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Wreckless Eric @ The Tin Angel.

June 17, 2014

WrecklessEric01Text and images by G.W. Miller III.

In between songs last week at The Tin Angel, Wreckless Eric regaled the sparse crowd with anecdotes about his 40 plus years in the music business. He walked everyone through his life, starting with some early memories.

“I seem to be obsessed with 1962,” he said to the three dozen people in attendance. “That was when my parents bought a record player. I just took over the record player.”

He was just a lad then, growing up on the southern coast of England, and the music he listened to had a massive impact on him.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for that record player,” he offered, adding as a joke, “maybe it wasn’t the best thing.”

The now 60-year-old troubadour mentioned Chubby Checker and how he wanted to make a pilgrimage to see the legendary twister … even though he didn’t realize Chubby is from Philly.

“He is?” Eric asked before quickly moving on.

It was an intimate and enjoyable show by a man who shared early lineups with Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, celebrated a relatively popular hit song and then faded from the public for the most part after deciding he didn’t like corporate record labels. His performance was tight, loud and full of teenage angst wrapped in a gentle, lilting accent.

“I could just go into a further explanation of being English,” he said at one point, referring to how many of his songs are about his home country (he lives in upstate New York now).

He began performing when he was 15-years old. When he was 20, he signed with Stiff Records and toured with Costello and some of the other early New Wavers. He abandoned the label a few years later and then moved to France with his wife, Amy Rigby.

“Don’t do that unless you like gardening and watching British television on the satellite,” he said before hastily adding, “and spending time with your wife.”

His songs – he’s still crafting new ones – seem to come from every day life. He performed a song about driving on the highway late at night after gigs when he noticed all the food trucks.

“Everything we eat comes from somewhere,” he belted out.

He never looked down at a set list. He just seemed to think of things and then sang.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing,” he admitted. “I’m just doing shit.”

The next song – another new one – featured a chorus where he growled, “I’d do it all again, I’d fuck it up again.”

After more than an hour of telling tales and strumming his guitar on stage alone, he finally burst into “Whole Wide World,” the sublime, existential track that brought him relative fame in the late 1970’s.

That wasn’t his finale, however. He ended with a new track that featured the old punk shredding and singing about the long road to happiness.

Then he stood by the door, posing for pictures as he sold copies of his new material (his latest album dropped in May).

One Comment
  1. June 19, 2014 8:47 am

    Thanks. Glad to have found your blog. I’m a massive WE fan since he started. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (give it a spin!).

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