Thu, 08.02.2007
Doors Open: 21:00
Boys Are Back In Town
Dj´s: Excel & Klana

I know I should play the game but I don't want to. I know how it works - you click on the snazzy button that says biography and straight away you've got a potted history of me that you can use to write your article or base your interview questions on...

The Ultimate Rock Girl Next Door
Renowned songwriter Amy Rigby?s upcoming fifth album, Little Fugitive, finds the singer, who began her solo career as the Mod Housewife, bringing it all back home...

I know I should play the game but I don't want to. I know how it works - you click on the snazzy button that says biography and straight away you've got a potted history of me that you can use to write your article or base your interview questions on. You whiz through it and on the day you can ask:
How many years have you been in the music business?
And you'll be secure in the knowledge that I'll reply:
N'er orn fordy-seben yerr cum Lamastide squire.
Except if you decide to cast me as a chirpy but loveable Cockney Rogue, and then you'll have to add Cor blimey to the front of the answer and possibly replace Squire with Guv'nor or the even more ghastly mate.
I don?t want to play the game because, for the most part, I hate the music business ? I refuse to call it the industry because for most of us it will never be anything approaching that, just a thing of minority interest acted out in basements, living rooms and dirty clubs, a million light years from the world that contains Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and all those boy bands who will probably grow up to be cashiers in the petrol stations where I stop to fill up on the way home from my gigs.
If playing the game means writing another crap biography ? the story of my life in three easy-to-read disposable sentences ? you can count me out. Every so often I fall into the trap and end up talking to someone stupid, usually a junior reporter from a local newspaper. I was interviewed by one just the other day. He?d heard that I once lived locally so his first question was which street did I used to live in. So we'd immediately arrived at an impasse because I didn?t consider it relevent so I wouldn't tell him. I tried talking about the group I was in when I lived there (the Len Bright Combo ? it was Chatham) but he?d never heard of us. I don?t think he?d ever heard of me either so there wasn?t much point to any of it. If only he could have read my biography ? then he could have asked if I ever saw my old mates from the Stiff days. And I could have told him that I didn?t have any mates ? I was Billy No-Mates. By the end of the Stiff fiasco I didn?t have a friend in the world.
Not that I?m complaining. Or bitter. Of course I?m not fucking bitter. I used to say I wasn?t when I was, because I thought it would make me appear noble in some silly way. Then one day I decided I?d had more than enough of being noble and gave myself up to bitterness. I immediately started to feel better. I can still get pissed off with it but that involves getting pissed off with myself, or who I was back then, and that wouldn?t do. I?d prefer to be proud of the things I did achieve. I?m alive, I?m together and I?ve stood the test of time. And I?m here to enjoy it. Ian Dury used to say about Stiff Records: they?re pissing your talent down the drain. He was absolutely right and I once thought that I hadn?t got any left. But I was wrong.
So what can I tell you - I lived in France for nine years (1989 - 1998) - I went to Art School in the early seventies where I studied Fine Art (Painting & Sculpture) - (no I don't) - I made my first record in 1976 for Stiff Records - I toured all over the place (UK, Europe, America, New Zealand, Australia) and just on the points of busting through into the real bigtime I got sort of pissed off, jacked it in and pursued a career as a full time alcoholic. I signed to Go! Discs with a group called Captains Of Industry which included two of the Blockheads. I fucked that up but finally got my drink problem under control and formed the Len Bright Combo. From that point on all my records have been home made except for a version of Clevor Trever that I recorded with the Blockheads in a proper grown-up studio - it it sat very nicely alongside Paul McCartney's Partial To Your Abracadabra and the ubiquitous Robbie Williams and his shit-drenched version of Sweet Gene Vincent (no disrespect to The Blockheads). Oh - and I've written a book. It'
called A Dysfunctional Success published by The Do Not Press.
I released my album, Bungalow Hi, on my very own Southern Domestic label (distributed by Shellshock). And after I've got over the shock of writing my first book I'll probably write another.
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The Ultimate Rock Girl Next Door
Renowned songwriter Amy Rigby?s upcoming fifth album, Little Fugitive, finds the singer, who began her solo career as the Mod Housewife, bringing it all back home. Hailed for her keen eye and sharp wit in tracing the vagaries and victories of modern romance, her new Signature Sounds release finds Rigby promising "I Don't Want To Talk About Love No More." But, of course, she does - getting to the heart of the matter and the heart of the punch line in due course.

For the making of Little Fugitive, Rigby returned to New York City, where she emerged as a solo artist in 1996 with Diary Of A Mod Housewife, a critically acclaimed album that prompted Spin magazine to declare her "Songwriter of the Year" and was voted No. 8 in the annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. "It felt like home," she explains. "Going back to New York was like putting back together the pieces of my past and wondering, who am I going be for the rest of my life?"

Rigby co-produced the album with her longtime guitarist Jon Graboff, leading the band of players through a whirlwind two day recording session. "We just sat down, went over a list of songs and talked about what we were going to do, and then went in the next day and did it," she recalls. "It was a great experience. Time seemed to expand and contract to allow us to do what we needed to do. I just enjoyed every minute of it."

The result is a collection that continues to prove Rigby to be the ultimate rock girl next door ? strong-willed, sharp-tongued and ready to wrestle you to the barroom floor. Yet it also reflects the wisdom of a grown woman who has made her mark as a consummate artist, penning songs with an emotional honesty and rare incisive humor. And on Little Fugitive, Rigby feels free to color in the songs with stylistic splashes from bright folk chords to stomping rock and 60?s psychedelia.

Rigby grew up in Pittsburgh but ended up in New York soon enough, attending art school amidst the fertile downtown scene of the late 1970s. She describes herself as a "casual listener" before happening upon CBGB?s, the legendary punk rock club on the Bowery. "That was the turning point," she explains. "Suddenly, I was more actively involved with music. I was a part of a scene. And music became the motivating force in my life." She revisits that heady time on "Dancing With Joey Ramone." "It was a dream I had, one of those dreams that felt like it was happening, like maybe it did happen. I got up and immediately wrote the song."

By the early 1980s, Rigby had taken up the guitar and was writing songs, playing and singing with her brother and some friends in Last Roundup, an urban country string band that recorded an album for Rounder Records, toured the U.S., and was a precursor of the Americana movement a decade later. She followed that with another group, the all female folk-pop trio The Shams, who released an album and EP on the trendsetting Matador label. And she married and had a child.

Marriage, motherhood and divorce informed her solo debut Diary Of A Mod Housewife (produced by former Cars guitarist Elliot Easton). It earned her considerable musical acclaim as well as becoming a text for women's studies courses, marking Rigby as a musical voice for thoroughly modern women (and the men that love them).

She has since built a catalog of releases that are "all terrific," according to Robert Christgau, the "Dean of American Rock Critics." Along the way, Rigby moved to Nashville, had her songs have been covered by rock legend Ronnie Spector, They Might Be Giants/John Flansburgh, Laura Cantrell, Jonell Mosser and Maria Doyle Kennedy, and drew comparisons to exalted songwriters like Elvis Costello and Richard Thompson. The Chicago Reader simply hails Rigby as an artist with "no peer on the current pop scene."

Her canny perspective on contemporary womanhood has also resonated beyond records and the live performance stage. She was the keynote speaker at the 1999 conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, organized and moderated a "Rock Parenting 101" panel for the South By Southwest Music & Media Conference, and has spoken and performed at such diverse events as the Southern Festival of Books and the 2000 Rockrgrl convention in Seattle.

Now with Little Fugitive, Rigby tops herself again. Its title comes from the groundbreaking 1953 independent film by Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, and reflects her view of herself, at age 46, as a traveling troubadour performing across North America and Europe. It also finds Rigby at a fulcrum in her personal and artistic development, considering both where she has been and where she is now headed. This juncture of past and future is indicated on the album by the presence of such back-up singers as her former band mates in The Shams and her 16-year-old daughter Hazel, a budding musical talent in her own right.

As the album closes with "The Things You Leave Behind" - the first cover song Rigby has recorded, written by Patti Smith consort Lenny Kaye - one can sense Rigby's creativity pondering new challenges beyond the series of peaks on her five solo albums. It takes but a listen to Little Fugitive to hear that it's the work of a masterful and original musical artist in full bloom.


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