Sharing a cuppa tea with…Wreckless Eric

Nov 2017 Sharing a cuppa tea with…Wreckless Eric

Wreckless Eric chats about many things including Tom Petty, secrets, and plynths.

REMEMBER that legendary song The Whole Wide World? Of course you do.

Written by singer/songwriter/musician Wreckless Eric, it has been covered by many artists including The Monkees, Elvis Costello, Marilyn Manson, The Proclaimers, Amanda Palmer, Will Ferrell, plus others and is a hit all over again by American band Cage The Elephant.

Who is Wreckless Eric? Who is Eric Goulden? I suppose you could decipher the code by mixing up a recipe comprised of a teaspoon of rock, some big chords, a tablespoon of pop, a pinch of punk, a sprinkle of whimsy, perhaps some new wave, and lots of energy.

Oh yes! Don’t forget to add the zest. Onecan never have too much zest. If the recipe sounds a bit on the complicated side, well, it is which is why there is only one Wreckless Eric. And guess what! I was the
lucky one who recently got to share a cuppa with the enigma known as Wreckless Eric.

Pull up a chair and eavesdrop on our conversation.

1. 1977 or 2017?
1977 is over-rated. I preferred the earlier seventies but I’d love to go back to 1977 knowing everything I know now. In 1977 success came easily and I probably didn’t appreciate it. We thought the world was a terrible place but just look at us now.
2. Monkees or Proclaimers?
I loved The Monkees from when they first came about in 1966. I heard they’d recorded Whole Wide World and I was over the moon, making mental lists: Last TrainTo Clarksville, I’m A Believer, Whole Wide World… Goffin & King, Neil Diamond, Boyce & Hart…and now me…

And then the record arrived in the post. Mike Nesmith wasn’t on it and a lot of the tunes had been written by a songwriting team that Stiff Records tried to pair me up with just before I left. Let’s just say I was disappointed. The Proclaimers on the other hand – they did it on an album called Life With You which is utterly brilliant. I went on tour with them, played the guitar and sang harmonies on Whole Wide World. I love them! They sang it in their Scottish accents, made it their own.

3. What was the first record you bought
The first 45 was Globetrotter by The Tornadoes in 1962. The first LP I bought was Are You Experienced by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1968. I’ve still got both records.

4. Have you ever had a broken heart?
Who in this world hasn’t?

5. Where do you keep your moral
I didn’t know I had one.

6. If you could have invited anyone (living
or dead) to have joined our wee tea
party; who would it have been?
There are so many. I thought of Tom Petty obviously because he’s uppermost in my mind at the moment. I’ve never met him but I covered Walls together with my wife as one half of Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby. A punk guy I know said: ‘I’ll never forgive you, you c**t – you made me like a Tom Petty song.’ I’ve never met Tom Petty and I’ve always wondered if he ever heard our version of Walls and whether he liked it. We put it out on our own label, had to pay the publishing royalty and everything. The
cheque we sent was paid into the account of Jane Petty. I suggested to Amy that he probably took her out to dinner with the money but she thought, as they lived in Malibu, it might only have stretched to lunch. Later, we decided he probably treated her to a pedicure. I wish I could ask him about that over a cup of tea.

7. What is/was your favourite: kiss?
Comic book? Song? Word?
Too many to count. My favourite word may well be plynth – I never use it in conversation, just keep it by me and say it to myself occasionally for my own amusement. I’m not a collector of kisses, they’re fairly fleeting moments. Some are memorable but they don’t rank in terms of favourites, that’s just some stupid I-Tunes feature. When I was a kid I liked the Beano comic. My grandmother ran a newsagent’s shop. She always gave me the Topper comic and I loved that, probably more than the Beano.
I have a million favourite songs.

8. Who have you asked for an
Les Harvey, the original guitarist in Stone The Crows. He was Alex Harvey’s brother. He signed my programme when I saw them play on a bill with Terry Reid and Procol Harum. That was a long time ago, of course. He died not that long afterwards. A great guitar player, he changed the way I thought about playing. I was introduced to Captain Beefheart by the painter Peter Blake. I probably wouldn’t have dared ask for his autograph under any circumstances, but at that point it most definitely wouldn’t have been cool. I’ve signed literally thousands of autographs over the past 40 years. I don’t mind but I often ask people if they’re sure before I deface a pristine LP cover.

9. Tell us a secret.
Isn’t that self-defeating? If I tell you a secret, you’ll put it in here as a secret for the people who read it, but it won’t be a secret anymore because I will have told you. And that’s my way of saying I can’t think of a secret that I don’t want to remain a secret, but don’t tell anyone because it’s a secret. More tea…?

10. Did your dreams come true?
Yes. I used to think how great it would be to have a song like Gloria that every garage band would cover at their first rehearsal, a song that was known all over. I wrote Whole Wide World, and years later, I realised that was it. I also met my wife largely because of that song.

11. What’s new?
My latest album is called ‘amERICa’ and it’s out on Fire Records. I have a new album ready for release in the new year. Check the website for more info on gigs, news, et al. And with that, the party was over though my intrigue for all things wreckless carries on.