Eric's Trip INTERVIEW ARCHIVE November, 1995 - Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON
- David Southwell
- Rick White
"They're all real. I can really draw from real, sorta, bad feelings, and stuff." A wry smile tugs the corners of Rick White's long, thin mouth.He's tinkering with a tiny cork and paperclip figure. "I make up some stories, but they usually just relate to a real person in a way that symbolises that person. Weird stuff happens, it's just so.. I can onlywrite about personal things."There is a compelling, fiery glint in his eyes; he doesn't blink much.This is probably how he would confess to murder; he would make a cool serial killer. "Uh, I'm not trying to be too deep, I guess." Probably a good poker player, too, although there is the impression that he has never played.
It's Novemeber, 1995. Backstage at Lee's Palace, with less than half an hour to showtime, the quiet, unassuming, and reluctant leader of Eric's Trip is happy to talk about all-ages shows (likes 'em), computers (hates 'em), Sloan (knows 'em and loves 'em), and his songs (lives 'em). He discusses his fragmented lyrics on his own terms; when he is direct, he does not say enough, and when he is indirect, he only encourages more questions. The suspicion that the (usually) tortured characters in his songs are - worse than "real" people - actual Eric's Trip members and close friends of the band only becomes more sinister, and more upsetting when Rick confirms the autobiography.
Maybe it's also the way he can smile as he talks about pain: "she came back to me/at least for awhile/she brought with her some tests/she said as she smiled..." (Forever Again). "Forever Again is about me, and falling in love with..." he pauses, grins, then whispers the name of his (as of this summer) wife, "Tara." Another pause; he is searching for the best way to express something unpleasant. Time to confront the memories of his doomed relationship with Eric's Trip bassist/vocalist Julie Doiron: "It was about the whole sort of changeover [from Julie to Tara] affecting the circle of friends... It didn't end too well." Forever, Again is the final track on the album of the same name; to say that the album itself doesn't "end well" is only to say that it is truly upsetting work.
But that was a year ago and more. Not only did Rick and Julie salvage their friendship from the ruins of their failed love, Eric's Trip pulled through too, and is releasing its latest SupPop gut-wrencher this month. "The new record is going to be on, because we're all on our own things now, so it's not as personal about things within our own heads and lives." Rick and Julie seem distressingly proud to report on the happiness that plagues their current lives; they don't seem worried by the fact that uncharacteristic joy could have an adverse effect on their music. Any concerns are assuaged as Rick's nimble, nervous fingers decapitate the paperclip statue. Looks like all's right in Rick's happy-sad world after all, and in Eric's Trip.
© David Southwell, 1996