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October 23, 1996

Howl for Me

HalloweenAndrew Gold's Halloween Howls (Music for Little People 1996) -- This music combo will keep your bones rattling, chains shaking and the ghoul times rolling. If you've had a hard time finding that ghastly beat to make the Halloween mood, look no more. Halloween Howls will skin the cat.

Andrew Gold's dozen-song collection has a mix of musical humor and haunting tunes to sing and scream along with. Andrew packs tons of fun with this collection of sweetly scary songs. For example, Linda Ronstadt, Karla Bonoff and Andrew accompany lead vocalist Stephen Bishop on the classic, "The Monster Mash."

Another good friend, David Cassidy, sings the lead vocals on the offbeat original tune "Halloween Party." And Nicolette Larson joins on "The Creature from the Tub." Other treats on this CD include "Spooky Scary Skeleton," "Trick or Treat," "The Adams Family," and the all-time Halloween favorite, "Ghostbusters."

So carve that pumpkin, light the candle, and set your tricks for Halloween Howls. Boo!

NewsboysNewsboys Interview -- Australia's Newsboys, who are touring behind their new release, Take Me to Your Leader (Virgin 1996), will appear at Warnor's Theater on October 28th. I recently spoke with drummer and lead singer Peter Furler about the band and their Fresno concert.

Q. Where does the band make its headquarters these days?

A. In Nashville, Tennessee. We've been based in America since about 1988.

Q. How many Christian acts do you find in Nashville?

A. To be honest, I don't hang out in Nashville a lot, because we're always on tour. But I would say the majority of the major Christian acts probably live in Nashville.

Q. Are you familiar with Sam Phillips (who recorded several Christian albums under her given name, Leslie Phillips)?

A. Oh yeah. Martinis and Bikinis (1994) was a killer record.

Q. I like Sam for a number of reasons. She's opinionated and able to defend her viewpoints. I respect her for saying, "Look, this is what I stand for, and if you want me to stand for something different, well that's your deal, that's not my deal."

A. Right, I think that's how everyone should be.

NewsboysQ. You've got two records that are close to going gold. How do you feel about the label "Christian Rock"?

A. Well, the simple answer is, there's nothing I'm ever going to able to do about it. I mean, you could fight it 'til the day you die, but I think you'd be battling a lost cause.

In this country, it was probably even harder for us. You see, the first three years we played Australia, we weren't really known as a "christian band." In fact, there's not really such a thing in Australia. But when we came to America, that was when the label was attached to us.

If you ask me, we started more on the lines of U2, just some guys in a band that were Christian. We've won "Pop Band of the Year" in some alternative magazines, and in the pop magazines, we've won "Alternative Band of the Year." So go figure. In the end, there's not much I can do about it, people call you what they want.

Ashley ClevelandQ. Last year, Christian singers Ashley Cleveland and Carolyn Arends came to Fresno. It was a good gig, but in some ways it was almost like a revival meeting.

A. I know what you mean. We're not tied into any religious groups, so we're doing our own thing. But we've done our fair share of them.

Q. That's an interesting parallel you drew to U2, in this sense many Christian rockers are fairly up front about their faith and beliefs, whereas over the years U2, and maybe perhaps Bono in particular, has backed off a little bit from that.

A. I can't say what's going through his head, you know, there may have been pressure. I think he's still very much a spiritual character, but I don't know if the faith is as strong as it used to be. Maybe they're being persuaded in different ways. But I still admire their music a great deal.

Q. How long have you been on tour behind this album?

A. Just about two months now, not very long at all. We're doing 80 cities, so we'll finish out the end of next spring.

It's hard. Right now, we're the second biggest selling band on Virgin Records behind Smashing Pumpkins, and yet we're not even heard of.

Q. That's incredible. What can you tell me about the new album? Where did you record it?

A. We recorded it everywhere from Miami to Nashville to L.A. to some changing rooms. We really recorded it on the fly. Although a fair bit was recorded in Nashville in a great little studio called The Sanctuary.

NewsboysQ. That's how REM's new album (the uneven, New Adventures in Hi-Fi) was made. Despite recording in several locations, did you basically have one producer who helped oversee it?

A. It was really me and a guy called Steve Taylor (a Christian songwriter with several albums under his belt, including 1993's fine, Squint). We both co-produced the record. But it was a total band effort; everyone had to step up to the plate and take a swing.

Q. Have you been to Fresno before?

A. Oh yeah. Probably at least 4 or 5 times. I love it out there.

Q. We're looking forward to the show.

A. Great. See you on October 28th at Warnor's Theater.

-- Randy Krbechek

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