MUSIC preview

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Gizz Butt (centre) with supports No Santa (left) and The Kings Of Infinite Space (right)

Janus Stark Glasgow: Cathouse, Sun SApr.

Being the axeman in the Prodigy would be enough for most people - you get to play guitar in front of thousands of beat-crazed punters all over the world, you get your mug in all the magazines, you get to wear stupid clothes for a living. But Gizz Butt, resident Prod plank-spanker and official owner of the most ridiculous name in pop, has more: he’s got his own band too.

Janus Stark, for whom Gizz sings and plays guitar, are a punky, poppy power trio who want to put a smile on your face and blood in your ears. They’re more than just a side project.

’Our records should come out with a danger sticker on them it’s aggressive, emotional music,’ gabbles Gizz. ’With Janus Stark, they’re my songs, my baby, my creation. I'm the Frankenstein of this.’

Gizz got the Prodigy gig through a mutual friend and first played with them at T in the Park. ’It was so enormous that I just had to go in their on automatic pilot,’ he says. ‘But you’d have to be the world's most miserable fucker not to enjoy something like thatl’

Gizz’s role in the Prodigy isn’t confined to live riffing.

You can hear a sample of his playing on ‘Fuel My Fire' on The Fat Of The Land. In fact, his work on that album fed into songwriting for his own band.

‘Liam Howlett, the Prod's mastermind, works by inspiration through sounds, so I was putting together tapes of riffs, verses, chord sequences and guitar styles. I ended up with all these tapes full of ideas, and they ended up becoming the Janus Stark album.’

The album in question The Great Adventure Cigar should be a ass-kickin' distillation of Gizz’s influences - the Kinks, The Who, Hendrix, Stevie Wonder and, most of all, early punk. You'll have to wait till May to hear the record, but impatient sods can catch Janus Stark on tour this month. Support comes from cool Liverpool garage/grunge rock beasts Kings Of Infinite Space, whose new album Queenie is out on V2.

Only one question remains: was 'Gizz Butt’ really the kind of name a mother would pick?

'My surname is Butt, but my real name's Graham,’ he confesses. ’Graham is such a 705 name, so Gizz came out of punk rock and just stuck. Plus, it's good because it sounds like I’m making a request for someone's bottom.’ (Peter Ross)

applicable to all of us but you certainly see a lot of them around '

Goofy is not the first word which springs to mind when you read some of the song titles on Asylum. Bloody terrifying is more like it ~ 'BOOk Of Flies', 'Charming Demons', and 'Strange Asylum' are but three. Still, you shouldn't judge a book of flies by its cover and on further listening, more subtle and melodic elements come to the fore Team changes have played a part in the new feel Wlll) the loss of rapper Heitham, who went off to form Lodestar, and the recrUitment of ex- S MAS H skin-slapper Paul Soden

'He's very interested in drum 'n’ bass so he's had an influence in the band,’ muses Haigh on the role of the drummer. ’We were very exoted about usmg what was

ROCK Senser

Glasgow: Kin Tut’s, Sat 11; Edinburgh: La Belle Ange e, Sun 12 Apr.

It's not every album that thanks Sid James and Alan Partridge in the credits. Yet just just such an accolade has been accorded to the two mirth-makers with the release of Asylum, Senser’s follow-up to 1994’s

44 THE [13" 2—16 Apr 1998

Senser: new line-up, new sound

hit album Stacked Up. And the fact that one of them is dead and the other is entirely made up should not detract from the honour.

'Sid James is there because he's just such a man of his time and he had the right laugh,’ explains singer and founder band member Kerstin Haigh. 'I suppose Alan Partridge because he kind of sums up the goofiest heart of human nature. It isn't

jungle two or three years ago and this has mutated into drum 'n' bass and stuff. In a subtle way this is present in our album.’

The publicity pack contains this phrase about Haigh 'the w0man’s sensibility and perception is inevitably different to the all-consuming unilateral path of the prewous incarnation.’

(Que? 'I guess it's just saying that we've ,..changed7

Simple, really (Brian Donaldson)


Guang Yang

Edinburgh: Queen’s Hall, Thu 16 Apr.

A quick glance at the recently published Edinburgh International Festival programme for this summer reveals how important the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition is in helping to launch young talent on to the international stage. For instance, Karita lylattila and Bwn Terlel are past wrnneis who both appear in Edinburgh this August, included together in Brahms’ German Reguiem, and the RusSIan baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is no stranger to the city either But one Cardiff winner who has not yet made it to Festival director Brian lvlac‘ivlaster's programme - and there is a fair chance she wrll since lvlaclvlaster is part of the Cardiff jury » is the Chinese mezzo- soprano Guang Yang Winner of the 1997 competition, she makes her Scottish debut appearance at the Queen's Hall 'She is a truly astonishing smger,‘ says Mach/taster

Her success is guite extraordinary, as just ‘le years before \‘-/lll.'1|l1(j the coveted title, Guang Yang was working in a textile factory at a spinning machine, had never had a singing lesson in her life and had no knowledge of western classical music

'From early childhood I was always srngrng,’ says Guang, who was born in Beijing in 1970. 'Chinese songs, anything and everything I heard. I just loved to sing '

Her parents were both doctors, but no-one in the famin had any involvement With music Her break came when Guang was heard singing at one of the concerts she used to arrange at the far toiy in her spare time One of the union leaders from another factory thought that maybe she should study singing, gave her some lessons himself and at the age at 21 Guang was at cepted by the Central Conservatory in Beijing

From there it was dedication and hard work all the way, not only from Guang, but also from her teacher, the Chinese soprano Chen Yu She had to learn to read music, watch endless Videos of foreign operas and learn how to pronounce English, German and Italian. But, says Guang, 'Not a day of those fOurs years was wasted I owe

everything to Chen Yu She is a

wonderful teacher '

It was her performance of Rossini which clinched the Cardiff title and there is the chance to hear Guang sing more from that composer in the Edinburgh programme of lieder and operatic arias. (Carol Main)

Guang Yang: from rags to riches. literally