Monday, 06 February 2012 12:23
When we think of Bordeaux, France, one of the first things that comes to mind is the wine. But the Old Skins Band is coming to the U.S. to show us that the southern part of France has more to offer.
After living in the U.S. for more than 10 years, Laurent Brun-Laferrer returned to France and met up with Jean-Louis Caritou. While collaborating at Antea Studios (in Bordeaux), musician Philippe Paigne, who plays everything from accordion to piano, met Laurent and Jean-Louis. The union of the three musicians resulted in their 2009 album, “Crying for a Dream,” with a unique sound combining heavy metal and southern rock.
In 2010, the three formed The Old Skins Band, with Laurent (vocals), Jean-Louis (guitar) and Philippe (keyboards, piano). To complete the band’s line-up, Etienne Maksa is on bass guitar, Denis Bielsa plays the drums, and backing vocals are Natacha and Maëva.
You can listen to their new album this month on iTunes. Now they are busy arranging their first U.S. tour, in which they will perform anywhere—small venues, bike fests and music events. (And—did we mention?—Gainesville is on their list.) We were able to chat with Laurent about how they got started.
By Cathy Rockwell
Photos by The Old Skins Band
This is the first time we’ve heard of a French band playing southern rock and Mississippi Blues. What made you decide that was your sound?
I guess the three of us we always dreamed to play this kind of music. Because first of all, we are southerners so we live in the south of France—the famous country of Bordeaux wine. But most of it we recognize ourselves in this music because in the past history of France, our town was supposed to be the capital of the French country. We still have this rebel feeling inside of us. I guess that the southern rock music is a way to say that we are not really OK with the northern government.
You lived in the United States and were heavily influenced by Native American culture; did you have any experience in particular that inspired you?
Well, I spent 10 years traveling back and forth from France to the United States. Here in France, I met a medicine man from the South Dakota nation called Archie Fire Lame Deer, the son of John Fire Lame Deer, who wrote the bestseller, “Seeker of Vision.” I learned so much about myself and about their beautiful culture that I committed to their ceremonies, like the sweat lodge, vision quest and sun dance ceremonies. It changed my vision of life and helped me to take care of others.
Who does the most song writing?
The three of us write songs. I do the lyrics and I also wrote “Standing Alone in the Desert’s” music.
Jean-Louis writes most of the music. Philippe Paigne wrote “My Lady Under the Rain’s” music and is arranging all the songs.
Where do your ideas come from for your songs? Do they come from personal experiences?
Yes, each song is a personal experience. For example, the song “Standing Alone in the Desert” talks about my first vision quest. “Stand” is about people who are judging you without knowing you at all. “L'ange Sombre” (The Dark Angel) is about friends that who have been diagnosed with AIDS.
How do you decide what songs to record?
I usually come to the studio first to meet Jean-Louis with a song that I wrote and talk about it. Then he starts to play guitar and I try to find the right lyrics.
How has the reception of southern rock music been in France?
I think people here in France love this kind of music, and it is very popular here for the genre of music. But the sad part is that the music promoters here in France don't want to put money on an underground style of music. It's sad for all the bands that do the same style as we do.
Who are the band's musical influences and who do you listen to now?
Jean-Louis is extremely influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Trust (a French band) and Zakk Wylde. I am influenced by Trust, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses and, most of all, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Molly Hatchet, Van Zant Brothers and Alabama. Philippe loves the Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule and Derek Trucks Band. Now we listen to Blackberry Smoke, Black Stone Cherry, Leslie West and the last album of Slash.
Where can we download music and learn more about The Old Skins Band?
We are on Myspace, Reverbnation, Viadeo, Facebook, SoundCloud and a lot more. In the middle of February, everybody will have the possibility to download our songs on iTunes or Amazon. The album will be out around the 15th of February.
How do you feel about touring in the U.S. for the first time?
It really is a dream come true for us and we can’t wait to experience it and meet the music fans. We are looking forward to playing in Florida and especially Gainesville.