Longtime Metal Journalist Pays Tribute To Fallen VOIVOD Guitarist

Longtime metal journalist and BLABBERMOUTH.NET contributor Don Kaye has issued the following statement regarding the passing of VOIVOD guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour:

"It was almost exactly twenty years ago that I first met the members of VOIVOD, including guitarist Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour. I had been following their career for a year before that, through demos and then the 'War and Pain' album. SLAYER and EXODUS were playing a festival in Montreal that summer and I flew up there with Monte Conner [currently in the A&R department at Roadrunner Records in New York]. The day after the show, we went and hung with VOIVOD for several hours at their shared apartment. Right from the start, it was evident that these guys were genuine, cool, nice people, and Piggy, who was one of the quieter of the four, was a gentle and good-natured soul.

"The next time I was in Montreal was for the legendary World War III festival in November of '85, along with Monte and Borivoj and several others. This time VOIVOD headlined the show, and it was great to see this band live for the first time.

"The first two albums were chaotic, noisy, and almost unlistenable at points, but they possessed a truly exotic quality and style that sounded like nothing else on the thrash scene. With 'Killing Technology', the band began to find themselves as players and songwriters, and started on a path that made them one of the most unique bands in all of metal. Piggy was a huge part of that with his distinctive playing and tone.

"I worked at Noise Records for a short period and was involved in promoting the band's fourth album, the brilliant 'Dimension Hatross'. As a result, I got to spend more time with the guys and found them as great to be around as always. Even as their fortures began to soar to some degree — peaking with the 'Nothingface' album, on which they headlined over SOUNDGARDEN and FAITH NO MORE — the members of the band never changed, and Piggy was as low-key, unassuming, modest and pleasant as ever.

"We more or less lost touch over the years, but it was good to see the band get a bit of a revival going with the return of Snake on vocals and Jason Newsted coming in on bass. They may not have ever sold tons of records, but VOIVOD was getting the recognition they so richly deserved for their impact on metal, and Piggy was acclaimed as one of thrash's guitar greats.

"It was so sad to hear about his illness, and simply horrifying to hear about his untimely passing. Piggy is one of too many kind souls who have left this life too early. Our generation — that is, the generation of metal musicians, record label folks, journalists, DJs, etc. who started their careers in the mid-to-late-Eighties — has lost too many friends already. Denis D'Amour, Darrell Abbott, Chuck Schuldiner, Tony Bono, Quorthon, David Wayne and Paul Baloff are all gone, and we've had damn close calls with James Murphy and Chuck Billy. Losses like these make all the other crap that goes on — from the petty bickering on the boards to the titanic, childish ego clashes like the one we've seen in the last week — seem utterly foolish.

"And now we say goodbye to another dear friend, and one of the most innovative musicians who ever wielded an instrument to play heavy metal. My deepest condolences go out to Denis' family and friends, and especially to Michel 'Away' Langevin, Denis 'Snake' Belanger, Jean-Yves 'Blacky' Theriault and Jason 'Jasonic' Newsted. Rest in peace, Piggy, and long live your music."


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