For the headland show the youngsters form a group with cardboard instruments and get ready to sing and dance on the phone and company. “The host found that Erwan wasn’t dancing well enough and wanted him not to play,” says Laurent. “All the rest of the group said ‘If Erwan is not with us, there is no show’ An anecdote and a solidarity that makes you a group, right? “I still dance just as bad,” Erwan says.
Thirty-nine years later, we find the two boys in a Bordeaux bistro. They haven’t (almost) changed. Not far from this Renaudel square they formed a group. And we will celebrate together, this November 17th, the 25th anniversary of Howls of Léo, formation of “java-song-punk-caravanning” on the stage of the Rocher de Palmer in Cenon (33).
The “Lion” of sales reps
Let’s go back to our two boys who find themselves in the same Cell le Gaucher boarding school in “Mont-de”. “We were six or seven friends doing BMX and mobs,” Erwan continues. “Laurent was already more thoughtful. He knew when we were going to do something stupid, but he stayed with us when it was done. He was already approaching music, founding the Pecos Bill group with, already, Pierre Wetzel, a future photographer famous for his wet collodion and bellows prints. Erwan “smokes firecrackers, drinks beer and teaches girls guitar. “
What unites the band musically: the explosion of the French alternative scene, from the Satellites to the Happy Drivers, from the Wampas, from the Sheriff to the Stiff Heads, noria led by the Mano Negra. A few years later, Laurent, trained as a facilitator, sleeps in Bordeaux with Erwan, a student of the Regional Institute of Social Work (IRTS). “A friend who organizes a festival in Sainte-Fortunade (Corrèze) is looking for a band to play at the bar, I say yes and then I forget about it,” laughs Erwan. When the guy calls back four months later… it’s about making sure of something.
“We called friends, hurriedly rehearsed on the Bordeaux quays,” says Laurent. We have to come up with a name. The VRP song “Léo” left its mark on them, so choose Les Hurlements d’Léo. Mano Solo, Brassens, Brel and Happy drivers covered on two chords, no more because hey, we can’t do more. The two friends on guitar-vocals, Franck Gouasquet known as “Franky Banane” (he still has it) on backbass and Pierre Wetzel on snare.
First break in 2006
Benoît Chesnel, saxophonist who has seen their energy, offers his sax and rigor. This blend of musicians and… instinctive forges the group’s identity, identified by Jeff Genie (“our lucky star”) who already works in the Bordeaux 3C production facility. The foundation concert is held at Rock School Barbey with a large group of Jojo Gallardo on accordion, Fred Renaud as new drummer, Pépito on trumpet, Raphaël Bord on violin. This troupe travels to Anjou to record its first album, “Le Café des jourshappys”.
“Another violin rock band just exploded, Louise is attacking,” recalls Laurent Kebous. Everyone wants it. “The Howls are doing well, they tour a lot, in France but also in Australia, the Middle East, Russia… Going back to the crowded rooms where a year before there were 12. “We walk around Saint-Michel and hear a party above, with our song sounds: something crazy! We are eight guys on stage ready for anything, and more or less hardworking now. » In 2000, it is the meeting with Barback’s Ogres with whom the tour « Un air deux familles », under tent throughout Europe, will last two years.
A fourth album, aptly named “Time Suspended” in 2006, and first break, end of an era. Everyone leaves for other projects, Laurent tries his hand at the solo (three albums), as for Erwan… “I don’t do myself any good, I remain roots”, he summarizes. Three years later, Pepito and his trumpet sound the reminder: there is a way around Russia. Jojo and the two founders leave, four new “desk” are hired. “If a group comes back from Russia, it can go anywhere,” smiles Erwan, who is in love with the country.
Reunions in 2022
“Bordel de luxe” was released in 2011, the group then staged a show around Mano Solo. Erwan makes first dates and then leaves. “Malaise, melancholy… I’m complicated. I needed to be recognized for myself. »He Goes to find more serenity and love in Sète for « Wallace »a solo project with a joyful first album. On the Hurlements side, the Solo tour has 120 dates, an album and a book. The disc “Luna de papel”, financially supported by the fans, is a great success, the audacious “Mondial stereo” “falls into the Covid bin” (dixit Laurent).
“For 25 years we have wanted to heal from this gadin,” he continues. For a souvenir album, unreleased live pieces are found, old titles are revisited, such as “Le café des jourshappys” presented to Erwan who comes to record it in Frontenac (33).
Shooting the clip convinced him: “See Lolo more often (because we never broke up), realize how cool it was to have participated in that. Laurent glides towards him: “Isn’t it strange not to be on tour? Erwan is back on the boat, twenty dates already scheduled since spring. “When Lolo is with me on stage, nothing can happen to me,” says Erwan. After the concerts, the audience comes to talk to the artists with their memories, with their children. He warms up his hamstrings: an eighth album is in the works.