Biography of the band
Roger and Claude met up again in the 80's (see their individual biographies below). Their compositions were often based on improvisation techniques in which they were trained and they compiled their own repertoire of recordings. One of their friends had given their tape to François, his co-worker in a music store who then expressed an eagerness to meet them and they immediately clicked. At first, François observed them closely, recording and taking notes and then, to join them, learned to play a bass guitar which he borrowed from the store.
This led to the formation of Avenue, for which they wrote pop and rock tunes while maintaining a progressive touch. They worked together on this project for three years and this resulted in a dozen completed songs. Many people who attended their practices said they were much better than most of the popular Quebec english bands at that time. They were approached by a serious manager, but unfortunately some interferences from an outsider caused the band to break up. Flash forward 25 years later in 2011, François found and contacted Roger via Facebook who then sadly found out about Claude’s passing...
Roger was also surprised to learn that, as a legacy, François did actually still possess some of their old practice tapes! It must be noted that these tapes were recorded in a single take and saved as a single track. Although it was difficult to do any "masterizing" with only one track, they have successfully added many corrections to balance the sound and make certain adjustments. In fact, 50 hours of extra studio time have been spent in transforming these old recordings into a product more suitable for broadcasting and distribution.
Even though the quality of the sound is far from being perfect, it was sufficiently acceptable to do justice to the essence of the songs and to lead to the birth of the Avenue Music Project.
Biography of the musicians
Roger PageBorn in Charlemagne, Quebec, like Celine Dion, Roger was delivered by no less than the hands of the doctor who also brought this great singer into this world! He began playing the piano at the age of 6 and by the time he turned 9 years old he was distinguishing himself by interpreting Mozart sonatas. He claims to have been initiated to
rock n’roll by listening to the king, Elvis Presley, with whom he also shares a birthday, January 8th, along with David Bowie. It is through a true musical connection with Jimmy Page, a distant relative (?) also born practically on the same date (January 9th), that he claims to have matured into the age of rock music. He learned to play guitar by himself and developed this skill along with his cousin Don, while practicing newly learned chords with each other over the phone.
No stranger to musical studies during his college years, he also excelled in musical dictation and solfeggio, while also "learning" to discover the Beatles! It comes as no surprise that he and his cousin then formed their own band called the Soul Blues. They played the hits of the time as well as the first original piece composed by Roger called "Whisper" and they were successful enough to become the opening act for the Quebec’s most popular band
the Sultans, for a few concerts.
During the high times of the sixties, he credits his experimentation with LSD for opening up his cerebral neurons to a more profound musical vision. He stopped doing covers and was henceforth inspired to compose all his own original music with some friends and form a new band, Cybernia. Among them was Claude Poirier and so, during this period, they became acquaintances but lost touch for a few years while Roger concentrated on completing a treatise on composition, fugue and harmony, as well as learning to play the flute and the cello. He perfected his skill at reading musical scores by analysing symphonies, mostly Beethoven and studying the musical partitions for each individual instrument. He then proceeded to compose ten instrumental piano pieces that he also performed in concertos. When he and Claude met up again, they formed a group, Mosaïc, composing their own progressive music based on improvisations, inspired by such groups as Genesis.
When François joined them, this led to the formation of Avenue, for which they wrote pop and rock tunes while maintaining a progressive touch. After the band's dissolution, Roger also continued to write some music and lyrics that he developed with various female singers. The French adaptation of his song Sonny was awarded the third prize in a national song competition, "North by Northwest". He then lost touch with François for a while, but unfortunately forever with his dear friend Claude...
Roger, who has developed some skill on Internet, is also the webmaster and graphic designer of this website.
Franois de MargerieIt all began at a pretty young age, banging on pots and pans with a wooden spoon like so many other toddlers…
But his Mom was soooo proud…
Some years later, a friend asked François if he would be interested in joining a prog-rock band. Sure, he said, having no clue whatsoever what prog was all about. It was a first contact with Rush, Yes and Genesis: he had found his true calling.
Many years later, François found a job at Archambault Musique, an iconic music store in Montreal, Canada. Those years saw his knowledge of music and his abilities really grow (he did have to sell all those instruments, didn't he?..). So he began playing with basses and keyboards on top of the drums and the little acoustic guitar he already played. Nevertheless, his musical universe expanded.
In that time period, one of his colleagues told him about a band duo who could probably use a polyvalent player like him. They met and Avenue was born. They had two guitars, amps, a drum machine, keyboards (Yamaha organ, Minimoog synthesizer...), a huge soundboard and great ideas.
They figured François would obviously step behind the drum machine so they could do better than playing on one, two or three patterns non-stop. He already had experience programming drums since, at Archambault, he had programmed a Yamaha RX-15 to playback Rush drummer Neil Peart’s complete subdivision’s part. In doing so, he had developed a process to his programming, writing all his ideas on staff paper, later adding pattern numbers corresponding to pattern banks so he could easily put the patterns in sequence. Great examples are available in the songs page of this web site.
When François joined Roger and Claude, they had a RX-21 drum machine but he convinced them to move up to a RX-15 for more flexibility. In order to take care of their bottom end, he first got an Aria bass guitar that played great, but he would hit so many things with the head, due to the cramped space he was in, that he decided to change it for a Hohner Headless bass, copy of then popular Steinberger. The smaller size turned out to be perfect since he also rode his motorcycle to rehearsal, bass strapped on his back. Bass pedals were mainly DODs. As far as keys are concerned, they had a Yamaha DX-21 hooked to a Yamaha EMQ-1 Disk Recorder he used for two purposes: data safekeeping and light sequencing.
Claude PoirierAlas, his early passing has certainly left a large gap in his biography… The two remaining members of the band consider the AMP's album a vibrant testament of their beloved friend's great musical contribution. Self-taught and with no formal training, they witnessed the development of his talents, such as his virtuosity at improvisation. They would record their sessions in order to glean and reproduce his moments of highest inspiration.
After Avenue, Claude went on to become a professional music man, being a one-man band in social events, doing covers and specializing in song requests, until he left us for rock n’ roll heaven.
An esoteric point of view...
Avenue was a group formed by three musicians who complemented each other wonderfully, in the esoteric sense of a musical trilogy. The human being is composed of a spirit, a soul and a body: this translates to wisdom, love and power or, according to religion, the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father also represented in human terms by the head (thoughts), the heart (feelings) and the body (senses). Musically, there is the melody (voice and keyboard), the harmony (guitar) and the rhythm (bass and percussion).
Roger may be considered to be the head of the group because he wrote most of the lyrics and the melodies, believing that the "catchiness" of a song comes through in its melody. Claude was the heart of the band, infusing much feeling through his guitar partitions and his interpretation (he was a real showman). François was the body of this musical trilogy, for he provides the foundations of a powerful partition of bass guitar as well as a solid rythmic structure.