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Music news for the week of June 8, 1990

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SPANIC SPOKEN HERE Before May 12, few people had ever heard of the Spanic Boys, a rugged roots band from Milwaukee led by the father-and-son team of Tom and Ian Spanic. But since they substituted for Sinéad O’Connor on Saturday Night Live, the Boys have become a left-field sensation. According to Rounder, the band’s label, their eponymous album has sold out its initial pressing of 10,000, with more copies being manufactured to keep up with reorders. ”It’s unbelievable,” father Tom says. ”We’re getting recognized all over now, like in restaurants in Chicago: ‘Hey, weren’t you the guys on SNL?’ It seems odd, and overwhelming.” The booking came about through SNL bandleader G.E. Smith, a fan of the group who recommended it to producer Lorne Michaels. Did the Spanics hesitate to get involved with the show in light of the boycott by O’Connor and cast member Nora Dunn over host Andrew Dice Clay? ”We’re not politically motivated,” Tom Spanic says. ”We wanted a spot to do what we do — play rock & roll for lots of people. Opportunities like that don’t knock many times.” Next up for the Spanics: a chance to be Bob Dylan’s opening act on his summer tour. Says a Rounder spokesman: ”It’s a real Cinderella story.”

CAT RAP FEVER First came Paula Abdul’s megahit debut album, then the dance remixes. Now for the spin-off: In August, M.C. Skat Kat (above), the cartoon feline in Abdul’s ”Opposites Attract” video, will release an album. A source at Kat’s label, Virgin, says the record will be ”really lightweight rap.”

HOUSE OF RECORDS ”We go to sleep and we wake up to country music,” First Lady Barbara Bush told The New York Times recently in an interview about the White House’s entertainment choices, adding, ”We also do love to hear classical music. And we have it bellowing through the house.” She was speaking about radio, but should the Bushes desire, they could also tap into the White House Record Library, an astounding collection of approximately 2,500 pop, blues, rock, country, classical, operatic, gospel, and jazz LPs stored at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Initially compiled in 1973 under the Nixon administration (hence the inclusion of mainstream pop fare like Mantovani and the Osmonds), the library was updated in 1979 at the instigation of the culturally minded Rosalyn Carter, with suggestions from writers at Rolling Stone and The Village Voice. As a result, such albums as Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the Who’s Who’s Next, the Village People’s Macho Man, Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food, the Woodstock soundtrack, and Kiss’ Alive! are available to anyone who resides in the White House. And that’s a mere sampling of a library that also includes Willie Nelson, the Clash, Duke Ellington, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Costello, Charles Mingus, and Barry White.

The records are White House property and can’t be removed, but under Reagan they were relegated to boxes in the basement, where they remain. According to Gary Walters of the Usher’s Office, which maintains the White House, the collection is ”not easily accessible” to President Bush. Yet, he adds, ”There’s talk of adding to it. And we want to update it with the new technologies (CDs). But it’s all in very preliminary stages.” Memo to the White House: You’ll need to catch up on the ’80s, so how about starting with Run-D.M.C., Metallica, the Replacements, Madonna, Public Enemy, and Prince?

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