This story is over 5 years old.


And Now For Something Completely Different

Louie Austen's geriatric techno.
Κείμενο Ol' Curly

Most of us will be unable to control our bowels by the time we get senior-citizen discount cards, let alone make spectacular comebacks and be launched into the international dance music underground. After 57 years walking this earth, a lifetime of onstage crooning, and a chance meeting with the Austro-nauts from Cheap Records, Louie Austen is back on top and loving it. I find him sitting in the super- swank atrium of London’s super swank Great Eastern Hotel, looking super swank. In an age where the generation gap is gaping, Austen is a bizarre bridge between two totally different worlds. “I was in the gym trying to lose my belly, and Mario (Neugebauer, from Cheap) is a karate fighter,” Austen recalls in a classic American voice that keeps slipping into his native Austrian accent. “He said ‘Louie, I have a track for you,’ and when he played it for me, I was impressed. I’ve never heard this kind of music before, with so many possibilities and these new interesting beats. It’s like someone offering you a free trip to Mars – ‘Sure, anytime!’” Since embarking on this latest mission, lounge singing over techno, Louie hasn’t looked back. “I was doing American Superstars, where we were doing impersonations of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra,” he recounts. “It was a nice life. But then Mario said ‘Louis, we want to do an album with you singing.’ And all of a sudden we had this song in the charts! And the power, wow! In a hotel lounge, it has to be: not too loud, and not too this, and not too weird. It was such a wonderful change with this music because I like to power and I like to blaraaaarh [makes “belting out a tune” motion] and express myself. I like these wonderful young people because they’re so receptive and I like the idea that they accept me the way I am. Twenty years ago, I think my career would not be possible. I don’t have to put a wig on. I don’t have to look handsome. I do not have to look young. It’s fantastic.” Though he artfully dodged the question of whether he’s tried any of the newer generation’s club drugs, he has no trouble keeping up with his newfound family. “We’re just like the Rat Pack when we’re out on the town,” he says. “I thought maybe everybody would be like ‘Oh, he’s just some old guy,’ but no. We’re like dangerous brothers.”
Louie Austen’s Only Tonight is out now in Europe on Kitty-Yo. It’s due for North American release next spring, but you can win a limited-edition promo CD featuring a non-album track and be months ahead of your friends and family. Just be the first to name three artists on Cheap Records, other than Louie and Mario. Send answers to: