POP REVIEW : LSD Milks the Stanley Gimmick

Most of the talk about the Chicago-based quartet Life Sex & Death usually centers around whether lead singer Stanley (no last name) really is the homeless nutter he appears to be, or whether it's just an act. Whatever he is off stage, at the Whisky on Wednesday he seemed no more a real crazy than the members of KISS once seemed to be "real" aliens.

Appropriately, such would-be juvenile anthems as "School's for Fools" sounded like KISS via Twisted Sister--well played, anti-authoritarian knocks, complete with fist-pumping sing-alongs by fans well-schooled in this particular rock ritual.

What sets LSD apart from its models is that the band also examines such topics as political and spiritual voids. This is the '90s after all, and even cartoons have to get serious at times. Stanley even brings a measure of articulate intelligence to the subjects.

That's the problem: For all his mad gesturing and near-drooling interludes, Stanley seemed too together to really be believed as a vagrant loon. It wouldn't be hard to believe that this whole thing was merely some Devo-esque satire, albeit one tainted with exploitation of the tragedy of homelessness and mental illness. As long as interest in the band revolves mainly around Stanley, there's the risk that once people stop caring about that they might not find anything else to care about with LSD.

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