Thursday, 16 October 2008

Femme Fatale

Warning! There is a big fat shameless name-drop in this post.

Last weekend John Cale presented a tribute concert to Nico at the Royal Festival Hall, 20 years after her tragic death. We couldn’t go, but here’s our own little L’Amour Electronique tribute to the teutonic femme fatale…

The first time Verity and I saw Stereo Total in London, we snuck backstage (we had a big box of 120 Miss Pain Heartbreaker seven-inches that we’d picked up on the way to the venue – so it wasn’t particularly easy to sneak anywhere). We went searching for Brezel, and I rather gracelessly stumbled in on him taking a piss. He didn’t seem to mind though, and even chatted with us for a while afterwards. We gave him a copy of our single and went merrily on our way.

When they got back off tour he sent me an email it went:
“thank you for your 7 inch. It is a Hit !!”

We stayed in touch on and off, and when we played in Berlin he gave me a seven-inch which he explained as: two remixes of Berlin’s biggest smackheads – Nico and Christiane F. It came with a little bag of powder, of which he advised: “Don’t take it – It’s not drugs!”

When we got back off tour, I played the record. It too was a Hit !! In fact it’s been a constant feature in my record box, and I’ve played the Christiane F remix just about every time I’ve DJ’ed since.

Here’s the Nico side:

Brezel Goring – Eulogy To Lenny Bruce (featuring Nico)

I’ve just been re-reading Sylvie Simmons’ A Fistful of Gitanes (by far the best English language Serge Gainsbourg biography out there, if you ask me). It was there that I first discovered Serge had recorded with Nico - here’s an extract from the book:

“Banned in France for its nudity [!], it [Strip-Tease] starred Christa Päffgen as a dancer desperately seeking work in the nightclubs of Paris. Serge had taken the statuesque German blonde into the studio to record the theme song, but he didn’t like her sombre, death’s-head voice and binned the tape. It would be another two years before Päffgen moved to New York, where she was taken up by Andy Warhol and introduced into The Velvet Underground under her better-known name, Nico.”

Strip-Tease (1963) (Clip 1)

Strip-Tease (1963) (Clip 2)

Incidentally, the title track to Strip-Tease was recorded by Juliette Gréco in the end, but the Nico version surfaced on a box-set Le Cinéma de Serge Gainsbourg 10 years after Serge’s death (you can imagine him muttering in his grave about that one…)

Nico – Strip-Tease

Bonus mp3 – it’s Francoise and Brezel’s cover of Nico’s ode to the residents of the Chelsea Hotel (from their Do The Bambi album)…

Stereo Total – Chelsea Girls


mordi said...

OOOOH what an interesting and trippy mix!

and wonderful to see those strip tease clips- i'd never seen them before.

she is just so mesmerising.

thanks! xx

Dom said...

Hey Mordi, glad you enjoyed the Nico/Brezel Goring remix.

keep up the good work over at Blow Up Doll.