Monday, October 25, 2004

Roy A. Loney of the Flamin' Groovies in Paris ...#3

It's 2 PM, I am climbing up rue de Menilmontant... because Roy Loney is in
town and I cannot miss the acoustic show he is going to do in one hour from
now at La Maroquinerie. As I am going nearer to the place I am surprised
because I can't see any ad for the show, no crowd around.. is it still
happening ?
First time I have been in this spot which consists of a concert room and a
cafe around a small terrace where sellers have put out stalls to sell
records. I see faces which are familiar though I have not seen them for
twenty years.. the old Open Market team indeed. this was the place where the
whole legend of the Groovies in Freance actually started. Marc Z. is there
of course (Skydog records et al.)
There is a photo exhibition inside the cafe, pictures from Roberta Bayley
and Leee Black Childers. Roberta is famous for the cover of the first
Ramones album, also for the pic on LAMF and for the first Richard Hell and
the Voidoids LP. Leee has covered the whole NYC scene from the NY dolls to
the Stooges and Lou Reed among others. Leee has just come inside, he looks
like a Johnny Rotten clone with his spiky hair, day glo yellow shirt and
leopard styled creepers. Roberta is more discreet but seems older than in my
memories. Then I realize the whole house is from my generation and apart
from a few chicks everyone is over forty five... I see Robin Wills and
Jeremy Gluck from the Barracudas coming inside, they look relaxed and are
smiling. Jeremy goes to the bar, his mandatory cap on his head.
Then it's Roy.. black shirt, black slacks, middle ages haircut -

man ! the guy has got hair !- He sits down on the chair which has been prepared for
him, put on his glasses.
The organizers of the event introduce Roberta and Leee and also Roy who has
been invited specially by Roberta. An Roy starts.. "Panic to a manic
degree".. from the very beginning he wins the whole room which is actually
filled up with die hard Groovies fans. Applauses are bursting
enthusiastically and Roy goes on with something which starts like a walking
blues before evolving into "Comin after me" Waow, that man with his acoustic
guitar is incredible ! The next song is a ballad which starts with "Love is
a spider" , it rings a bell but I cannot remember the actual title. Then Roy
announces an old song , it is " Love times" from Sneakers ! It is a
marvelous song which I rediscovered then.

Roy moves along songs mainly from his solo career and everyone around me is
smiling. A young guy next to me is drawing Roy on his sketchbook and asks me
"who is this singer ?" I write below his drawing, Roy A. Loney , Flamin'
Groovies. This one will have learned something..
Roy waves towards Robin Wills then , and everybody starts to scream.. but
Robin , in French, asks for a couple of seconds during which he introduces
Tony from the Scientists who apparently is looking forward to play with Roy.
As Robin wrote, they covered a song familiar to my ears but which I cannot make out yet , Tony looks veryimpressed but , man , he knows how to knit those licks.

Robin Wills from the Barracudas

Then is the moment I have been waiting for, Robin grabs a crimson
Telecaster, plugs it to a Fender amp kneels down nearby Roy and both stomp
their feet .. oh my, they are doing "Yesterday's numbers" !! I get goose
bumps , bodies around me are hovering and the two guys on stage are smiling
to each other. They are doing a fantabulous version of one of my favourite
Groovies songs and this lasts, Roy is making faces around the mirophone.
Robin is impressive and will be even more in the next song, "Teenage Head" ,
he stands up and does all the chords of theTeenage head album and even more,
the bridge crossing in the middle of the song is masterfully executed...
while Roy is singing like he was thirty years ago and emphasizes on the
"Teenage love machine". This was the best version ever of that song for me..
When it's over, everybody is feeling hilarious and totally excited, it has
been unbelievably great. The young lady in front of me turns round , she is
very moved , everyone can notice how her nipples are pointing through her
jumper.. rock'n roll ! The lad next to me nearly swallowed his pencil.
Ry asks then Chris Wilson to join them on stage, but Chris is nowhere to be
seen, probably wandering in the Paris streets under the sun.
The encore will be, on request, "Rockin from the graveyard" from "Out after
dark", a perfect ending.
It is so hot in the room, everybody rushes to the bar and the beeeeeers ..
Roy stays alone on stage, he removes his glasses, looks pleased and smiles,
I go to him and congratulates him for this terrific show, he thanks me in
French .. Then I go to meet Robin who is giggling while I reach him. He
certainly is one of the most friendly musician I have met. He acknowledges
me for the guy from the Flamin Groovies list who sent him a mail two weeks
ago about that very concert. To his request we discuss in French and again I
write here that this "Teenage head" version I heard that Saturday afternoon
was a killer !

Robin wrote me a bit later about that song I missed :
Hey jaques

Le morceau que tu n'as pas reconnu (celui avec Tony Thewlis) est "She's
Falling Apart" (Flamingo). En fait c'est son morceau favori de tout
Sympa de le voir le jouer.
Ici -back to London...mais on enregistre Jeudi et Vendredi ( avec
Chris) 2
morceaux de plus pour le nouvel album
A bientot

Thursday, October 21, 2004


In those cruel times one needs delicacy.
I am looking for sweetness of the mind
for softness of the feeling..
Like the conversation with a close friend
who understands evrything even half formulated
like cherished memories of thoughts and senses
What is more enjoyable than sleeping spoonshaped
against the body of the loved one
just think about it..
The first sip of chilled beer when you have been really thirsty
The satori one reaches facing some work of art..
all this and more...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

NICO ...#31

Here is the beautiful Nico as chanteuse extraordinaire.. in 67 with the Velvet Underground, she was young, talented and certainly had a unique way to sing... she was also using sexual politics to manipulate people around her.
At the beginning of the seventies, she was in Paris living with avant-garde film director Philippe Garrel, Arthur Rimbaud with a camera. Nico starred many of Garrel's films from that period.. my favourite ones are "la cicatrice intérieure" and "Athanor".
Garrel & Nico
In this film I had been shocked to see the transformation of the blond model into a red haired venenous beauty, long very long eye lashes and that voice ... I remember an article in an English underground mag called "Friendz" (no connections) on Nico and they were using the word Goth and this was in 69 ! In '74 in Paris I saw Nico in person for the first time... I used to go in this small record shop on the right banke of the Seine river and met Nico in the street over there..
She looked a bit dammaged to say the least, some dharma bum in gypsy dress and cowboy boots. But her eyes were still flamboyant and full of magic. I was impressed and did not dare stop her or say a word to her. Later the same year a concert had been announced and I bought my ticket the first day it could be. But, that concert was cancelled at the last minute.. apparently the diva was not feeling well ... she had problems with chemical substances. Garrel was still releasing films in which she was the muse, the main star and the musician.. Perfect poems of love to the woman he worshipped. I was envious of that fatal love, of that incredible link which existed between the two artists.
When Nico released "the end" produced by Eno and I was listening endlessly to "Innocent and vain" as if this song had been written for me. I was in England at that time but was told by friends who had met her through acquaintances in Paris that Garrel and her had split. She resumed her bohemian life and when I came back in Paris could finally attend one of her gigs. It was like a greek tragedy so gloomy was the atmosphere of her litanic chants.. and I loved every second of it. After the show I went to her to thank her for everything and she smiled explaining me in that deep voice that the song I had particularly enjoyed was a new one called "Gengis Khan". Of course she had nothing in common anymore with the Velvet goddess and seemed older than expected.

When she died in 1988, sadness filled the hearts of some fans like me, and reading later the excellent book from James Young on Nico last years.. I found out she died just after having found balance again ... This book is a masterpiece, it describes life on the road and all troubles and sorrows as well as disappointed hopes you get when you are in a semi-loser rock band.. form John Cale producing while half drunk to the customs guards examining Nico's panties, everything is in there totally true and full size.. an horror.

Her songs fortunately are out of time and still keep their sinister strength. She was some doomed artist, some poisonous muse but she had such a look in her eyes.. I will keep these memories always will ...

"Moving target, that's what I am, as life has always run after me" (Nico)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Soundtracks and noises... #30

The difficult art of soundtracks can be absolutely fascinating.. Directors who realize that they can be as powerful using noises and music than by showing terrific shots are true artists.. Those who know that there is other issues than Mozart wings quatuors to illustrate their movies are not numerous enough.. Playing with the tone, whispering in the dark..I remember this scene in "Mulholland drive" where a neighbour woman knocks on the door , and it makes such a huge noise , then when the heroin has opened the door this very woman whispers in a tragic way : "someone is in trouble.." it is like pure magic and it is not a surprise I quote a Lynch film , because David Lynch is a master in the art of soundtrack and his sounds are as crucial as his images. This is why I love so much "Mulholland drive", this is the total film, movie whatever you may call it. Every sound is significant here.. Have a try you won't be disappointed. I have found a similar achievement in John Cassavetes films and in France there is specially Jean-Francois Stevenin, a wizzard a true star.
Or Robert Bresson's Lancelot full of clinking armouries and dying horses collapsing loudly in muddy paths.
So turn off the light , turn over your tv set and listen to soundtracks when they are existing ..a new dimension is created full of dreams and of epic thoughts.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Garage music #29

Next week-end in Paris , at the Maroquinerie club, will be held the first equivalent of the US Cavestomp , the Gloria festival (,
a good collection of old and recent garage bands.. headlights are turned on the Downliner Sect and the Nomads but also on the mighty Barracudas.. ("..'wish it could be 1965 again..") .

barrtitl, originally uploaded by zapcomix.

I had heard that lately Chris Wilson had joined the re-formed Barracudas so I had to know and I Emailed Robin Wills, Barracudas guitar player extraordinaire and master of the 12- string Rickenbaker, here is what he answered me :

"Salut Jacques
Yep, we are playing on Friday 22nd AND there 2 ex Groovies for the encore which will feature 3 flamin' numbers..More Groovies for your buck than in Spain...?And I guess we are back in a way...playing this Friday in London at The Borderline and half way through recording a new album..Plus ca change...
All the best
Robin "

So it was actually true ! But who was the second Groovie involved ? I sent my spies all over Paris, contacted people in San Francisco, like James F. from the Groovies and the Phantom Movers and the answer eventually went through.. it was Roy Loney himself, the legendary first singer of the Flaming Groovies who was due to come to Paris and he is supposed to give a free concert next Saturday afternoon..

Roy Loney Jumping, originally uploaded by zapcomix.

His second time in France in 20 years, I was there the last time and I know what to expect. So be sure that next Saturday I shall be listening to Rockin' Roy , and on Friday I will certainly not miss the return of the 'Cudas ...
It will be fun, fun fun meeting again the knights of soda fountains and living juke-boxes

Friday, October 15, 2004

Magnetic songs...#28

Les champs magnétiques/ les chants magnétiques
Magnetic fields/ magnetic songs
This is what I am spending my time on... Yours truly below nearby a 4.5 Tesla supraconductive magnet I am supervising the mounting of, before testing it ...

magturn, originally uploaded by zapcomix.

Do magnets sing ? Do they dream of electric rivers and of stainless steel grass ?
There is a slight humming when the power is set on and liquid Helium vapours slowly ooze out of the current leads creating a mist which recalls to my mind the shores of that small river in that valley, truly le Val sans retour au milieu des bois de Brocéliande, or is it the Meuse river nearby Sedan, the french Gettysburg in year 1870.
Sir Galaad never went to the Val sans retour, he was so pure and the best knight in the world but Lancelot was trapped there indeed .
So magnets do sing the cybernetic waves of electromagnetic chimes, they are delivering lullabies like harmonies which smoothen out stresses of all kinds.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

One week along.. #27

One week has gone since my last post..
I have just a few images coming back to my mind about what happened..
Like listening to Jonathan and the Modern Lovers Immaculate show of 78 at the Chicago Knight club..
Like that other evening, coming out of the Denfert-Rochereau metro station and seeing those two lovers looking at each other so intensely .. a perfect image of bliss in the mist of the starting night under the gloomy reverberation of the street lamps.. I noticed perky nipples pointing out through sweaters of both girls ready to flow to the edges of Lesbos.
Like smelling the fetid fragrance of rain on dead leaves which are scattered on the streets..
Like the warm shot of Williams pear spirit I sipped slowly at home on that perfect Sunday evening..
Like this sentence of Breton wishing that the strength of love would be as striking as the noise of shutting coffin lids.
Like thinking of dear friends birthdays and trying to remember when was the last time we spoke together.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The greatest poet... #26

Who is the greatest poet of all times.. I have to say that I made a different choice everyday, today it would be Arthur Rimbaud, all the way from Charleville to Aden.. the poet teenager becoming a weapon smuggler.. a destiny of adventures, dangerous loves and total writing...

alchimie du verbe :

A moi. L'histoire d'une de mes folies.

Depuis longtemps je me vantais de posséder tous les paysages possibles, et trouvais dérisoires les célébrités de la peinture et de la poésie modernes.

J'aimais les peintures idiotes, dessus de portes, décors, toiles de saltimbanques, enseignes, enluminures populaires ; la littérature démodée, latin d'église, livres érotiques sans orthographe, romans de nos aïeules, contes de fées, petits livres de l'enfance, opéras vieux, refrains niais, rythmes naïfs.

Je rêvais croisades, voyages de découvertes dont on n'a pas de relations, républiques sans histoires, guerres de religion étouffées, révolutions de mœurs, déplacements de races et de continents : je croyais à tous les enchantements.

J'inventai la couleur des voyelles ! - A noir, E blanc, I rouge, 0 bleu, U vert. - Je réglai la forme et le mouvement de chaque consonne, et, avec des rythmes instinctifs, je me flattai d'inventer un verbe poétique accessible, un jour ou l'autre, à tous les sens. Je réservais la traduction.

Ce fut d'abord une étude. J'écrivais des silences, des nuits, je notais l'inexprimable. Je fixais des vertiges. (A. Rimbaud)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Boston friends #25

Along my quest for Jonathan Richman in Boston, I met this incredible guy, Kenne Highland one of the vets of Boston rock scene. In fact it was again through Gordon's Jonathan list that I had exchanged a few mails with Linda, who was then Kenne's wife. Visiting Boston, I was invited at their home and stayed there a couple of days. Kenne must be the most friendly musician I ever knew. A true living legend going all the way back to Bloomington, Indiana, Gizmos who had a single of the week selection in the NME , chosen by Julie Burchill herself.. Kenne is a true garage music fan and his consecutive bands from Africa Korps, Johnny and the Jumper cables, Kenne Highland Klan, the Psycho daisies and nowadays Kenne Highland and his Vatican sex Kittens have always kept to the right punk/garage line. Kenne showed me how Lou Reed's riffs in many velvet songs were coming directly from Bo Didley.. yes even "white light white heat".

KH, originally uploaded by zapcomix.

The man did not hesitate to bring out his guitar and sing for me "rosalyn" (Pretty Things) at 3 am out in the streets of Sommerville.. those memories, one never forgets. Of course his last CD shown above is his best for ages, I have a weakness for "Punjabi Daba" which can be heard on the related Kenne page of the Stanton park records web site .
Kenne is reminding me of Lester Bangs when he writes and he is also, according to Jeff Monoman, the guy who does himself 365 tributes a year. He is also definitely my friend on the East Coast.

Friday, October 01, 2004

New frontiers #24

One day on my way back to Europe from the US, I was assigned a seat in the plane, right next to the window but there was a problem.. the person next to me was so fat he looked like an hippo and I was figuring out how dreadful would be those 9 hours of flight getting laminated against the wall of the plane.
Fortunately that person kindly asked me if I would mind to exchange my seat with a friend of his on the other aisle of the plane.. Of course not I immediately was on my way, the guy waved to someone who stood up to show a similar overweightness and having compressed me against the side of a seat, thanked me a lot while crossing my way . I moved to his now vacant seat and met a nice woman all smiles out sitting by the window. She looked as relieved as I did. I sat down and said that we both seemed to have escaped a difficult flight to which she agreed. she was a conservator at Washington DC National gallery and we had a very interesting talk about painting while drinking Champagne. I warned her that I was aware that Americans loved the impressionists and that I was really not liking those painters very much, she smiled again and said "we are all fed up with Monet". let's talk about quatrocento.That was a good start.

I just heard some interesting debate on the radio. Someone was making a new analysis to explain why 30% of the US citizens were extremely overweighted. It is not just a question of bad eating habits, one proof being that in France the region where is located the most important number of overweighted people is also the region where there are really no fast food restaurants, it is Corsica.
So the journalist said he was using Baudrillard's theory to understand the american problem : people are trying to find new frontiers ..even in their bodies. I found this explanation rather poetic.

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