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THE FUZZTONES AT THE ELIXIR FESTIVAL - BRITTANY 1985 - BY RUDI PROTRUDI



1985 - The Fuzztones were on our first European tour, opening for The Damned. We'd just played the Hammersmith Palais in London. The Damned's drummer, Rat Scabies, was standing at the bar, chatting with Jimmy Page, and had just introduced him to Deb, when a young kid who'd been a Damned fan and had recently converted to becoming a Fuzztones fan, entered the picture. Rat began belittling the kid and Deb came to his defense. After a few choice words, she began to walk away. That's when Rat sucker punched her, knocking her unconscious. And that's where our story begins….

 

Excerpt from Rudi's autobiography : "The Fuzztone (Raisin' A Ruckus)"

 

I was in the dressing room when Rat beaned Deb. In the past I might have confronted him, but by this point I'd been on the receiving end of the band's castigation for over a month and as it was usually instigated by Deb, I was not feeling particularly sympathetic. As I recall, none of the others stepped up to her defense either. Perhaps they weren't all that enamored with her dipping into our miniscule earnings to buy herself new outfits. We did put our differences aside long enough to discuss the issue, and what we intended to do about it. Deb contacted a friend at FBI, the booking agency responsible for booking us on the tour, who advised her to demand an apology - which we did. Rat, or most likely his handlers, offered a bouquet of flowers with a note. "Sorry, Rat." In other circumstances I'm sure we would have told The Damned to fuck off, but after a night of hanging with members of Led Zeppelin, Hanoi Rocks, Motorhead and the Lords of the New Church, it's just not that easy to go back to The Dive with your tail tucked between your legs. We were there to prove something and now we were more determined than ever.

    The timing couldn't have been better for us to leave the tour and do a few headlining dates of our own. Although The Damned's audience had been warming to us, we soon discovered that we had ardent fans of our own awaiting in Holland, France and Italy. The gig in France, as it turned out, was probably the most important of the whole tour - and it was a fluke at that!

The Elixir Festival, a huge outdoor rock concert, was being held in Brittany. Filling in for the Ramones, who had cancelled, we played to 20,000 people, sharing the bill with Midnight Oil, Depeche Mode and the Clash. The opening act was Leonard Cohen, whose trailer was next to ours in the lot behind the stage. Although I had never heard Cohen, one of my favorite bands, Pearls Before Swine, had recorded impressive versions of two of his songs, and through them I felt I knew him. Since I hadn't slept for three entire days, any sense of intimidation I may have normally had was gone. I decided to drop in on him. I'd heard he was a drinking man, so I came armed with a bottle of Jack that the festival had generously provided. Leonard was surprisingly humble and gracious, and invited me in. Together we downed the entire bottle, while exchanging philosophies on life, women and whatever.

Actually I'm guessing. I have absolutely no memory of our conversation, only that we got on famously. Truth is, I don't even remember playing the festival at all. But that's what three sleepless nights and a half bottle of Jack will do to ya. Although I didn't catch his set, I recently watched video footage of both of our performances and we both appear sober as judges. A sign of real pros.

       Best magazine later declared The Fuzztones "THE revelation of the festival."

By the way, for any of your readers who might be interested, both volumes of my autobiography (the second being "The Fuzztone (A Life at Psychedelic Velocity)" are available through me at info@fuzztones.net.

Rudi Protrudi


Photographs taken by Gildas Cospérec



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