Thanks to this exam, Jacques went to the grammar school Lycée Arago, where he got new friends among them some fellows fascinated by r & r and beginners in guitar. In the same year there was also another future guitarist: Danny Marane, who was to become Les Fantômes bass player.
François has learnt guitar in the music school in Montreuil.
There he get acquainted with Michel Souillac another young guitarist. They made a contest in the Montreuil summer fair and won the first prize, as they backed a young singer Gilbert. They used self made amplifiers, made of a record player and a loudspeaker !
The trio rehearsed in a garage and was joined by a drummer William Brahmi. They used to play the Shadows pieces; guitar boogie and an instrumental version of the Presley’s reconsider baby. They found a name the Schtroumpfs. It was a then famous cartoon. They recorded a sample with six tracks. A young guy, with a business man mentality, offered to become their manager. He then bought them an electric guitar echo and a bass lucky 7 with all the money he spared. Then they took part to the selection for the TV show Age tendre, but due to some material defects they did not succeed to reach the final.
Then they decided to buy a Vox 30 amplifier. The result is great. At a big party in Montreuil they played a welcomed cover of Fort Chabrol, the Fantômes hit. One of their grammar school fellows introduced them to the Sexy club owner. This well-known club is located lose to the Champs Elysees. They got a contract for some evenings. Their set is promising.
Then they heard that a new teenage singer, named Billy Bridge, was looking for a band. They showed up and realised that it would be a hard work to get the job. Many bands were already like Les shamrocks with Gregory Ken who was to become famous with a band called chagrin d’amour ten years later. The jury was made of Mickey Baker, an American black singer and guitarist, who was talentscout for Odeon records, Kurt Mohr a jazz specialist and Billy Bridge.
According to Jacques and François they won because they were less bad that the competitors! Since they were under 21 years old, they were 17, they needed their parents agreement. The parents were shared between a proud feeling and the fear that their sons would stop the grammar school. Anyway they agreed. The band was named les Mustangs.
Georges Schemla, their manager made them rehearse every afternoon in May and June 1962. When July came they decided to go to Mimizan, a holiday resort on the Atlantic coasts in the southwest part of France. François’s father, who owned a Peugeot car company, offered his son a second hand Peugeot 203. They loaded the car up with all they guitars amplifiers and drum kits and took the road to Mimizan. There was a new drummer in the band Aldo Sciortino; he was a professional hired by their record company. The way to Mimizan was not be easy, the weather is sunny and it’s too hot for the old Peugeot. A good mechanic was to give life to the damaged motor and after some days on the road they reached Mimizan, where François ‘s girl friend was eagerly waiting for him. There they met with some teenagers who shared their musical tastes like the future Chats Sauvages singer, Mike Shannon.
The boys were brave and rehearsed every afternoon, from time to time they played some sets in the local casino where their cover of 500 hundred miles is warmly cheered up. One morning the postman brought a telegram. The sender was Mickey Baker; they had to get back right now to Paris , where they were part of the Cliff Richard & the Shadows package at the Olympia theatre in Paris. The show was to start by the end of August.
The holidays were over. Back in Paris they rehearsed everyday in the Olympia attic. They had chosen to play a tune in the little B style, penned by their former drummer Willy. Their record company offered them new guitars and amplifiers. François has got a Gibson, Michel a Burns and Jacques a Fender 54, Aldo an Asta drumkit, the amplifiers are two Vox AC30 and a Gibson stereo.
During their training, Bruce Welch paid them a visit and admired the fender 54. Then came the long awaited d day. This was to stay forever in their memory. They played two weeks and made 25 shows, during which they religiously listened and starred, at the shadows playing on this famous Olympia stage. They observed the way they played; they tuned their guitars. They used thick chords and Bert Weedon mediators.
In October 1962 they were booked in Rome, they even played on a TV show on the same bill as Adriano Celentano. François has played for the first time his red fender. The Italian musicians looked at it full of admiration. They played also the most moody places in Rome like the jicky club, when they impressed by the beautiful Italian girls.
Back in Paris they appeared on the Paris club show, the midday TV program, then they played with Billy Bridge as top star in Luxeuil. Then Mickey baker let them work hard in view of the first recording session, which took place in December in the Charcot studios. J.C.Rauchez manages the session. They cut three tracks penned by Mickey baker: la main du diable, sur la plage and 1,2,3,4. As well as the Dave baby Cortez hit Rinky dink.
Mickey Baker, a famous black guitarist, coming from the blues and jazz scene, enlarged their musical culture, let them hear Barney Kessel, Freddie King, Charlie Christian. He has been a very demanding teacher and also a fascinating one. He knew all the great Rockers like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper; he penned the Little sister chorus for Elvis Presley. His only regret was not to be able to back the king in Nashville. The studios were closed to black people. That’s why in spite of his huge success with his wife Sylvia, he left for France where he settled down.
In 1963 Les Mustangs appeared in the French cover of Just for fun, with Billy Bridge. Then they were of the famous TV show Age tendre. In June came the time to make their second record with a new drummer peter coming from Les Rebelles. Mickey Baker came to supervise the session, they cut the swan’s lake, drums, hully gully Lemonade both penned by M.Baker and neguev.
Then they went on the usual summer tours sharing the bill with Dick Rivers, Lucky Blondo, Ria Bartok, Audrey Arno. Then they made the Olympia in a package with Les chats sauvages, Danny boy & les Pingouins, Johnny Taylor & the Strangers, les champions and Gillian Hill. In November they appeared at L’Européen with les Jumelles, les Schtroumpfs, Hector, les Missiles and Moustique, Billy Bridge topped the bill.
Then came 1964, Billy Bridge decided to try his chance alone and for the other ones they were drafted into the army.
Now Peter owns the Champagne André Clouet, François is still a session guitarist and a teacher after having backed various stars like Michel Lenormand, Beart, Greco, Aznavour and Distel…
Jacques is working in the computer business.
- L’intégrale double CD (Magic Records 3930037)
La main du Diable / Rinky dink / Sur la plage / 1,2,3,4. / Drums / Hully Gully limonade / Lac des cygnes (Swan’s lake) / Le Neghev.