Throughout the history of rock 'n' roll, musicians have been promoted, not only in the way of their musical talents, but also by the image which they portray. The Rolling Stones, who have always been thought of as decadent street fighters, once resorted to such publicity as, "would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" The Grateful Dead is notorious for both its "tribal family" and many late-sixties events for which the group was responsible of course. David Bowie will be long remembered for his chameleon-like stage presence and androgynous facade.
None of these images, however, can compare to the weirdness of Elvis Costello, who will he performing at Ithaca College's Ben Light Gym on April 4th. Costello's image (or is it his personality?) is quite unique. As a New Wave artist, he incorporates characteristics of punk with Traditional rock 'n' roll. His music is reminiscent of Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and Little Richard but he brings punk's viciousness and anger into his lyrics. Because of this unusual composition it is actually difficult to classify Costello's brand of music, a fact that he takes pride in.
Costello has also displayed a most interesting personality. He rarely gives interviews and refuses to explain himself or his music. Costello feels that there is an an to brief expression, therefore; most of his songs are brief, lasting no longer Mail three minutes.
In 1977, Costello delivered two albums. The first, My Aim is True, was named an "Album of the Year" by Rolling Stone Magazine. The second album, entitled This Year's Model, sold almost 300,000 copies in the month it was released. Costello's new album, Armed Forces, with its hit single "Accidents May Happen," is now racing up record charts everywhere.
Costello began to write his own songs after high school. He attempted to get a contract with any record company that would take him, to no avail. Finally, in 1976, he gave a tape of his songs to Stiff Records, an independent label. Costello was signed by the company and his first album was released on the Stiff label. In the summer of 1977, he attracted the attention of CBs record executives, who were in London for a convention. Although he was arrested for playing his guitar in the streets, thus creating a public disturbance. Costello was given a CBS contract.
If Costello's street behavior is any indication of his stage presence, Ithaca College is in for quite a unique show. Costello is rumored to have put on some pretty interesting performances. Regrettably, the audience must rely solely the memory of this show. Costello has explicitly stipulated, in his contract with Bureau of Concerts (BOC) that no photographers will be allowed in to the show. Any persons with photographic equipment will be prohibited from entering the gym. BOC emphasizes that it is not responsible for any "accidents (that) may happen" to photographic equipment that should mysteriously "find itself" inside the gym.