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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: PIERROT AL-KHAL ON GYPSIES.DIFFICILES.SCORPIO (YEAR 2000)! Reply with quote

Pierrot Al-Khal
Interview conducted by Patrick Desvarieux

Pierrot Al-Khal

1) You just came out with the "Flashback" CD. Tell us what was the idea behind it?

The Flashback CD is complementary of the work we have been doing since we came back as Flashback and have been performing . I wanted to have that CD so that those who are not able or cannot see us perform live could at least have the CD to enjoy and bring back memories of a special time that for me will never come back or be the same.

2) Does the band play "Live" in Haiti? If yes, when can we expect to see them in the United States?

Yes, Flashback plays live and has been playing since Dec.19,1999 and we have now had 11 performances and we will be playing in Miami at SPIRIT Nightclub on Saturday July 15, 22 and 29. Miami watch out and be ready because we will bring memories that might bring tears to your eyes..lol...
3) How did you start out in the business? What was your involvement with the "Gypsies", in other word, what was your role AS IMPRESSARIO?

I started in this business when I was very young. I was 17. My friend Robert Martino was playing with the Difficiles de P.V. and during the summer of 1972 he was not getting along with some of the other members of the band. In September 1972 he left the Difficiles. I was always around the group with Robert, so I told him not to worry because I thought that we could do something together. When the idea came up, some other guys from the Difficiles left the band to join us like Marc Edmé (who is now with me in Flashback) and also Billy Déguand. On September 19 , 1972 we had our first gig at Hotel Montana and it was a big blast. The Gypsies were born that day.

Gypsies was a name that I gave to the band when I was a kid in school (St.Louis de Gonzague). They used to call me "the GITAN" because of my style,look ; my father was Arab and my mother Haitian. My friends used to call me Pierrot "le Gitan", so as a Gitan I said to myself let me name the band Gypsies the english meaning of Gitan and that's where the name GYPSIES de P.V. came from. At that time I was young and I had to take care and be responsible for a musical band consisting of 7 musiciens while also playing the tambourine and singing. My father was a great businessman, so he always taught me what he knew. I was not afraid to take charge and with what GOD gave me, I put myself together and started to do the work of the imprésario of the band. I took care of all the contracts in Haiti and also outside of Haiti. Three months later we had our first contract for New-York for exactly 5 weeks at the Canne A Sucre in Queens. This is how we had the chance to meet Claude Pasquet (tiCo) and came back to Haiti with him. When we returned to Haiti we took in Reynold Nader and Max Badette and that is how the Gypsies made their big return in December 1972 at the Montana Hotel. The public was happy to have us back better than ever with an extraordinary drummer (tico)

4) Let's clear up a rumor right now. How many Gypsies albums have there been, and can you please name them in order and by year? Not too many people seem to know the exact number. If anyone can clear that up, it's you?

7 albums all together : 1972 Haiti , 1973 Patience , 1974 Courage , 1975 Fierté , Resurection 1975 (with Claude Marcelin), Baron Baron 1976 ( C.Marcelin ), 1976 La Tulipe .

5) Were you ever part of the "Difficiles" crew behind the scenes?

No I was not part of the Difficiles crew. I was only a big fan and also very good friends with all of the guys .

6) Tell us about the rivalry between the "Difficiles" and the "Gypsies" back then? It's legendary in Haitian music. Please tell us more.

The rivalry between Difficiles and Gypsies was only between the fans. We from the group were always friends as Jn Robert Hérissé (Porky) could be seen with Robert Martino in the same car as if they were in the same band .Only the fans were making these "zizanies", but it was good for us the Gypsies because it made us much more popular.

6a) Were there any good memories of that period? What about bad memories?

From the Gypsies I have only good memories and to tell you the truth, I think that all the existence of the Gypsies is only good memories for me.

7) What is your favorite "Gypsies" album and why?

The second album "PATIENCE" because we did right after we came back from New -York. Some of the songs were put together during the trip and I have a lot of good memories from that trip in New-York .

8) Which one is the one you like the least? Why?

"Resurection" is the one I like the least because for me there is nothing in it . I did it just because I had to do it as I had an offer from the producer. There is nothing good in it, but the one right after "Baron Baron" was better and is still very popular. It is a big success in Guadeloupe and Martinique and the song "Baron Baron" is still being played now by certain bands over there. That is why that CD has just been re-released and is selling very well.

9) Why did the band break up?

The Gypsies broke up because we were young and everyone had a different way of seeing things. Also some of us wanted to go live in the United States so we had to split.

10) How did you feel about continuing with the band, especially after the departure of the main members Robert Martino, Max Badette, Sinsin and Tico Pasquet after the "Fierte" album? (I know Tico left after the Courage album).

When Robert,Sinsin and Max Badette went to New -York I decided to stay in Haiti my country the one that I still live in today because I love it. I don't like life in the States so when those guys left I still had with me in Haiti Edner Couloutte,William Jean and Eddy Louis from the album "Fierté" which had just been released. Those guys told me at that time : Bibill (that's how they all call me ) you can't break up the band. What about us? So I decided to continue with the band. I called Claude Marcelin and Toto Laraque and we continued with the Gypsies in Haiti and things worked out pretty good for us .

11) Were you criticized by the fans and original members when you came out with the revamped Gypsies featuring "Ti Claude Marcelin"?

The fans were very happy to still have the Gypsies around, so I don't remember ever receiving any criticism from anyone. On the contrary I received all the help that I needed at that time to continue with the Gypsies. As far as the original members, nothing has ever been said to me about that. If there was a problem, it must have been done very quietly because I never received a word from them about that. We had no problems because we came out afterwards as Scorpio and now Flashback. We were friends then and we still remained friends no matter what .

12) How did you and Robert manage to get together for Scorpio?

After a certain time in the States Robert , Sinsin and my good friend Pedro Souffrant came back to Haiti and I still had the Gypsies playing in Haiti but I was having discipline problems with Claude Marcelin. I had "Ti Police Nosile" playing when Claude wouldn't show up. I was kind of tired of the situation and Pedro who was with me all the time told me that Robert and Sinsin wanted to talk to me. One day we got together and after a long long discussion, I decided to put an end to the GYPSIES. We decided to come out with something new as the Difficiles were also braking up to become D.P Express. People were going after new sounds, so I said OK to the guys and we got together and were a group again but with no name. We went to play at Hotel Ibolélé on a Friday night and during the night Sinsin while playing got bitten by something so I had to bring him to the hospital immediately. Then after being told that he was bitten by a Scorpion I said to the guys our name would be "SCORPIO" (Italian for Scorpion) and that's it.

13) What is your favorite Scorpio album?

My favorite album is the second one Scorpio universel "Min Yayade La "

14) Which one was a better band? Gypsies or Scorpio? Why?

Which one was a better band Gypsies or Scorpio ? This is a very difficult question because I liked both. It depends on what angle you want to analyze it .The Gypsies, we were younger and we were having fun. With Scorpio, it was something else much more popular and musically more mature with the Sax, Trombonne , Trompette and Organs. It was completely something different than the Gypsies . It depends on how you look at it, but if you ask me which one was more popular I will answer right away SCORPIO.

15) Which one had the most success? Why do you think that is?

I think #14 answers #15

16) Tell us about the "Scorpio"/"D.P Express" rivalry? Any good memories? Any bad ones?

The rivalries between Scorpio/D.P.Express was the same as the Gypsies/Difficiles but stronger because we had the "polémique" of the Carnaval. During Carnaval the fans sometimes would come to tell you so many things that if we didn't have our heads on our shoulders, we would go directly to the members of D.P.Express to kick their noses and vice/versa. To tell you the truth, the rivalries were stong and we the blue and white our fans were crazy about the band were always ready to do the anything for us. I had a lot of trouble to make the fans understand that we were friends with the members of D.P Express. I had to tell them to calm down.

Good memories were in Matinique where the crowd used to carry Robert Matino on their shoulders when he was playing, and also jumping in the air with him. The bad one was in France when one day during a performance that was supposed to end at 5 A.M. in the morning. We were told that if we stopped one minute before that time, we wouldn't get the other half of the payment. All the guys were so tired because they had been playing non-stop since midnight. Ten minutes before the end of the show Robert said that he couldn't continue. Pedro Souffrant was bleeding from the nose, Sinsin almost fell down to his knees and they all wanted to stop because they couldn't continue. I had to run from the stage to get water and ice, and go to each one of them talking to them while cooling their faces off by splashing water on their heads and faces. We did it.

17) Can you compare both rivalries between Gypsies/Difficiles and Scorpio/D.P Express?

The rivalries between Difficiles/Gypsies and Scorpio/D.P.Express were only different because the last bands were more popular then the first ones and also because Scorpio/D.P.express were more involved in the Carnaval because the polémique made it stronger.

1Cool Do you think Haitian music has changed for the best or for the worst compared to the way it was 20, 25, 30 years ago? Please explain.

For me as I always said, all progress is for the best. I will and cannot accept when some people say that the music is not good now. I think that the new generation has done a good job even when they are constantly criticized because of all the electronic instruments. People have to understand that we are in the year 2000 now and that technologies are what they are and if now our young have the chance to use them they should not criticize them about it because time changes, so do sounds and so does music. I think that the music is going for the best and the new generation is doing a great job. The future looks good.

19) We've seen a trend where kids follow musicans into the industry. We have T-Vice(Martino), Ti Doz(Policard), 2 Nice(Laraque) and so many others. Can we expect your children to follow in your footsteps? Would you encourage them?

Roberto and Reynaldo Martino (t-vice) are my nephews and Jessie their Mom is my sister, so you can see that we are a family of musicians and we grew up in the music industry. It is normal that if one day my children or one my kids follow my footsteps that I will be 100% by his side and will give all the necessary support. I have to tell you that one of my boys Piero who is 10 years old and plays the organ, is a student of Reynaldo. Don't be surprised if one day you hear of him. lol....

20) What is your impression on the success that your nephews (T-Vice) have achieved so far in the business at a very young age?

My nephews Roberto and Reynaldo (t-vice) and their success are something that their sister and I knew would happen since the beginning because we saw the way those boys took the music seriously. We knew that one day they would become famous and the best. With all the chances they had having us around them, for sure something had to come out of it. I think they do deserve their success and people have to know that those boys did work hard and are constantly working for Haitian music. Their goal is to make the COMPAS INTERNATIONAL,so let's keep an eye on them.

21) What do you make of the vicious rivalry that is currently going on between T-Vice and Sweet Micky? Can you put an end to it?

Vicious rivalry between T-Vice and Sweet Micky? Let's be serious. (Laughs) No comment Can I put an end to it , if it was between T-Vice and Sweet Micky yes , but is it between T-Vice and Sweet Micky ? That's the BIG QUESTION that the media has never asked or tried to clear to the public. I think that is what needs to be cleared up first, then I will comment on it.

22) Any final words?

My final words goes to FLASHBACK to the guys that are back with me now on the road which is not the same they knew 20/30 years ago. The public is asking much more and the media is very hard and are more ready to criticize.

I personally send my compliments and gratitudes to all of you for your courage to come back together after such a long time. And my final word goes to Reynold Nadère ( Sinsin ) who is doing a very good job as the band leader of Flashback. He is always by my side to give me all the support to accomplish my work as the imprésario, and also encouraging me as singer. So my dear friend Sinsin the road is hard but we have seen worst GOD BLESS YOU !!!!!!!
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