(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Legendary English New Wave artist Wreckless Eric, best known for his 1977 hit, “Whole Wide World,” performs an intimate show at Spotty Dog Books & Ale on Friday, February 26, at 8pm. Eric was a contemporary of Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe, all of whom recorded for Stiff Records, as did Eric, in the 1970s. “I was nearly someone back in the day, I was in the lower reaches of the hit parade,” sings Eric – who lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, fellow rock songwriter Amy Rigby – on “Several Shades of Green,” the opening track of his terrific new album, “AmERICa.”
Wreckless Eric began his recording life on Stiff Records in 1977, with his enduring hit, “Whole Wide World,” when he was little more than an ex-teenage art student. Eventually he sidestepped the mechanics of stardom to become Britain’s biggest underground household name, much loved and much misunderstood.
In the 1980s, disgusted by then-current recording trends, he started to make records in village halls and in his living room. A drummer pounded on a cardboard box, ambient noise bled in from the street. It wasn’t yet called lo-fi. Everyone in the “music biz” told him he couldn’t make records that way, so he carried on doing exactly that.
The 1990s and early 2000s were a time of good obscure stuff: Le Beat Group Electrique, The Donovan of Trash, 12 O’Clock Stereo, Karaoke, Bungalow Hi. Roundly ignored, treasured by the few, when noticed outside of the circle of understanding the records were often reviled and ridiculed.
In 2003 he met and eventually married Amy Rigby, an esteemed songwriter in her own right. They sometimes perform as a duo, Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby, and have released three albums. They live in bohemian splendor in upstate New York in a sprawling bungalow. Eric has his own studio, in what he describes as his budget pop star home, where he continues to record otherworldly pop records.
Eric signed to Fire Records in 2014. A reissue campaign ensued, and now his obscure post-Stiff output is being recognized as influential, embraced, and loved as it had once been reviled
Wreckless Eric was born Eric Goulden in May 1954. He was given the name to hide behind. After a while he realized he was stuck with it. Onstage he hides behind nothing; he tells the truth with big open chords, squalls of feedback, lilting enchantment, bizarre stories, and backchat .