Monday, May 18, 2009

day 13 - Cussac and Wreckless Eric

day 13 was a blur
one of the longest days i've ever had
I didn’t get to bed until half past 1
at 7am I was up
ready to hit the road
J and G were snuggled up on their bed
sleeping peacefully
I hated waking them
we finally got G dressed and fed
and hit the road around 8:15
we entered Belgium from Aachen in a matter of minutes
I had no idea actually that we were that close to the border
it was a peaceful drive
not much traffic
mellow drivers
we entered France a couple of hours later
and it was the same
easy sailing
in Paris Jayme navigated us successful to the East
avoiding the inner ring
the traffic got a little crazy briefly
but all in all
it was a cakewalk
once we’d gotten south of Paris
there were hardly any cars on the road at all
and we made excellent time
only stopping once
at 4:30 we were winding our way through scenic French backroads
to get to Cussac
where Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby live
now a bit of a rock’n’roll history lesson for those of you
who don’t know anything about Eric
he was an original Stiff Records recording artist back in 1978
alongside Elvis Costello Nick Lowe the Damned and Graham Parker
with slogans like "we came. we saw. we left."
"When You Kill Time, You Murder Success" (printed on promotional wall clocks)
and "In '78 everyone born in '45 will be 33-1/3".
Siff blew to bits the label as corporation model
that had previously existed
see Nick Lowe’s classic “I love My Label”
anyway I’ve been following Eric for a long time now
a fan of both his Stiff records and then the slew
of indie releases over the past 25 years since then
Donovan of Trash is a classic I highly recommend
and the new cd which he and Amy released jointly
is great too
I met Eric in Dallas last Fall
and when Bucks Burnett introduced me to him as “this is my friend who goes and plays Europe all the time”
I never actually thought I’d be able to make good on Eric’s offer to come visit
and play France
so it’s been a slow steady build-up of anticipating this day
when we got to Cussac our GPS said “You have reached your destination”
22 rue de limoges
but we were staring at an abandon building with 22 written on it
I got out of the car to look around
and an elderly gentlemen peeked out of his door and said something in French to me
I walked over
said my one word “bonjour”
then thrust my address at him on a piece of paper
he didn’t seem to know who it was
a bad sign
we then spent the next 10 minutes driving around this small area in circles
until we came back to the same spot
this time the man had his wife with him
she seemed to know this address and they spoke French to us like we understood
and pointed a lot
we smiled and nodded our heads
drove off to arrive back at the same spot our GPS kept telling us to go to
then I spotted another old lady whom I approached
she did a slightly better job at using hand signals
and we pulled up along a building with 22 on it
that was it
when I knocked I heard a lady say “hello” from behind the door
it was Amy
we unloaded our bags
and then drove to Le Lawrence D’Arabie
where I was to play
the drive was about 10 minutes but the route was unbelievable
narrow one lane country roads
past barns and farms
horses and sheep
we were seriously in the sticks out here
it was really funny
when we got to Chalus we pulled up to the sounds of Eric checking one two
over the P.A.
it was a bit surreal
Le' Lawrence D Arabia had a great vibe to it
the PA was set up in front of a large brick fireplace that looked positively medieval
it was cozy
and the room sounded really good
Eric had brought his entire soundsystem in his van
which was really incredibly nice of him considering all the work involved
(all done outta friendship too - not for money)
the rest of the evening was a blur
Eric and I did a soundcheck and then practiced
some of the songs we'd discussed performing together via email
then he let me play his Framus bass with Joe Strummer’s old guitar strap on it
and we ran through his classic
“the girl with the wandering eye”
Amy’s “men with sandals” was last with Eric sort of talk singing the vocal
G kept himself entertained the whole while by drawing
the best of which was a defacing of one of my tour posters
in which he and his mother turned me into a pirate
after a bit Amy turned up and we ran the songs again
then we all went upstairs and sat down for some dinner
the owner
made some of the best pizza I’ve ever had
we met Eric’s friend Emanuel who was super-cool
he loved G’s Wreckless Eric t-shirt
and Clash patch
he told me his first concert ever was in ‘78
when the Clash played Paris
pretty cool
around 9 I started playing
there was actually a surprisingly large British contingent in the room
the hardest thing for me was playing for Eric
as he’s a hero of mine
the crowd was enthusiastic but there was lot's of loud talking
my new friend Emanuel and Eric looked very concerned and upset by this
Emanuel told some guys to keep quite then a fight almost broke out
the main offender had those creepy extra huge black earrings stuck in
his lobes
he was mean looking
they were giving Emanuel a hard time
so then i stopped and said over the PA "hey, you!!!"
the guy wouldn't look at me
i said it again
"hey, you - look at me. over here on the mic" as i tapped it loudly
he finally looked up at me
"if you came all the way from france to Texas to play in my local bar
i'd respect you and keep quite or go talk outside, so i'm telling you please...

that was the end of it
he stood quietly in the crowd then ducked out later
i played solo a bit longer then
Eric and Amy joined me for a rousing "she'd walk a mile"
with Eric on an extended Balalaika solo that he threw over his head
when he was done with it
then we veered into
Amy's "men with sandals"
Eric's "the girl with the wandering eye" (with me on bass)
nourallah brother's "public school"
and the grand finale
i loved every second of it
and it seemed the crowded bar did to
afterwards Jayme sold a bunch of merch
including all of our t-shirts
the owners Nico and Sabine hug me at least 3 times each
and told me how great it was
G passed out in Jayme's lap around midnight
we took him out to the car
and then i tried for at least half an hour to get out of Le' Lawrence
around 1am
we followed the pitch black winding roads back to Eric's house
what a day...


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