Monday, 30 June 2014

LOLITAS "HARA KIRI" (1989)

Je hais le jour je déteste Ia nuit
Qui ne veut pas finir
Je me tourne me tourne dans mon lit
Je ne peux pas dormir

Tout ça me donne des envies de meurtre
De suicide de terreur
De tout casser de foutre le feu
De me tirer une balle dans le coeur

Envie de tout casser
De tout démolir
Envie de tout casser
D’en finir

Je ne supporte plus ce film
Je change de cinéma
Je dis salut et je me tire
Je t’écrirai de Nulle-Part

Ca me donne des envies de meurtre
De suicide de terreur
De tout casser de foutre le feu
De me tirer une balle dans le coeur

Envie de tout casser
De tout démolir
Envie de tout casser
De tout détruire

Et chaque jour et chaque nuit
Je me débats contre l’ennui
Parfois il perd parfois il gagne
C’est une lutte sans merci

Tout ça me donne des envies de meurtre
De suicide de terreur
De tout casser de foutre le feu
De me tirer une balle dans le coeur

Envie de tout casser
De tout démolir
Envie de tout casser
Envie d’en tinir


[from the lyrics of "Hara Kiri"]



Lolitas were a French-German rock band influenced by Punk, Rockabilly, U.S. Garage, French 60s Ye-Ye Music and Pop. Founded by Françoise Cactus and Coco Neubauer, they were active since the mid 80s for about eight years.

Their name was inspired by the famous Stanley Kubrick's movie "Lolita". The group mainly used the French language in their own music, reserving English mostly for covers of famous songs they regularly included on their albums.

Françoise Van Hove was born in Villeneuve-l'Archevêque, a small village in Burgundy, France. She earned the nickname "Cactus" for her habit of spending her spare time hanging around in the greenhouse behind her parents' house.

During the first half of the 80s she started writing songs and moved to West Berlin; here she joined the Geniale Dilettanten (Ingenious Dilettantes) movement, a merger of the New Wave and Post-Punk scene. During those days she used to make a living by giving French lessons.

Guitarist Coco Neubauer, also known as Coco Nut, was born in southwest France and then used to live in Paris for many years. At age 9 he was fascinated by an early Rolling Stones record played for him by his cousin and fell in love with the Rhythm & Blues genre.



Françoise and Coco met in Berlin, they soon became friends and decided to form a band. Their common interest were focused on American music, from Gospel to Hardcore via Rock'nRoll, Country, etc. Morevoer, having spent her youth listening to the radio, Françoise has always had a soft spot for la Chanson Française, some of her idols were Sylvie Vartan, Christophe, Antoine, Françoise Hardy, Jacques Dutronc, Johnny Halliday...

In early 1986, with the complicity of an unnamed Irish girl on the bass, they founded Lolitas and began to play live in Berlin. Since the original bassist soon returned to Ireland, Italian guitarist/bassist Michele "Tutti Frutti" Bordini (...described as "a mixture of Adriano Celentano and Sid Vicious"...) was chosen as a replacement.

With this new and more stable line-up, Lolitas expanded their sphere of activity playing in other venues across Germany. Despite their French lyrics (...or perhaps exactly because of them...)  the band fascinated the audience exuding a naïve atmosphere, sexy, kitsch and slightly perverse.

In October 1986, What's So Funny About.. - an independent label from Hamburg - released their homonymus first album which was highly welcomed by the German press. "Lolitas" (...available here...) catched the attention of New Rose who re-released it with a completely different cover in early 1987 for the French market: althought they have never played live in France, the band has made a mark with the Rock'n'Roll aficionados.

New Rose was THE french indie label of the 80s. Created by Patrick Mathé and Louis Thevenon, the label knew ten years (1981/1992) of magnificence and fame; during its existence it was one of the most important independent labels worldwide.

At that point the trio expanded with bassist Olga La Basse - a German girl from the Black Forest region - allowing Tutti Frutti to dedicate himself to the guitar, his preferred instrument.


Françoise Cactus as she appears on the back cover of "Hara Kiri", 1989

"Séries Américaines", the second Lolitas album (...available here...), was mostly recorded during Summer 1987 at Vielklang Studio in Berlin with the help of acclaimed Australian record producer and sound engineer Tony Cohen, best known for his work with The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The album was released later the same year by What's So Funny About.. in Germany and in 1988 by New Rose in France, once again with two completely different sleeves.

As their relation with New Rose intensified, Alex Chilton - who was already collaborating with the label and was a fan of the band - accepted to produce their third album. Chilton was a famous American songwriter, guitarist and singer known for his work with the Box Tops in the late 60s.

"Fusée d'amour" was recorded in Memphis in August 1988. Lolitas discovered the U.S. and had a very good time: not only they lived the big adventure of recording with the legendary Chilton (...who also produced The Cramps and Tav Falco's Panther Burns...) in the city of Sun Studios and Stax, and with the participation of Jim Dickinson at the piano in a few songs, but also made the most of their trip playing some shows in New York, Baltimore, Memphis and down to New Orleans.

The album was released in early 1989 by Vielklang in Germany and by New Rose in France and... Can you guess it? Yes, the two editions featured a completely different artwork! This was also the first Lolitas release available in CD format. Once, again, the album was well received by the press.


Tutti Frutti as he appears on the back cover of "Hara Kiri", 1989

New songs were recorded under the supervision of German producer Andy Young in May 1989, and five of them appeared later the same year on the 12" EP entitled "Hara Kiri", which is the subject of this post, released by Vielklang in Germany and by New Rose in France and... Can you guess it again? No, you're wrong, this time the cover artwork was exactly the same...

Compared to the band's previous output, the five cuts on the EP were unusually melancholic... What could be the reason for this? Maybe it is just pure coincidence, but exactly at this time Tutti Frutti decided to quit the band and returned in Italy to devote himself to a more traditional form of Rockabilly music with his new band, the A-Bombers; sadly I wasn't able to find traces of this activity of him...

Tex Morton - born Peter Hajunga - former guitarist of the German Psychobilly band Mad Sin and the Hard-Rockers Lüde & Die Astros, joined Lolitas in late 1989. According to Coco, he was the only one who could replace Tutti Frutti.

During the previous years Lolitas had already released a few singles, but most of them contained tracks from the albums with no exclusive material. In 1990 Vielklang published a very special item: a gatefold 7" double single which, althought credited to Lolitas, featured four tracks by the individual members (...plus guests...) recorded in late 1988 (Tutti Frutti) and 1989 (all the others).

But let's go back to 1989: in October Lolitas shared the stage with Chris Spedding at a New Rose party during the Berlin Independent Days festival. Spedding is one of the UK's most versatile session guitarists, and has had a long career that saw him tackle nearly every style of Rock'n'Roll as well as sporadically attempting a solo career. Charmed by the freshness of their Rock sung in French, which for once didn't sound at all like a bad copy of American Rock, Chris confirmed he was ready to produce their fourth album in his adopted new hometown of New York.


Coco as he appears on the back cover of "Hara Kiri", 1989

In April 1990 Lolitas made their second trip to the USA, excited by the collaboration with Spedding, who gifted them with his warmth, charisma and immense creativity producing the songs and also playing piano, organ, cello, squeeze box (accordion) and backing vocals for them. In May the group toured across the U.S. for the second - and last - time.

"Bouche-baiser", the result of the sessions at Baby Monster Studio in N.Y.C., was released in September by Vielklang in Germany and New Rose in France, it was highly praised by the French and German rock medias.

During Autumn 1990 Lolitas extensively toured across Europe and recorded their performances directly to DAT; the best of these recordings were released in 1991 by Vielklang on "La fiancée du pirate", a sort of official bootleg whose audio quality sits somewhere in between an audience tape and a soundboard recording.

A new album was recorded in July 1991 at the group's rehearsal room in Berlin. "My English Sucks" was released by Vielklang in 1992. All the songs on this release are sung in English, it includes brand new songs and new versions of old songs that already apparead on Lolitas' previous albums.

In 1992 New Rose was sold to Fnac and quickly disappeared. Coco moved away to Guadeloupe to start a new life and the group disbanded. In 1995 Françoise Cactus met Brezel Göring at a local supermarket and founded Stereo Total, but this is a completely different story...

A selection of tracks taken from "Fusée d'amour" and "Bouche-baiser" was released in 1998 as "New York - Memphis" by Last Call Records, a label created in 1994 by Patrick Mathé, one of the original founders of New Rose.


Olga as she appears on the back cover of "Hara Kiri", 1989


"Hara Kiri" contains the following tracks:

01. Hara Kiri (3:53)
02. Julie (3:12)
03. Dans le train (3:23)
04. Johnny Guitar (2:50)
05. D'Yer Mak'er (4:41)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in June 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.



Side A opens with the title-track, a slow number about suicide and destruction, which features excruciating guitar solos and desperate lyrics.

The melancholiac "Julie" seems to deal with the point of view of someone who is forced to stay at home because of a disability, or with someone who is, once again, about to commit suicide...

"Dans le train" is about a long journey by train where the protagonist (...Françoise?) sees her whole life passing by just like the trees and the landscape out of the window; the song ends with a positive aim for the future...



On Side B we find two covers. The first one is "Johnny Guitar", the famous song written by Peggy Lee (lyrics) and Victor Young (music) which was the title track of the 1954 movie of the same name directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Joan Crawford. The original Peggy Lee version is available here; Lolitas' version features effective accordion parts in its arrangement.

The second cover, and last song of this 12" EP, is "D'yer Mak'er", a Led Zeppelin original that was featured on "Houses of the Holy", their fifth album. The song is quite unusual in their repertoire because is mainly a Reggae number... The whole story of this song is available here, you can listen to the original version here. Lolitas' version is pretty faithful and it flows quickly without leaving a big impression on the listener...


Here's the credits list of "Hara Kiri":

Françoise Cactus: vocals, drums, percussion
Olga: bass, vocals
Tutti Frutti: eletric guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar
Coco: eletric guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, percussion

Karin Jung: accordion

All songs written by Lolitas except "Johnny Guitar" by Victor Young and Peggy Lee, and "D'Yer Mak'er" by John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin).

Recorded and mixed at Vielklang Studio, Berlin, 26-31 May 1989.

Produced by Andy Jung.

Front cover painting by Sabina Van der Linden (S.M.V.D.L.).


Lolitas as they appear on the CD booklet of "Fusée d'amour" (Vielklang edition), 1989


The following videos offer a preview of the remastered EP, here's my favourite tracks: "Hara Kiri", "Julie", and "Johnny Guitar", enjoy!








A few more information about Lolitas is available here:

http://www.lastcallrecords.com/frenchbiogs/lolitaf.html

http://pirate.family.free.fr/pages/Lolitas.html

http://www.myspace.com/leslolitas/

http://www.45toursderockfrancais.net/rockfrancais/lolitas45t.htm

http://www.rockmadeinfrance.com/encyclo/lolitas/

http://euthanasie.records.free.fr/discographie/Zgroupe-L/Lolitas.htm

http://namaste-baba.blogspot.com/2011/04/des-lolitas-stereo-total-mettez-une.html

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Lolitas


If you have any other useful information about Lolitas and "Hara Kiri" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

4 comments:

  1. DOWNLOAD LINKS

    FLAC: https://www.mediafire.com/?sgf...

    MP3: https://mega.co.nz/#!pI...

    If you download any of these files please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know about any broken link and deleted or unavailable files: I'll do my best to quickly reupload them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you!
    Alex Field from Rome, Italy

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you. Their sound is very unique. A mix of french pop and hard rock. Very cool.

    ReplyDelete

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