Memories of a rock’n roll pioneer

MUSIC. Like a prelude to films, Denis Boulet launched a book a few months ago recounting the genesis that led to the creation of Offenbach, the first rock’n roll music group in Quebec.

Living in Shawinigan for 50 years, Denis Boulet spent his professional life in the factories of Doral, Cadorette and then Shalwin, but at the insistence of a friend (Pascal Gauthier), he opened up about his 10 years as a musician professional in the book Two chopsticks, a bench… My road to Offenbach.

Because of course, it’s impossible not to recognize Gerry’s features and tone of voice in the 78-year-old man he met in the kitchen of his pretty house in the Lac-à-la-Tortue sector. “For me, he is and always will be Gérald. We have always been very close to each other, ”says Denis, 18 months older than his brother who died in 1990.

The book retraces the beginnings of Denis Boulet as a drummer with the Double Tones in 1961, joined a year later by his brother… on trumpet. “At that time, Gérald did not have the voice that we know him to have. He had a very thin voice. We played reals and polkas,” recalls The old as his brother affectionately called him.

The Boulet brothers went through the 1960s in different formations, gradually taking on a more rock sound over time. “We were born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, not far from the American lines. We were bilingual and our dream was always to sing in English. We had an old radio at home that picked up American channels. And we listened to the new hits as soon as they came out on the radio. The following weekend, we performed them live,” recalls Denis Boulet, who cites James Brown, The Animals, Rolling Stones and Beatles among his favorite artists and bands.

Among the multitude of musical groups vying for a place at the top of the charts in Quebec at the time, the White Gloves – the last formation before the creation of Offenbach – stood out for the presence of a saxophone player in its ranks. “We had a more rock sound, which explains why we are one of the rare groups that was able to continue in the 1970s”, he underlines.

Within the White Gloves, we also found, in addition to the Boulet brothers, Michel willy Lamothe and Johnny Gravel, that is to say the heart of the Offenbach group, officially created in 1970 and joined a year later by Pierre Harel, the lyricist behind the classic Hug of blues on the first album Offenbach Soap Opera.

A certain show at the Ideal Beach

It is also the only album on which Denis Boulet will play within the formation. “I was starting to date a girl from Shawinigan that I had met during a show at the Plage Idéale. Worse in the group, I no longer felt in my place. I came to settle here in 1972, but when I arrived, I had no job, no money. Hair as long as a beard”, recalls with a smile the drummer who found it difficult to get used to a more down to earth life after leading the turbulent life of the rockers.

“We ate peanut butter, me and my brother. It wasn’t always easy, but we got through it. We made money, but we burned it as we went along. But I’m glad I lived this life. Offenbach was my baby in a way and I followed them until their last show in 1985. In the history of music in Quebec, it was an important group. And me today, I consider myself a pioneer of rock’n roll”, concludes Denis Boulet.

Written jointly with a friend, Tiffany Sagnol, Two chopsticks, a bench… My road to Offenbach is available at a cost of $25 by emailing

Double Tones in Offenbach

Double Tones (1961)

Twistin’ Vampires (1962)

Fabulous Kernels (1963)

Kernels (1963)

White Gloves (1964)

Offenbach (1970)

Memories of a rock’n roll pioneer – L’Hebdo du St-Maurice