From The Desk Of Amy Rigby: “Still Crazy”

Amy Rigby is back with The Old Guys (Southern Domestic), her first solo album since 2005’s Little Fugitive. A veteran of NYC bands Last Roundup in the ’80s and the Shams in the ’90s, Rigby recorded the 12-track The Old Guys with husband and musical partner Wreckless Eric in upstate New York, where the couple resides. Not only is Rigby currently on tour in support of her new LP, she’s also guest editing all week.

Rigby: We were watching the signs go by: Antwerp, Leuven, Amsterdam, Groningen. Felt like we’d been on the road for weeks. My husband Eric asked if I was hungry. I turned to answer him, expecting to see him gripping a steering wheel. Which would have been odd, because we were sitting on the couch, watching Still Crazy, a film about a group of aging rockers who reform and tour the dumps of Europe. It wasn’t the first time we’d watched the movie.

“Look at us,” I said. “We can’t stop touring. When we’re not out there, we watch other people doing it. We could be watching The Man Who Would Be King instead.”

“Is that really much different?” Eric asked.

Still Crazy is an essential film for anybody who plays in a band or goes out to see bands play. We all get older eventually, even people who stake their lives on the music of youthful rebellion, and this movie addresses that reality better than any I can think of. Released in 1998 (what was it about the late ’90s that made true sincerity and lack of cynicism still possible?), Still Crazy stars a talented bunch you’ll recognize from other roles: Stephen Rea, Bill Nighy (whose brilliant frontman was later reanimated in Love Actually), Timothy Spall, singer Jimmy Nail, Bruce Robinson (writer and director of Withnail And I).

The music by Mick Jones (Foreigner) and Chris Difford (Squeeze) pulls off the strange feat of feeling both dated and timeless, just like Strange Fruit, the band at the heart of the movie. Watch it once and you’ll come back to it any time you want to smell stale beer and feel hard-earned applause blow back what’s left of your hair.