This past November, the music scene in Metro Moncton suffered an unexpected loss when Idée du Nord member Claude Leger passed away at only 45 years of age.
Friday night in the Caveau, located in the basement of The O.C., 700 Main St., Moncton, some of Claude’s friends and former band mates are giving the late musician a unique send-off.
To hear others speak of him, a complete stranger would discover what a kind, unassuming, good-natured person that Claude was to all who encountered him. In fact, his Idée du Nord band mate Greg Landry says that Leger would undoubtedly be embarrassed that a show is being held in his honour in the first place.
“Claude wasn’t a guy that asked a lot of others. If he were able to see the event that is being put together for him, he would definitely be embarrassed about all of the fuss,” Landry says. “Ultimately though, the show is a celebration of Claude’s life; it will be like an Irish wake for an Acadian guy with Scottish blood. How cool is that?”
Bad Luck #13 guitarist Ray Auffrey says that his group’s bond with Leger through music helped make their involvement in the show an easy decision.
“A few weeks after Claude passed away, I was speaking with Benoit Dugas, one of Claude’s former band mates in Idée du Nord,” Auffrey says. “Benoit told me that there was interest in putting together a tribute night of music in Claude’s honour and they were looking for some of Claude’s friends and contemporaries to perform.”
Despite Bad Luck #13 not having played a show since 2007 (they disbanded in 2000), Auffrey says that he and his band mates jumped at the chance to be a part of this special evening of music.
“Claude played an important role in helping develop the alternative music scene in Moncton,” Auffrey continues. “There were so few people into alternative music, art, politics and literature in the ’80s that you tended to gravitate towards one another regardless of your age.
“As a DJ at Le Kacho, Claude would spin songs by The Pogues, Husker Du, Berurier Noir, New Model Army, Violent Femmes and Bad Brains among others. In the ’80s in Moncton, it was really the only meeting spot for the local counter culture. This evening is a chance for old friends and acquaintances to share stories, have a laugh and pay tribute to our dearly departed comrade.”
Both Auffrey and show organizer Jesse Leblanc have fond memories of Leger with the latter recalling his friendship with Leger as being something influential upon him.
“Though I had met Claude before, it was when he and I both worked at Calactus that we probably grew closest,” Leblanc says. “I would show up to work early every morning so I could have coffee with him. We would talk and argue about life, politics, religion and laugh at old war stories of being in bands. It was the perfect way to start the day.
“Claude was the type of person who put his friend’s needs before his own, almost to a fault, albeit a very generous one.”
Purple Knight drummer Mark Gaudet admits that he is still in the process of absorbing Leger’s passing but believes that Leger is watching over his friends.
“I first met Claude in late 1983 or early 1984,” Gaudet says. “He was this gentle, handsome guy with a motorcycle and a passion for U2’s record War.
“On the Saturday following his passing, I was at Chapters and the first two songs I heard after arriving at the store was U2’s ‘Unforgettable Fire’ and ‘Milky Way’ by House of Love,” Gaudet says. “Considering Claude’s musical tastes and the fact that he had just passed, it was something that gave me shivers.”
Article published in the February 22, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript