Out of the spotlight | The high fidelity of Claude Rajotte

The moment of a conversation about their career, the passage of time and the world around them, Press catches news of personalities loved by Quebecers, who now live further from the spotlight.

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“People often ask me: ‘What happened to Claude Rajotte?’ asks his friend and former colleague Geneviève Borne. Well, he’s back to his old self: he’s at home and listening to music. »

From his spacious apartment in downtown Montreal, the most generous and ruthless of music critics, united by videoconference, summarizes his day to day life as a 66-year-old retiree. “I love doing nothing. I like my little peace. I get up when I want, I go to bed when I want, without pressure. It’s over, the stress of life. »

He turns his computer to his cat, languid in an armchair. “Great. A companion to a long line of felines with ridiculous names: Roland, Sphinxe (with an e, yes), Poof. “Poof turned poof after only a year,” his former owner jokes, the acidity of his humor obviously it has not been diluted with age.

Then, while we’re at it, the ex-VJ, who piloted his last show at Musimax in December 2015, shows his interlocutor the audio system he bought for his 65Y anniversary, and describes its quality with the help of a phrase that his followers already guess.

Sounds like a ton of bricks.

claude rajotte

Claude Rajotte affirms that he does nothing, which is both true and false, to the extent that music occupies the same place in his life that it has always occupied. If in his last movement he got rid of several records – “my remixes of Milli Vanilli, they didn’t particularly matter to me” – the undertaker of the CD graveyard he remains just as obsessed with new sounds, which he discovers mainly thanks to the high-fidelity streaming service Tidal. Music is still his big business.


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Claude Rajotte, in 2001

Your hearing regimen? “I wake up listening to classical music and watching my news. When I wash the dishes, I can hear total muzak. When I take a bath, it’s jazz from the 30s, 40s. At night, from 1:30 am until I go to bed [vers 5, 6 h], it’s drum and bass music. And the Beatles, your favorite band? “I no longer need to hear it, my brain reproduces it on its own. »

Rajotte has always lived unlike the rest of society, at night, and has always lived in the center, because its bustle calms him. When he arrived in the metropolis in 1982, he lived in an apartment on Crescent Street, between Sainte-Catherine and De Maisonneuve. “I could make all the noise I wanted, play punk at 4am while he vacuumed – no complaints. »

like a monk

Born in 1955 in Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, a town near Drummondville, Claude Rajotte was, until the age of 18, what he himself called a “fat”. He “He weighed 215 pounds at 15 years old. He sings these last words to a joyous tune. “Look, I always said 215 at 15 would be a great Beau Dommage song. » I assure you that the railleries who essuyées ado n’ont laissé chez lui aucune cicatrice, mais un psychologue un peu retors verrait sans doute dans la méfiance qu’il a toujours entertain face aux élans de la masse une conséquence de cette mise to the letter.

At the heart of a media landscape where animators often have to change hats during the same run, Claude Rajotte will never have been anything other than Claude Rajotte, this lovable misanthropist with eternally renewed curiosity, this music lover who demands communicative enthusiasm. , this monomaniac who maintains a lofty idea of ​​the power that music possesses to burst the walls of our imagination. From the beginning, he was pleased to take the opposite view of the consensus: “To Good Sunday [son premier contrat télé]I was reviewing at Einstürzende Neubauten [groupe allemand de musique industrielle] in front of Bad Queen. »

It was thanks to a device bought by his father in a pharmacy – “it was Françoise Hardy who was playing and since my father saw that I liked it, he had offered it to me” – that the young man tuned in to CKGM, the ancestor of CHOM. “It was a trigger. He was very artistic. At that time, each animator did what he wanted: introduce the music. It is also in CHOM that he will end up after being fired from CKOI for insubordination. “When I came to CHOM, my English was terrible. I could only say: “Now Led Zeppelin, we are CHOM”. But I did take my dictionaries with me and tried not to smoke too many bats. »

It is this freedom that he will defend throughout his career. After leaving the small screen in 2015, Claude worked for a time for a company that offered disc jockey services. one afternoon in a party Montebello office, the dance floor riots. “People were yelling ‘Help’ after half an hour. They had asked me for a Latin evening. I went to look for modern cumbia, electro, while they, the poor, waited Slowly. »


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, PRESS ARCHIVE

Claude Rajotte during the 18th anniversary of MusiquePlus, with Catherine Vachon, Geneviève Borne, Marie Plourde and Sonia Benezra, in 2004

“I can say that the great love of Claude’s life is music,” confesses Geneviève Borne, an observation that would be obvious, if she did not hear the expression “great love” in the literal sense, and not as a hyperbole. “He is like a monk who will dedicate himself to study, to rituals, to prayers, to mediation. Claude, his life is dedicated to listening, to analysis, to the love of music. »

The former VJ remembers that his partner, at the time when he received more than forty promotional albums every week, still ordered dozens and dozens of albums to import.

In contact with Claude, you assure yourself of the normality of your own love of music. Please confirm that you are normal. And he tells you that you can be whatever you want in life, no matter what people think. If your mission in life is to discover music, share your passion: perfect, that’s it.

Genevieve Borne

Like an RBO sketch

Claude Rajotte was diagnosed last year with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that he controls by injecting medication and watching his diet. Tired, he immediately left his CIBL program. He doesn’t really miss the microphone and the camera.

“Lucky that I was able to do my damage at the time I was doing it,” he says about these segments to which his legacy is often reduced, while he will also have been a pedagogue and guide for an entire generation.

At the end of some episodes of CD graveyard, the ruthless presenter tortured a mediocre album, subjecting it to torture in sessions worthy of Guantanamo. It was the co-founder of MusiquePlus, Pierre Marchand, who had proposed this idea to him after seeing him launch a record at lunch (!) at Francis Bay. “He was always breaking records, of course, even before he destroyed. »

When he returned to MusiquePlus in 2011, Claude Rajotte now had to have his destruction approved by the record company of the artist he imposed this martyrdom on. “Lucky that I was able to say all the nonsense he wanted when it was allowed. Today, he would be chased by everyone. The executioner of lasers, however, ensures that no one has ever complained of being buried six feet under the ground. “Everyone understood that it was a joke, that it was like an RBO skit. »

Do you regret that television now leaves so little space for music? “We don’t care about television, music is on the web now. I don’t know how people watch shows like The voice. My God… It’s discouraging. should do The drums instead, it would be more interesting! I say this as a joke, because I stopped hating people. I don’t listen to them, it’s simpler. »

That week, Claude Rajotte posted on Mixcloud, as usual, a new selection of drum and bass and jungle music. “When I hear things that I like, I say to myself: I can’t keep this to myself. It’s like drugs. »

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