When you think of an Alpine après-ski band, you might expect an average band that plays in the background while enjoying a drink – you don’t expect to hear talented, world-class musicians. Welcome to Après-Ski at the Farinet in Verbier, with David Zincke and The Sons of Guns.
David Zincke and The Sons of Guns are not new to the Verbier après-ski scene. A giveaway sign to their familiarity here is the line of Jägerbombs waiting for them on the bar. They’ve just arrived in town, Faye is playing her warm up set on stage, so why not start the week off with a shot! Medi prefers a cup of tea, maybe he’s pacing himself – he knows what to expect from the week ahead…
The Farinet Après-Ski is a Verbier institution, the place you just ‘pop’ into for one drink, and then before you know it, you could be downing toffee vodka from the shot ski and dancing in your ski boots on the bar. Aymeric Ardimanni, (the one with the beard) is well known in Verbier and has been coming to play at the Farinet in various bands for over six years. Based in the South of France, this is where he met other band members Jack Daniel, Tim Parisot and Scott Richman to create ‘The Sons of Guns’. The talented group then became the permanent backing band for songwriter David Zincke. Add the multi-disciplined musician and producer Medi, and you have the après-ski ‘super band’. (Medi is producing David Zincke’s upcoming album ‘Soul and Bones’ coming out later this year.)
One of the first questions I ask is, “don’t you get bored covering songs when you all write and perform your own music?” The response is a quick and easy “no” from all of them. Coming to Verbier is an opportunity for them to all hang out with each other and have fun away from the distractions of every day life in France. On stage they actually look like they are enjoying the experience rather than just going through the motions to make a living. Their love of music oozes through the ski thermals of the coldest punters fresh off the mountain. They don’t just ‘cover’ a song, they play it their way. You end up enjoying songs you didn’t even know you liked.
Any band coming to play on the Après-Ski stage can’t be shy of the Verbier crowd and the party, or ‘heave’, that can often occur at the Farinet. With jugs of beer flying all over the place and people stage-diving in ski boots, or girls dancing in just their bras on the bar – it’s all part of the attraction. Luckily they enjoy the mad atmosphere, or the challenge to create one. The Sons of Guns embrace the après sprit or ‘spirits’ – literally, sometimes knocking back vodka straight from the bottle between songs. And this is a quiet night. It’s easy to see why they aren’t up for the first lifts each morning.
Another reason you won’t see them waiting at Médran is due to the fact no one in the band skis or snowboards. The main reason they avoid the slopes is the risk of breaking an arm or some other injury. Aymeric, however, hurt his arm when he slipped walking through the Place Centrale (he’s not the first or last to have a late-night injury…) A musician’s boots from the South of France aren’t designed for snowy roads.
As with most bands, everyone has their role – the singer, the drummer – egos fighting for space on the stage. With this band, David Zincke might have his name highlighted on the poster, but you turn around to order your drink and when you turn back, the whole configuration has changed. The drummer becomes the singer, the keyboard player is playing the guitar and one of them might be standing behind the bar. No wonder they don’t get bored.
I asked them if they had any favourite stories about their time in Verbier. There was a lot of mumbling and basically there was no point in telling me as I wouldn’t be able to print it. Fair enough. No doubt they’ll add more stories to their collection when they are back in Verbier this month on March 14th and 15th.
If you like live music, an evening watching David Zincke and The Sons of Guns is a must – and if you think you don’t like live music, you will when you watch this crew.