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Smiley Smile Stuff => General On Topic Discussions => Topic started by: Charles LePage @ ComicList on February 25, 2006, 07:15:30 PM

Title: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Charles LePage @ ComicList on February 25, 2006, 07:15:30 PM
Has anyone here ever heard or heard of these sessions?  Any ideas when they were recorded? I'm guessing sometime in 1992 or 1993.

Happy Happy, Joy Joy! the seasons of "April March"

by Stacey Anderson April March is,unquestionably the coolest chick on the planet — but she may also be insane. The woman, whose resume reads like an indie kid's fantasy draft ("The Ren and Stimpy Show," "X-Files," Brian Wilson, Yo La Tengo, etc.), is going into labor with her second child on Friday morning. So of course,her first reaction is to go online and apologetically reschedule this interview.
April March (real name: Elinor Blake) has the accomplishments of a handful of ambitious people. A cartoonist for Archie Comics, Madonna's "Who's That Girl' video, and "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," she was also a tour de force behind the surreal "Ren and Stimpy Show" and served as a main animator and writer for the edgy cartoon. She even co-wrote the theme song, "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence."
With that on her plate, she also found time to co-record the "X-Files" theme, perform on the "Election" and "Orgasmo" soundtracks, record several still-unreleased demos with Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson, sing with Ronnie Spector, collaborate with Yo La Tengo and Madonna and become a respected underground pop artist who sings in both French and English. And she's also a wife and mother of two kids, Lucian and newborn Piero. Whew.
April gave this interview Tuesday morning after returning from the hospital, and she proved friendly and insightful despite her fatigue from a sleepless weekend. She even stayed awake long enough to go on tangents about water birthing, and the offensiveness of "freedom fries." We should all be so insane. Mustang Daily: What did you love first — drawing or music? April March: It's hard to say — I loved both things from a really early age. I can't even remember … There was a lot of music in my house and I was always drawing ladies-in-waiting. I guess I was four or five.
MD: What was your favorite "Ren and Stimpy" moment?
AM: There was one that was pretty special because it was an imitation of me — it was in the episode called "In the Army." We had to work really hard on that show and no one got any sleep; everyone was loopy all day. Every morning, it was really hard for me to wake up — you know that feeling, when that alarm clock goes off and you're like, "Oh, f—k!" — and in that episode, they're at boot camp. Ren is trying to get his boots on, and they're tired, and John [Kricfalusi, the creator] was doing Ren's voice and he just went into my voice, saying something like, "I can't keep it together!" like I did every morning. I was honored.
Oh, and Dick Van Dyke came to talk to us one day about comedic timing. There were a million great moments at "Ren and Stimpy," but that one was incredible. He's a genius.
MD: What were the inspirations for "Ren and Stimpy" episodes? AM: The writers would get together two or three times a week and have gag sessions with ideas. We'd usually do it at a restaurant and things got out of hand very quickly; people would be like, "Who are those people going crazy at that table?" It was definitely a boy's club; I was the only girl in that capacity. MD: You've worked with some impressive names: Yo La Tengo, Ronnie Spector, Brian Wilson, Madonna. What is necessary for a good collaboration between artists?
AM: Some kind of connection, an artistic understanding; it's more about attitude, a similarity in wanting to experiment. There's some kind of cohesion with an artistic temperament. MD: I'm a Beach Boys freak, so I have to ask: What's Brian Wilson really like, as a person and as an artist?
AM: He's really sweet and very shy. I remember the first time I worked with him — obviously, I was completely dumbfounded and terrified, and I'm pretty shy, but I could tell he was more shy. Yeah, he's very childlike — not childish, that's different. He's guarded but very playful. The demos are there, in the vault.

May 16, 1999
April March
American pop with a French twist. April March brings the joys of ye-ye to the land of hamburgers and Coca-Cola.

In 1995 Blake recorded an entire album of Gainsbourg songs Gainsbourgsion and two more of his songs on Chick Habit which helped catch the attention of Dust Brothers John King and Michael Simpson (kingpins of Ideal Records) and French producer Bertrand Burgalat. It took nearly three years of collaborating with Burgalat before Chrominance Decoder was a finished product.

"He (Burgalat) heard one of my earlier records, liked it and invited me to France to make a record with him," said Blake, a self-proclaimed '90s girl,' who in addition to her musical work, paints, writes and was an original animator for the Ren and Stimpy cartoons. "It took three years, on and off, to finish it. It could have been completed in three months but, it was spread out over a period of time."


Also during that period Blake did work with Andy Paley, Jonathan Richman and the God himself, Brian Wilson. Her work with Wilson has yet to see the light of the outside world, adding more legendary mystery to Wilson's persona.

"The stuff we did together was very old school Pet Soundsy type things," said Blake about her recordings with Wilson. "There were no synths. The songs sound like old girl groups because I'm singing and Brian is singing back-ups."

April March trapped in the 60s

By: David Barclay
Issue date: 2/3/04 Section: a & e

March is somewhat of a garage music icon. Her reputation was established in 1996 when she recorded an album with garage-punk legends The Makers. It is told that at every show The Makers played during their first year of inception, they fought another band, audience member or owner of the club.

Now, this may make them sound like a bunch of goons, but these guys were pretty sharp. They wore 60s-cut black suits, shades and Beetle boots, and played some of the rawest garage punk ever produced. To meet someone who was personal friends with The Makers was surely the source of a thousand stories. However, to this writer's dismay, Madame March informed me that they were "really sweet and really nice guys."

Around the same time, March recorded a demo with the greatest producer of the 60s, Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. Did the madman force her to sing while playing in a sandbox? Did she record any tracks with all vegetable percussion? In actual fact, March claims, nothing outrageous happened during her brief sessions with Brian Wilson. Apparently he is "really shy." Consequently, this writer must apologize for idolizing certain aspects of music beyond the possibility of entertainment value.

April March rides the new nouvelle vague

In her early years, Blake shared the stage with Ronnie Spector, recorded demos with Brian Wilson, played with Jonathan Richman and, before tackling music full-time, drew for Archie Comics, worked on Pee-Wee's Playhouse and co-animated the first two seasons of Ren & Stimpy. And hey, kids, this successful, multi-talented, well-read, bilingual lady never went to college! She did, however, benefit from some home-schooling en fran็ais.

Dear Friends,

I hope you have a few minutes because this is a rather long story. It starts with me arriving in Los Angeles from New York City in 1991. I drove out in my sister's Volkswagon Fox to work at Spumco on "The Ren and Stimpy Show." I was an animator, you see. Now I'm a retired animator. I paint instead. When I arrived I was fresh from quitting my band of five years, The Pussywillows. I'd been animating videos and commercials full time while I was singing in The Pussywillows and the combination just about killed me. So, I made a pact with myself that now I would concentrate only on animation. The day after I arrived in Los Angeles I met Tim Hensley. I was so excited by his album, "Victor Banana," that I suggested we do something together. So he promptly wrote some killer songs for me, and we were on our way to making a record.

Meanwhile, Andy Paley appeared one day at Spumco wanting to produce a Ren and Stimpy record for Sire. John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy's creator) called me into the meeting since I was the person at the studio most familiar with these matters. I was very excited to meet Andy because he's produced some awesome records and done some very admirable things. Let's start with his discovering the tapes of The Shaggs, the group that made it possible for women to enter the rock sphere. And then we should end there so we don't run out of pages on this booklet. Andy invited John and me for dinner that night for homemade lasagna. That was the start of a great friendship.

Soon after, I began publishing demos and movie soundtrack recordings. Then we began to write together, Andy and Brian Wilson are great friends and writing partners, so Andy play Brian the songs we'd been working on, and Brian flipped. When we were recording "Boomerang" Brian came into the studio and told us that it could number one in Motor Trend magazine. After that, Brian wanted to record something. So we did "Sweetie" together. Brian played piano, I sang.

Was I terrified? Yes. Was it fun? Very. Since that time, Andy and I continue to work together and Brian has sung with me on a few songs. We did all of our recording at the best studio in the world. This is Mark Linetts's studio in Glendale, California; it's called "Your Place Or Mine". Andy also introduced me to Jonathan Richman. He played guitar on some songs Andy and I Wrote and recorded together.

At the same time I had begun to record some songs for a French label called Eurovision which later became the albums: "Paris In April," "Chick Habit" And "Gainsbourgsion!" They had asked me to record my favorite Ye Ye songs. Ye Ye is a form of French pop from the early to mid-sixties. So I asked Jonathan to play on some of these songs. He likes French music too. Andy also played on these tracks. On some of these tracks Andy's playing everything: drums, guitars, bass, celeste, organ, percussion-all at the same time. Just kidding. But listen to Caribou. Andy is king of the playing every instrument track by track department. Also playing on these tracks are The merdabirds. That was the band I was in at the time.

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Jason on February 25, 2006, 07:28:43 PM
That's news to me. Interesting.

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: I. Spaceman on February 25, 2006, 08:09:39 PM
It's great stuff. It should be released.
Elinor is a fabulous girl.

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Charles LePage @ ComicList on February 26, 2006, 01:01:23 AM
It's great stuff. It should be released.
Elinor is a fabulous girl.

I probably shouldn't even ask, but... this means these sessions have been booted somewhere?

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Surfer Joe on February 26, 2006, 01:20:38 AM
It's great stuff. It should be released.
Elinor is a fabulous girl.

Ian, you know Elinor?

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Surfer Joe on February 26, 2006, 01:23:10 AM
And PS This took place around 1992.  They called my house once from the studio looking for a bootleg recording of "Sweetie" (I wasn't home).

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Kirk Lowdermilk on February 26, 2006, 02:47:04 AM

Here's a partial article about her from the past year.

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Susan on February 26, 2006, 06:14:31 AM
I would LOVE to hear this stuff...

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Charles LePage @ ComicList on February 26, 2006, 01:12:10 PM
Oh, Ed Hemmingway:  I don't mind you "stealing" my post and posting it at Shut Down II.  After all, I stole the idea of asking about these sessions from Susan's board! :)

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Smilin Ed H on February 26, 2006, 03:17:47 PM
Thanks, Chuck.  I'd never heard of her, so I'm intrigued, to put it mildly.

Title: Re: Brian Wilson/April March sessions
Post by: Susan on February 26, 2006, 05:14:32 PM
Hey - if we can end up hearing some of this stuff, it doesn't matter WHICH board it comes from!