A concert evening on a Wednesday night and a new discovery — that was what I thought on my way back home after attending the Valentine’s Cabaret at Le Cabaret du Mile End and meeting the Bleu Jeans Bleu, four funky groovy romantic cowboys from Montreal. Once upon a Valentine’s night, a night of all-dressed treats, as promoted in their album, Haute Couture Gold November 12, 2013), they gave us what they promised, in funny uninhibited French.
Always well dressed, flaunting their “stylish” fashion in denim, Mathieu Lafontaine aka Claude Cobra, Jean Levi and Lou Lee revealed themselves inside and out. They gave me a warm welcome backstage while making the most of some well-deserved rest after their heartily acclaimed show in the Cabaret Mile End.
Mylène Chevreul (MC): Hello Claude, you ‘re from Bleu Jeans Bleu, and here I can see that your band’s name and your clothes actually match…
Claude Cobra (CC) : The whole thing started by accident. The idea was to wear the denim to make us look ugly, to have something on which does not fit at all… because comfort matters most.
(Another crew member just arrived and joined us. That’s Pierre-David Girard, the bassist, more known as Jean Levi )
MC: I think it’s alright. It does fit you!
CC: It actually lengthens his figure
(He points at Jean Levi, and it’s also a reference to the words “put on your best-fitting jeans, the ones which lengthen your leg” in their song entitled “J’te gâte all dressed”)
MC: Tell me, the jean’s thing and all that, is it just a funny idea without further meaning ?
CC: Yes. That’s how it started, and then, at some point, we did it at a show and realized that people liked it. So we’re feeding the machine.
MC: And there is some true appreciation coming from the audience, from the applause heard earlier on. Does it make you keep on doing it or do you feel that your personal projects should be part of the picture too ?
CC: Well, I take care of my personal stuff less frequently, especially now that this act keeps me busier, but that’s fine.
(Drummer Mathieu Collette joins the pack. Lou Lee is in da place. Collette is part of some of Mathieu Lafontaine’s other projects, notably Monogrenade and Grenadine.)
MC: Do you really think that your style can help you get girls ?
(The boys have just made a quick self introduction of each of their characters, in a love-denim-cowboy kind of mode. I thought it was time to put them to the test, with a little improvised speed dating)
CC: To my liege and my love whom I do not know, you are probably beautiful, or so I hope, love me as I am with the name that I wear.
(After Lou Lee flashed his awesome biker tattoos, with barbed wire patters and other subtleties, we decided to momentarily to stop the bullshit section and go back to discussing their music.)
MC: What is a sole word to describe your music as it combines a handful of musical genres ?
Lou Lee (LL) : Dubious
Jean Levi (JL) : The fun. So, the word “the.”
MC: Ok, let’s do it Chinese-astrology style ! If you were an animal ?
(They were not allowed to pick the cat, another crew member, or the phrase “vulnérable comme un bébé chat,” an allusion to another one of their greatest hits.)
CC: I was gonna say the jelly fish but I’ll go with the seal instead.
LL: The cat. Oh right, no I can’t get that one… Hmm. The cat… Yeah, right, no. The cat. Well, then, the American civet cat.
JL: The zebra.
MC: A famous character ?
LL: Claude Cobra ?
MC: Well, that can be accepted, it goes without saying. So Claude, you may also not answer the question if you’re fine with your own already-famous character.
CC: No, actually, I’m only Claude Cobra’s standby. So I’ll go with Jackie Chan.
(He makes a hell of a demo with a miserable attempt to kick a chair down)
LL: I’d be Jean-Claude Van Damme
JL: Jet Li. Or Chuck Norris.
(Seems like the mutual component was pre-agreed, doesn’t it ? Anyway, this might be a direct hint to the contents of their next video, so keep yourself updated!)
MC: A favourite food ? Is it sweet potato ? –
(This is a subtle reference to a most romantic question put to one’s sweetheart in the song “Mangeras-tu ma patate douce?”)
CC: Yes, it’s my favourite root vegatable.
JL: Yeah, baked in foil, in the summertime !
CC: Or mashed. I’ll send you a recipe of mashed sweet potatoes. Vous allez pogner vot’noeud !
MC: With Valentines Day approaching and love in the air, is there anything in particular you’d like to tell our female readers, a little sexy something ? And, over all, should women feel jealous of the eponymous Genevieve from the album?
CC: First, let me tell you that Genevieve is not a good-looking girl, at all. And I’ve heard that she was 8 ft 2 in, so no, she outsizes all of our expectations. And if there were one message to convey to the ladies, that would be “be true to yourself.” (He says, tongue-in-cheek.)
MC: Ok, cool, so us girls can stop shaving now !
CC: Errr, no, “Shave, and be true to yourself !”
MC: What can we wish for you in terms of musical achievement ?
LL: Millions. Of sweet potatoes. To get a nice speedboat. (A reference to the outstanding motorboat advertised in their album with the tune C’est en speedboat que je t’aime.) Claude would like to have something nicer, ’cause until now, he’s been mostly embarrassed.
CC: He’s got a thing for speedboats, he’s always after the longest one. He presently has a 32-foot long boat but he wants a bigger one. Bought with the copyright from the song. Well, we wish many things for ourselves, like to eat. Many sweet potatoes. And do many other shows just like tonight with people singing along.
MC: What’s up next after Haute Couture Gold?
CC: The upcoming shows for the summer are getting booked now.
MC: Will BJB be at the Francopholies de Montréal ?
CC: We don’t know yet what has been confirmed and what hasn’t so far, but we’re crossing our fingers !
A huge thanks to BJB for a completely out-of-control yet utterly fun interview that completely fits the picture they gave onstage — a crew of long-time friends who knew how to take it easy, for whom messing around with the audience and still offering a good quality show are not incompatible.
At the show, they played special Valentines Day covers, undisclosed songs which are not featured on the album. I’ll only quote “Beau brin de femme” for the readers to guess what the original version of that well executed spoof is. Then, spoiled as we in the audience were, they entertained us with a good old joke about women and pickles. Mostly about having to pass the jar to men in order to open it. Hence, the song, Tu n’abandonneras jamais. The band shook their booties once in a while to let female eyes guess what was behind those faded jeans. On the last piece, an expected bearded visitor in black sunglasses came, wearing a bandana and having a hairy torso. The man still haunts my dreams.
The 2-hour show made the audience move to the sound of a country wave or two, and raise their glass to the retro atmosphere. They also got us moving to a cute romantic ballad, then boosted us with a slight yet well measured dose of disco funk. Emotions between bursts of laughter and smiling tears emerged in the midst of the musical eclectism.
A special acknowledgment goes out to Alex Nevsky, the opening act with his colourful show. His powerful melodies stuck in my brain for a long long time.
Wednesday, I fell in love with two bands from Montreal.
Bleu Jeans Bleu’s album Haute Couture Gold is available for download on itunes.