Originally planned as a 10-song tribute featuring Chris’s versions of NICO songs, at the end of the recording, Connelly 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. The result is the 24-track EULOGY TO CHRISTA: A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC & MYSTIQUE OF NICO, to be released digitally on November 11th, 2022 and in physical form on December 2nd, 2022 — in the US by Shipwrecked Industries and in the UK by Easy Action.
Working again with producer CHRIS BRUCE, EULOGY TO CHRISTA sees Chris purposefully adopting the personas of NICO, LOU REED, and JOHN CALE – even ANDY WARHOL makes a cameo! The lead single, EULOGY TO LENNY BRUCE, was premiered on Monday, September 12th and is available on many streaming services.
The album was inspired by the brilliant book, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU 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.”
1: Ripcord, Ripcord
2: Via Margutta
3: The Last Mile
4: Union Square West
5: Andy, Incidentally
6: Femme Fatale
7: Eulogy to Lenny Bruce
8: Oh Jim II
9: Frozen Warnings
10: I Cannot Care for You
11: The Falconer
12: The Black Rooms of Richelieu
13: Valley of the Kings
14: Reims 12/74
15: A Slow Jones in New York
16: 80s Beat Boys
17: Running Pure
18: Sixty Forty
20: Draw From It (Like a Vampire)
23: Fa Massa Calor
24: Hanging Gardens of Semiramis
Even the photos used of Nico 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 Chris 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 the Velvet Underground, to her intense and unique solo recordings up until she died. In song, Chris 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.
To celebrate the release of EULOGY TO CHRISTA, Chris will be performing tracks from the album with the help of MATT WALKER, CAROLYN ENGELMANN, and other members of SONS OF THE SILENT AGE on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at Gman Tavern in Chicago. Tickets are on sale at http://bit.ly/ChrisConnelly_1110. An online event is also in the works.
Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, and 23 written by Chris Connelly. All other tracks by Nico (Christa Päffgen) except “The Last Mile” by Oldham/Page, “Femme Fatale” by Lou Reed, “Eulogy to Lenny Bruce” by Tim Hardin, and “Vegas” by Nico/Quilichini.
Chris Connelly: Vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, harmonium, harmonica, keyboards, bass
Chris Bruce: Additional instruments and guitar solo on Ripcord
Sleeve design by Greg Rolfes
Cover photo of Nico taken by Alastair MacKay at Edinburgh Nite Club, August 18th, 1981
Inside photo of Nico taken by Howard Goldblatt at Tuts, Chicago 1982
Tray photo of harmonium by Jonah Rubash
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.
The track is now available on Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and will be coming soon to other streaming platforms.
More information on the album, including both digital and physical release formats, will be posted this week!
If you follow Chris on social media, you’ll probably have noticed mention of an album release gig scheduled for November. Yes, it’s true! Chris has a new album coming out!
Entitled EULOGY TO CHRISTA: A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC & MYSTIQUE OF NICO, the album will be released in both the US and the UK on double CD and available as a digital download. More details will be announced soon!
In the meanwhile, don’t wait to get your tickets to the album release gig, scheduled for Thursday, November 10th, 2022 at 7:30 PM at Gman Tavern. Tickets are $22 in advance, or $37.50 for a ticket and merch bundle (which includes the double CD set and a poster).
Here’s the list of tracks which Chris played on Wednesday, 22nd June 2022 while DJing on Wax Trax! Wednesday… There’s a video available to playback, though most tracks are muted.
REZILLOS – CAN’T STAND MY BABY
SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES – HONG KONG GARDEN
BUZZCOCKS – BOREDOM
VALVES – FOR ADOLPHS ONLY
RUTS – IN A RUT
HUMAN LEAGUE – BEING BOILED
TELEVISION – LITTLE JOHNNY JEWEL
IAN DURY – SEX & DRUGS & ROCK N ROLL
CAN – I WANT MORE
FINI TRIBE – I WANT MORE
METRO – CRIMINAL WORLD
ELTON MOTELLO – JET BOY/JET GIRL
BOW WOW WOW – C30 C60 C90 GO
EATER – JEEPSTER
PIL – FLOWERS OF ROMANCE
TEST DEPT – COMPULSION
CABARET VOLTAIRE – NAG NAG NAG
HYBRID KIDS – D’YA THINK I’M SEXY
FLYING LIZARDS – SUMMERTIME BLUES
SIMPLE MINDS – I TRAVEL
Y.M.O. – TECHNOPOLIS
VISITORS – COMPATIBILITY
SLITS – IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS RHYTHM
RUPIE EDWARDS – IRE FEELING
A CERTAIN RATIO – WINTER HILL
THROBBING GRISTLE – HOT ON THE HEELS OF LOVE
ATV – LIFE AFTER LIFE
X RAY SPEX – DAYGLO
NINA HAGEN – T.V. GLOTZER
ADAM & THE ANTS – DEUTCHER GIRLS
STOOGES – I GOTTA RIGHT
VELVET UNDERGROUND – WHITE LIGHT WHITE HEAT
SEX PISTOLS – NO FUN
Today, March 24th 2022, Chris announces two different releases for two very worthy causes.
First, today marks two years since Bill Rieflin’s death. Chris writes:
As you probably know, when Bill passed two years ago, we were in lockdown. We could not visit him, we could not mourn with each other, it was downright miserable for all involved. Since then, at any of Bill’s anniversaries, it has been a real pleasure for me and others to do something to honour him, and at the same time, raise money for the clinic that worked so hard to make his remaining time as comfortable as possible.
This year, I have recorded three songs from the album LARGO and I also wrote a new song for my beloved friend.
As in the past, all proceeds will be donated to the Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute, which provided Bill’s care. CC fans have donated over $2,000 to this worthy cause.
Next, Chris participated in a large-scale recording project to help the millions of people who are currently suffering in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. 100% of the money raised will be donated to an organization that is currently on the ground and making a real difference in Eastern Europe… UNICEF.
Lifeline International has covered “Come Together” by The Beatles. The band features performances from current and former members of bands like Faith No More, Stabbing Westward, Rammstein, Filter, The Hardkiss (Ukraine), Revolting Cocks, Filter, Pigface, The Joy Thieves, Agnostic Front, Basement Jaxx, Gravity Kills, The Cassandra Complex, Mesh, blackcarburning, Deathline International, Vaselyne, and Black Needle Noise.
The song only costs $1, but we are actively encouraging everyone to donate up to their comfort level. Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Eastern Europe need us. RIGHT NOW. So, let’s all “Come Together” and show them that we hear them, and that we truly care.
There’s so much happening in the world in the world just now… pausing and listening to some music may seem like a luxury but we need it to revitalize our spirits and remind us why we endure. Thank you for your support of these worthy causes. — The Webmistress
If you wish to make your own tax-deductible donation in honor of Bill, please visit the Virginia Mason Foundation Donate Page and select “Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute” from the Designation drop-down. After clicking the button, complete your personal and payment details, and indicate that the gift is in memory of Bill Rieflin in the Tribute section. Please forward your donation confirmation to us via email and we will give you three free download codes for Largo 22, Prayer, and one other digital-only release on Bandcamp in thanks.
Chris is excited to announce a very special release coming out exclusively on Bandcamp on Friday, March 4th.
ABANDONED PREMONITIONS is a new mini-album of 8 pieces made up of music I wrote but never recorded until now: the discovery in my files of a folder full of music that was untitled, with few notes sitting in a cabinet in my studio, stretching back about 30 years. I sat down and played them, chose 8 and recorded them, pairing them up with poems that were also unrecorded, some published in the book “THE HEART HAS TO ACHE BEFORE IT LEARNS TO BEAT”. It was wonderful to basically navigate these pieces in the dark, with no recollection of tempo, key, etc. Complete with beautifully spectral artwork by Kimberly Blessing!
Learn more about the project and preview one of the tracks – HARBOUR DAYS II — on Bandcamp now.
Today, CHRIS CONNELLY and MONICA QUEEN present their collaborative album THE BIRTHDAY POEMS on Jnana Records. This album is a fictionalized account of the romance between celebrated Scottish poet and author George Mackay Brown and his muse Stella Cartwright, as well as their friendship with Edinburgh-born poet Stanley Roger Green, spanning three decades.
Named for the poems that George would write for Stella every birthday until she died, THE BIRTHDAY POEMS is a song cycle based on the relationship between these highly significant cultural figures of 20th-century Scotland. Stella’s voice is sung by Monica Queen throughout this colossal and historically significant 18-track album. The album is released the year in which the literary world celebrates the 100th birthday of Orkney-born poet George Mackay Brown.
This album represents a sometimes overlooked but very important part of Scottish culture. Stella had a deep relationship with Mackay Brown, which turned into a friendship enduring from the mid-1950s until her untimely death in 1985. It was not always a joyous one–neither of the pair were particularly happy, and their love of whisky did not help.
Video for the spoken-word track “Let Us Be Hushed” by Kimberly Blessing
“While she had relationships with many of the poets who would haunt the bars of Edinburgh’s Rose Street during the ’50s and early ’60s, her love of literature, art and culture was insatiable. She was never given credit or encouraged in her own art and expression. I hope that this album illuminates the beautiful treasure that she was, and how hugely significant she is to Scottish literature of a certain era,” says Chris.
You can hear more from Chris about the inspiration behind and the making of THE BIRTHDAY POEMS in A Conversation with Chris Connelly, an online event on Thursday, July 1st, 2021 at 7 PM CDT (midnight UTC on the 2nd). Tickets for the event are available on Bandcamp.
Reception of this new work has been enthusiastic. Writing for Louder than War, Neil Hodge called THE BIRTHDAY POEMS a “stunning alternative folk masterpiece”, further stating, “if anyone listens to this album and fails to be touched by the music, and the story of Stella, Stan and George, they have no heart or soul”. Fiona Shepard in The Scotsman gave the album four stars, calling it “a surprise gift”.
You can now pre-order THE BIRTHDAY POEMS, Chris’s song cycle about the romance between STELLA CARTWRIGHT and GEORGE MACKAY BROWN, and their friendship with STANLEY ROGER GREEN. The album will be released digitally and on CD with 24-page libretto by Jnana Records on June 15th, 2021. Pre-order on Bandcamp
Today the second single from THE BIRTHDAY POEMS drops, debuting MONICA QUEEN (Facebook, Twitter) as the voice of Stella Cartwright. “My Father Took Me Everywhere” introduces Stella and the unique upbringing which would lead to her becoming “the Muse of Rose Street”. As a young girl attending Mary Erskine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Stella would ravenously devour literature, art and music. On many nights her father would take her to bars, parties, the theatre and other social and cultural events where she would meet and charm Scotland’s cultural elite.
The single is introduced with the release of a video by Iain W. Mutch (Walkerandwilliam), in which Monica and partner Johnny Smillie re-enact scenes from a 1964 film short by Margaret Tait called PALINDROME, which features some of the only known footage of Stella.
To learn more about Stella Cartwright and the story behind THE BIRTHDAY POEMS, visit The Birthday Poems website.
Tae the Poets! tells the story of how Orcadian writer GEORGE MACKAY BROWN was coaxed out of his shell to join the “clamjamfray of poets” (so-called by Stanley Roger Green) who congregated at the Abbotsford Bar on Rose Street in Edinburgh, while also being a rousing toast to all Scottish writers.
Just yesterday, Spill Magazine premiered the video, and we were honored by their words: “This track has a feel good rating of 10, while actually capturing a point in Scottish history that few know about. Who are these personalities that inspired this album? Track by track, Queen and Connelly shall unveil why this story is so captivating and motivating. What we can say for now is that this track is brilliant and a delightful surprise. It has us eager to hear more from this duo, willing to learn as the reveal these highly relevant personalities in Scotland’s recent history.”
The video is an amazing creation by Sons of the Silent Age collaborator, MATT WALKER, and photographer DERICK SMITH. It was filmed at GMan Tavern in Chicago and the handcrafted glasses which Chris sports in the video were provided by State Optical Co.
What are you waiting for? Grab a pint or a wee dram, start the video or song, and raise your glass tae the poets! Slainte!