Nico Bereciartúa: Pappo’s blessing, a barbecue with the Rolling Stones and the call to play with the Black Crowes

Nico Bereciartúa with the dobro for the collaboration between Playing for change artists

The difficult thing, when are you going to talk about Nico Bereciartúais that you never know whether to start backwards, or vice versa.

So I’m going to start in the middle.

We were one of the few invited to share a barbecue in a country house in great Buenos Aires with the Rolling Stonesduring your last visit. An unforgettable evening for us. I was in charge of musicalizing the previous one, with the Stones glass in hand, chatting with the guests, who did not reach 20 people. At dessert, Zorro Quintiero and Nico grabbed their instruments, the ones they always carried with them, and played a few classic rock and blues songs. After the concert finished, after half an hour, the diners went for the coffee, Nico kept the viola, with me almost casually close, while we saw Keith Richards approaching, who embraced Nico, he said something unintelligible and giving away his best smile he left. Nico, without leaving his amazement, he looked at me, and I told him then that he was going to have to keep me close and take care of me because I was the only witness of his moment with God.

A few weeks ago I found him at Paco’s record store, in Palermo, and he remembered the story for those present. Also between smiles and hugs, he told me that he was leaving that same night for Georgia, USA, taking some Gardel records to Chris Robinson, singer, guitarist and spiritual leader of the Black Crowes, who is quite a fan of the dark-haired man from Abasto. Thus, among understandable difficulties, he gave me a vinyl of “Volviendo”, one of his records, and said goodbye for another six months.

Happens that Nico is a guitarist for the Black Crowesand the rehearsals for the tour that will keep them busy until the beginning of 2024 begin, a tour that they will share with the long farewell that awaits Aerosmith.

My first memory of Nico is seeing him sitting on Pappo’s knees in a dressing room at Halley Discotheque, before taking the stage for a concert by Riff. Nico is the son of Vitico and Rosa Dodero. As time went by, she used to hear from him, she even participated in one of Riff’s last formations with his father and Pappo. He always stood out playing the guitar, stamp and style of the purest seed of rock, Nicolás Bereciartúa only needed to hear the call in the wind, which would inexorably come, to join the great global leagues of music.

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Nico Bereciartúa in his role as guitarist for the Black Crows this year at Luna Park

Until he arrived, hand in hand with chris robinsonRich’s brother, both founders of the Black Crowes, the divine call.

Meanwhile, Nico was adding hours of flight, sometimes in dangerous ships, other times with his father, who didn’t let the danger downstage but hey, he was with his father.

He already has two edited albums recorded as a soloist, one from 2015 and “Volviendo” from 19, to which another one that is finished will be added, but the boy will be busy for some time. He has toured much of the northern hemisphere, with Viticus, Vitico’s band, later he would do the same but on a larger scale throughout Europe as a member of Magpie Salute, Chris Robinson’s own project. He settled for a time in Nashville where he dedicated himself to perfecting his technique among experts, he collaborated on records by various artists such as Aristimuño and was even a television band musician. A 4×4 guitar at the service of the most traditional rock, with his Greg Allman Style.

Notwithstanding which, as Pappo would say, I have to confess that the news of his joining the impressive American group surprised me. It is always unique news to know that a friend has arrived somewhere. And even more so if that exclusive space makes it where he always dreamed of being. Like his father, he sought the hardest path: playing in one of the rock meccas. In the 1970s, Vitico traveled to London with the same dreams that his son traveled to the United States. There he zapped with The Who, no less, and Paul Rodgers called him up to play in his band, Bad Company. A paper problem beyond his control complicated the stay of foreign musicians in England and his journey there was interrupted. Now, Nico took the post.

So I called him to tell me what I don’t know: “The sequence would be the final show with Riff at Cosquin Rock before Pappo’s accident. We continued with Viticus then, but between the fights with my old man, his kilombos and my failed attempts to do something I had to do. I decided to step away and dedicate myself to my first solo album, which won the Gardel for best new rock artist. At that time I put a link or a comment to a Facebook post by Rich Robinson, a video of me alone with the dobro playing one of his songs. 8 months after posting it, I am walking down the street when a tweet appears. Imagine that he didn’t even use it, a friend had downloaded it for me, and That’s where I get a message from Chris telling me that he had loved what he had sent. We exchanged emails and we met personally. He suddenly told me that he was looking for a violero for a record of his and for a tour. That’s when I joined Magpie Salute with Marc Ford and Eddie Harsch from the Crowes, and Sven Pipies, also a bassist from the Crowes, who was already there. We toured the USA and Europe doing more than 70 shows until the end of the Magpie experience”.

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Nico Bereciartúa with his father, Vitico, do Sube a mi voiture, a song by Pappo

“Chris went back with the brother to hang out with the Black Crowes. They invited me to come-out shows, so it turned out that I did a methodical thing to go to the shows, mostly to hit the vibes with the brother and not just be Chris’s friend. My goal was to hit the waves with both of them. It happened that last December the violero who was touring with them resigned, so on December 29 they called me to let me know that he was going to audition in Los Angeles on January 15. I was, I did the audition with 5 other guitarists, and I was left. Imagine, the dream of my whole life”.

“Now we are going on tour and then to record with The Black Crowes, it is the new album with our own material after 14 years. I never would have imagined when I bought “Before the Frost… Until the Breeze” in 2009 that I would play on the next album. A dream, this and besides opening at 40 concerts for Aerosmith all over the USA, ending at Madison Square Garden. Especially thinking that in 2013 I went with my girlfriend to live in New York, playing on the subway or in a bar with a friend, but not even dreaming that 10 years later I would be playing at MSG.”

“And what’s up with your records now?” -I ask Nico that he never erases that smile from his gesture.

“In 2019, when the Magpie Salute thing ended, I recorded my second album ‘Volviendo’. Now I am finishing the third one that will be out in October of this year. That is also a priority obviously.”

Nico Bereciartúa was born big. Cradled by his parents and his friends, in his house good rock was heard in a direct line with the best of our Buenos Aires society. He mixes what makes him originally different. His own records are disproportionately noticeable creativity and sonic efficiency. To see it is to see the evolutionary quintessence of the purest rock. A breath of humility and talent running away from the prevailing mediocrity. Nico’s feet are resting on the best roots that a music-sensitive citizen could find in this country.

He tells me exactly this about it: “I used to find Pappo often at Club X, the Juanse bowling alley and the Bahiano in the arches of Palermo. We had jammed a couple of times at my old man’s house in El Tigre or in a rehearsal with him, but one of those nights at X Pappo was with Black Amaya and he pointed at me saying ‘Come play the bass…’. We played half a dozen songs by Pappo’s Blues as a trio, until later Juanse joined us to make ‘Blues de Santa Fe’. Later we were already meeting in different places. I also remember well a night in Jupiter, around the corner from Charly García’s house, there on Paseo del Sol, around the corner from Alto Palermo. One morning, when everyone had already left, I go up on stage to play. I had played before but I grabbed the viola to do ‘The Last Time’ by the Stones… and Pappo appeared playing the drums, Juanse to sing, my old man on bass and Charly was in charge of the keyboard. It ended up being a nice night for the few friends that were left.

Nico Bereciartúa as part of the last formation of Riff together with Pappo, Vitico and Michel Peyronel make Rayo Luminoso

“I had been with Viticus for a few years when Pappo called me, he left me some messages to tell me that there were a couple of shows in Rosario, at Willie Dixon, which was opening. Before we had been at his birthday at La Potota, a grill on the waterfront. Suddenly he was playing some Pappo’s Blues when he calls Michel Peyronel, Vitico and me to the makeshift stage to play some Riff. There I debuted with them let’s say, so he called me to do those shows in Rosario. He would tell me ‘Please… (Pappo always said please) could you learn 15 riff songs for the inauguration of Willie Dixon? We did a couple of more shows, at La Vieja Usina de Córdoba, and the last Cosquin Rock… later, unfortunately, he passed away…”

It’s funny but this note ends in an almost exact circle, where it started. At Pappo’s last show with Riff in Córdoba.

There he played perhaps for the first time for a crowd, Nico Bereciartúa. 18 years later he is starting a tour with Black Crowes for 40 American stadiumssharing the bill with Aerosmith who thus announce their retirement from the stage.

Meeting Nico was confirmation for me that there is nothing more powerful than the material dreams are made of.

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Nico Bereciartúa: Pappo’s blessing, a barbecue with the Rolling Stones and the call to play with the Black Crowes