My childhood and adolescence
At the same time, very bad student, I do not worry too much by saying to myself I could always make a living by playing piano in bars. After a memorable stay in Toulouse with the group VIP's (which was to become Spooky Tooth) forthe purpose a recording session, we created from scratch "Jupiter Sunset" (Back in the sun) with the team of Fugain and the complicity of Boris Bergman . The disc came out and, to my surprise, went on the radio and sold like hotcakes. What a nice surprise! In the momentum, I find myself in another adventure with the same, a group renamedCockpit with Dominique, Yves Chouard and FR David on bass and vocals. The band works rather well and in parallel, I make occasional studio recordings with Variations by Joe Lebb and Marc Tobaly. The weekend when I do not play, I spend my evenings in the cabin of Claude Brunet and which is seller in a record store in the in Deauville. Not knowing how to dance, I spend time observing the clientele during week days i work as an assistant first at Vogue where I meet the likes of Alain Boublil, Jacques Wolfson and his band (Michel Pelay, Haddi Kalafate, Jean Pierre Alarsen, Alain Legogic, Gerard "Krapou", Christina Padovan, Claude Putterflam, Jacques Dutronc) and where I have the chance to attend by chance the creation of songs as mythical songs like "et moi et moi et moi" or "Il est cinq heures Paris s’eveille" by hiding myself quietly in the corner of the recording booth
After my military service was completed, I was hired by Polydor where I met Mr. Henri Belolo, production director. He took me along with him when he left Polydor to create his own music label: Carabine Music.
I felt I needed to become seriously involved if I intended to pursue a career in the music business. So I decided to study conscientiously and to take Harmony classes with Mr. André Hodeir. Also, thanks to my buddy (even brother) Jean Philippe Iliesco, I began composing jingles for commercials and earning a living in the process.
With my friends Fr David, Jean Pierre Grosz and Jean Louis Bentolila, we set up a tiny studio in the basement of a house in Marnes la Coquette. We shared studio time amongst ourselves on equal terms, which was very convenient for me to compose commercial music and song demos.
I began traveling regularly to England and recording in prestigious studios such as Lansdowne and Trident (where one could come across “Queen”, “Stevie Wonder”, “Elton John” “David Bowie” … Mind blowing!)
I compose my first TV Music for Maguy produced by télé Images. Huge succes in France. So lucky to have been picked for the job. thanks to Simone Harari.
More labels started to trust me with the production of their artists’ albums. I met Eric Bamy, Noël Deschamps and St Preux (whose drummer was a certain Jean Marc Cerrone).
1976 - 1978
I didn’t quite grasp the talent that surrounded me then, but during this period of time I naïvely created two albums that would change my professional career forever: “Cerrone’s Paradise” and “Supernature”… I co-produced them with Cerrone. Len Lovich wrote the lyrics and Don Ray (the amazing arranger Raymond Donnez) wrote the arrangements
I met movie director Andjezw Zulawsi and his producer René Cleitmann who hire me to compose the soundtrack of their movie: “La femme publique” starring Valérie Kaprisky, Francis Huster and Lambert Wilson.
The next year, the same crew is booked for another movie called “l’année des Méduses” by Christopher Franks… So I was asked again to write music for the movies… Yes, I’m a lucky man!
But the movie industry isn’t so easy to integrate. Fortunately, a pianist/arranger that is very well established in the business (and don’t be mistaken, that doesn’t amount to saying he is a homosexual lol ) offers me a hell of a partnership! It consists in working in his home studio to program, record and mix songs of artists who want to collaborate with him on their albums. And there are plenty of those since he is none other than Michel Bernhole (I’m sitting next to him on the FM 95.2 picture above). He is Michel Berger and Véronique Sanson’s arranger, amongst others…
We spend three years making music and working like lunatics, sometimes 12 hours a day. Our only problem is the rudimentary gear of the home studio. Some pieces of equipment only work on the user manuel… so we managed, but suffered from mild sleep deprivation for a while!
It took me only a few hours to create a music that became the most publicly broadcasted theme song of my career: theme music for the still running TV game “Questions pour un Champion”. Special thanks to Simone Harari and Sirs Jacques Bal, Olivier Baudoin and Bill Mason.
I met Mr. Jay Alanski, talented melodist, composer, lyricist and producer. He trusted me to write the score of the strings on Jil Kaplan’s album “La charmeuse de Serpents”, which received a prize from the French music awards Victoires de la Musique.
And Mr. Pierre Richard asked me to write the soundtrack for his movie “On peut toujours rêver” which he both starred in and directed. I was honored that my music was interpreted by Mr. Toots Thielemans
A single for Régine (the French adaptation of “I will survive”) titled “Je survivrai”
Another single for Grégory Ken, the singer of “Chagrin d’amour” group that recorded “Donne moi ton amour”, a French version of “Tell it like it is” with lyrics by Mr. Philippe Manoeuvre…! The recording session included some very talented people: Vincent Palmer, world famous Eric Serra and none other than Manu Katché...
And production of the rap album “Destroy Man and Jhony go” with Barclay. The “duo gang” decided to split two weeks before the single was due to be released.
This seems to me as the “home equipment” decade … Major recording studios started to disappear… Bye bye Studio des dames and Studio Pathé. They leave good memories behind.
The technological evolution had effects on the recording process (digital innovations) as well as on the creative process with the emergence of affordable quality samplers. Also, technocrats started to show up in record companies. Artistic directors left room for “product managers”… (gasp!)
In order to make a living, I went back to composing commercials and music for television. Still, I composed the songs for actor Pierre Richard’s album of which he wrote the lyrics. I was always a huge fan of his. 2000-2010
disco is back!
The famous DJ, Bob Sinclar, released a few remixes of Cerrone songs I had participated to… life was smiling on me again!
So I met with Bob Sinclar who introduced me to his universe, his own creative process. I was impressed by his musical abilities.
We recorded the vocals for Bob Sinclar’s “Love Generation” in New York (Bass hit studio) with Carol Rowley, Gary Pine, Duane Harden, Jean Guy Schreiner, and Bob Sinclar surrounding Gary.
Universal Music put some power promotion on the title by using it as the theme song of the French pop music talent contest “La Star Academy” in 2005. The song became gold disc in France and entered the charts in England, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Australia and even the States…
I co-wrote the music for the soundtrack of the movie “Je vous trouve très beau” written and directed by Isabelle Mergault, her first feature film.
It was released on January 11, 2006 and was a smash hit right away. A million and a half people went to see it in a month and that figure reached two million viewers by the end of February.
Reflecting on it all, I was really fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with all these artists and creative people.
FR David asked me to work with him on a new album, a project he had been thinking about for a long time. And since I can’t say no to him… we spent the entire winter on recording, mixing and producing 8 songs for his album.
Septembre et octobre 2008
Alexis Rault, composer and singer whom I met through my son (who accompanies him on stage sometimes) contacted me to co-write and direct the music of a TV film titled “L’Amour dans le sang” directed by Vincent Monnet and produced by Mon Voisin Productions.
After a few months of nonchalance and little appetite for work I fly for the first time in my life to Jamaica with Bob Sinclar, for the double purpose of discovering the reggae island, but especially for the avowed purpose of record reggae versions of Bob Sinclair's tracks with the artist. There I meet with Steve Edwards which is the performer and composer of some of Bob Sainclar's hits. Nice to be traveling as a composer. For 10 days we will work under the direction of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, with Robbie Linn on keyboards a local percussionist awesome named Sticky Thomson and Mickey Chung on guitar. During recordings of those 14 tracks, the musicians, singers, singers parade to the studio one after the other, I love it!
I also play a few keyboard parts and give some suggestions for the songs arrangements on the spot ... I am quickly adopted by the band, and Robbie Shakespeare will quickly proclaim me the nickname Plastic Man. For a few hours , just once, we go out for a l shopping, but there is no question of going to the beach. But hey, we're not here for that either .. A visit from Grace Jones, A descent to hear to discover a DanceHall sound system, to discover the life of the golden youth of this Caribbean Islands, A DJ set of Chris in a club at the evening of Sean Paul's manager, and here we are alas too soon alas on the plane back. A small stopover of 24 hours in Miami then, Paris under the greyness, but with so manysouvenirs to remember.
The news has the effect of a bomb on me. Cerrone just called me on the phone to invite me to lunch! it’s been Several years ago since we talked to each other expept thru an attorney, but the procedure being over, (I won) he wants us to work together again it's unbelievable for me. I really want to go backto writing disco, however, I put a condition that Don Ray (arranger extraordinaire)come with us in this project.
In early 2013, I find in my archives the premises of a Medley started some time ago, about traditional Jewish songs dealing with electronic instruments. The demoes were sung by Michel and Georges Costa, Laurence Cartier, to which are added Veronique Chemouny and Emmanuel Vincent.
My son Anatole, Bassist Emeritus presents me with a singer of R & B / US Soul Derek Martin, for whom he is a team that can accompany him. I, who have not done a scene for ages, willingly accept the idea.
Derek Martin will perform with us a few months in Paris, for the greatest happiness of the public and ourselves
Mark Brenner songwriter and bassist/ author living in France has a song that I love and that I decide to produce.
I write for the occasion an arrangement which will be interpreted by the string quartet of Miss Anne Gravoin.
A friend introduces me to the band Calypsodelia, whose singer Izzy makes accomplished and fun compositions. After an intense period of work and 8 titles recorded, the group will split ... What a mess!
I m happy to give a little help to my niece, director Judith Grumbach, for music she needs for her great film on the subject of education at school called "une idée folle