Robyn Hitchcock wasn’t planning to form a band.
Rather, the veteran British rock troubadour went to Seattle in September 2005 just to record a little music with some friends — who happened to be R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck along with multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughey and drummer Bill Riefl in, who are part of R.E.M.’s touring band and also log time in groups such as the Minus 5 and Young Fresh Fellows. The casual session proved fruitful, and before he knew it Hitchcock was being backed by the Venus 3, who recorded on his latest album — “Olé! Tarantula” and are touring with him this fall.
“There was nothing conscious at all,” says Hitchcock, 53, who began his career with the Soft Boys before going solo in 1984. “We cut eight (songs) in Seattle and thought, ‘This is obviously gonna work.’ Then they decided they’d come over to Britain and play in the darkest depths of January — which was very considerate of them, really.
“So it was easy. It just all came together in a very natural kind of way.”
Hitchcock won’t yet venture a guess about whether the Venus 3 will be a going concern. But he says he’s enjoying the band at the moment and fi nds it altogether different than any group he’s ever taken on the road.
“I just like the fact they rock,” Hitchcock says. “They’re smart guys, but they can play simply, though sometimes it’s very complex. We’re a bit like a drug-free Grateful Dead in a way.
“I think for me as a Brit, there’s something unique about having an American band. I think Americans are sort of happier that they rock than Brits are, to be honest with you — or at least Brits I know.”
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 and Mark Pickerel perform Thursday (November 9th) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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