Do or Die! Nico — In Europe 1982 Diary

Side 1:

  1. Janitor of Lunacy (4:02)
    Bologna Teatro Nuovo Medica 1982-03-28 #
  2. All Tomorrow's Parties (4:44)
    Bologna Teatro Nuovo Medica 1982-03-28
  3. Sãeta (4:19)
    Rotterdam 1982-03-07
  4. Sãeta (2:56)
    Manchester, Piccadilly Radio 1982-01-00 ##
  5. Vegas (3:13)
    Rotterdam 1982-03-07 [mono]
  6. No One Is There (4:02)
    København Saltlageret 1982-02-14 *
  7. Innocent and Vain (2:23)
    London The Venue 1982-01-18 #
  8. Secret Side (3:43)
    København Saltlageret 1982-02-14 *

07 Mistitled Abschied

Side 2:

  1. Procession (3:06)
    London The Venue 1982-01-18 ###
  2. Heroes (5:52)
    Amsterdam 1982-03-06 [mono]
  3. Femme Fatale (3:03)
    London The Venue 1982-01-18
  4. All Tomorrow's Parties (2:43)
    København Saltlageret 1982-02-14 [Edited] **
  5. I'm Waiting for the Man (6:30)
    Bologna Teatro Nuovo Medica 1982-03-28
  6. The End (8:13)
    København Saltlageret 1982-02-14 *

Nico Amsterdam 1982-03-06
Amsterdam 1982-03-06 © Claude Crommelin

Do or Die! US ROIR cassette
« Details »

Recorded European Tour 1982-01-18 — 1982-03-28
1982-01-00 Piccadilly Radio, 127/131 The Piazza, Piccadilly Plazza, Manchester M1 4AW
1982-01-18 The Venue, 160-162 Victoria Street, London [+ The Blue Orchids]
1982-02-14 Saltlageret, Skt. Jørgens Sø, København
1982-03-06 Amsterdam
1982-03-07 Rotterdam
1982-03-28 Teatro Nuovo Medica, Bologna
Live & Mix Recording: Phil Rainford [The Duritti Column]

Production coordinator U.S.A.: John Hanti
Liner Notes U.S.A. Edition: Georgio Gomelsky
Concept U.S.A. Edition: Neil Cooper
Mastering Lab/Duplication U.S.A.: A.S.R. Recording Service
© 1982 Licensed by Reach Out International Records Inc. from
© 1982 One Over Two Records U.K.
Duplicated on BASF DPS Tape
EQ-120 US, Vias Normal, ROIR Catalog A-117 Stereo
ROIR Cassettes, Suite 214, 611 Broadway, New York City, New York 10012, U.S.A.

Nico: vocal, harmonium
The Blue Orchids:
Martin Bramah: guitar, backing vocals
Rick Goldstraw [Eric McGann]: guitar
Una Baines: Yamaha Synthesizer
Steve Garvey [Steven Patrick Garvey]: bass, backing vocals
Toby Toman [Phillip Tomanov]: drums

Nico: vocal, harmonium
* with Samarkand:
Vaskin & Mahamad Hadi

Nico: vocal a cappella **

Nico: vocal, harmonium #

Nico: vocal
Una Baines: piano ##

Nico: vocal, harmonium
Toby Toman [Phillip Tomanov]: drums ###

MC liner notes by Georgio Gomelsky


New York, October 1982.

Dear Ari,

You don't know me but I know you, Mum, Nico. Her record company asked me to write a few words for her new release and rather than a serious "critique" I thought it would be fun to write you a letter and tell you a story about her.

There are many good stories about Nico. This is about her penchant for marvelously curious catastrophes and could be entitled: NICO AND THE DOCTRINE OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

It was 1974 or 75 in Paris. I was managing MAGMA, a fiercely original and uncompromising band, not welcome, of course, on the radio, TV or in commercial clubs. We had a hard time getting gigs and saving money to improve the equipment and we were playing in Maison des Jeunes, parking lots, public squares, abandoned churches, slowly but surely making progress. Although I had never met your mother I knew her work and much admired her uniquely ironic and accurate sense of the dilemmas and contradictions facing modern artists. So, when my friends Bob and Barbara Benamou introduced me to her I was delighted. At the time, pursuing a seemingly obscure but no doubt meaningful artistic quest, she was working with Philippe Garrel who, besides literally starving, was making some mysterious beautiful avant-garde films. She was also living with him in this apartment where everything, but everything, was painted black. Now, you know your mother's propensy to dark, conspiratorial plots, no one can quite follow, and I don't precisely remember how it occurred, but one day she ended up living with my wife, my newborn baby and myself in our house in Sèvres. She was easy to live with, considerate and discreet, except that first thing in the morning she would ask one to partake in a concoction of 100 proof peppered Polish vodka with hot-sauce and God knows what else that would set fire to one's mouth. One night I took her to see MAGMA and she sort of fell in love with their music. Opening her eyes in wonderment she would say in her slow rounded speech: "Oh! But Giorgio, this is the best band in the world..." The band, particularly Christian Vander also liked her work. They, were due for a tour, she for a record, so, I thought, let's put them together for a while and, who knows, something great might evolve. As I told you, intelligent music was not exactly in demand and touring France was more like guerrilla warfare, with endless Identity Checks at toll-booths of the Autoroute, cancellations of concerts for political reasons and other no less harassing difficulties. We were, however, breaking new ground and just about perceiving the end of the tunnel. So, when on a cold, misty and wet morning in February — having warned Nico to expect a certain degree of discomfort — we left Paris, our spirits were high: She needed the money and we needed the exposure.

MAGMA's line-up at the time consisted of 7 musicians and 2 roadies and normally they would all be travelling in an old Mercedes van which took 9 people plus the equipment. With Nico and myself we were 12 now, so I took my car along, an old but comfortable 2-seater, Facel-Vega in which everyone wanted to ride and I had a hard time establishing fair turns.              

The first 2 or 3 gigs want off well but as luck would have it —and thanks to drafty hotel rooms and poorly heated halls— your mother came down with a terrible cold. This prompted her to acquire a substantial supply of medicines of all kinds, culminating with a particular brand of cough-syrup which, much to our relief, seemed to alleviate her condition and generally keep her cheerful. Never mean when it came to sharing her discoveries, she invited us all to taste the healing properties of her elixir and soon, everyone began to sneeze, puff, cough and whiffle and buying little brown bottles.

A few days later at one of the most important concerts of the tour —in Lyon or Avignon— I remember her (and everyone else for that matter) getting on stage with a whole supply of these little bottles. Sipping and singing, singing and sipping, she stayed up there for over an hour and a half, finally provoking the legendary impatient French audience into cat-calls and boos.

You can imagine the mood the next day. Never short on quips, Die Alte Zwetschge ("Old Plum", an affectionate tease) was totally disconsolate, disenchanted and displeased with me, the tour, Magma, life and the whole thing. Our next gig was in Toulouse, quite a distance away and I planned to leave early with the sound-roadie to check out the old theatre where the show was scheduled. Somewhat apprehensive, I thought perhaps she should ride with me and the roadie but then decided she'd be more comfortable in the van and after imploring the boys in Magma to use all their guises to cajole her during the long journey, I left.

We got to the theatre early, checked things out and waited for the van to arrive. 7 O'clock, 7:30, 8, 8:30, no van. The concert was due to start at 9, so we began to worry a little and decided to backtrack up the road and find out what, if anything, had happened. You can imagine my horror when, in the middle of nowhere some 20 miles from the city, I saw the van lying nose down, off the roadside, in a 50 foot deep embankment and, but for empty syrup bottles, no-one in sight. Fearing the worst, I drove to the nearest gas station and called the theatre. No news. I asked the people there to call the police and every hospital in the region and holding my breath drove back to the city as fast as I could. When I got there a considerable commotion was under way: hundreds of people were crowding the entrance, pushing and shoving. Somehow I ploughed my way through got inside and there in the foyer the most sorrowful sight awaited me : looking like a bunch of wounded from World War 1, with bandages on heads, knees, elbows and feet, leaning on crutches and walking-sticks, sat Nico and the most forlorn-looking band of musicians I ever laid eyes on. I know that mine was perhaps not the most considerate reaction, but I couldn't help laughing. Naturally I tried to find out what had happened; between Nico's dark mutterings and the band's contradictory narratives it was impossible to figure out and to this day we'll never really know. I remember that with her bandages and walking-sticks your mother looked like the ultimate Mater Dolorosa of Rock & Roll at the mercy of Unintended Consequences...         

Of course the concert got cancelled and so did the rest of the tour. Nico went back to Paris, then to England. Magma went back to saving money for a new van, and the record was never made. Who knows, it might still happen one day. In the meantime I often ask myself: What the hell was in that cough-syrup ?

Sincerely yours, GIORGIO GOMELSKY

© 1996-2011
Serge Mironneau