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The South End
Local band jolts onto scene
Written By
Brain Sweeney


Local band jolts onto scene
"Were good because were singing about things that happen to most people - frustrations and Detroit being a boring place and sitting around watching too much television."
Those are the words of insightful, but more often, out spoken lead singer Greg McCormick of Shock Therapy. Bill Shepard on drums, Tim Buckley on synthesizers, and Keith Jackson on guitar round out the foursome. McCormick says of the bands approach,
We write about human sickness in the mind and the disloyalty of society.

Find out for yourself when Shock Therapy plays as part of Waynes Underground Music series at noon today. The band has been together for a year and a half, but McCormick says,
we try not to play too much, because we feel you burn yourself out like Figures on a Beach did.

The band has played locally at such clubs as Traxxs, Todds and Saint Andrews Hall. McCormick, who writes all the music and lyrics and dabbles with keyboards on the side, says,
our music is intelligent, a little raw. Were drum orientaled - our drummer plays over two drum machines. It creates a real beauty of a sound.

He added that they perform all originals, except for some Jimi Hendrix.
We play him real differently - we do it our way.

Shock Therapy released their debut album two months ago, but it sold out within two weeks. He adds,
were waiting for the second pressing.

The local band has also been well received in New York, clubs and stations. McCormick feels strongly about their acceptance,
weve surpassed bands like Figures on a Beach that originally laughed at us.

N.Y. agent Gil Parenteau is currently negotiating a Western Hemisphere tour with Killing Joke, who, along with Gang of Four, McCormick credits as the groups greatest influence. But he adds,
we try not to sound like anyone else.

McCormick says,
were getting bored with the U.S.A., so were leaving for Ireland in July. Well do some shows in Ireland and England.

It seems McCormick and his bandmates have ideas other than musical. All four members are of Irish heritage and are ardent protesters of British rule there. McCormick states,
we started learning things about our family and things that the English did to suppress them. A number of the McCormicks were real radicals against the English and were executed, so we have a strong family feeling.

He adds,
Id like to stay there for at least a year. After that, everyones on their own. I plan on becoming active politically, but Im not sure to what extent.

It would seem that Irish band U2 would appeal to McCormick, because of their stance for peace and human dignity - not so.
U2 should be shot because they could do so much for the country, but they question fighting. They could be letting the world know whats going on in Ireland, but theyre afraid of taking a stance and thats wimpy.

He notes,
Rock musicians are suppose to be innovative with the famine relief thing. but they are like Reagan and wont take a stance. Bono doesnt agree with the violence of the IRA, but I agree very much with their terrorist tactics. If the English allowed the Irish to form their own army, then I would disagree.

It sounds to me like McCormick is a frustrated man and he feels that if all else fails, aggression is an effective means for change. He says,
youd think more people would be political in Detroit because of all the problems there are.

He adds, seemingly out of anger,
popular music is mindless.

He criticizes the critically acclaimed American band, R.E.M., as having
a slow style and a depressing sound.

His favorite band is Blue Heaven - not surprisingly, a political band from Ireland. He says,
they write anti-English songs that I can relate to.

Closer to home, McCormick elaborates on his differences with Figures on a Beach.
They over exposed themselves by insisting they play for national bands or headlining shows. Now everyone is sick of them.

He adds,
their music is mush music; it makes me feel like Im walking through a swamp. They tried to appeal to Detroit and it wasnt happening.

McCormick is even more hostile to the Detroit club scene. He says he writes songs about
going to clubs, putting up with people that go there and think theyre important, but theyre not. Ive been around the Detroit punk scene since I was fourteen and it makes me aggressive when people think theyre above other people because they wear more expensive clothes or dance better. We feel success is better revenge.

Whew! This guy sure sounds hostile and filled with negative feelings and maybe he should. He did come across as genuine and backed up his beliefs. I respect his opinion, but I disagreed with most of his ideas. Maybe his description of Detroit proves to be my strongest disagreement with him. I asked him what he like; most about Detroit and his reply proved to show his deepest aggressions.
I like the raw edge; its exciting in itself because the streets are so wild and theres not enough police.

For me, thats a real problem instead of a placebo for excilement. He adds,
you can hear about a murder on street corner that you passed on the way to a club. I guess I have a taste for the aggressiveness. Its even like that in the clubs - the tension. I have a lot of fun trying to figure Detroit out. Its real great.
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