Christopher Waters
Julie Doiron
Publisher Title Transcript
Filler Magazine No.1 Eric's Trip Forever Changes Yes

"There are so many rumors about us," says Julie Dorion, bassist for Eric's Trip. "People are saying that I've left the band. Some others are saying that we'll never tour again and only release studio albums. I don't know how they dream this stuff up. "I'm still in the band. We will release our next album on September 27, but we won't tour again until next April or May," continues Dorion. "You do know I'm pregnant, don't you?"

Last spring, when fans of Moncton-based quartet Eric's Trip first heard that Dorion's relationship with bandmate Rick White had gone from romantic to platonic, they got nervous. When Dorion got involved in another relationship, and subsequently became pregnant, there was great wailing gnashing of teeth. The demise of Eric's Trip, they feared, couldn't be far behind.

After all, hadn't Eric's drummer Mark Gaudet suggested in a television interview on Ear To The Ground last year that Julie and Rick's relationship was special, and that he didn't know if the group would be the same if that were to change?

And then, with the release of this past summer's EP The Gordon Street Haunting, fans hardly got a chance to sigh their collective relief before they heard "Departure Song," in which White sings the contents of a "Dear John" letter to himself. "I'm going back to Ottawa, where everybody's more like me," he sings. "I hope it make you feel as all alone."

Like the break-ups between Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance as chronicled in Superchunk's Foolish album or Richard and Linda Thompson as predicted by Shoot Out the Lights, it appears that the emotional rubble from Dorion and White's relationship will dot the landscape of Eric's Trip's songs at least as far as the next record.

Says Dorion, "We thought about waiting to release this album - Sub Pop knew I was pregnant when they set the release date for the new record - but it was important to Rick that we release these songs while they still mean something to him." But isn't he concerned about the songs perhaps meaning too much?

"I think Rick sometimes is like that," explains Dorion. "We know what the songs are about, but sometimes I think people can figure out everything about our lives from listening to our songs."

It seems like only yesterday that the buzz about Eric's Trip was just beginning. Dorion talks about opening for Sonic Youth in Toronto like it was a few months ago, not two years ago. Back then the band would record itself in the basement of Rick White's parents house, releasing a number of cassettes with names like Warm Girl and Caterpillars before recording four songs for a seven-inch release by the Moncton based Naked in the Marsh (NIM) imprint. Captured on that single is one of the rare occasions that Eric's Trip has worked in a professional studio.

Recorded at Terry Pulliam's Soundmarket Studios, the band tried to capture the honest, homespun feeling that it was used to from its basement sessions. However, the Soundmarket experiment was unsuccessful. With the exception of two songs, none of the material has ever seen the light of day.

Eric's Trip's first wide-scale release came via the Sloan-owned-and-operated Murderecords label, which released the Peter EP the spring of 1993. The self-recorded six song release was sent back by the pressing plant-not once but twice-asking if it was supposed to sound like this.

Inspired by Sebadoh's home-made records and Pavement's recorder grot, Eric's Trip tends to release its material warts and all. White has said in the past the band is superstitious when it comes to recording, so often times whatever is captured while recording a track, background noise, feedback, purring cats, inevitably makes the final mix.

From Murder and Peter, it was on to Sub Pop and a maritime music sampler, Never Mind the Molluscs, and the Songs About Chris EP. Then came Eric's Trip's debut album, Love Tara.

Eric's Trip's forthcoming album, Forever Again, features 18-songs, but Dorion admits "it's still only about 42 minutes long. It's not like we write magnum opuses." This time the band completed the whole record themselves, including the masters, which was left to Steve Albini-accomplice Bob Weston on Eric's earlier Sub Pop products.

"It sounds really good. We recorded on a new 8-track, one that uses half-inch tape. We used to use quarter-inch."

This release continues the trend of guitarist Chris Thompson's active contribution to the songwriting process. Over the past year Thompson has released two cassettes, a seven-inch single and contributed several tracks to compilation records by derivative and Sonic Unyon by his solo project Moon Socket. And although many thought White was singing, it was Thompson who scored one of Love Tara's finest moments with "Frame."

"People used to think Rick was singing on "Frame," they only found out from seeing us play live that is was Chris' song," admits Dorion.

Thompson's increasing vocal contributions to Eric's Trip material like Gordon Street's "Never Grow" and the rapid release of his Moon Socket material makes one question the impetus of his late-blooming songwriting skills.

"Well Rick's pretty prolific," offers Dorion. "On the new record Mark and I contribute one song each, Chris doesn't have a lot of confidence ," she continues."At first he wasn't writing a lot. When we started out he would perform standing backwards. Even now he won't play his songs sometimes, if he thinks he hasn't been singing well the past couple of nights."

Touring seems to adversely affect the whole band. The bandmembers' attitude is perhaps best summed up by the title of a song on a recent Aussie-released Summershine single, "Trapped in New York in Room 605." An article which ran in the Halifax Daily News announcing the band's singing to Sub Pop was headlined "Escape from Moncton." It couldn't have been farther from the truth. "Sub Pop knows we don't like touring. They are happy as long as we do a little bit of promotion stuff like videos. Also, Rick will be doing a tour of East Coast radio stations in October, I want to go but I'll be seven months by then so I don't know.

We'll be playing at the Halifax Pop Explosion which should be good because it's right around the time that our new record comes out so we'll be able to play our new songs. We're funny that way because we don't like to play songs unless they have been released. I think we've only played new songs on the last tour we did."

Dorion's record label, Sappy Records, which in the past has put out vinyl singles by her solo acoustic project Broken Girl and Eric's Trip solo record alternatively referred to as the Stereo Mountain single and Julie and the Porthole to Dimentia (sic) is currently on hiatus.

"Sappy is in a lull right now," she explains. "Everything is sold out. I thought about reprinting stuff but I think I want to do something new. There's a guy in the band Wooden Stars, who does solo stuff under the name Snail House that I would like to release. I also hope to do a Broken Girl album, but Sub Pop seems to want to put it out--well, they didn't really say no when I mentioned it to them but I didn't really find out for sure. I think I'll start recording it and let them listen to it before they decide.

"Other than that, I'm doing a lot of swimming. I used to be a life guard in high school, and the pool I used to work at offered me a job if I get my accreditation back."

So while Dorion bones up on her CPR technique and the band fills the time in-between recording and practising, fans of Eric's Trip will be left to study its new Sub Pop record along with a couple of single releases until next spring's proposed tour.

"We just got a letter from a label in Europe asking to put out a single by us. I imagine we will do something for them," says Dorion. "You know by next May, I think we actually might look forward to going on tour."

© Christopher Waters, 1995