This compilation of covers would be born one day or another, promises Navet Confit on the phone. But like a never-killed phoenix, she burst into flames. Those who destroyed the house of the musician-poet Jacques Bertrand Junior and his wife, in Hochelaga, a sweet evening in December 2020.
“It gave me a kick in the ass to start the project, adding this cause,” says the artistic director of the tribute album At least it’s raining. It would have happened without a fire, and it would have been better if there wasn’t. ”
Jacques Bertrand Junior is – or was – at the same time Jérémi Mourand, Cou Coupé and the College of Engineering at the Eye, three folk-punk-rock-grunge projects in which some thirty artists went to draw. , artisans and friends of the song.
Barely two days after the fire, Navet Confit launched the invitations: in the “recipients” field, as many familiar musicians – Steve Dumas, Mononc’Serge, Urbain Desbois, Sunny Duval, Émilie Proulx – as shadow artists. .
The voluntary contributions collected thanks to the disk, “a gesture of comfort and love”, will help to rehouse the stricken couple. “In the long term, I would like that aspect to be removed, that there remain the artistic aspect, the tribute and the great respect that we all have for this artist”, says Navet Confit, Jean- Philippe Fréchette of his real name.
The performers had to draw from a difficult repertoire, both surgical and outrageous, lo-fi and sophisticated. “It’s a big job, to take a song from Jacques, because we are all very admiring of his work”, said the director, who reserved the cover well. fuzzy of 56.
For me, it is a major influence, as much musical as for the lyrics of the song: the kind of derision, the nonchalance – in fact the false nonchalance – which is calculated, the pure poetry of certain songs, very classical, of a sober beauty, and at the same time the trash side which emerges, especially in show.
At the end of a month of work, it is therefore 26 songs, recorded in almost as many professional or improvised places, which compose At least it’s raining.
“I liked the very patchwork aspect of this affair,” continues the musician. I asked JP Villemure, at mastering, to create a rolling fire, with very little silence between the tunes. What I found fun was this background dialogue. This love of lo-fi that repeats itself. ”
The project was thought out and orchestrated in secret. Jacques Bertrand Junior would have for nothing in the world accepted to receive money, honor or attention, explains Navet Confit. The volunteer artists presented the album to him during a surprise videoconference disguised as a work meeting.
“He didn’t suspect a thing. He was both extremely moved and very sorry to be honored. ”
Run away from the light
The most famous of the anonymous is a lucifuge specimen, who fears the game of the market and the media. However, the work of “Jacques”, unknown to the general public, is one of the most respected in the underground, or rather the “underground”. His favorite pre-pandemic team? The Cheval Blanc bar, rue Ontario. Whether on stage, behind the bar or around a small round table.
“Fifty-six jobs, fifty-six miseries, money is a plague, power, a cancer,” he sings on 56.
“Broadcasting, he doesn’t give a shit, festivals, he doesn’t give a damn, copyright, he doesn’t give a shit, lists Urbain Desbois, who dabbled his drums on Jérémi Mourand’s second album, Cowbird (2007). He’s an artist in the truest sense of the word. It is not marketable. You cannot buy Jacques Bertrand. He is so honest that it comes kidding. ”
It’s not like he’s missed out on fame. He’s glorious, but in his own way. He doesn’t want to be in the music history books, he doesn’t care.
The singer remembers a time when his friend Jacques entered Archambault’s, rue Sainte-Catherine, to drop Jérémi Mourand records on the sly, between two artists from the modest “J” section. “If someone found their record, at the checkout there was no barcode. He was doing the opposite of the thief. He was saying to his friends, ‘If you want to steal a record, go steal mine.’ ”
In At least it’s raining, Urbain Desbois revisits, with his daughter Louki Mandalian, Muscular writer. ” I hate songs that repeat the same phrase ”, we hear… repeatedly. A compendium of the irony of Jacques Bertrand Junior, which multiplies the wit and the nice fingers of honor. “He is a goldsmith, an incredible craftsman. This guy writes hits, but unknown hits, ”comments the musician.
“If Jacques remains unknown to the general public, I think it is voluntary on his part, adds Navet Confit. The goal of the compilation not being to pass it to Star Academy. He has a very punk spirit in his repertoire and in his approach, which I didn’t want to pervert or disguise. ”
No chance, therefore, that a photo of Jacques Bertrand Junior covers this article or that his words appear between two quotation marks. They reserve them for a poem or a song, often both at the same time.
In 2018, the publishing house L’Oie de cravan gathered its texts under the title A microphone is a dangerous weapon. On the album, a nod to this literary inclination, the novelist Maxime Catellier holds the “dangerous weapon” in honor of his sidekick, the time ofA twisted mind in a bruised body.
If we can’t speak to Jacques Bertrand Junior, let’s leave his song At least it’s raining answer for him. Happy with this mark of affection and mutual aid, the artist? “Help is being deployed, forces are getting organized, if it were only for me, chaos would take care of the crisis. ”
Chaos and probably some musician friends.
At least it’s raining