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Eux Autres: In Any Language

 
story by tim mcmahan


 

 

Lazy-i: August 30, 2005

Eux Autres
w/ Brinstone Howl, Kite Pilot
Sept. 1, 9p.m.
Goofy Foot Lodge
10th & Pacific
$3












I know what you're wondering. It's pronounced ooz-oh-truh and it means "The Others," in French of course.

It's also the name of a brother-and-sister rock band from Portland with Omaha roots. Guitarist/vocalist Nicholas Larimer graduated from North High School in '96, while his drummer/vocalist sister Heather graduated from Central in '90, where she was a cheerleader.

"I was the cheerleader that never smiled," she said from her house in Portland while Nicholas chimed in on a second phone in another room. "My trig teacher did an intervention on me. He said, 'You look like you'd rather be dead at those football games.'"

 

 

 

That was years before Heather first picked up a drumstick, before she and her brother and a couple friends got together on a Superbowl Sunday (Superbowl XXXVI to be exact) for their first impromptu band practice. "We were just messing around," Heather said, "and had this epiphany and said, 'Wait a second… could we?'" And Eux Autres was born.

The duo's French connection comes from sharing the common second language and Nicholas' love for '60s French pop music. "We were going to sing only in French and realized we don't know enough French to do all the lyrics," he said. "At the time, French pop was new to me. They have lots of songs where they sing in English, and it's generally pretty poor English. I figured we could do the same thing, but in French."

Nicholas rattled off a handful of his favorite French pop artists, including Serge Gainsbourg, Françoise Hardy, Jacques Dutronc and the so-called Yé-Yé Girls that included France Gall and Brigitte Bardot. But other than the language, it's hard to hear the French influence. Eux Autres sounds more like a mix of '60s British garage rock and groovy late-'90s K Records indie pop. Their latest CD, Hell Is Eux Autres, comes complete with hand claps, call-and-response vocals, and more than its share of undecipherable French phrases (actually, only on two tracks). I can imagine a young, rebellious Bardot strutting her stuff to their rowdy beat.

 

 


"They have lots of songs where they sing in English, and it's generally pretty poor English. I figured we could do the same thing, but in French."


 

 

 

 

"My trig teacher did an intervention on me. He said, 'You look like you'd rather be dead at those football games.'"


 

 

Eux Autres' Sept. 1 Goofy Foot gig is a one-off -- an easy date since the duo can always crash at their parent's house and borrow their brother's drum set. Touring is tough, however, with Heather's teaching job at a Portland college and Nicholas' pursuit of his master's degree at Parsons School of Design. Still, they plan on hitting the road after finishing the follow-up to Hell Is... in January and possibly signing with a label.

Could their careers get in the way of the rock? Heather doesn't think so. "I don't feel like we have to choose because Nicholas has his degree and I have five years' teaching experience. We could do the band stuff and be employable afterward. Having another career makes me less anxious about going forward with the band. It would be okay if music doesn't work out."


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Published in The Omaha Reader Aug. 31, 2005. Copyright 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.