The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lard Free

Lard Free = L’Art Frit

Who didn’t buy the first Lard Free album because of the cover? In 1973/4, you certainly couldn’t read anything about French rock music anywhere that I knew of. I just knew that this record didn’t look like anything else – and, after hearing it, I knew it didn’t sound like anything else either. I missed the second Lard Free album, “I’m Around About Midnight” – but I was near the front of the line for the 3rd Lard Free album, also known as “Spirale Malax”. I am sure they never thought about it, but – but I presume it was a mistake that they put their manager’s phone number and address on the cover of the 3rd LF album. When I got to Paris in 1979, I called them. Soon I was waiting in the hallway outside of Gilles’ apartment in Pigalle. Crap, I forgot about the one hour time difference between France and England

It’s 2007, and I am still friendly with Gilles Yepremian, Lard Free’s manager. Of course by the time I got there, LF were all done, and it was “Urban Sax” time. So, I never got to see Lard Free play live – but I did get to go to an Urban Sax gig in Caen – with the band.

Variously described as “nightmare headache music” and goodness-knows-what-else, the electronic nihilism of Lard Free’s 3rd album still astounds. I stayed at Gilbert Artman’s house in ’79 and ’80 and got to listen to him play the drums quite a bit. Believe me, there wasn’t a punk rock vibe going on them. My own juvenile band used to say ‘hello’ to Lard Free on our records – we even got Gilbert to say (onto a cassette), “Pourquoi vous toujour dites Lard Free sur vos disques?” ( = Why do you always say Lard Free on your records? ), thereby involving ourselves with that most mysterious of bands. Gilbert told us that the other guys in the band (at the time of the third album) came from a band called Cool Ghoul – no, I don’t think they ever made any records. But I was their intended audience.

Gilles and I talk about the same stuff we always did – Frank Zappa, Michel Polnareff, Jacques Higelin…I look for Doors stuff for Gilles, he sent me all of the coffee table books when Serge Gainsbourg died – in short, Gilles was / is my “Paris friend”. I love to insist that if Gilbert ever wants to reform Lard Free, I should be allowed to join in on the fun – at least for the Japanese tour. I CAN SEE IT NOW: Lard Free ’08 would be myself on bass or keyboards, Gilbert on drums and Jean-Francois Pauvros on guitar. Of course, I would rather it be all of Cool Ghoul, and be a member of the audience.

So, this little tale tells you where my age difference is between the advent of new wave, and me being a tad too old for that scene. I was already hardcore Lard Free, long before the Sex Pistols ever played a note. I had no need for the commercial nihilism of punk rock – been there, done that! Those melting milk bottles in that refrigerator told me all I needed to know. L’art frit!!!


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