He’s a real character, is Eddie Argos- a true original. Born in Weymouth, this singer, writer and artist (real name Kevin Macklin) who now resides in Berlin with his partner and son, is the lead singer of lo-fi legends Art Brut.This book spools back to some of his chaotic early career choices, and later triumphs, but is mostly a twisted love letter to music as much as memoir.
It starts with him playing a Hoover (onstage, naturally) and meanders towards fights with other musicians; press backlashes and incomprehension,money, no money, money again, and working with one of his heroes, Pixies frontman Black Francis (who wrote the foreword under his other alias Frank Black). Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, can’t really sing.
Bad Weekend was the first Art Brut song I ever heard. Once heard, never forgotten. The way Argos squealed,”the fashionistas TEXT IN TOP SHOP!” made me chuckle out loud- it was like a burst of Tourettes that made sense. As so much of his output does.
There is a disarming sweetness and a real unvarnished honesty to Argos- both lyrically and in his kinetic prose- that is so refreshing in these media savvy, capitalist times, where a pick ‘n’ mix approach to how people consume music means it is less valued than confectionery. For those of us who still care, his lyrics about hangovers; mouldy laundry,running out of electricity, romantic disappointment and feeling alienated by modern pop culture really resonate.
It’s self-deprecating but never self-indulgent- a charming, witty and often introspective look at what has motivated and sustained him through over a decade of making eccentric, uncompromising music and art. And no, he doesn’t do irony-or the band Muse. Just two more reasons to admire him.
I Formed A Band is out now. Self-published and crowdfunded, you can find out more about it on his website.