CHRIS CONNELLY – “EULOGY TO LENNY BRUCE”
A SPILL EXCLUSIVE MUSIC PREMIERE
For music lovers who were born in the past few decades and have not trekked backwards to discover the greatness of music eras past, they are certainly missing out on a lot. One of the most impactful eras in music history was the 1960s and 70s, during which time we saw the emergence of many artists whose music and attitude would send a ripple-effect throughout rock and folk music.
Nico and The Velvet Underground remain among the most intriguing of artists from this period. Their legacy and the impact that their peer Andy Warhol continue to have not just on art, but also on music, cannot be overstated. The goddess Nico herself is noteworthy, not only as a singer but also as the muse, whose sound and identity was one of the key locomotives of the Velvets.
Today we have the pleasure to present the new single from a legendary Scottish artist who needs no introduction – Chris Connelly, now residing in Chicago, presents the single ‘Eulogy to Lenny Bruce’, heralded by some as his finest vocal performance. Fans of Nico herself, The Velvet Underground, John Cale, Lou Reed (and Patti Smith for that matter) should take note.
The lead track from his forthcoming 24-track ‘Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico’, this song was lifted from her 1967 solo album ‘Chelsea Girl’ and written by Tim Hardin about the tragic drug-related death of comedian Lenny Bruce (but with lyrics slightly altered).
Here Connelly, with his beautiful timbre and artistic candour, delivers a haunting and touching rendition of Nico’s music. Nobody performs quite like this masterful musical chameleon and here, he channels her fabulously, honouring her with depth and personability as if the tragedy explored was his own personal loss. Not surprisingly, Connelly offers impeccable delivery and smoothness, which almost nobody else could possibly get away with.
Connelly worked with producer and long-time collaborator Chris Bruce, a band member of Meshell Ndegeocello, who has also worked with Seal, Aaron Neville, Bob Dylan, The Waterboys, My Brightest Diamond, Cheryl Crow and Sam Phillips.
Originally planned as 10 songs featuring Connelly’s versions of her songs, Connelly eventually decided to write a parallel album of his own compositions, spanning the life of one of the most unique, tragic and misunderstood female artists in the history of music. On this album, Connelly takes on the personas of Nico, Lou Reed and John Cale – even Andy Warhol makes a cameo!
Connelly speaks of these early influences: “I was not a stranger to her music, I had been playing The Velvet Underground & Nico to death for about a year, but knew nothing of her solo work until Cosey Fanni Tutti played me ‘Desertshore’ whilst I was visiting her in London in the summer of 1980… Nico’s output was spartan, at that age, I didn’t know why, but I was drawn in deep to the myth, as well as the myth of Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground and the concentric rings of influence in their wake, like so many musicians.”
The album was inspired by the brilliant book ‘You Are Beautiful and Your Are Alone’ by author Jennifer Otter Bickerdicke, who contributed to the liner notes for the album. She writes, “This is a record to be played at full blast, all the way through, as a commemoration not just to Nico the person, the musician, but to art for art’s sake, for making something because it is important and needs to be done – an idea that is as rare and precious as Nico herself.”
Even the photos of Nico featured in the album artwork have particular significance: the cover shot was taken by author Alastair MacKay from the audience at the Nite Club in Edinburgh in 1981, where a 15-year-old Connelly was also in attendance. The inside photo of Nico was taken in 1982 by Chicago photography legend Howard Goldblatt.
The Nico material spans from her first Jimmy Page-composed single B-side through her time with The Velvet Underground, to her intense and unique solo recordings up until her death. In song, Connelly follows her from Berlin to New York via Paris, Ibiza, and Rome, then back through Paris, London, Edinburgh, Manchester and up to her tragic and needless death in Ibiza.
This is a labour of love, empathy, sadness, acting and channeling, along with Chris’s adoration of the dark corner of rock inhabited by the Velvets and their peers.
Chris Connelly’s creations span almost forty years. Since early days with Fini Tribe in his native Edinburgh, Connelly has over twenty solo releases. He frequently collaborates with other musicians, building on notable projects with Ministry, The Revolting Cocks and Pigface and contributing to newer ones such as Cocksure and The Joy Thieves. He has also published four books, encompassing poetry, autobiography, and fictional narrative.
As of September 12, ‘Eulogy to Lenny Bruce’ will be available across digital music platforms, including . The full ‘Eulogy to Christa’ album’ will be released on November 11 by Shipwrecked Industries in the USA and Easy Action in the UK. It can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp at https://chrisconnelly.bandcamp.com/album/eulogy-to-christa
To celebrate the release of ‘Eulogy to Christa’, Connelly will perform tracks from the album with the help of Matt Walker, Carolyn Engelmann and other members of Sons of the Silent Age. Scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at Gman Tavern in Chicago, tickets can be obtained at http://bit.ly/ChrisConnelly_1110.
‘Eulogy to Lenny Bruce’ written by Tim Hardin
‘Eulogy to Lenny Bruce’ published by Spirit Music, copyright Spirit One Music o/b/o Allen Stanton Productions
Recorded at The Rock Noir July 2021 / January 2022
Mastered by James Scott at Populist Recording and Mastering
Produced by Chris Bruce
Chris Connelly: Vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, harmonium, harmonica, keyboards, bass
Sleeve design by Greg Rolfes
Layout by Kimberly Blessing
Cover photo of Nico by Alastair MacKay
Inside photo of Nico taken by Howard Goldblatt
PR by Shauna McLanon @ Shameless Promotion PR
Management: Kimberly Blessing @ Shipwrecked Industries
Chris Connelly is published by Bicycle Music/Concord BMI
Dedicated to Nico (Christa Päffgen) 1938 – 1988
For the lovers on St. Stephen’s
Chris Connelly photos by Shayna Connelly
For comparison sake, you might also like to hear the original version, performed by Queen Nico herself:
(Shipwrecked Industries/Easy Action)
Release Date: September 12, 2022