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Everyone's Invited To Join The World Party

June 21, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

Don't expect to listen to speeches or to debate political platforms if you join the World Party.

"Jellies, trifles and kids in paper hats" are more in order, according to Karl Wallinger, the singer and multi-instrumentalist who is the central figure of the musical project called the World Party.

That description is manifest in the Prince-like bounce of the title song of the group's debut album, "Private Revolution," and in the optimistic, Lennon-like tone of the World Party theme song.

But World Party, like the Waterboys, an English band that Wallinger was part of before striking out on his own last year, is also about God, humanity and Truth. This is clear from the often Van Morrison-influenced lyrics of the album.

"The themes might be heavy, but the songs themselves are quite up," Wallinger said at a Burbank restaurant during the band's recent swing through town. "It's not German Modernist concrete sledgehammer stuff. It's like I'm making the music I want to hear and tackling the subjects I care about."

The mix seems to be working. The album has cracked Billboard's Top 100 and is likely to rise behind the gorgeously hypnotic single "All Come True" which is gaining air play on stations as diverse as new-wave KROQ-FM (generally known as a bastion of frivolity) and soft-rock KNX-FM.

Wallinger, 29, is a serious yet affable Welshman, readily discussing philosophy and politics but all the while peppering his speech with humorous asides and occasional well-placed profanities--as well as quotes from and references to such similarly-oriented heroes as John Lennon and Bob Dylan.

In fact, Wallinger threw a Lennon line into both the interview and into World Party's Santa Monica Civic concert to serve as a summary of his outlook.

"Life's too short for fussing and fighting, my friend. . . . try to see it my way," he said, paraphrasing the bridge of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out."

But given the political and spiritual content of his songs, does he really mean "be my way" rather than just "see it my way?"

"I think everybody's moving and the songs are songs of the movement," he said, insisting that his aim is to have his audience open its perspective on the world, not blindly follow him or anyone else. "They're just songs that anyone else would have written if they had the background I have."

If people were to take his songs as manifestoes, he said, it might cause some confusion, as his own perspective is constantly shifting.

In a song like "Ship of Fools," for example, he sounds like someone ready to head for a hermit's life on a Tibetan mountaintop. On the other hand, such songs as "Making Love (to the World)" and "World Party" carry a sense of all-embracing, worldly joy.

"I don't know how anyone can say a song is me," he said. "I'm changing all the time."

The latest change in Wallinger's life is fatherhood, with the April birth of his first child, Louis John Wallinger. This, he said, has most definitely given him a new outlook.

"It changes your ideas," he said. "It's made me a lot more ambitious."

Another case of the idealistic rocker's head being turned by the lure of fame and wealth? Nope.

"When I say I'm ambitious, I'm not ambitious for a Jacuzzi, although it's nice in a Jacuzzi," Wallinger said dryly. "(Having a child) has made me want to get more involved to sort it out for him."

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