The Inspector Cluzo – not to be confused with Blake Edwards’ fictional French investigator, Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame – isn’t affiliated with law enforcement or big cats. However, the bluesy rock duo is from Mont-de-Marsan in the southwest of France. Why this matters is that, although a band’s hometown roots might play some part in shaping perhaps, the group’s sound or the subject of its songs, for The Inspector Cluzo, their beloved area of France defines exactly half of who they are and what they do.
Malcom Lacrouts (Guitar,Vocals) and Phil Jourdain (Drums, Backing Vocals) are half globally-acclaimed musicians and half organic-oriented farmers who grow an assortment of vegetables and raise geese through their business, Lou Casse Organic Gascon Farm. (There’s even a short documentary titled ROCKFARMERS available on YouTube where the two talk all about it!)
While many musicians who invest time and money in making records and touring are often aiming to eventually separate themselves from obligations or occupations unrelated to making music, The Inspector Cluzo have made farming as much of a priority as the band itself and have successfully balanced the two endeavors over more than six albums, dozens of countries, and thousands of shows.
Given the multifaceted and extremely busy nature of The Inspector Cluzo’s work, it’s understandable the duo might enjoy turning to existing songs to get some creative energy going now and then. That is exactly what the pair did with their take on Neil Young’s single, “Hey Hey My My,” which makes its premiere today on American Songwriter.
“Since 2015, when we released the ROCKFARMERS Documentary, we have been acting local [but also] thinking globally. We are self-sufficient, with our organic farm, Lou Casse, which is totally DIY.
We split our time between touring all over the world. Some of our good friends in the U.S., including Vance Powell – our friend and producer in Nashville – suggested that we should cover Neil Young because he is the U.S. artist that seems closest to what we are and what we do,” say Lacrouts and Jourdain.
It’s not hard to sense why Powell would have suggested Young as an artist whose music The Inspector Cluzo could to in performing. The two renditions are no carbon copies of each other (in fact, the overall dynamics and intensity of Young’s 2016 remaster of the song are quite a bit tamer than The Inspector Cluzo). Nevertheless, all three folks project down-to-earth character and, while southern France is no American heartland, The Inspector Cluzo can certainly relate to feeling attached to the rural place where they live, work, and create, as is frequently imbued into Young’s roots rock repertoire.
The Inspector Cluzo deserve credit for not simply going from beginning to at an unthinking glide. Their rendition of Young’s song has satisfying sonic depth, with thickly toned layered rhythm guitar, crisply splashing cymbals, whip-cracked snare hits, and a touch of tonal color provided by a keys line played on backing organ. The performance is definitely full of the kind of classic heartland rock energy any Neil Young fan would flock to immediately.
“This take [of “Hey Hey My My”] was recorded live and on tape last October, at Sputnik Sound by Vance [Powell]. The keyboard [player] is our old friend Charles Treadway. [As far as Neil Young is concerned, he] has a stellar talent that we don’t have! We have admired him forever and our dream is to play FARM AID or, play with him one day. We would proudly represent the French Farmers and would rock the hard in honor of our Gascon ancestors,” say Lacrouts and Jourdain.