Wreckless Eric

Published on June 2nd, 2018

By the end of the ’70s people knew they were living in a moment. Its   markers in New York were the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Television and the sainted Bowery dive CBGB. The next wave was coming in California with Catholic Discipline, Agent Orange, the Germs and, in 1980, Minutemen. And while America went through its eclectic, evolutionary throes, the U.K. was still sloppy drunk with new wave and punk — one base for this binge being Stiff Records, early home of Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Motorhead and one Wreckless Eric.

Part pub rock, part new wave and all rock ’n’ roll, the Stiff Records era would take all comers. Famously, upon hearing that John Lennon was shopping a label for his album, “Double Fantasy,” Stiff Records offered to sign the former Beatle for a few thousand quid. Point being that a Wreckless Eric type would have had trouble getting noticed before — and probably after — that phase. But in that sweet spot where anything seemed worth a try, Eric’s single, “(Iíd Go The) Whole Wide World,” captivated young punks and new-wave miscreants everywhere.

Eric and Stiff would fall out hard over the usual creative differences,   but not before he’d made his bones at a critical, identity-forming stage of his artistic life. Eric has kept busy ever since, recording in various incarnations with the Captains of Industry, the Len Bright Combo, the Hitsville House Band and under his real name, Eric Goulden. He often tours with writing partner and wife, Amy Rigby.

His new album, “Construction Time & Demolition,” is vintage Wreckless Eric — an at times erratic set that thumps along with energy and soul. It harkens back to the days of careless abandon that Stiff Records underwrote for its artists, and maybe those aren’t all fond memories — the breakup with his label still looks like it hurt. But if the alternative was a life of Fleetwood Mac, Eagles and Carpenters — well, the world needed a kick in the pants then and it frankly still does. We’ve got Wreckless Eric to squire the newbies and show how it’s done.

Wreckless Eric plays a free show June 9 at Las Rosas in Miami with Mr. E & MLE, Rob Elba, Karoshi and Dj Skidmark. ~ Tim Moffatt

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