The first steps in the music scene of Jean-François Bodart
of Farciennes were set with the punkband Spasmes. A first release on vinyl
came some years later with Aphrodisiax, who have rejoyced the world with
one self-produced single "Sex Symbole". His fame in Wallonia and many
countries beside that, came as he became the singer of the 12-piece, borsalino-dressed,
band Les Gangsters d'Amour, who have released two albums and quite a number
of singles in the eighties, such as "Bonnie & Clyde", "S.O.S.
Barracuda" and "Meutre à Hawaï". The Gangsters did
their final hold-up near the end of 1991.
"With the Gangsters d'Amour I got the feeling that the
"concept" was getting the upperhand of the melody. I wanted something
different. People came to see us because of our spectacular show. But I wanted
them to listen to us for our songs, those little stories without much importance,
in which everybody can put what he wants according to his/her own experiences."
From that moment Jeff Bodart went - clad in Tintin-pants, slipover
and cap - his whistling way, which resulted in 1994 in the merry breaktrough-single
"Du vélo sans les mains" (biking without hands). The Charles
Trenet-ish merriness of the song was put into perspective by the singer : "the
lyrics to that song go 'Le bonheur c'est facile quand on y met du sien/Le bonheur
c'est facile comme du vélo sans les mains'. I don't know if you've ever tried
biking without using your hands, but it risks becoming biking without teeth. You
should distrust singers with cap that proclaim it is sufficient to whistle to
be happy". For the "petite histoire" : th chanson "du
vélo sans les mains" was co-written by François Bernheim, a
guy that has won his spurs writing for the terrible "Les Poppys". The
coïncidence is that Jeff's very first public performance was an interpretation
of a Poppys-song.
This single was the precursor to an album with AMC of the same
title, from which also "Chacun son histoire" and "3 minutes, 30
secondes" made it into radio-hits in Wallonia. Or as the bio wants it "il
montre une écriture ciselée et directe, une musique pétillante et sensible et
fait vibrer juste des chansons touchantes et percutantes." With the cd
in hand, an extensive tour followed, flanked by Olivier Bodson (trumpet,
percussion, guitar) and Pierre Gillet (keyboards) that led them to many
Francofolies (Spa, La Rochelle, Montréal) and bigger and smaller halls
in Belgium and France.
In 1997 a second album came into being, entitled "Histoires
Universelles", in which Kent and Benoît "C'est arrivé
près de chez vous" Poelvoorde made vocal and writing contributions.
The title of the first single "Une histoire universelle" and the cd
was explained as "By talking and writing about the little things that
preoccupy me or the people near me, you permit others to identify with that. That
is the principle of "Histoires Universelles" (universal stories). From
the thirty or fourty chansons at the start, we've held only 14, those that had
the most anecdotic value for largest amount of people. Collective songs. It seems
a bit pretentious to say that, but it's an attempt, a quest".
Certainly striking in the tour that followed was his passage
at the Francofolies van Spa, where Jeff Bodart dragged a whole gang of friends
onto the stage, including the marching band of Farciennes, Marka,
Riton Liebman, Kent, Philippe Lafontaine, african percussionists , Axelle
Red and Salvatore Adamo.
In 1999, a song of him ended up on the compilation "Si
ça nous chante" (a charity-project for children with mucoviscidose
that included Marka, Jean-Louis Daulne, Lou
& Hollywood Bananas, Salvatore Adamo, Marc
Morgan & Jo Lemaire). In 2000, Jeff Bodart recorded
a cover of the T.Rex song "Get It On" for the compilation "Glittering
2000", and is busy finishing the last bits & pieces of a new
- third - solo-cd which should see the light of day in September.
Buy CD's of this band at
- Du Vélo Sans Les Mains (AMC, 1994)
- Histoires Universelle (AMC, 1997)
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