The Roommates, beyond Dada

Photo: Annik MH de Carufel Le Devoir
Mike Sawatzky on a show for the event “Roommates for life”, at the FrancoFolies of Montreal in 2013

“Newspapers are changing to journalists often. Why do they continue to use the same name ? ” asked purely for rhetorical Mike Sawatzky. The guitarist has always, every summer, a handful of shows under the name the Roommates, in the company of musicians associated with the history of the group (Élage Diouf, Guy Bélanger, Justin Allard).

 

“Each show is a celebration of the spirit of Dede and Pat [Patrick Esposito di Napoli, harmonica player who died in 1994],” says the single Roommate official Roommates 2.0. “The group pays homage to Dada, to Pat and to the public, but this is not a tribute band. “

 

Mike Sawatzky speaks about the words of the brother of Dédé Fortin, Réal, who, in 2016, criticised the regime in terms scarcely veiled on the sidelines of a press conference of the Festival international de la chanson de Granby.

 

“When I see groups doing shows in tribute to Roommates without display the name of André, it seems to be a lack of respect towards the one without whom nothing would have been possible “, said then to the QMI Agency the one who refuses now to go back on his words of the time. It clarifies, however, that Mike Sawatzky can use the name of The Roommates through a non-exclusive license granted by the family Fortin, requesting that the advertising of his shows features a clear description (Sawatzky uses the name ” Les Colocs – evenings reunion of Mike Sawatzky “).

 

The Roommates, a collective

 

“For Dada, The Roommates, this was not for him. It was a collective that included both the musicians and the people who made the visual, that those who were mounting the stage, ” recalls, for its part, André Vanderbiest, bassist Colocs period Outside November, who co-wrote the music Pack you out of there.

 

“For years, I have not talked about everything from Roommates, to not give the impression of wanting to make the mileage on the legacy of the group. But it also happens to me, sometimes, to wish that people knew more about the real impact of my work. Outside of November, I know all the commas, all the breaths of this album. Is it that people are interested to know ? “

When I see groups doing shows in tribute to Roommates without display the name of André, it seems to be a lack of respect towards the one without whom nothing would have been possible
Réal Fortin

The fate of musicians in Quebec their is rarely able to spit on an opportunity to pay the rent on time, reports Vanderbiest on a more pragmatic than bitter. “As soon as I’m involved in a project related to Roommates, there are people who say : “You enjoy !” I imagine that they would not say the same thing if they knew that I spent the last year flipping burgers at $ 12 per hour. “

 

After offering a series of shows with Mike Sawatzky to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Roommates, bassist, however, was the choice of the exit. “But I’m not against the fact that Mike plays under the name Les Colocs, no, because it’s been a pleasure ben, ben in the world. This is not to it that it serves, the music, anyway ? “

 

“I’ve already met the guitarist of Bob Marley, Junior Marvin “, concludes the reggaeman of belgian origin, now located in the Gaspé peninsula. “I asked him : “You, man, it’s been 30 years that Marley is dead and you roll again with her songs. Why ?” He replied : “Because I had the chance to meet a guy whose music has done more good than the work of all the religions of the world.” “

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