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14OmnibusThursday, September 22, 1988
Maj osha acheives
by not even trying
By ALLISON PIKE
Staff Writer -
After listening to the lively funk
sounds of Greensboro-based Majo
sha, one would hardly believe that
a short time ago this trio was
performing musical revues at
country clubs in Pinehurst and
Michigaa Yet playing 45-minute
medley sets of songs like "New
York, New York" Is exactly how
bassist Ben Folds, guitarist Millard
Powers and drummer Dave Rich
perfected their musical rapport
and realized that as musicians,
they had something to offer.
Majosha combines finely-tuned
musicianship with energy to pro
duce tight, clean-edged funk
music The group's music has style
and versatility. Song types vary
from melodic and danceable (like
"Soldier of Love" and "Clueless") to
solid groove (as in "Where's Bohe
mia"). Listen to the XTC-influenced
"Get That Bug" one time and the
chorus will volley back and forth
in your head for days.
Perhaps Majosha's greatest
attribute is its originality. Estab
lishing an individual sound in an
area where local bands come a
dime a dozen can be difficult. What
are Majosha's secrets? A trio of Es,
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Greensboro trio Majosha challenges the musical establishment with their brand of funk.
as in effort, effect and expression.
Majosha spends a lot of time
working on songs and music Ben
Folds, the main songwriter, says it
can take him up to a year to
complete a song, words or theme .
come first, he says. Later the lyrics
are combined with musical
arrangements that come from
"stockpiles" he has on reserve. Its
a matter of pairing the right
arrangement with the words.
Great effort is also put- into
musicianship, Folds says.
"Most bands don't consider
what effect their music has. That's
why most of them sound the
same. It's more attitude than
musicality. we think of effect first
and then how to get it"
Folds says that lust for fame and
fortune is not what motivates the
members of Majosha. The band
exists because the trio has ideas
it wants to express. "Our big thing
has always been music," Folds says.
"They (other bands) are in it for
a different reason. For instance,
most started playing just because
they wanted to be in a band."
Ideas for songs evolve from
observations that Folds makes,
mostly about the different stages
in life. "The songs are about an age
group of 18 to 25 years. They're
about growing up. 'Clueless' is
about the end of high school and
the start of college, and the
generation gap that exists there.
Get That Bug' is a stress song
about how you get really stressed
out when you graduate from
college. Once you get out of one
stage, you look back and see how
silly it was. it looks so different
when you're older."
As Folds points out, though, this
kind of topic is not what is "cool"
in the music industry. "People in
the industry dont know a lot
about music You have to be cut-and-dried
and use certain lan
guage. 'Badlands' and 'alibis' and
'lies,' those are the "rock YV roll'
Arousing the industry's interest
is like getting a job, Folds says.
"They're hiring a certain type and
you never know what they're
looking for. Our big frustration is
how to fit into their slots. They
want you to be the tortured artist
type like the Cure, or the ripped
jeans type, we would be willing to
change what we wear," Folds says
jokingly, "but I dont think I'd wear
But getting a record contract
is not Majosha's ultimate goal The
trio views it as just one rung on
the ladder to success.
"A record contract is like a high
school diploma You have to have
it, but its not the end of the road.
A lot of bands get contracts then
dont do anything."
So what really makes Majosha
different? Folds has a simple
answer. "Every band thinks they're
doing something different. A lot
put more effort into being differ
ent than into the music That
makes us different."
Majosha will perform tonight at
Under the Street in Durham.
Opening the show will be Chapel
Hill's own Dillon Fence.
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