Interview by Bence and Estelle on the 11th of May 2014
Estelle: When was the first time you discovered you like metal music, and what was the first ultimate favorite band of yours?
I think it was probably Kiss or AC/DC, back in when I was 10 years old or whatever, I saw the Screaming for Vengeance tour of Judas Priest when I was like 13 years old, and I was shocked, I thought ‘Wow, okay, this is what I wanna do’. After watching a lot of festival videos and videos of the early 80s, that was my thought in life – I just wanted to play the rock ‘n’ roll.
Favorite bands from back then? I’m a big AC/DC fan, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden. The classic ones.
Bence: When did you hook on thrash?
I think it happened the same way as with a lot of people, I heard Kill ‘Em All, the Metallica record, and then the whole thing with Exodus, Slayer, Mercyful Fate and all that stuff. When I started playing the bass, I never heard of Iron Maiden, I never heard of Metallica, but my taste in music slowly got heavier and heavier. Nowadays, I still prefer the old thrash-heavy thing. There’s a lot of new metal today, so many styles, it’s hard to keep up and so much bands sound the same and everything. But yeah, I think it was around ’84 or ’83.
Estelle: What time did you discover you like singing and you could be great as a singer?
Well, I was originally a bass player first, so I could imitate Rob Halford a little bit, and Scorpions and a few things. I actually wasn’t good at all, I was fucking horrible. I played in many cover bands and some original stuff, I was just playing the bass and then I tried to learn how to sing, I was the frontman of our band called Thunder Circus in ’91-’92. My singing was more like a Bruce Dickinson, Judas Priest kind of vibe, but the band kicked me out because I couldn’t sing heavy enough. It’s a funny story. Well I showed them, didn’t I?! (laughs)
I think in my early twenties I started getting better, I started singing more thrash and heavy, and then maybe six months later I got a chance to join Voivod, so the timing was pretty good for me.
Bence: Originally you are from Canada, but you live in France now. Can you say a few words about how that happened?
Yeah, I live in France for 10 years, and I have a staying card for another two years. I met this French girl in Montreal, and then she said she wanted to go back in France, we wanted to get married, I was like ‘Good idea, yeah!’, but we got divorced about 5 years ago. Well, it’s life.
I have some thinking to do in the next few years, about what is going to happen. If by chance I have to go back to Canada, we can still organize stuff, so we can still tour and everything.
I really enjoy France: the culture, the people, the food, the wine, everything’s a little slower. As they say: tranquille. Okay Paris is a fucking crazy city, but Toulouse – I live in Toulouse, it’s in the south-west –, about a million people, it’s really great, I’m having a good time.
Bence: You have many dates of your tour in Hungary – you actually play in 4 different places here. Which was the first show organized in the country?
Budapest, 3 days ago. We did 3 shows in France a couple of weeks ago, just kind of warm up and stuff. We played in Milan first and then we had a drive all the way to Budapest. Budapest the other day was the first. And then we played yesterday in Szombathely, and next week it will be Szeged. And then Romania and Poland, and Czech Republic.
Estelle: How is it possible that you play in so many places here in Hungary? I mean, usually big bands don’t play even in Budapest, and you can see E-Force at 4 venues here in Hungary. It’s just so surprising for me, bands like you come here like one time – or not even one time.
I don’t really know why, these days it’s pretty competitive just to get gigs, some would pay to cover the gas and everything. The drummer was searching for dates, we also had another contact who works abroad – he asked ‘Would you do 4-5 shows in Hungary?’, and we were like ‘Yeah, okay!’. It wasn’t really planned but it turned out that way. But it’s great to be here, really, I’m having a good time.
The other night in Budapest it was like a hundred people, last night it was around a hundred people too, the responses are also really overwhelming.
Estelle: Maybe there won’t be so many people here since it’s Sunday night, Debrecen isn’t like the capital and nor is Hungary the most popular country around here, but we will do our best!
I’m going to ask a bit about your latest album, The Curse… – I know that the original title of the album would have been The Curse of the Cunt and I know that the cover had to stick to the idea, but still, is the cover like this because you guys wanted to catch people’s attention?
Yeah, it’s about provocation and the other songs are very related in terms of the temptation, obsession of beautiful girls, everybody – or most guys, some girls –, what they have to go through in life. (For example the song ‘Perverse Media’ is about the Strauss-Kahn incident.)
Bence: I want to be honest with you – I don’t really like the artwork, but the music is awesome.
Estelle: It’s just that thrash maybe isn’t the first word that comes to one’s mind when they look at the album cover. Are you aware of this fact, I mean that people can feel like this and that this isn’t the most thrashy cover that you could ever do?
We had another red cover but then our label said we can not release the album with that one and we should do another, so we made this because we wanted to have something sexy, something ‘Oh yeah, okay!’. But there are so many bands, so many different covers, I don’t think there are any rules that you have to follow. We kind of wanted to do something that’s a bit shocking. But you know it’s not the first, Jimmy Hendrix etc., many bands have had that.
Estelle: You told a little about the power of the women in connection with your album The Curse of the Cunt, and as you said you still went to France because of a girl actually – can we say that you are some kind of a conservative type then? Can we say you don’t like this free spirit thing?
Ah, no. I’m talking about the power of women but I’m not speaking negative about it.
First of all, the word ‘cunt’: people say it all the time in England. ‘Cunt’ for England is like ‘fucking asshole’ for America. The phrase is a bit of a parody type, it’s not to be taken too seriosuly. It’s actually a bit of a joke. When I started the idea, it was after being divorced and looking for a new girlfriend. So it’s not really a curse, it’s more like a joke. It’s just about the power of pussy, and what some people do to find their love or romance or whatever.
Bence: Going back to the cover, I was surprised when I looked on the back because of Glen Drover – I’m a huge Megadeth fan. Was it your idea to invite him?
Oh, yes. Glen is a friend of mine, not close or not best friends but we know each other. I met him first time when we played with King Diamond in Montreal, King introduced us to each other so I spoke with him after. Then he got the job in Megadeth, and once he put me on the guest list in Spain, but I couldn’t make it.
The Modified Poison album had a few guests too. Also, I don’t know if you’re aware of the Project: Failing Flesh that I do, it’s a project that I do in America, we’ve done 3 albums – honestly, have a listen, you’ll be really impressed. It’s not thrashy, it’s more like a bit of everything.
Anyway, I took an unreleased Voivod song and I did a little tribute to Piggy: 10 unreleased songs that nobody has ever heard.
In 3 songs I thought it would be cool to have 3 guests to shred. And that’s what it is, I’m really happy that it turned out that way.
Bence: It’s a great thing that you had an opportunity to play with Piggy. I’m so sorry for him, he was great.
Honour privilege, really. Great guy too. It’s really sad he had to leave.
Bence: Would you mind if we asked you about your departure from Voivod? We don’t really know anything about how that happened.
Sure. Don’t believe everything you hear, let’s put it this way. They tell people that back in the day I quit the band, but I actually never did. We had a meeting one day, March 2001, and the guys told me that they wanted to stop Voivod, period. For everybody. I didn’t believe it for a minute. I thought ‘Okay, Snake is coming back’. We had a meeting at Piggy’s place and I walked with Michel who lived nearby and I told him that ‘Why don’t we call Jason Newsted, dude? Do something, I can’t believe they’re gonna stop!’.
So anyway, they kind of kicked me out in a nice way I guess, but there’s no hard feelings, I mean it was their band, that’s what they wanted to do, we had some financial problems… it was their decision. We gave Piggy a few more victory laps before his departure, which was good.
So, we’re still friends, everything’s fine, I joined them at Hellfest 2009 and sang a song – Tribal Convictions – with them on stage. It’s all good. When the day comes I’m gonna call them: “Hey, when is the Voivod-Newsted-E-Force tour dude?’ (laughs)
Estelle: Would you work with Voivod ever again?
Well, it’s funny because on one of the records – Infini – I was asked to play on the album with Blacky and Jason, Piggy’s last recordings. I had all the songs before they were released, but one day Away mailed me saying ‘Well, Jason is really attached to the songs so he wants to play all the songs’. It’s like ‘Okay, I understand’, ’cause he helped them out a lot, he financed their thing, they could stay at his place, record the record… so, there’s no hard feelings, I mean I had to start over from nothing but you know, it’s all pros and cons. So here we are, actually I could still play the music that I have created. And I still play Voivod songs, still, to this day!
Estelle: For the end: Can you imagine E-Force in let’s say 5 years? Will you still exist?
I think so, yes. One way or another. Our last record was released six years ago, between label changes, member changes, and money, finance… so it took a long time, but our label actually wants a new record next year, so things are going to roll faster. Hope to keep rockin’!
Okay, so thank you very much again for talking to us, Eric, looking forward to the show tonight!
Okay, thank you, looking forward to see you guys there!