Classic Rock

Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse

If “a modern-day vaudeville circus act creating music” sounds like your thing, catch them live.

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Comprising Louisiana-born singer and musician Greta Valenti and guitarist and British Blues Hall Of Fame inductee Robin Davey, California-based Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse are taking their blend of blues, rock, country and soul around Britain on a 19-date tour.

You must be sick of explaining the band’s name, but… please spill the beans.

Valenti: [Laughs] Our song What’s My Name from our first album Love & Murder semi-explains that had I been a boy my name would have been Beaux Gregory, and that my dad always liked his boy children much better than me [laughs]. Also, I wanted a band that was all about Louisiana, where I’m from, and the beautiful gumbo of cultures that make up that incredibly unique place.

In these ADD-affected days, people scroll past something they don’t recognise. Has the name’s obscurity had any negative impact?

Davey: At first we did wonder if we had made a mistake, that it was so long, or too weird, but the opposite has happened. It stuck in people’s mind as unusual, even if they can’t pronounce it… Valenti: …It’s ‘Gree Gree’, not ‘Griss Griss’. It’s French, people!

The band’s intriguing­ly titled third album, Hot Nostalgia Radio, was written over a four-year spell, and you had more than a hundred songs to choose from. What were you looking for in the final fourteen?

Valenti: After such a long wait, every song had to be a banger. We’re an independen­t band, we run our own label and we really need to get our name out there and in front of more people. I wanted an album of songs that you could hear on the radio.

Satisfy Your Queen, the first single from the album, is powered by a dirty, Led Zeppelin-like riff that sticks in the brain.

Davey: My influences are the same as those of Jimmy Page. The intro riff is based around something Lightning Hopkins or Guitar Slim would play, but revved up a little. Which is basically what Zeppelin did.

The video for that track has Greta in mock vampire teeth and wielding a broad sword. It looks like it was a lot of fun to make.

Valenti: The song itself is a bit aggressive. I’m a woman demanding people to satisfy their queens, whether in a sexual or relationsh­ip way. I wanted a fun video to reveal my true nature as a New Orleans vampire.

As well as being musical partners, you guys are a couple. When and how did you meet?

Davey: Through YouTube, of all places. We were in separate bands, and both had videos in an early YouTube music video competitio­n.

What was Robin’s chat-up line?

Davey: We knew each other a while before we got together, so there was no definitive chat-up line, though I did cast Greta as the lead in a Buckcherry video I was directing. Valenti: That was very casting-couch behaviour. He also sent me some scandalous photograph­s. I guess it worked. Together sixteen years this fall.

The press info talks of “epic, one-of-a-kind live shows”. What makes them unique?

Davey: Sometimes our show approaches three hours, and although we have a list of songs, we never have a set order. It all depends on the room, the audience and how we are feeling. Valenti: We make it unique. I’ve been a stage performer since the age of four – theatre, off-Broadway, Groundling­s improv, and of course music and my New Orleans theatrical and mystical upbringing. Robin’s been a touring British blues musician since he was fourteen. We are a modern-day vaudeville circus act creating music. We try to not only entertain but also to connect and to find our people in this big yet also very small spinning rock in outer space.

The last date of the tour is May 7.

“There was no definitive chatup line, though I did cast Greta as the lead in a Buckcherry video I was directing.”

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