Cafe Reviews


Page 17 of 28

Stuck, he turned to his father, Herb Knauss, a non-lawyer who practices small claims law as a hobby. After two years of fruitless letter writing, father and son filed suit January 10, 1990, in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

They charged that the Army's collection agency threatened to damage Jay's credit rating and turn him over to the Internal Revenue Service. Through his father's court filing, Jay is asking the court to award approximately $5,000 plus anything else the judge is willing to give to punish the Army.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Arkfeld says he hasn't looked into the merits of the case. He wants the lawsuit dismissed because he says the U.S. government is immune from the bill-collecting law private Americans have to abide by. (The law, "Consumers, Collectors and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act," passed in 1982, was written to protect people from roughshod collection agencies.)

The Army changed its mind. The latest bill Jay Knauss received was for $38. The ex-soldier says he believes the money is part of a "fine" for collecting a paycheck he is still owed.

Arkfeld says he wants to settle the case. He has offered to get the Army to void the debt. Now, it may not be simple. "It's not just the $38 to him [Knauss]," says Arkfeld. "He wants $6,000 or something."

The case has been submitted to a federal judge for a ruling. Arkfeld has asked the judge to throw out the Knausses' case and award the U.S. Attorney's Office legal fees because Herb Knauss is not an attorney and filed the case using the wrong law.

Jay and Herb think the legal threat is an intimidation tactic--it worked. They're scared. For them, the government's attempt to collect legal fees is the final bitter irony.

The three-year fight has taken its toll. The father bites his lip nervously while talking about the case. The son just shakes his head in bewilderment hoping the commercial will end. He's been all he wants to be--except left alone.


Pub:Publication:Phoenix New Times
Info:nv-59-90 Category: Suntracks
Page: 99
Keywords: Music
Correction Date: Correction:


The Wonder Stuff burst onto the British music scene two years back with the noise and fury of a poll tax riot. The working-class blokes' savage pop debut The Eight Legged Groove Machine raged against the social malaise of the Margaret Thatcher era.

But the Wolverhampton act apparently tired quickly of being seen as the mouthpiece for Britain's malcontents and rabble-rousers. In fact, you won't find the band slagging off Thatcher or reviling U.K. social mores anywhere on their new LP Hup. The Stuffies--as they like to be called--would rather put their Angry Young Man image to rest.

"We never wanted to be deemed the bad boys who were always pissed off," insists Stuffies guitarist Malcolm Treece in a telephone interview from a tour stop in Montreal. "People went too far looking for the anti-Thatcherism statements on our first album. I think they missed the humor a lot of the time."

In fairness, there were punch lines throughout the Mother-England bashing on Groove Machine. You couldn't help but pick up on the sarcasm in the band's tirade against money-hungry Me-generation Brits, "Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More," which smirkingly discussed prospects for increased cash flow in the afterlife.

On that song and another Groove Machine track, "It's Yer Money I'm After, Baby," Treece admits his band was also making light of its own weakness for the greenback. "We had just signed with Polygram and they were jerking us off at the time," explains the guitarist. "So those songs were written by people who had more and wanted more, really."

On the band's latest album, Hup, the lyrics are still a bit caustic, but they lack Groove Machine's political edge. "There's nothing aimed at the Thatcherites," notes Treece. But the band does include a trashing of the closed-minded British radio system on "Radio Ass Kiss." That snotty gem serves as a companion piece to Groove Machine's "Astley in a Noose," where the band fantasized about rubbing out British schlockster Rick Astley.

The cynical "Radio Ass Kiss" stands out on Hup, an album where the Stuffies otherwise sound abnormally sensitive and introspective. "I've been seen as the money-mad topical bore," reflects lead singer Miles Hunt on "Them, Big Oak Trees," a reply to listeners who took the song "It's Yer Money I'm After, Baby" too literally. On another cut, "Unfaithful," Hunt sounds almost tender, crooning about the heartbreak and deceptions of a disintegrating relationship.

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Penelope Corcoran