Premiere Partie

We were all set to go to a concert last night in Angouleme: the Raveonettes and Vic Chestnutt, an odd pairing maybe but we’re fans of both. And our part of France has very little live music, so this was a big event for us.

I was waiting for Eric to come back from running errands, and our friends were on their way over so we could all make the hour-long journey together and get something to eat in the “city” before the show at La Nef – Angouleme’s hardly even a city but we are deep in the country here so anyplace with even more than a restaurant or two seems downright sophisticated.

The phone rang and it was a guy from the club in Angouleme. He knew we were coming to the show (France is a smaller country than I thought) and would we like to be the premiere partie?

With my limited French it sounded like he was asking if we wanted to play first (premiere partie) tonight. I knew I must be hearing him wrong. But he kept on, saying that the Raveonettes had cancelled and, since we were coming anyway, they wondered if we could play before Vic Chestnutt.

Luckily at this point our friends pulled up and I ran outside with the phone and they confirmed that the club was indeed asking if we’d play tonight. They are so supportive of us and love to see us play, so they were practically putting our guitars into the car by now.

“But we haven’t played in months! It’s an hour to get there and they want us to play at 8:30, and Eric’s not even back yet.” He showed up then and we said what the hell.

We sped west past chateaux, cow pastures and churches into a deep crimson sunset and arrived with just enough time to set up, sound check, eat something (this is France, after all), say hi to Vic and play.

Here’s where I’d like to say that the audience went nuts for us from the first song, saying “Raveonettes Who?” instead of “Raveonettes Ou?” but the truth is they were pretty confused by the whole thing. Eric pointed out that by looking at us they could get a good idea of what the missing band (a gorgeous Danish guy and girl duo) will look like after 30 years of touring, but I don’t think they got it.

But, no matter. It was fun to play again, the awe-inspiring Vic Chestnutt appreciated our act, and we got paid instead of shelling out 18 euros to see a younger, fresher, cooler version of ourselves.

Here’s A Good Idea

Eric treated me to the best birthday surprise ever – stay tuned and I’ll reveal where he took me (any guesses?).

And meanwhile, here’s a good idea. Jill Sobule is one of the best performers I’ve seen out there. Just a dynamo: fun, musical, smart, all those adjectives music writers come up with to describe someone completely original and talented. She makes great records, too. If you’d like a chance to support someone worthy, she’s come up with a clever scheme to finance her next record – read all about it here, and chip in!

Love For Sale

Every now and then I get a request to use one of my songs in a film. A few years back they asked to use “Let Me In A Little Bit” (from The Sugar Tree) in this new movie that starred Lili Taylor and Courtney Love. That sounded promising! And Liz Phair was doing a lot of the other music. Again, promising, sort of. The film was supposed to be about a suburban housewife (Lili Taylor) who goes back to school against her husband’s wishes, and then falls in love with a friend, played by Ms. Love. There wasn’t much money involved (is there ever?) but I said yes.

Then I heard the movie was at Sundance – some distinction, except of course any movie can be at Sundance, in the same way I can say I’ve played Vegas (a coffeehouse gig, far far away from the action).

Then I never heard of the movie again. I guess they didn’t find a distributor. How unfair, I thought. It’s probably a brilliant quirky little film that’s just too hard to market. I’d track it down when it came out on DVD.

I recently spotted the film on Amazon. I wanted a copy. I love Lili Taylor, have long been fascinated by Courtney, but mostly was looking forward to seeing how they used my song.

Well, it was kind of hard to make it all the way through the movie. It just isn’t very good. But hey, I still wanted to hear my song, maybe playing over some touching moment where one of the ladies is having second thoughts. Nothing.

We managed to stick it out until the music credits rolled. (One more punishment for being a musician: even the animal trainer gets to see their name up on the screen before most of the audience has left, but the song publishing info gets shoved to the very end). Sure enough, there was the song title and my name. But where was the song? I was torn between relief and disappointment.

Is having a song in a bad movie better than having no song in a good movie? Does it count if you can’t hear the song? Is is even worth mentioning? I’m still not sure.

If anyone’s interested, I know where you can get a copy of “Julie Johnson.” Only watched once.