LOS ANGELES -- Blair Tefkin of the pop quartet Lucie Gamelon is
putting on her pout face.
The singer furrows her eyebrows and puckers her lips as she picks the
opening bass notes of the punchy pop number
HREF="http://www.addict.com/Gamelon,_Lucie/Julie,_Not_Her_Real_Name.ram">"Julie (Not Her Real Name)"
HREF="http://www.addict.com/Gamelon,_Lucie/Julie,_Not_Her_Real_Name.ram">"Julie (Not Her Real Name)"(RealAudio excerpt).
With her curly, red hair piled atop her head and tumbling toward her face,
Tefkin seems like Shirley Temple gone bad. Instead of singing with ruby
cheeks about the "Good Ship Lollipop," Tefkin is grimacing and complaining
about some klepto wench who stole her T-shirt.
"It's a great T-shirt, I know," she taunts in her honey-coated singing
voice, as she sings to the Cafe Luna crowd during a recent performance. "On
that we both agree/ but you ought to hand it over/ because it looks a whole
lot better on me."
The members of Lucie Gamelon -- Tefkin, guitarist Bernard Yin, keyboardist
Suzanna Mast and drummer Brian Sussman -- kick into the song's rocking
chorus. Tefkin's expressions become more playful as she bobs her head to
After a pair of late-August appearances on the Lilith Fair tour, a
major-label music-publishing deal for the band's debut release -- the EP
Everything Is Nice -- and interest from producer Glen Ballard
(Alanis Morissette) and rock icon Marianne Faithfull, Lucie Gamelon are on
the rise. Idiosyncratic songs such as "Julie (Not Her Name)" have set them
apart from more run-of-the-mill pop bands.
While sitting on her amp backstage after the Cafe Luna show, Tefkin
reflected on "Julie (Not Her Name)."
"I was in [a] carpool with this girl in junior high, and she was a
kleptomaniac," explained Tefkin, who writes all of Lucie Gamelon's songs.
(The arrangements are a full-band effort.) "She came from a wealthy family,
but she would take things, then come to carpool the next day and say, 'Look
what I got!' And you'd be like, 'That's funny, because I just lost mine,' "
Tefkin said, tossing her head back and laughing.
Though her background is in screenwriting and comedic acting, Tefkin swears
that she couldn't tell a story to save her life until she started writing
songs three years ago. As she learned to play bass, she began setting
quirky tales to tunes, eventually finding a forum at local coffee shops. It
wasn't long before she decided to take her musical efforts to the next
level; in 1996, she formed Lucie Gamelon.
"I genuinely liked that [Tefkin] hadn't spent her career writing songs,"
said Danny Benair, vice president of Film & Television for PolyGram Music,
who signed Tefkin to a publishing deal. "It began very organically.
[Tefkin] decided, 'I want to play bass and I want to write songs.' Instead
of spending years going from [band to band], it was a sheltered songwriting
-- very natural."
Lucie Gamelon released Everything Is Nice earlier this year. It
features such compact and catchy ditties as the retro-pop send-up "Looks
Like Love" and the offbeat elegy "The Enduring," which is "about seeing the
names of dead people in your phone book," Tefkin said.
On the flipside, "Dead Gone Girl" -- sporting a snide cackle from actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh -- has a theatrical feel, as Tefkin broods, "It's that
dead gone girl or me." Though Tefkin's bass often sits at the forefront of
Lucie Gamelon's music, the buoyancy of the melodies overpowers the weight
of the anchoring grooves.
Aside from scoring the publishing deal with PolyGram for Everything Is
Nice, the band has caught the attention of notables Ballard and
Faithfull. While Ballard plans to use Lucie Gamelon's song "Good Advice"
for the soundtrack to the upcoming film "Clubland," Faithfull has
considered recording the jangle-and-groove number herself, according to
In addition to their Aug. 21 appearance at the recent music conference
North by Northwest, Lucie Gamelon performed on the women-weighted Lilith
Fair tour Aug. 25 in Salt Lake City and the following day in Boise, Idaho.
"The [band's] sound is not quite where I want it to be yet," Tefkin said.
"Sometimes I think the best stuff I've written came out of being ignorant
in a way, she said. "And now that I'm more familiar with the bass, I'm not
quite as inventive ... But considering I couldn't write a song four years
ago, I think we're doing pretty well."