What was your first band like?

I had been practicing the Blues scale for maybe two weeks or so, when I read in a local newspaper that the “Teddyboys” are looking for a lead-guitarist. I called and got invited to play an audition. I was fourteen and had never played standing up before. When it was my turn to play I hung the guitar by the strap on my neck, like a necklace. I will never forget the expression on the bandleader's face when he asked me, “Are you sure you know what you're doing?” It was hilarious. Anyways, I got the job, although I really had no idea what I was doing, and there were other, much more experienced players interested. I lasted for six months or so.

What did you do after the first band?

I practiced hard by myself for a few months, and something just clicked. When I joined my second band, the “Roadrunners”, I was able to express myself on the guitar the way I wanted. We played a lot of concerts, and had a lot of fun... My brother also was part of the band... Probably one of the first Eighties-Rockabilly bands with a female lead singer, the “Roadrunners” were very busy playing in Austria. It was a wonderful time for all of us, like one big never-ending party.
We had a great following, but a lot of them were very rough and some places ended up completely trashed... I stayed with the "Roadrunners" until 1990, when I moved back to Paris.

How did you get involved in the music scene in France?

Since I was living with my grandparents, I saw Jean-Yves and the other Gypsy-Jazz players regularly, several times a week. And after a few months I joined the band which was to become “Jim and the Beams”. Jim was the singer and songwriter, and his brother Vince played bass. We had different drummers over the years. I met Jim in '90 in a mall... we had a beer together and he told me that he has a band and is looking for a guitarist. He and his brother Vince auditioned me a week after that, and that was the beginning. It was, and is, a great friendship, and I think it came through in the music. The band was very popular... I mixed in Jazz with Rockabilly, they gave me complete freedom to experiment around... Jim wrote all these beautiful songs, and sang them beautifully too... he has a great voice. Probably the best voice in the Rockabilly scene after the late Darren Spears, the singer of "Go Cat Go".
"Jim and the Beams" had a very busy schedule. We played
in the Rocker and Biker scene in France, Germany, Austria.
We had a lot of fun, there was a big entourage which
followed us around to gigs out of town... it was not
unusual for us to travel with a convoy of five or more
cars. We forged a very strong bond with our friends and
fans. I stayed with Jim until 1998.

Did you work with other musicians as well?

I had a good reputation because I was mixing up Rockabilly,
Blues and Gypsy-Jazz. My name got around in Paris, and
I worked with several other bands including Claudia Colonna
and Hotel Du Nord.

What happened on the Jazz side of things?

After I moved to Paris proper, I tried to go to every gig of Patrick Saussois I could. I jammed with Jean-Yves during
his gigs. I even once shared the stage with Patrick, Babik Reinhardt and others at a private party. I jammed with Moreno,
and with Ninine and Mondine. At some point, in 1998, Patrick made me a job-offer. It was a big personal break-through for me, but in the end I declined it, because I wanted to visit Israel and convert to Judaism.

With "Jim and the Beams" mid-90s
All Content © 2012 Nachman Fahrner