Alternative music legend Chris Connelly presents ‘Ripcord, Ripcord’, the second single from his forthcoming album ‘Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico’. Written by Connelly, this song was inspired by a little known detail about Nico’s life – her rape by a military offering while she was a teenager holding a bureaucratic position for the U.S. Army. This traumatic incident would inform the rest of her already war-torn life.
Now based in Chicago, the Scottish counter-culture icon had initially planned to release 10 Nico covers, but Connelly ultimately decided to write a string of additional compositions, spanning her life. This 24-track offering will be released in late autumn by Shipwrecked Industries in the USA and Easy Action in the UK, paying tribute to the iconic The Velvet Underground muse and one of the most unique, tragic and misunderstood female artists in the history of music.
Chris Connelly has been creating for circa 40 years. Since his days with Fini Tribe in Edinburgh, Connelly has over 20 solo releases. He frequently collaborates with other musicians, including notable projects like Ministry, The Revolting Cocks and Pigface, while contributing to newer ones such as Cocksure and The Joy Thieves. He has also published four books (poetry, autobiographical and fictional narrative).
About ‘Ripcord, Ripcord’, Connelly comments, “When Nico was in her mid-teens, she worked in a U.S. army office in Berlin. She was raped by an American soldier and the soldier was executed. Some have said this may not have happened. Some have gone so far as to call her a liar. This event and the trauma of being in the rubble of post-war Berlin clearly, in my opinion, helped create the haunted spirit of Nico”.
Earlier, Connelly released the lead track ‘Eulogy to Lenny Bruce’, heralded by some as Connelly’s finest vocal performance. Appearing on Nico’s 1967 album ‘Chelsea Girl’, this song was penned by the tragic Tim Hardin about the equally tragic Lenny Bruce but with slightly altered lyrics. Nico’s sorrowful delivery is laced with anger at Bruce’s death.
On this album, Connelly worked with producer and long-time collaborator Chris Bruce, who is a band member of Meshell Ndegeocello and also worked with Seal, Aaron Neville, Bob Dylan, The Waterboys, My Brightest Diamond, Cheryl Crow and Sam Phillips.
‘Eulogy to Christa’ 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. This album sees Connelly purposefully adopt the personas of Nico, Lou Reed and John Cale – even Andy Warhol makes a cameo!
The album was also inspired by the book ‘You Are Beautiful and Your Are Alone’ by Jennifer Otter Bickerdicke, who contributed to album liner notes, noting “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.”
The Nico material spans from her first Jimmy Page-composed single and her time with The Velvet Underground to her intense and unique solo recordings up until her death. In song, Connelly 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.
As of October 12, ‘Ripcord, Ripcord’ will be available via Bandcamp. ‘Eulogy to Lenny Bruce’ can also be found there, as well as Apple Music and Amazon. The full ‘Eulogy to Christa’ LP will be released digitally on November 11, coinciding with Connelly’s birthday, and is already available for pre-order via Bandcamp. The CD version will be released on December 4.
Connelly’s album release show takes place on Thursday, November 10 at Chicago’s Gman Tavern. He will be accompanied by Matt Walker, Carolyn Engelmann and other members of Sons of the Silent Age.