Le mystère du “7,65” !

In Lausanne on the Lake Leman bank, in the French speaking Switzerland, in summer one could believe you were in the French Riviera. In the early sixties, it was one of the to place of the Swiss R & R . From Lausanne came the hitmakers Les Aiglons, but also another talented band les Sorciers (the sorcerers).

Michel Saugy, who was their lead guitar, has told us their story. In fact each Lausanne district had his own band, which model was usually Les Chaussettes Noires or les Chats Sauvages. Some others tried to look like the Shadows, as it was the case with les Sorciers. In 1962 Michel and his brother Bernard, who played drums, recruited two school fellows: André Gilliand who became bass player and Marc Diserens, the minister’s son, who had gathered some musical experience with Les loups Blancs,
was on rhythm, since he knew two chords more than the others! Their big influences were the Shadows and the Spotnicks who impressed with their astonishing cover of orange Blossom special and their strange metallic sound. Michel Saugy remembers well that has been working night and days to succeed playing as fast as the Spotnicks !

In a rather small town like Lausanne, it was not very long before almost everybody knew that a band called les Sorciers were rehearsing hard. The various talent scouts looking for new acts came to them and convinced them to take part to the big Rock contest the Swiss rock cup. Each band had to select four tracks and played them in front of the crowd of the teenager and a jury of specialists. Michel hard working was rewarded, thanks to Orange blossom special they qualified for the semi finals and reached the final, where they won over their rivals coming from Geneva Les Four shakers. The price was to record the 45 rpm usual four tracks EP for the Barclay label. One considered that the Swiss A & R Ken Lean, put all his influence to convince the jury of the Sorciers’ strengths. They set was really impressive with their Fenders, their imperial drum kit and the self made amplifiers with this very particular sound.

When September came they entered the Hoche studios in Paris for the long awaited session. They cut Cyclone composed by J.Roulet better know as Tony Frank, a Swiss rock singer, Baya the Lee Hazlewood classic, youpi yé, an adaptation of a folk song and Caravelle penned by M.Saugy. The record is a good seller in Switzerland was they promoted it with a tour.

The gigs took a lot of time and it was the reason why Bernard Saugy left the band to go to the university; he was then replaced by Michael Schmalz who left Les aiglons. Marc Diserens could not adapt to this difficult tour life; his place was taken over by Jacques Hefti on rhythm.

Then came the time of the second record. There was some changes since their A & r man Ken lean has left the Barclay label. They were now in Jean Fernandez’ hands. He was Eddie Barclay ‘s right hand. The session took place with Bernard coming back on drums, and a new rhythm guitar Francis Richoz. Michel was still the main composer with 7,65, Indicatif and Monika, meanwhile the top track was penned by the Jazz pianist Jacques Loussier and was used as the Thierry la Fronde’s theme. This was a very popular series on the French national TV channel. The track 7,65 had nothing to do with a gun, but was the effective price of the record in Switzerland! This was Michel’s humour.

The band was popular and backed several singers like the female rocker Evy, and a young 12 years chap making a huge hit, called Le petit prince ! They toured the south west of France and were played on radio Andorre air waves.

But with 1964 the hard times were coming for instrumental bands. The vocal bands became the reference and Les sorciers disbanded just before the summer.

Michel joined for a while Les Aiglons with whom he was to cut their fourth record. Then he was drafted in the Swiss army. When the army time was over he went to Canada and became their a player composer and author under the name of Michel Chartrand. Finally he went back to his home country and settled down composing jingles for the advertisements and playing for fun with his friends in the weekends.


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