tapatias<P>. There will be 26 groups performing, and the music will comprise tejano, ranchero and folkloric dances, and, yes, even mariachi.

There will be a raffle for a trip to Mexico, courtesy of Continental Airlines. The raffle tickets are $1 each, and the winner names the place he or she wishes to visit, as long as it's in Mexico, of course.

A market square area with arts and crafts and real Mexican food will also be part of the evening.

The second event will be at Pico's restaurant from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday at 4527 Lomitas on the corner of SW Freeway and Kirby.

In an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records record, 1,800 bottles of tequila will be used to construct a giant margarita. A cover charge of $5 will guarantee you get a sip of this amazing drink.

The band Mango Punch will provide the musical backdrop with tropical Latin rhythms like merengue and salsa.

For more information on the events, call Patricia Coronado, cultural liaison for the Institute, at (713) 524-2951 or (713) 524-5396.

 

 

 

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FRIDAY BATTLE OF PUEBLA FIESTA TO BE HELD

CINCO DE MAYO CELEBRATES MEXICO

by Fernanda del Villar

Contributing Writer

The Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, asserted Mexican sovereignty, repelled a foreign invasion and ended the imperial appetite of the French.

Because of its historical importance, many mistakenly believe Cinco de Mayo to be the celebration of Mexican independence, which actually occurred on Sept. 15, 1810 and was the removal of Spanish colonial rule from Mexico.

"Faced with an empty treasury and a mounting foreign debt, the government of Benito Juárez enacted a law on July 17, 1861, which suspended the payment of the national debt for two years," said Patricia Coronado, cultural liaison for the Mexican Cultural Institute of Houston.

"Not understanding that this would help reconstruct the nation after its civil war," said Coronado, "the foreign creditors, mainly Spain, France and England, threatened military intervention.

"With the outbreak of civil war in the United States in 1861, these European nations saw their opportunity to gain power in Latin America," said Coronado.

"They hoped to establish a monarchy in Mexico which would be sympathetic because of its marriage ties to European interests," said Coronado, "At the same time, they hoped to stop the expansionist tendency of the United States."

Spanish, English and French troops landed at Veracruz in 1862. However, the Spanish and English withdrew when they received assurances from Juárez that the debt would be repaid.

Napoleon III, despite his promise in London not to attempt the creation of a new government in Mexico, proposed the establishment of the Arch-duke Maximilian Hapsburg as emperor to conservative and monarchist factions in Mexico.

"French troops were fresh from the campaigns in Europe, Africa and Asia," said Coronado. "The Mexican army, in contrast, had been reduced at the end of the civil war, and was led by inexperienced young officers.

"The French were so confident victory was theirs, Gen. Lorencez, leader of the troops, wrote to the French Minister of War saying 'We have such superiority of race, organization, discipline, morality and sentiment that I beg your Excellency tell his Majesty the Emperor that from this hour, I, at the front of his 6,000 soldiers, am owner of Mexico,'" said Coronado.

Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza was born in Bahía de Espíritu Santo, Texas, on March 24, 1829. He was the son of Captain Miguel G. Zaragoza and María de Jesús Seguín.

Initially he wanted to be a lawyer and priest, but in 1853, he joined the National Guard of Nuevo León and began a brilliant military career, the high point of which was the Battle of Puebla.

"Zaragoza led the Mexican forces, badly organized, inadequately armed and inexperienced, to a glorious victory," said Coronado, "defeating what was at that time one of the most powerful armies in the world.

"A large part of the victory was also due to the brilliant leadership of the cavalry under a young Porfirio Díaz," said Coronado.

Zaragoza died Sept. 8, 1862, in the city of Puebla, a little more than four months after defeating the French forces.

"Despite the victory, there lay ahead many triumphs and defeats before the Mexican National Army could enter victorious into Mexico City," said Coronado.

Without the triumph of the army at Puebla, the Mexican forces could not have gotten to Queretaro, where, in front of a firing squad, the pretensions of Maximilian were drawn to a close.

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AS COLLEGIATE CAREERS WIND DOWN, UH SENIORS HOPE TO STILL PLAY SPOILERS ON SWC TITLE RACE

BASEBALL MEMORIES GOOD DESPITE UNFORTUNATE RESULTS

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Fans of the Houston Cougars baseball team making the trek to Rice for the season's final series should get a good look at the faces in the starting infield.

Come next semester, none of them will be here.

The Cougars (2x-2x, 5-16 in the Southwest Conference) will journey to Cameron Field, home of the No. 10 Rice Owls, for a May 12 game at 1 p.m. and a doubleheader May 13 starting at 4 p.m.

Seniors Carlos Perez at first base, Rey Treviño at second, Jason Smiga at shortstop and Tom Maleski at third will likely be in the lineup for all three contests. They are four of 11 UH players in their final year of eligibility.

"The seniors did a good job for me," head coach Rayner Noble said. "I have no complaints. It's always tough to lose seniors because you lose experience.

"That's one thing we won't have next year, any experience," he said.

Maleski, who played two years at Navarro Junior College before transferring to UH, said: "I think I've had a pretty successful career here. I'd like to go out a winner, play the spoiler at Rice."

Since coming to Houston, the Richardson native has hit well over .300 in both years of Cougars service -- .349 last season and .326 this year. He said he has fond memories of his crosstown rivals.

"Taking two out of three at Rice my first year was a big moment for me," Maleski said. "Ever since I was little, I've always wanted to play in the Southwest Conference, and winning that first series was great."

Actually, Maleski's publicity photo shows a T-shirt with the word "Rice" across it under his jersey. He swears it is the name of a local sports shop rather than the university; come next Friday, he will be able to prove it.

Rounding out the infield is the double-play combo of Smiga and Treviño. A .283 hitter, Smiga has solidified a defensively troublesome position for the Cougars the previous two seasons despite his 21 errors; Treviño has hit all three home runs of his career this season and fielded .981.

"It's kind of sad, because we really had expectations of winning this year," Treviño said. "Whatever we do next weekend has big impact on the conference race."

Perez (.311, team-leading six homers, 32 RBIs) is the only Cougar to have played more than two years at UH. An all-district player at Killeen's Ellison High School, Perez will be the last four-year senior to leave UH until at least 1998.

The Owls are in the thick of a three-team SWC race at 13-8 in conference, 37-14 overall. They will be fighting with No. 8 Texas Tech, which will host Baylor for its last four games, and No. 24 Texas A&M, which will play three at Texas Christian, for the title.

Rice, A&M, Texas and Tech and are already locks to participate in the SWC Tournament starting May 18. The tournament winner gains an automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals.

The regular-season champion gains nothing officially, but last year's winners, TCU, went to the NCAAs despite being eliminated early in the SWC tourney.

Head coach Rayner Noble has some ties to the Owls. He worked under current Rice head coach Wayne Graham for three years before coming to Houston.

"It'd be nice," he said of bumping off his former protégés. "You'd always like to do some damage to a team that's trying to win a title, and since I used to coach there, that adds to it."

As far as his team being motivated to ruin their crosstown rivals' chances, Noble added: "We approach every game the same way. I don't think our team responds to emotional motivation. I've had big speeches before, and it hasn't made much difference."

 

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FARROW, MALESKI, COOGS POUND OUT 13 HITS TO BEAT LAMAR 13-8

Cougar sports services

The Houston Cougars baseball team won its third game in a row as it beat the Lamar Cardinals 13-8 on the road in Beaumont's Vincent-Beck Stadium.

The Cougars (25-27) pounded out 13 hits as three of their players had at least three base knocks on the evening.

Houston right fielder Jason Farrow led the way with a 4-for-5 night, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Third baseman Tom Maleski had a similar outing, except the 5-10, 195-pounder had one less hit (3-for-5) and a home run (fifth on the season) to his credit.

Left fielder Chris Scott was the other Cougar to hit safely three times (3-for-5).

Trailing Lamar (28-19) 1-0 in the second inning, Houston jumped on top 2-1 as Farrow scored the go-ahead run following a sacrifice fly by center fielder Dustin Carr.

The Cougars increased their lead to 5-1 in the third after Farrow's first of his three runs knocked in scored Scott from third base.

Maleski then followed with a single to left that brought home catcher Brandon Milam before shortstop Jason Smiga hit a fielder's choice RBI to third that brought first baseman Carlos Perez to the plate.

Just when the Cougars thought the rout was on, the Cardinals answered with four runs in their half of the third frame.

Following a double to lead off the inning from center fielder Chad Bunting and a walk to designated hitter Will Cook, Lamar first baseman Morgan Walker hit a three-run home run to left, Walker's 10th long ball on the year.

It took another double, this time from Cardinals' shortstop Bob Rauch, before Houston starting pitcher Brad Towns (2 1/3 innings, five hits and five runs, all earned) would be relieved in favor of Chad Poeck.

Rauch eventually scored the fourth and tying run of the inning after a double from second baseman Donny Schoeder.

But Houston was not done. It went ahead 8-5 in the fifth and 11-6 in the sixth behind Maleski's round-tripper, a two-run shot to left.

The Cougars Kevin Boyd (2-3, 2.44 ERA) got the win on the mound after working two innings in which he gave up two unearned runs.

To go along with hive four-hit, three-RBI performance, Farrow also worked a perfect ninth in relief.

 

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BORN TO RUN -- ENDANGERED CHEETAH LOSING IT'S RACE

Marina Ivanova

News Reporter

The world's fastest land animal, the sleek and long-legged cheetah, is losing its race for survival. Once a common animal found on five continents, the cheetah is now an endangered species. Only one animal can save the cheetah from extinction.

Loss of habitat, poaching and competition with large predators and ranchers, as well as its own loss of generic variation, are killing the remaining cheetahs, said Laurie Marker-Kraus in her lecture, "The Cheetah and Its Race for Survival."

The lecture was held at the Houston Brown Education Center at the Houston Zoological Gardens. It featured Marker-Kraus, co-director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. She has been working with these cats since 1973, and is considered one of the world's leading authorities on the animal.

"Cheetahs can reach speeds of more than 70 m.p.h. But the price they pay for such speed is a very lithe body, ill-designed for fighting," Marker-Kraus said. "The result is that they lose much of their prey to more aggressive predators, such as lions and hyenas."

In the turn of the century, 100,000 cheetahs were found from India to Morocco and throughout Africa, said the conservationist. Now the species numbers only 9,000 to 12,000. The southwest African nation of Namibia is the home of the largest free-ranging population of cheetah -- about 2,500, Marker-Kraus said.

"I live in Namibia to carry on a research and conservation program to save the cheetah," said the thin, gray-haired scientist. "The Namibian cheetah population has declined by half in the last ten years. We are developing progressive conservation strategies for the endangered cat."

More than 10,000 cheetah are believed to have been killed by Namibian ranchers between 1980 and 1991, because 60 percent of the ranchers do not practice any form of livestock management and then blame the cheetah for the loss of livestock, Marker-Kraus said.

The scientist has been working together with her husband, Daniel Kraus, to develop better livestock management practices, which will eliminate the need for ranchers to kill so many cheetah.

For example, they found that raising a heartier breed of cattle, keeping calves in a corral for the first three months of their lives and raising donkeys with the calving herd reduce losses, Marker-Kraus said. Livestock-guarding dogs have also helped to reduce livestock losses from predators, and electric fences have been successful in protecting wildlife on game farms, she said.

Since 1991, when the Krauses moved to Namibia, more than 60 out of about 160 captured animals have been released into the wild, said Marker-Kraus.

Five cheetahs came last winter to the Houston Zoo from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as part of a research project to collect baseline information that might help save the species from extinction, said Diana Weinhardt, curator of large animals at the Houston Zoo.

"The Houston Zoo's current research role is essential to gaining vital information on nutrition, disease prevention and behavior of cheetahs," Weinhardt said. "The more we can learn about them, the more we can do to ensure they'll make it to the next millennium and win their race for survival."

Marker-Kraus, equally concerned, agreed: "If humans continue to encroach into the cheetah's wild lands, then this magnificent cat will continue its rapid movement toward extinction. Only the human animal can save the cheetah from extinction."

 

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IN COMMUNIQUE WITH CHIMPS

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

When a 23-year-old secretarial school graduate from England was sent to Tanzania by renowned anthropologist Louis Leakey in 1960 to study chimpanzees, she did not know she would become one of the most famous scientists in the world.

When Jane Goodall was 5 years old, her mother gave her a stuffed chimpanzee doll. Many people warned Goodall's mother that Jane would have nightmares. Instead, Goodall developed a love and fascination with animals, and wanted desperately to communicate with them.

Goodall spent 30 years studying the chimpanzees of Gombe, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. In those 30 years, she made discoveries never learned by anthropologists before her.

"When I began my study at Gombe in 1960, it was not permissible -- at least not in ethological circles -- to talk about an animal's mind. Only human minds. Nor was it quite proper to talk about animal personality," Goodall wrote in her second book, <I>Through a Window: My Thirty Years With the Chimpanzees of Gombe<P>. Her first book, <I>In the Shadow of Man<P>, covered her first ten years at Gombe. She has written seven books in all.

Some of Goodall's research revealed that chimpanzees use and make tools, and that different African chimpanzee groups have developed their own tool-using cultures. One type of tool-making is when chimpanzees cut off small branches and shape them so the branch can fit into a small hole in which ants live. The ants attach themselves to the stick, and the chimpanzees eat the ants. This was such an important discovery in the world of anthropology that scientists had to redefine humans as not the only species able to make tools, but the only species able to make tools using other tools.

She also discovered chimpanzees maintain close supportive bonds between family members, especially between mother and child, throughout life. Chimpanzees live in groups of 50 or more with several males in the group.

Goodall learned chimpanzees are more closely related to humans, biologically and behaviorally, than any other living creature.

Following in her footsteps, Dian Fossey studied the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and Birute Galdikas studied the orangutans of Borneo. The three became known as the "trimates" or "Leakey's three primate ladies" during their National Geographic Society - sponsored symposiums in 1976.

Goodall earned a Ph.D. at Cambridge University in 1965, becoming the eighth person in Cambridge history to earn a doctorate without earning a baccalaureate degree. After receiving her Ph.D., she returned to Africa and established the Gombe Stream Research Center.

Goodall established the nonprofit Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research Education and Conservation in San Francisco, which provides support for research on wild chimpanzees. The number of chimpanzees in Africa has decreased to 250,000 from more than one million in the last 15 years. Goodall says this is because of deforestation in Africa. Also, chimpanzees are shot and sold in meat markets and the mothers are killed so the babies can be captured and sold.

"Chimpanzees suffer in captivity as they are exploited ... I am haunted by dull, blank eyes staring out on to a world that offers them no hope. The least I can do is speak out for them. They cannot speak for themselves," Goodall said.

And speak she has. Goodall has toured the world lecturing about chimpanzees and animal rights. On May 13, Moody Gardens presents the Environmental Leadership Award Luncheon honoring Goodall. Goodall will give the keynote address at noon. She will give a presentation at 10 a.m. for children and sign autographs after the luncheon. Tickets are $17.50. Call 1-800-582-4673, ext. 208 for tickets.

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KINGS AND FOOLS KEEP THE FAITH

Faith No More will perform Thursday at Numbers.

Photo Credit: Eddie Malluk /Slash Records

Steel Pole Bathtub promoting its latest release, <I>Scars from Falling Down<P> will open for Faith No More.

Photo Credit: John Dunne/Slash Records

by Chris Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

Faith No More has recently busted out with its latest album, <I>King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime<P>, which contains the widest variety of music yet.

After having trouble with ex-guitarist Jim Martin for Faith No More's Angel Dust tour, the band members gave him the boot. Faith No More then decided to deal with the loss and continue. Trey Spruance then came into the light. Spruance jams guitar for the Faith No More lead singer Mike Patton's strange other band, Mr. Bungle. However, after recording <I>King for a Day<P>, Spruance decided he was not ready for the commitment to the band and touring, and dropped out of the band. Dean Menta, the keyboard technician for Faith No More during its Angel Dust tour, has now been initiated as the new guitarist and is touring with the band currently.

<I>King For a Day<P>, Faith No More's fifth album, does not live up to the expectations of the two previous albums. <I>The Real Thing<P> was a spectacular album which consisted of many radio-friendly tunes, including the hit single "Epic." A couple of years ago, Faith No More released <I>Angel Dust<P>, an album which is stranger and heavier than <I>The Real Thing<P> and has a much more original style.

This San Francisco band's latest album is still a great album, even though it doesn't live up to its previous works. It contains rough adrenaline-rushing songs like "Ugly in the Morning" and "Cuckoo for Caca." There are also smoother songs, such as "King for a Day," "Evidence" or the soulful "Just A Man." There's even a flavor of disco with "Star A.D." Then there are songs such as "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies," which starts out slow and ends up in a fiendish fury of guitar, bass and screaming.

Patton goes beyond in this album, contorting his voice to go from peaceful whispers to intense screaming and back again. Spruance adds in his funky guitar skills, replacing Martin's metal influences on the band. Roddy Bottum, unfortunately, does not contribute as much of his keyboards -- a key component to Faith No More's appeal -- to this album as he did previously. Bill Gould and Puffy add in with their heavy bass and hard-hitting percussion skills.

A couple of Faith No More's songs are soon to hit the airwaves. The single for "Digging the Grave" has been released with little success in America, due mostly to its similarity to many other songs recorded already. "Ricochet" is soon to be released, containing the humorous lyrics: "It's always funny until someone gets hurt, and then it's just hilarious." This single will probably be much more successful.

Steel Pole Bathtub will be opening for Faith No More, promoting its latest release, <I>Scars from Falling Down<P>. After seven years in existence, with four acclaimed albums and one EP under its belt, Steel Pole Bathtub finally made it onto its first major label, Slash.

Despite Faith No More's latest album not being quite as pleasing as its previous albums, it is still a good album with a wide variety of styles. Be sure to catch Faith No More in concert with Steel Pole Bathtub.

Who: Faith No More with Steel Pole Bathtub

Where: Numbers

When: Thursday, doors open at 8

Price:$16.50 plus service charge

 

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BLACK CROWES STILL FAN-FRIENDLY

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

The rude, pot-smoking, chart-breaking and soul singing bad boys of rock 'n' roll are coming back to Houston -- and the band <I>still<P> isn't playing by the rules.

The Black Crowes play the International Ballroom May 4. The last time the Crowes came to Houston, the band broke with convention by staging a free concert. This time the Crowes kicked off a more "bootleg-friendly" tour. Throughout the "Amorica or Bust" tour, the Crowes are inviting fans to audio-tape the concerts.

Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson said: Rock 'n' roll is a true rebel art form to be shared. We are allowing fans to record live Crowes concerts, because "we want to keep things more in a communal sort of place." <I>Amorica<P> is the third album by The Black Crowes. Where <I>Shake Your Money Maker<P> was recorded in seven days, "This time it was done in a matter of months," Robinson said. "I guess it's just whatever it takes at the time for us to be happy with the final result -- there's no blueprint to being creative."

Indeed, <I>Amorica<P> is chock-full of the creative blues, soul and gospel rhythms that marked the Crowes' first two albums, but with a decidedly new twist and not a few surprises.

Did you ever think to hear The Black Crowes do country?

Well, in "Wiser Time," the Crowes indulge their country callings and let go with a string of country guitar licks in one of the best songs on the album.

A taste of Tejano anyone?

With the two songs "Gone" and "High Head Blues", the Crowes head south to experiment with Latin rhythms and percussion.

Rounding out the album, "She Gave Good Sunflower" is easily recognized as typical Black Crowes fare and is sure to be a favorite radio pick.

The <I>Amorica<P> album and the "Amorica or Bust" tour reflect the Crowes' refusal to be caged in normal musical boundaries. Unlike other bands, the Crowes' tours have had no corporate sponsors and no sampling on-stage. The Crowes declined to play arenas in favor of fan-friendly theaters.

"Success has brought us one thing: this bizarre sort of courage," Robinson said. "We have a fanatical devotion to what we are and to not having rules."

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