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Clare and the Reasons: My Firsts

Clare Manchon on Her First Word, First Car, First Broken Bone, and the First Time She Got Drunk

Aug 06, 2012 Web Exclusive
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My Firsts is our new email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.).

For this My Firsts we talk to Clare and the Reasons’ Clare Manchon. Manchon was born on Martha’s Vineyard, where her mother, a school-teacher named Sheila Muldaur, raised her. Clare and the Reasons formed in 2007 and the Brooklyn-based chamber pop band also features Manchon’s husband, Olivier Manchon and Bob Hart. In 2007 they also released their debut album, The Movie (which included contributions from Sufjan Stevens and Van Dyke Parks). Arrow was released in 2009 and featured a guest appearance from My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden and a spirited cover of Genesis’ “That’s All.” The band’s third album, KR-51, was written in Berlin and recorded in the small German village of Haldren-Rees. The album was named after the 1968 Schwalbe model KR-51 moped they drove in Germany and was released in July by Frog Stand Records.

Read on as Manchon reveals her first word, her first pet, a certain go-go cartoon she snuck out to watch, and one of her most prized possessions, an instrument passed down from a beloved family member.

First word?

“Bee pou,” meaning yogurt. I had eye starring, cool as a cucumber arguments with adults trying to convince them that my word was the correct one—theirs had no meaning.

First best friend?

Melanie—she was a Jehovah’s Witness, she couldn’t party with me, made me sad. Once my mom convinced Melanie’s mom to let her go ice-skating with me on my birthday, but that was the only time. This frustration started my early skepticism of organized religion.

First pet?

Ikerchick, a chicken who lived in my bedroom with me. The other chickens were mean to her, so we bonded. She slept in a cage in my room and would exit my room out the window every morning. I taught her to fly by gently tossing her out the window; she seemed quite amused by it. Ikerchick was grey and speckled, quite beautiful.

First broken bone?

A horse kicked me while I was on another horse. Cracked my shin. Busted my ego.

First movie you saw in the movie theater?

Bambi, but I didn’t make it to the end. That was far too tragic for my eyes.

First TV show you were obsessed with?

Didn’t have TV growing up, but I remember sneaking into an old lady’s house and watching Inspector Gadget at any chance possible. That was a good show, or maybe I was starved for entertainment.

First record your parents played for you?

Bessie Smith, she was instilled in me early on and my obsession with her grew. I believed every word she sang, still do.

First time you got drunk?

This was classic, the good old, “Take the vodka of friend’s parents and replace it with water, climb up into barn hay loft and learn how strong vodka can be…”

First job you had?

Riding horses, training them and selling them.

First car you owed?

Red Volkswagen Cabriolet. I loved that car. Felt so proud—bought it with my own money when I moved to L.A. for a short stint. The first week I owned it one of the wheels came flying off, whilst driving it. Put that back together and the transmission broke, so I could only drive in reverse. Still loved it.

First instrument?

My 1959 0018 Martin guitar. It was handed down to me from my mother. Her brother owned it. He was a painter and musician and died tragically very young. It’s the warmest sounding guitar, it means more to me than any of my possessions (well, my 1959 Gibson ES225 that I bought myself means a great deal too). There is something so sacred knowing that my uncle, who was known to all as a great man, wrote music on the same guitar. The strap was his too—it’s fraying, but I would never get a new one.


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Gabby Roddy
August 7th 2012

Great interview indeed!! I love this excellent post. It contains truly info. Anyway I enjoyed this pop up at Clare and the Reasons’. Thanks! :)
July 5th 2013

This new mail interview program with the musicians is going to be really cool, the first experiences in different stages of life, I am eagerly waiting to see more latest updates of this interview soon, good job guys and best wishes for future.