The mid-90s saw a resurgence in Chance’s work brought about in no small part to a revived interest in no-wave music, No New York and the stylish praise lavished upon neo-no-wave bands such Gogol Bordello and A.R.E. Weapons. “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do music anymore, it’s just that I didn’t see an opening for what I was doing,” says Chance concerning his decade-long hiatus. “I was reading a lot and just keeping myself occupied. I didn’t have much desire to become a painter or any of that kind of stuff … There was this complete lack of interest [in my work] and I wasn’t about to go out there and move this mountain.”
In the film Kill Yr Idols, no-wave alumni as diverse as Glenn Branca and JG Thirlwell make scathing comments to the effect that the neo-no-wave is full of bands and personalities that are doing music for rock stardom, greed and pure vanity. They complain that the new “new wave” of music is inauthentic and, even worse, stale. For Chance, however, he views the new group of no-wave talent as a stepping stone for his career. “I am glad ,” says Chance. “It [gives] me the opportunity to start working again … Those bands don’t have any of the jazz or funk influences [I have] and I don’t think they are really capable of playing that kind of music anyway.”
Chance’s staying power is evident not only in his rise back to the limelight but through retrospectives like those put out by Tiger Style Records in 2003 called Irresistible Impulse, a four-disc career spanning box set that showcases Chance’s evident influence on the current trend in music. Currently, Chance can be seen touring Europe playing a Contortions set, doing a lounge act and working on a solo piano show. Outside of gigging and doing music, Chance is busy with other projects as well. “I have been talking about doing a book with Victor Bockris [The Life and Death of Andy Warhol],” says Chance. “There is also a guy in LA who has been making a documentary about me for the last two years. He went along to a lot of the festival gigs that I did over the past couple of years. He basically films the shows, hangs out with me and my wife and films me during my trips.”
James Chance will be touring Europe October 3-24. To find out more about James Chance, check outwww.myspace.com/jameschanceeuropetour.