Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Oct 20th 2009 1:30PM by Kenneth Partridge
Five years later, Collin and partner Olivier Libaux release their third album, the aptly titled '3.' The collection finds Nouvelle Vague's trademark breathy female singers dueting with such '80s luminaries as Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, Magazine's Barry Adamson and Echo and the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch. It was only after receiving plaudits from Morrissey, former Clash guitarist Mick Jones and several of the other artists whose songs the band has reinterpreted that Collin got the idea to try some duets.
"We knew Martin Gore was a fan," Collin says. "In a Boston newspaper, he said he had the first album and used to play it a lot. It was a good way to write to his management, saying, 'We know he knows us already.'"
Gore agreed to sing on what would become the disc's leadoff track, a country-noir reworking of the Mode's S&M anthem 'Master and Servant.' The song is one of several on '3' that features a subtle Americana vibe, something of a departure from Nouvelle Vague's usual swank-pop approach.
"We were inspired by what Johnny Cash did on 'Personal Jesus,'" Collin says, referring to the Man in Black's 2002 rendition of another Mode classic. "Also, we wanted to change. We've done bossa nova, reggae and '60s pop, and we wanted to add a new sound. We thought country could be great."
Although Collin found it strange to suddenly be giving musical direction to some of his idols, he reports they were all affable collaborators. He even got along well with former Specials and Fun Boy Three singer Terry Hall, someone he'd met -- and had a bad experience with -- two decades earlier.
"I have a friend who did an interview with Terry Hall in Paris," Collin says. "And this friend invited me because I'm a fan. And [Hall] was not nice at all, really cold. I got the impression, 'This guy isn't going to be easy.'"
This time out, Hall proved a gentleman, happily chatting about art and music and adding his voice to a gorgeous folk-rock version of 'Our Lips Are Sealed,' a tune he co-wrote with Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wiedlin in 1981. Collin suspects his familiarity with Hall's music, not to mention the fact that the two were meeting in a professional capacity, as producer and musician, not fan and superstar, had something to do with the amiability of the exchange.
"I don't have his pictures on my wall or anything, but I have most of his records," Collin says. "I think when you are someone that knows a lot of [a fellow artist's] work, they are happy with that. Even if it's a huge star, it's good for a musician to meet another musician who knows his work."
While Collin hasn't ruled out recording with additional New Wave icons, he suspects Nouvelle Vague may shake things up and start refashioning music from other periods. "I think with post-punk, we did a lot of things, and I think we have to try another idea-think of something new," he says. "Maybe doing indie rock from the '90s."
'3' is available now.