There’s no doubt that Vincent Gallo the underground film actor/writer/producer and Vincent Gallo the greasy scenester with the rather uncouth bravado, significantly overshadows Vincent Gallo the musician, but that doesn’t mean his music career is any less interesting. Musically, his biggest claim to fame is still probably that at the age of 16, he joined a band with (the then unknown) artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, but he’s been involved in a lot of interesting experimental music endeavors and soundtrack work throughout his career. In 2001, Warp Records released his non-soundtrack solo debut “When,” a critically acclaimed effort that is one of the most avant/indie albums you’ll ever hear from anyone who has crossed the music and film divide. Now Gallo has returned with a new band project called RRIICCEE.
RRIICCEE is a full four-piece outfit, but in typical Gallo fashion, all traditional notions of a touring band have been thrown out the window. No songs have been written, recorded or rehearsed prior to the tour and no pre-written music will be performed on stage.
“It doesn’t mean we may not write a song that sounds like a conventional song,” Gallo says. “If you come to the show and no one told you that the show was…let’s say ‘spontaneously created,’ you wouldn’t know it because we’re not meandering and we’re not wallowing in some one musical form and just sort of soloing around it. We are actually creating pieces of music.”
Perhaps even stranger than Gallo’s choice to tour as a free-form improvised unit is his choice for his main partner in the project, Eric Erlandson, the former guitarist for nineties alt-rock legends Hole.
“I’ve seen Eric around for years,” Gallo muses. “Just about a year ago I bumped into him again, only this time at a really esoteric health food store [in Los Angeles]. And we got into a round of small talk and I ended it with a ‘Hey, are you doing any music these days?’”
The unlikely duo got together and started working on music, and eventually picked up Nikolas Haas on drums and Rebecca Casabian on keyboards. “I’m not any more of a dynamic member of the band than anybody else is…this is a real musical group, it’s not a Vincent Gallo vanity project or a side project,” he says. “This isn’t the next Vincent Gallo film, you know?” (Brad Knutson)
RRIICCEE plays December 15 at Schubas, 3159 North Southport, (773)525-2508, at 11:30pm. $15.