CALIBRE 12 : Whiskey sans Glace
title by title (by Pat Leblanc and John Molet)
For the release of the new Calibre 12 album ("Whiskey sans Glace"), RTJ offered to 2 members of the band to say some words about each title of the album, a little like Lynyrd Skynyrd did on Classic Rock Mag for the
"Last of Dyin' Breed" release !So that's Patrice Leblanc (alias « Pat Freeman »), the singer,
and Southern John that agree to try to make the chore ! A different and friendly way to take up an interview !
1/ Whiskey sans Glace J. Marie Coron-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Jean Marie came one day with this idea. A musical writing a bit different from the usual one, and on top of that, he told me : « If you can write something on that, and I'd like to call it "Whiskey sans glace" »
(Whiskey without ice, N. of the T.). I wrote as usual by letting the tune turn regularly, and the obvious theme came quickly. I didn't want a shady story of binge with the usual things. Just a different story where "John Schmoe" wants to drown his sorrows and try to forget.It seems that it works ? Unfortunately, it's surely very occasional !
John : Musically, it's one of the last tunes we produced for this album. Actually everything comes from a guitar riff of Jean Marie on which Laurent (bassist) immediately improvised a bass part sounding great. From the moment where it sounded nice improvising, we reflected why not concretise it in a real tune ? Incidentally we decided to make the album title out of with from the moment where the locution could be heard with two ways. According to us, "Whiskey sans glace" is a bit like "without mercy" ou "without compromise" !
2/ Tant pis pour moi John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : This tune is very personal : I had moved to 300 kilometres (nearly 190 miles) from Tours (the place in the center of France where Calibre 12 comes from, N. of the T.) and so, once a week, I spent 3 hours on the road to go and rehearse with the guys.After a little pain in the work, that was me who had almost always worked alone, that wanted to try to work for someone.Ouch ! It went very badly ! Me, the "Freeman" like my friend John nicknamed me, I became the "sheep" that I didn't want to be.One day, coming back from rehearsal, I slided the recording John just gave me, and so I wrote extempore what I was feeling on my car's wheel.
John : As I musically devised this tune, I remember me having vaguely thought to stuff like « Back Door Stranger » (38 Special) or « Rock'n Roll Jesus » (Kid Rock). Then the tune made its way and so logically developed through the fingers, the personal impressions, and the vocals, and so it inevitably emerged customised Calibre 12. So once I assimilated Patrice's lyrics, that are together very personal (like he says) but surely can be adjusted to a lot of people (in any case I imagine it), it became one of my favourite tunes, live as on the album !
3/ Ça va morfler John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Well, this one, that's something, because I really didn't think that it would be one day one of the tunes chosen by CALIBRE.During the around 5 years break of Calibre 12, John used to send its musics to me so that I put my lyrics on and, from time to time, we met in the cellar where we used to rehearse before, and he used to record my vocals on his music. We made like that a lot of tunes, some of them were retained and not others. Of course, John liked this one very much and was found of playing it in concert. It's a little story I imagined and wrote in 5 minutes. The situation used to make me laugh, I set it down on paper.
John : Well, I also adore this one ! Actually, at the beginning, I knocked up on my tape recorder a riff a bit in the ZZ Top way (I always am under influence) and I didn't really know what I could place side by side to it to make a tune with it, and then suddenly I skipped to a sequence of chords that remained me a bit "Sweet Dixie" from the true Molly Hatchet. So I immediately built around this atmosphere and Patrice told a story that makes me still laugh today when I hear him singing it ! For the first chorus, we invited a pal (Jules Yentoma from the Fusebreakers) who provided us a 3 harmony guitars passage among the most pleasant !
4/ Dans le milieu de la nuit J. Marie Coron-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Again a different musical writing from M. Jean Marie Coron. I adore this tune. Like for "Whiskey sans glace", JM's desire was to call this tune "Dans le milieu de la nuit" (''In the middle of the night'', N. of the T.). So I started from this idea, also with the will to write something different. I spent hours racking my brain and searching at the deepest of me what this musique and this theme could inspire me.
I think that it's what happens in the head of a lot of people, when the world around is only "silence" anymore !
John : One day, Jean Marie proposes me 30 secondes of riff that he just recorded on his tape recorder ! Wouahh ! Straightaway, I found the atmosphere very swamp blues, as far as he already had added sound effects around (rattle, rattlesnakes, aso...). It sounded really "dark" and I immediately felt interested in building around, but like all the bands singing in French, the harder was to come ...because it's never very obvious to keep a mind traced from a riff and a guitar sound when you have to add vocals with lyrics in French. Well finally I think that we succeed on the whole to stick to the original riff and to be consistent with, and a priori we don't change the spirit and the atmosphere of the tune ! We can also notice a special moment during the recording of this title, when early in a morning (feeling completely f...d... from the night before) we improvised an acoustic passage that was finally kept and ended up cut at the beginning and at the end of this tune !
5/ Fille de Rêve John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Well, I know what you will tell me. We are in the hackeneyed theme of the "Rock" tunes. Well, YES ! I wrote this tune with Uncle John in our period "Calibre break", and I took it out again and adapted on this music John wrote. It's not very original, but I think that a lot of people will recognise themeselves and will remain their past youth... Sniff...
For my part, I don't like so much the "fatal beauties". I prefer, by far, the spirituality, the personality and the kindness, to the simple appearance.
John : It's really a simple tune on a simple tempo, but what is important, it's overall that it releases a strong efficiency. In any case, it was one of the most easy titles to record rhythmically, what logically gathered ourselves for the rest !
6/ Big John Boogie John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : We really are in a theme where everyone can recognise himself. Particularly today ! Gimme the name of someone who never woke up this way, I won't believe you. I like to write about that, and don't believe I'm pessimistic, because it's exactly the opposite ! I wanted a lot of lyrics because I really wanted that it could swing, almost "jazzy". In any case in the rendition. I hope that we succeeded and that the feeling of those who will listen to it will be the same.
John : On this tune we had a lot of work, first because the "ternary" tempos are never very simple to let sound, and overall also because we multiplied the rhythm guitars and chorus returns. Originally, we wanted something that wavers between big punchy rock and jazzy subtleties. Well even if we don't have many things to do musically with Jazz, we think that we succeeded to let the tune sound ! We called it Big John Boogie because we strangely didn't really have any name for it, and the more the time went by, the more we forgot to look for a title for it, so there isn't any direct relation with the lyrics !
7/ Alors pars J. Marie Coron-Pat Leblanc
Pat : At first, I wrote the story of a guy who broke off with his doll and who was "whining" as much as he can. That was not "Rock"... Seriously ! Then, I changed all and it gave a guy with a real personality. A rocker, I mean ! Well, he also broke off, but we won't get back to that. Seriously ! Would you believe it ! More seriously : in the beginning, the melodic line we created with JM was more FM, if I may say so. John didn't find that it fitted with our style and he was completely right. Hardening it a bit, as a result, we hardened the reaction of the guy who broke off !
John : Quiet tricky tune, because during a very long time we were uncertain about the lyrics and the vocals we could set on it, it's so easier to sing in doggerel during the rehearsals that we inadvertently thought that all would not take a long time to be going to be fine. That was not the case… Incidentally it's one of the tunes on which we spent the most time !
8/ Vie conventionnelle John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : It's a little teasing about the people that « fit into the society's mould », as they say. Nothing very mean, of course. Just a very different vision from mine. I imagined a guy waking up in a world that is not his. That could be also the opposite. The end speaks for itself : when all the things around me will be very settled, it’s because I will be « between four boards » (Well rather six, no ? Ed) : it won’t matter anymore.
All the people who are "free lance", if I may say so, feel the same and will recognise themselves easily.
John : Well this one is very particular. Musically, I concocted it for a long time for a start, but at that time under a kind of Status Quo or even Doobie Brothers influence, and when we played it for the first time, it suddenly turned out in a very different way of the one I thought at the start. It’s a bit classic when a tune is set under each musician’s evaluation. Anyway, it has been collectively rebuilt, and strangely I would even say that it came to be for good during the recording, to my utter and pleasant astonishment !
9/ Rendez moi mon Soleil John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Sometimes we feel like not being in our proper place. Like living in a world that is not ours. Like being in a total offset. So, we’d like to go out and shout to everybody "Give me the life I’d like ". Still in this theme talking about the freedom lack. For those who don’t want to live a "traditional life", play this tune loud, and shout with me: " Rendez-moi mon soleil" (Give me back my sun, N of the T)... You never know... It can work !
John : An old composition that I’ve made with Patrice when the band was in stand-by and that stood out in a new way as we decided to include it in the new Calibre 12 set-list, a double lead theme, a very « southern » spirit, some slides and chorus in the same register... A tune that grabbed a lot since the first time we played it on stage !
10/ Saturday Night Frimeur Molet-Coron-Leblanc
Pat : I wrote some lines for this tune listening to the music as usual. I think it was one of the first time that I was writing on a music and I couldn’t manage to finish. To give it to you honnestly and render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar : Jean Marie came to my rescue and finished this tune. Everyone liked it and we played it during 20 years without appearing on one of the three Calibre’s "opus". « Saturday Night Frimeur » represents Calibre’s "spirit". We finally decided to cut it so that it stays forever in our minds.
John : It’s true that it’s one of the first tunes written for Calibre 12 about 20 years ago, and when I listen again to it today I confirm for myself that it was a time musically very influenced by Molly Hatchet. More or less unintentionally, I had built a riff close to and in the same vein than « Bounty Hunter » or « Beatin the Odds » for example. It’s the kind of tune that pleases a lot live because the tempo swings well and makes people want to move !
11/ Le ciel peut attendre John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : I woke up one morning and I wrote down on a rough copy some lines that crossed my mind. When I was a teen-ager, something grabbed my attention : my grand father, who was dying, made projects for the future. He was the one, during all those last years, who never stopped saying that at his age he could leave, he has nothing more to do, and now, at the moment to go for it, he thought that he had still things to do. John wrote a so beautiful music, and I set my words on his notes. That's really the most wonderful tribute I could do to one of the persons I love the most. We all went through it, and one day we'll all go through it !
John : For my part I'm devoted to the ballades. Anyway, the Southern Rock has several jewels in this field, so for that tune I didn't derogate from my habits that are to create if it's possible a beautiful thread of simple and melodic chords, and then to put on it an "emotion" theme in harmony-guitars that sounds good et that we can easily retain, to set up touches and an adapted vocal emotion and hup… Then the feeling increases or not the value of the song... So without daring to make any comparison with the pearls achieved by the great southern bands, I think that some people will recognise some "veiled references", deliberate and respectful to our biggest influences. Sometimes I even have "creeps" when I listen to those parts and the people to whom they refer !
12/ America Rock n Roll John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : I think that all the people who like this style of music like the United States. The story of this tune is funny : I wrote the lyrics on this rock'n roll, taking the hackeneyed theme of the guy who crosses the USA in his truck and goes and meets his "belle" at the end of the week. All the fellows of Calibre were in a huff with me and asked me if it was possible to me to write something else. I took back my rough copy and I found again the notes of a tune we made for the pleasure with John. It told about a kid dream, and it became "América Rock".
John : A « fuckin' Rock'n Roll » as they say over there… Once again a title under open influence, tunes like « Take Miss Lucy Home » (Molly) or « Turn it on » (38 Special) are undoubtly part of my favourite listenings, so I imagine that the America Rock'n Roll's atmospheres drive common points with the titles quoted before, even if I never try to copy this ot that tune from other people. But well... My brain's hardware won't surely be able to be reformated now !
13/ Sèche tes larmes J. Marie Coron-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Everybody knows what we can feel when we are attracted by a stronger passion than all the things that can exist around. It's terrible : we find it difficult to see anything else and we are completely monopolised by this phenomenon. It can be constructive, or at the opposite destructive. To understand it well, when we are not "gambler", we can read the biography of Stu Ungar, that inspired me !
John : A title written by Jean Marie where Patrice chose to express his passion for gambling. Musically we mainly think about the Classic Rock with nevertheless a Southern touch in the double lead chorus… Simple and effective !
14/ Viens je t'emmène John Molet-Pat Leblanc
Pat : Theme, o how used ! But never run dry !
I like to speak about that kind of things. Who never dreamed some day to cast off from everything and to start over ? It moves us all in a different way, even if it remains a dream for most of us. Incidentally, Jean Marie wrote "Partir ailleurs" about that on the first album. A tune I like very much.
John : A bit in the same line as the title before (« Sèche tes larmes »), the kind of tune that allows to set the confidence on stage and the communication to the audience, and that, because of the deliberately catchy refrains, speaks quickly to the people's ears... Good old Rock'n Roll !
Thanks to RTJ and to its readers who support the band Calibre 12 !
And like Don Barnes says so well at the end of the gigs of 38 Spécial : "Keep on rockin" !
Pat "Freeman" and Southern John
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