By Vish KhannaEric's Trip was born of intense emotions, which have been articulated starkly in their music together and apart. Led by shy but visionary artist Rick White, the band came of age in indie rock's golden era, the early '90s, when DIY was still the domain of serious musicians determined to express themselves without compromise. White and creative/romantic partner Julie Doiron had a star-crossed love affair and collaborative union that produced powerfully intimate and influential music. Their alliance with like-minded souls Chris Thompson and Mark Gaudet made Eric's Trip one of the most dynamic, punk-infused rock bands ever, while also fostering some equally intriguing solo work. Thompson's new band the Memories Attack recently released their sophomore album, while White and Doiron worked together on I Can Wonder What You Did with Your Day, Doiron's stunning new solo record, out this month. Reuniting on occasion but mostly tending to their own musical pursuits, the members of Eric's Trip quietly endured a soap opera for the ages before maturing into the gifted solo artists they are today.
1963 to 1988 Drummer Mark Gaudet is born on October 30, 1963 in Moncton, NB; Rick White (guitar, vocals) is born on December 5, 1970 in Moncton, NB; Chris Thompson (bass, guitar, drums, vocals) is born on July 4, 1971 in Ottawa, ON where his father worked in the armed services before re-locating his family to Moncton, NB when Thompson was about five years old; and Julie Elaine Doiron (guitar, bass, vocals) is born on June 28, 1972 in Moncton, NB. Doiron is interested in music at an early age. "I'd say my most direct influence was my grandmother. She wanted to be a singer and would sing all the time and she's who I learned how to harmonize from; and my mom too." Inspired by K-Tel records (Blondie, Olivia Newton-John, etc.) her father purchased for her, Doiron hears Joan Jett when she's ten years old. That same year, she teaches herself how to play music. "I played for a month solid on a really shitty guitar and then started taking piano lessons for about a year and a half. I practiced at the bar where my mom worked but then I started swimming six days a week so I stopped taking piano lessons." In her early teenaged years, she becomes a fan of the Smiths and the Cure, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. She becomes a lifeguard in high school but also takes up saxophone and rediscovers guitar, just as she becomes a fan of the Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, and Sonic Youth. Her mother purchases Doiron a Yamaha acoustic guitar, and she takes lessons at 16 years old, before switching to classical guitar. White is also a keen music fan. "Even when I was really young I wanted to play drums," he recalls. "My parents weren't into music but they listened to the radio all the time, golden oldies stuff. I still listen to that because of that; I find it relaxing and meditative hearing the same songs over and over again. It's good for your unconscious to hear that kind of pop. My older sister was more of hippie and that's where I heard Crosby, Stills, and Nash and Simon & Garfunkel; that stuff stuck with me too."
Thompson cites Moncton station CKCW, as an early influence and recalls loving Neil Young. Gaudet's father is a jazz musician who inspires his son to take up music, though he gravitates more to the sounds of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees. He forms his first band, Purple Knight (with Ray Leger) when he's 11 years old in 1974, which he now describes as "Robert Johnson for retards." Gaudet's first public performance occurs in 1976 with Exodus, and up to about 1983, he's affiliated with Moncton punk outfits Whore Moans, the Robins (who recently reformed), Death Camp, Dagda Mor (when he lives in Toronto for a spell), and No Explanation. Gaudet's pedigree makes him a father-figure in "Punkton" and his job at Sam the Record Man (which he retains throughout his tenure in Eric's Trip, even when it later becomes Frank's Music) enables him to feed fans imported records (Have Not Been the Same; The CanRock Renaissance, Barclay, Michael, Jack, Ian A.D., Schneider, Jason, ECW Press, 2001, p.504). A skateboarder, White gets his first guitar when he hits puberty and is into heavy metal and Iron Maiden. Though nothing really comes of the acquisition initially, he eventually plays in heavy bands like Bloodstain, T.C.I.B, (Have Not Been the Same, p.502) and at 16, a hardcore punk quartet called the Underdogs, which also features a young Michael Feuerstack (Snailhouse, the Wooden Stars) on lead vocals.