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The French Connection
Long Live the Scope!
By Alexander "Astro" Hussenet, Lance Monthly
(more articles from this author)
2003-04-23
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Hi, you Garage-heads out there! I'm back trying to keep up with this "Monthly" business. I apologize for last time. I had a couple of scanned pictures that didn't come through. I hope, this time, they’ll be screened so that you can relate them to last month's report.

What's new, you wonder? Bang! is dead. Long live the Scope! Such is our new band name, we decided to turn the page on yesterday's frustrations and go ahead with the freak-beat! We were tired of havin' Paris clubs turn us down or simply ignore us on the basis of our bad live rep and the negative reports from a few loudmouthed *ssholes. Because we brought in a new singer and replaced our drummer, we decided on celebrating the event by rechristening ourselves with a new name and having a new start. We still are the only mod freak-beat band in Paris, y'know . . . misunderstood but untamed!

Our first gig with the new band will take place April 10 on a barge, yet again, in front of the national library with the college pop band from the French indie label, Musclorecords. We decided to take inroads in the indie-pop crowd since the garage-punk scene here is so stuck. (I'll report about it next.)

I remember now the name of the third notorious Paris band having changed its styles to post-punk: Opération S., the ex- no-talents with Cecilia of Cecilia et ses Ennuis. They had their video clip professionally shot last summer and are waiting for it to be shown on French MTV. They have a new 45 sung in French as well, with a nod to old French punk/heavy-metal band, Trust in their use of the lyrics from the song "Antisocial" that was covered by Anthrax, I think. It’s still a novelty-parody in the typical French tradition, if you ask me but, fun nevertheless.

The Men in the Moon are going on strong by gigging non-stop around town while others are still waitin' in the aisles! This month, they're playing for a second time in a few months at the Glaz'Art, a big Paris club. This performance is for the release of a new French local pop scene comp record entitled "Future Now," and the group will perform along side others like the Vegomatic, a familiar band in the local circuit that originally played a special brand of techno-surf instrumentals (and whose leader, incidentally, had mastered our Misty Lane Teen Sound Ep, "Wild Blood" in his home Studio). The Moon men were also supposed to have played live on national TV for a fund-raising Telethon campaign in the fall of last year. Fortunately for them, it was canceled at the last minute. What next, the opening slot for Oasis?

In the meantime, I dug up an old comp from the early CD days that features tracks from our singer's first garage-band, the Smooty Filth entitled "Grignou's Garage" that carries the name of a local entrepreneur's label from the Rennes' Garage scene of the early nineties. Sponsored by the French Office of Education and Cultural affairs, the attempt of the comp was to try and introduce these bands to the public: the Greenfish (local Mc5s), the Trapmen (with We The People and the David covers!) and Rennes' Garage legend, the Gloomies (with a heartful set of only covers including Murphy and the Mob, The Wailers, Shadows of Knight, Australian's Eloïs, Legends and the frickin' Gravedigger V!), and the Smooty Filth in their early stage who were partly influenced by the Sonics and partly influenced by (it doesn't sound it but our singer tells me) Led Zep. And there’s a set of what seems to be mostly originals except for what looks like a Chesterfield Kings' cover. When you're an insider, it has a pretty nostalgic quality and its touching, but the whole record sounds pretty dated, alas! New garage-bands have progressed a lot since those days of aping and stereotyping. Still, it is an artifact witnessing the liveliness and how dynamic the local scene truly was in our country's rockingest city. (For those interested, write to: Grignou c/o Y. Potin - 8, boulevard de Chézy - Rennes, tel.(") 99.65.16.12).

A last thing of note is the upcoming theater-play of The Monkees' saga by the ORKATER actors' troupe from Amsterdam entitled "The Prefab Four." With the support of the Dutch Embassy, it will take place in the Maison de la Culture of Bobigny, a northern Paris suburb, from March 12 to 3O . . . incredibly on our shores!

Also, there’s the national Major label release of the "Pop à Paris" comp' series of French beat and pop from the sixties. (Say! Maybe I can offer a review of the contents of the five volumes of DoLps, for lack of a better subject, in April’s issue.) It’s a true first in this country, following the pioneering, groundbreaking tracks of the "Swingin' Mademoiselles" series from my pal Sascha Monett. The French mainstream is at last taking note of their homegrown pop without shame!

Well, that's all for now folks. Granted, this month's patchy, but I'll try to dig up somethin' a little more noteworthy next time!


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