Arrested Development

Selected by Dan Grunebaum

On the comeback trail in Japan

A few months back, irrepressible leader of rap collective Arrested Development, Speech, made a promotional appearance on Tokyo' InterFM. Responding to fan interest with an on-air rendition of new tracks off the group's reunion album, Speech was playing to a Japanese audience that has continued to support Arrested Development even after they dropped out of sight in the US following a remarkable burst of creative energy in the early '90s.

Kicking off their reunion tour with an appearance at last year's Summer Sonic festival, the current Arrested Development lineup includes all the original members with the exception of cofounder Timothy Barnwell. The band had broken up in 1996 after wowing the world with the revolutionary, socially aware grooves of 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of. Speech's controlling behavior took most of the blame. But in a recent SonicNet story, dancer Eshe said all the members bore responsibility.

"You never know how you're gonna react to fame until you actually experience it," she said. "Everybody had their own personal issues, whether it be greed or envy or wanting to be in control. I blame each and every member of the group for the breakup, because none of us was really trying to compromise."

Putting their differences (and a couple of disappointing Speech solo albums) behind them, the new Arrested Development re-emerge at a time when hip hop is increasingly dominated by the now reformed gangsta rapper Dr Dre et al. Will AD's proud Afro-centrism continue to strike a chord in the new millennium? Questionable, but they nonetheless are determined to forge on and have been in the studio recording tracks for the new album, Heroes of the Harvest, which is due to be released imminently.

"You'll recognize it right off the bat," Speech told SonicNet about the album. "We decided to go vintage because our feel is people wanna hear what they already heard from AD... That was a real challenge for us, because this time around all of us wanted to be more involved in the writing."

Eshe concurred. "The new stuff blows the old stuff out of the water," she said. "Now you're really hearing Arrested Development; you're hearing all the voices. You're hearing me, Baba and Ras; you're hearing our stories, and it just meshes so well together. We have great chemistry together."

Arrested Development play Shibuya AX on May 25 and 26. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana