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The French Connection: Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends From the Lance of No
By Alexander "Astro" Hussenet, Lance Monthly
(more articles from this author)
2002-08-05
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Last month I said that I would provide you the contact to the second most notable fanzine in France, "60's French Beat," so here 'tis: Club des Années 60, Route de la Gare, 42310 La Pacaudière (tél. 04.77.71.90.13 ) . . . alas no e-mail. I guess they're not connected yet. Nevertheless they're a totally righteous mag and a real source for authentic French sixties obscure info on bands, girl singers, and the general local scenes. They also have their own legal label, issuing unreleased material on exact looking EPs and ten-inch vinyls directly from the masters such as Saphyr. After releasing an EP by local French rock band, Les Cochran, the label has just put out another incredibly looking EP of unreleased tracks by legendary beatsters, Les Falcons which is a must-have for all fans of Euro Freak Beat (three great covers: "Help me girl," "Dies Irae," and "Good Day Sunshine," including one original, "We're Hip").

Les Falcon is on par with any world class Beat group from the best transworld scenes. Their tracks contain great organ, Stonesy riffs, and that exotic, foreign-accented English singing that make it all the more special as any good Nederbiet band. Come to think of it, the group sounds more like a mix of Los Mockers and the Shakers from Uruguay, except they were from Bâle in the Suisse-French German border of Lorraine! Get it! For those in the know, Les Falcon's put out a great EP in early 1967 on Disques Young, a local outlet from a teen club. Two of the group's tracks have already been reissued (a killer French fuzz beat "El Camel" on comp, "Ils Sont Fous Ses Gaulois" Vol. 1, and the English sung "Please Understand Me" on CD comp, "Groupes Rock Alsaciens 1960-1969" with an accompanying book entitled"Le Temps des Copains - Rocktwist Alsace Années 60" (Ed. La nuée Bleue ).

The Falcon's are a reference band from the French 60's scene and they adorn the color cover of this month's issue of "Le Club des Années 60!" Read all the details on this band in the book, "Le Temps des Copains" and more! . . . The tracks from the Saphyr EP, incidentally, are unreleased songs recorded previously to the Young EP for demonstration purposes while searching for gigs at the local clubs. . . . Another EP from local rocker Ricky Norton and a 10" from mod beats Les Jaguars are in the works.

My pal Sasha Monett, who last year released Vol. 2 of the milestone comp, "Swingin' Mademoiselle" (recently plagiarized by the legal CD "Femmes de Paris," and somehow inspiring the famous "WiZZZ!" comp. in the process) is currently working on Vol. 3, which promises to be even more obscure . . . maybe a double LP! (Incidentally, Sasha is the one who designed the front cover of my band, Bang's last EP on Teen Sound. He regularly designs the covers of his friends' comps, like the "Ils Sont Fous Ses Gaulois.") Together we are planning to pursue Misty Lane's "Basementsville" series of comps with a special exclusive French Beat from France, in an attempt to paint an honest picture of the cultural situation here in the sixties. It should see the light this fall 2002 and Sasha will probably design its cover too! Keep an eye out for it 'cause you're in for a treat as far as Beat exotica goes.

In the meantime, Sasha has already designed the cover of the new volume (4) in the "Ils Sont Fous Ces Gaulois" series from one time Bang! drummer, Gipeix. This volume will be a special France versus Quebec in the French language, Beat vs Garage. It's a little more of a novelty then the three other volumes in that there'll be a French Beat band vs a Canadian garage band each time in a different style . . . for example, Beatles, then Stones etc. Then a French swingin' mademoiselle vs a Canadian one, and then again a French punk novelty singer vs a Canadian one, and finally a French parody vs a Canadian one (which shouldn't be too difficult for the French!) You get the picture! Check it out this fall. (Unfortunately, I don't yet have the exact date of releases.)

There's also been talk of a "WiZZZ!" vol. 2, with Jibé putting it out on his own sub-label, Michalon Vibrations, as he has severed relations with the French major label that distributed his Vol. 1, "Delabel/ Musiques Hybrides" (This "WiZZZ!" thing has made him a success, what with him being interviewed on cable TV and being printed in numerous national press fashion magazines! "WiZZZ!" has also been chosen as the official comp of last year's monumental expo. retrospective: "Les Années Pop" at the world famous Georges Pompidou center in Paris, and some of its tracks were chosen for a prime time TV show running right now - "Loft Story," an American TV interactive live reality show! ) Jibé is also co-producing our mates' French garage-punk/psych band, Men in the Moon's first single, which will probably be on Michalon.

Mr. Michalon, incidentally, is a famous film character in the 60's French cult movie, "Ne Nous Fâchons Pas," with local movie star, Lino Ventura. The movie's about old, retired, macho French gangsters chasing after young, English effete, mod mobsters riding little, red Honda 50 bikes, dressed like Angus Young with their long hair, private school caps, and double-breasted, navy-mod jackets, all under the tutelage of a homosexual, elderly British kingpin. Hilarious and a groovy score to boot!

Other than records, the notorious French neo-punk band, "the Splash Four," who had a record out on Estrus and toured America in '98, are reforming with ex-Guzzlers' axeman, who is currently running the best underground rock club in Paris, at present under a Pizza restaurant in the Butte-aux-Cailles district in Paris. (I deejay there once in a while if you happen to come to gay Paree.) After three years of retirement, punks die hard the older they get. What's next?

The ex-Steve and The Jerks, Anteenagers, when not partying, are still playing around town, last time most notably at the important "Nouveau Casino" club. And the Teckels are still France's #1 Oï band (we in Bang! try to be the #1 French mod freak-beat band ). . . . Oh! Arthur Lee came to play with his backing band (Baby Lemonade as a reformed Love) in Paris at the Café de la Danse and it was unbelievable. The music of prime time Love was perfectly reproduced. We couldn't trust our eyes and ears 'cause it was a first for us hearing "Forever Changes" live!!! (Actually, Arthur had played twice in Paris but exclusively . . . once in the '70s and the other time in '92). This gig was supposed to be exclusive as well, but he had such an unexpected warm reception from the audience that he is coming back in December and it will be with strings . . . a full symphonic orchestra like some kind of black Brian Wilson! (He refused to sign autographs though.) I'm a goin'! I'm a goin! Maybe I'll see you there in December. To have Arthur in Paris is a real event!


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