Erik & I first recorded together on ‘A Liquor Never Brewed,’ off Mischief Brew’s Smash The Windows; and then on the full-length Mischief Brew/Guignol collaboration Fight Dirty. So when we were asked if we wanted to do a split covers 7” it was a no-brainer. I even knew what song I wanted to do: Charles Aznavour’s stark, wild ‘I Drink,’ which I’d first heard on Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour program. I couldn’t find it anywhere online, so I edited an mp3 out of the radio show itself so I’d have it, which felt a little like taping something off the radio back in the day. It’s a perfect evocation of how easily drinking for fun can turn into something more toxic and focussed. I still get chills at the end. I’d filed it away to cover immediately (and more than one person has told me I sing a little like Aznavour already); and I’d been looking for an excuse to sing in front of Guignol too. The only drag was transcribing the amazing string arrangement from the original so Peter could cop it on clarinet.
Aznavour, if you don’t know, is a French-Armenian crooner who may have one of the highest ratios of best-loved entertainer to least-known in the US. Sometimes called “the French Sinatra,” he was discovered by Edith Piaf in the 1940s and became her protegee (he was the passenger in the 1951 car crash, the injuries from which led to her morphine addiction). He’s written over a thousand songs, and is still recording and touring at 88. If you like this, you should also check out ‘What Makes A Man,’ his majestic character sketch of a lonely drag queen.