Ex-VOIVOD bassist Jean-Yves Thériault (a.k.a. Blacky), who left the band back in 1991 under acrimonious circumstances, recently took time out to answer several questions for BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the group's recently-launched reunion with original vocalist Denis "Snake" Belanger (which Jean-Yves is not part of) and his current activities in the music world and elsewhere. Read on:
Q: Were you approached about reuniting with Piggy, Snake and Away in the reformed line-up of the group? If so, what were your reasons for turning it down? If not, would you like to have been asked?
Jean-Yves: No, I was not approached by any of the members of VOIVOD about returning to the group. Of course, it would have been flattering to have been asked, but I would have been somewhat surprised as we haven't maintained contact over the years and my departure was less than amicable.
Q: What is your opinion of Snake, Piggy and Away reuniting in the current formation of the group? Are you supportive of their decision, or do you have other feelings on this subject?
Jean-Yves: If the guys still enjoy playing together, I think that's great. And I like that they're playing a lot of the older material, as those were songs I co-wrote and obviously have an affinity for. Retro-Vod is where it's at for me. I think the new 80's fan site — VoivodFan.com — is really cool.
Q: What is your opinion of former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted taking your place, so to speak, in the band?
Jean-Yves: Jason Newsted isn't really taking my place, that's a place that's been filled by a number of people since I left including Pierre St-Jean, Gilles Brisebois, then by Eric Forrest (who also filled in for Snake when he left), and most recently by Vince Peake of GROOVY AARDVARK. It's been over ten years since I was in VOIVOD, so it wouldn't really be appropriate for me to voice a public opinion on Jason's involvement at this stage of the game.
Q: What were your original reasons for leaving the group (since no official word has ever come down from you on the subject)?
Jean-Yves: That's not the case at all. I did an interview with Gregory Godin of Violent Solutions Magazine a few years ago where I spoke quite frankly about it. (what follows is a paragraph from the aforementioned interview).
A lot of things happened along the way that caused more and larger dissentions between us. But the straw that broke the camel's back, if I could say that, is the fact that nobody else in the band could make the decision when I figured we were heading for a catastrophe workin' with Terry Brown as producer [on the album Angel Rat]. The label [Mechanic] was heading for bankruptcy, too, and I told that to everybody but they wouldn't believe me! We were in the middle of recording the album when all these events occurred, and it didn't help. I have nothing personal against Terry Brown, but as far as his direction is concerned he went completely the wrong way... a simple listen will confirm this eternally. The only thing that could have saved that album, was to have a different producer for the final mix and for some of the vocals, but after a meeting with the band, they wanted to carry on with Terry, which ultimately led me to leave the band. The recording sessions went that way: Terry wanted us to take every song and edit them in order to produce a hit album. I was extremely pissed off with that, and I know Piggy wasn't very happy with that either, though in the end he resigned himself to that, while I kept my stand. So we did a week of re-pre-production, then we started recording the drums, bass, then guitars and vocals. I took a week off after I was done recording my parts, that went alright. Then when I came back, the rhythm guitars were on tape then vocals were recorded, but during my time away from the band, it had become a three-against-one situation, and to this day it was never explained to me. I had voiced my doubts about using Mister Brown to produce Angel Rat, and that everything will end up in shit. So I went back in the control room, and I couldn't stay in there for more than a few minutes, because Terry told me not to get involved at that point, which was absurd and frankly stupid from his part. So I left for Montreal, and asked for the recording sessions to be suspended so I could have a meeting with the band, or else I was thinking of pulling out and not attend the final mix.
We had two meetings that never amounted to anything solid, and that actually forced me to decide to leave the band. Y'see, VOIVOD used to be a democracy, but it didn't work that way towards the end. Michel [i.e. Away] wanted to control the band and so did I, so I pulled out. Too many chiefs, not enough indians.
Q: What is your current occupation, and in what capacity are you currently involved in the music business?
Jean-Yves: I administer and design websites through my company, Vkool Communications. I relocated back to Montreal last year [after spending much of the last decade in Vancouver] so the internet business has been keeping me busy but I'm trying to make an effort to set aside more time for artistic projects, writing music for Faux Pas (a multimedia art project) and I'm looking to develop artists for Xvoto Recordings. Also, my girlfriend has been bugging me to play guitar in her punk rawk band, LES PETITS CASTORS (THE LITTLE BEAVERS).