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SHOUBOU'S CLASSIC BOMBSHELL KM INTERVIEW (2001)!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:14 pm Post subject: SHOUBOU'S CLASSIC BOMBSHELL KM INTERVIEW (2001)! Reply with quote

Roger M. Eugene aka "Shoubou"
Lead Singer for Tabou Combo
Interview conducted by Patrick Desvarieux

Eugene, better known as Shoubou is the most popular Haitian singer in the world —a legend in the industry for over thirty years with the group Tabou Combo. In this EXCLUSIVE interview, he opens up about all the rumors surrounding him and Tabou Combo. He also touches on several topics in the Haitian music industry. We want you all to know that this is Shoubou UNCENSORED like you’ve never heard him before.
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Kompa! Magazine: Is Shoubou leaving or retiring from Tabou Combo?

Shoubou: I’m glad you asked me that question. Sammy Davis Jr. died with a microphone in his hand. The same thing just happened with Frank Sinatra. Haitians have a principle that if something is there for too long, they have the tendency to destroy it. I just got started. With maturity comes experience, meaning certain things that you used to do in the past, you will no longer do.

Me leaving Tabou is something that will never happen. I’m not even close (with emphasis) to retirement. I don’t see how much clearer I can be about that question. I don’t see my life without Tabou Combo and I don’t see my life without music. I’m not even close to retiring. Age is nothing but a number. If you think young, you will remain young.

KM: Is there friction in the band? Specifically, is there friction between you and Herman Nau?

Shoubou: My life is an open book. Brothers and sisters can have arguments. It’s totally normal for Herman and I to have disagreements. I love Herman very much and Herman loves me very much as well. However there is a lack of communication between Herman and I. Why? Because Herman always wants to impose himself.

Whatever Herman wants is what has to happen. This is a democracy so everyone is allowed to bring up certain ideas. If I’m the lead singer in a band and sometimes I want to sing certain songs, Herman when he’s done programming the songs that he wants, there’s nothing else that anyone can say that will make him change his mind. I can understand if it’s like that but if there is nothing programmed… (raises voice for emphasis). When you play uptempo songs such as "New York City", "Baissez Bas" and "Mabouya" back to back after awhile, I have the right to be tired. It’s as if I don’t have the right to be tired. That’s my problem with Herman. I don’t have the right to suggest a song that I would like to sing. That’s it.

KM: Is it like that only between you and Herman or is it with all of the guys?

Shoubou: Listen very carefully to what I’m about to say. Here’s my problem with Herman. If Kapi or Fanfan tell Herman something is a certain color, he’ll agree. If Shoubou tells Herman this is a certain color, even if Herman sees that I’m right, he will try to make me believe that it’s another color.

KM: Why?

Shoubou: (Resigned) It’s a very good question that you can put an interrogation point next to it. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I ask myself what is the problem between you and Herman? If you ask him the same question, he will give you the same response. He will give you the same response. (Stops) I also want to tell you about something that is really hurting me. I want to touch on it because I know you are going to ask me that anyway.

There’s a rumor running around out there about me that is really hurting me. I’m being labeled a "Tafiateur". (Stops – Emotional) That hurts me a lot. If you come to my house, I have a bar that is bigger than most Haitian restaurants. I have intimate friends that come over here and they are hurt that my own brothers in the group are doing that kind of publicity for me. (Upset) I’m the one telling you this. "Sa ce confidence a coeur ouvert".

KM: Shoubou are you saying that there are members in the band that…

Shoubou: (Cuts me off angrily) In my opinion, there are certain things that are being said out there that it’s my own brothers. I’m not saying it’s Kapi, or Herman, or Jean Claude Jean, or Fanfan, or Reynald, or Danny or anyone for that matter, but there are certain things that it’s from the guys. That hurts me a lot. I will tell you one thing, "qui veut empoisonner son chien, l’accuse de rage".

There are certain things that are happening in the band that I as the lead singer and boss; there are a series of decisions that have been taken that have hurt me. For example, let’s take the CD that just came out. On the eve of me leaving (to record the album) Fanfan tells me…the evening before my departure (he says for emphasis) he tells me Shoubou I can’t not tell you this but there is another singer singing on the album. He says the person’s name is Armstrong. I said who is Armstrong? After he told me who it was by reminding me of a song that he had sang on, I said that guy is good. That is the way that I am. If someone is good I will tell the truth. I will tell the truth even if it hurts me. I’m hard on myself. If while I’m singing I hit a false note, I will hate myself, at the same time if I give a great performance, I will congratulate myself.

On the eve of my leaving for the Antilles to have the group Malavoi put the violin on the song "Lakay", that’s when Fanfan tells me this. (Hurt and sad) My brother… This is what the guys from Tabou don’t understand. Notoriety, integrity, boss and lead singer of a group. After 32 years you could come and tell me Shoubou here’s a guy that we suggest to you and then I would be the one to call the guy to invite him to come and sing. Do you understand what I’m saying? When that happens, the guy would feel more confident and comfortable because he spoke to Shoubou.

On my way back from the Antilles, Fanfan and I are going to France to sign the distribution contracts with Musisoft. On the plane I asked Fanfan are we recruiting a singer for the band? Fanfan told me that he was a guest on the record, he will not come and sing with the group. I told him not to tell me that because I saw a flyer for a bal that Herman is advertising in which it says the new singer Mr. Armstrong. I told Fanfan that it wasn’t fair.

At the CD signing I told the crowd to applaud Armstrong because he’s a good singer despite the fact that I didn’t know that he was coming to sing in the band. Do you think it’s fair? (Shouting angrily) After he finished singing, he played the guys for fools because he never came to sing again.

I’m in my office and I’m looking at a trophy that Gazzman gave me. (He reads what it says on the trophy) Gazzman told them that he was going to join the band…I told them that I didn’t think it was fair because he already had his own band. I told them that Dzine’s fans might say that we are vagabonds because we’re trying to destroy their band by recruiting their lead singer. Gazzman told them yes but he never came to sing.

Ello …(stops) I’m the one who suggested these guys to the band. If the guys had left it up to me to talk to the singers, don’t you think it would’ve been better? They did this to me three times. (Angry) The guys from Tabou can look for someone. After they’re done, they should introduce the person to me and then I’m the one who should give him the vocal technique. You might think it’s an easy task to sing in Tabou Combo but it’s not. Cemeteries are filled with people who thought they were indispensable.

Anyone can be indispensable for a moment but you’re not important BUT AFTER 32 YEARS….(stops) Coca Cola can’t just decide to change their logo after all this time. A revolution is not a spontaneous phenomenon. To do a revolution you have to build it little by little. I had idols when I started singing. I had Gerard Dupervil, Guy Durosiers, Ansy Deroses, Roger Colas. I can be an idol to someone. I used to follow them. To get someone, he should not be me but he should have an idea of who Shoubou is. Then from there, he can go and have his own identity. Do you see what I’m saying? I suggested Ello while we were playing in Miami.

We were playing "Rassanble". Fanfan had just finished doing his album with Ello and then he told me that someone was coming to jam with us. I said it was no problem. After Ello finished singing, I said to myself I’ve finally found my alter ego. I finally found someone who can replace me. The guys used Ello to try and beat me with him. They thought that they could beat me. Ello made them look like fools because he never showed up.

I will give you all the examples. While we were in Aruba, Jean Claude Jean, Herman, and I were in a taxi. The "Reference" CD was about to be released. I asked Herman how come we haven’t rehearsed the record yet? Herman responded, I’m glad you brought that up because Fanfan and I (Shoubou repeats the words Fanfan and I for emphasis) decided to have someone sing on the record. I never said anything that day. Then Fanfan, Herman and Kapi all call me on the phone together.

I told Herman you’ve been playing in the band a long time. Would I have the right to tell you that I have someone that I invited to play the drums on the record? You know what his response was? No matter what there’s someone that will come and sing on the record. After he told me that, I told Herman, after the way that you’ve spoken to me, if that person that you’re suggesting sings one song on that record, he can sing all the songs on the record. ("Reference" CD) (Angry..raises voice)

Herman then calls Hibiscus Records in Martinique to tell them that someone is singing on the record. The person that was producing the record told him that if there’s someone else who sings on the record, they don‘t need the record because it’s Shoubou that they want to sing on the CD. As far as this new record that just came out, I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you want. You tell them what you hear out there. That is one point that I will not touch on.

KM: You sing 5 songs out of ten on the record.

Shoubou: (Cuts me off) It’s not my homework. The thing that I’m happy about is the fact that one of the most popular hits on the record, I can even say the biggest hit is "Lakay" it’s my song and it’s a song that a lot of people love a lot. I’m not just talking about Haitians only.

KM: Are you being phased out of Tabou little by little? Is that what’s happening?

Shoubou: I’m going to tell you this right now. I turned down several projects because of Tabou Combo. Africando wanted me to come to Africa to honor me on February 11th, 12th and 13th. Because of Tabou Combo I will not go. Kassav chose me to tour with them in Paris and Bercy. I went and I represented Tabou Combo and Haitian musicians in general. Tabou Combo is my base. I can’t put my own interest ahead of the band’s. You cannot talk about Tabou Combo without associating the name Shoubou with it right away.

KM: Do you feel appreciated by the members of Tabou Combo?

Shoubou: Yes. (Tones down the voice) I can’t say otherwise. Maybe it’s because they love me too much. It might be because they see that everyone is talking about me. It caused a big commotion because I did not go to a couple of gigs with them. (Raises voice) In the meantime I can say that since we’ve been in existence (he tells us to emphasize what he’s about to say) if Tabou has played one thousand concerts/bals, I’m the only one that can say that I’ve played 995, 996 of them. Okay, let’s say nine hundred.

The next closest number that someone else can say that they’ve played would be 600 to 650. Jean Claude Jean, Kapi, Fanfan or Herman can’t say the same thing. When you go looking for a job the first thing that they ask you is your resume. My resume is the best. Do you understand clearly what I’m saying to you? That is why there is all that commotion when the people don’t see me with Tabou. I’m giving you a lot of precision.

KM: Can you please tell us what happened at SOB’S in December when you played with Magnum?

Shoubou: As soon as I got there, I saw Magnum playing. I got upset because I didn’t think that Dadou Pasquet’s guitar was not coming through clearly through the speakers. I felt bad for Dadou because he couldn’t even hear himself on the stage. Magnum played an excellent show despite that problem. I will take that opportunity to congratulate them for an excellent show. Whether we play before or after a band, if a band is good, I will ask the public to applaud them. I was also upset due to the fact that Danny (keyboards) came with two guests and they would not let him in with them…therefore he left.

Can you imagine we’re playing with another group and not only is Jean Claude Jean not here, Kapi is also not there. Ronald Felix (bass) was not there and now Danny wasn’t there. Can you see where my frustration is coming from? After I got on stage, I congratulated both Dadou who used to play with Tabou Combo and Tico who is an excellent drummer. Listen to what I’m saying. While we’re playing, Herman is getting excited. I told him to calm down. I told him to relax. I said that on the microphone. I guess he took it as an insult because I said that and that’s when he stopped playing while I’m singing the new song "Tu as Vole". The people came to hear the new songs as well especially "Lakay". I thought it was incomprehensible that a new album came out and we were playing only one song off the record. If I had seen Herman’s program before the show maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Herman just gets on the stage and plays his music.

KM: What problem exactly is in the band?

Shoubou: There’s no problem except what I told you. It was resolved.

KM: Can Shoubou be replaced in Tabou Combo or is Shoubou the star of Tabou Combo?

Shoubou: I don’t know about replacing Shoubou in Tabou Combo. Replace is a word that does not exist at all. My wife always tells me that the guy who can replace me in Tabou Combo, the woman hasn’t even met the man that will help her give birth to the person that will. If I’m no longer in Tabou, and I’m not saying this to brag, it would no longer be Tabou Combo, it would be something else.

KM: Is Shoubou the signature of Tabou Combo?

Shoubou: (Cuts me off) "La Griffe". The logo of Tabou Combo. I said it. I say this without any fear. I am not bragging.

KM: What would be your reaction if they were to add a singer to sing next to you on stage?

Shoubou: It would be my dream. That’s what I want. I need that. The idea is good but the problem is finding the singer. I’m the one that has to call the person. I’m the one who has to make that person comfortable. I have to invite the person to my house so that we can have dinner. I want the person to become my friend. I don’t want the person to put it in his head that he’s a competitor to me. Do you see what I’m saying? It would be my dream. If you know of one, help me find him.

KM: Out of all the singers that are currently on the market, who would Shoubou suggest?

Shoubou: The person that I like the most, that I see can hold his/her own by singing next to me are for the women Emeline Michel and Jocelyne Berouard. In terms of the male singers I would say Mr. King Kino. Even though he has a lot of faults, I’ve always said that he’s the only one that I see. When he’s on stage, you feel that it is a real and legitimate lead singer up there. I’m revealing a lot to you today.

KM: How do you feel when you see that you have a lot of Tabou and Shoubou fans who’ve been supporting you for the longest who now want to kick you out of the band right now because of these rumors?

Shoubou: It hurts a lot. Tell them I’m sorry. Tell them that because of administrative problems I missed a couple of dates. After 32 years when something hurts you, there comes a time when you will react a certain way. I’m sorry. I apologize. I feel bad because I should not have done that to the fans. I hated myself for doing that to them but I also have to tell them that I have my own personality and I could no longer stomach what was happening therefore I reacted the way that I did.

I wanted to see the reaction of other people. During that time, a gentleman who lives in Boston by the name of Rony, he’s like a son to me. He’s the one that I chose to come sing next to me…but the guys always said that he was too much like Shoubou therefore they didn’t want him.

KM: Too much like Shoubou?

Shoubou: (Cuts me off) Too much like me (as in sounded too much like him). The days that I missed, can you imagine that they called him to come sing? When I came back, I let him sing 5 to 6 songs in Connecticut. The next day I asked him to come sing some more, one of the guys told me that he couldn’t believe that I let him sing a song. He said that he did not want that to happen again because he was just replacing me the night before therefore he didn’t want him to sing on this particular night. Do you see what predicament I find myself in? (Angry)

KM: Who told you this?

Shoubou: A member of the band. I don’t need to say who it is. If I didn’t allow him to sing they would’ve said look at how selfish Shoubou is. Now that I let him sing, they said that they did not want him to sing. (Stops. Very angry) Do you see what I mean? I don’t know what to do.

KM: Shoubou everyone knows that you are a guy who is known to express his opinion no matter what. We’re going to ask you about two incidents in particular that you were involved in. We want to hear what you have to say.

Shoubou: I’m as frank as they come. Go ahead.

KM: Freddy and Top Vice.

Shoubou: (Cuts me off and gets excited) An excellent question. I don’t regret doing this interview at all.

KM: Tell us what happened at the Top Vice anniversary party?

Shoubou: Can you imagine that as soon as I arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport I met with Tuco Bouzi and Mr. Freddy who came to pick me up. Freddy told me what the guys from Top Vice were doing to him. He said that Robert Martino had grabbed the microphone from him while he was singing. I was outraged and I said is that what he did to you?

During the evening I saw Tantan. Tantan is like a son to me. (Stops) Well he was like a son to me because I liked Tantan but he never liked me. Michel Martelly told me that if I heard how Tantan was talking about me and Cubano…(stops). You know that I don’t like to gossip. Michel Martelly told me this. As a matter of fact Michel told me that he almost fought with Tantan because he said that I could no longer sing and that I was always drunk. That really upset a lot of musicians. The way that I felt about Tantan before, I am not afraid to say that it’s no longer the same. I would’ve never thought that Tantan would say something like that about me. (Upset) When I got on the microphone I said that there are certain things that are happening in Top Vice that I wasn’t too happy with. I also said that there was no Top Vice without Freddy. It’s a big statement. You know why it’s a big statement? Because Shoubou is the one that said it.

Can you imagine that Top Vice plays a lot of other bands in their Live shows. When they play Tabou, he sings like Shoubou. When they play System, he sings like Douby. A guy like that is an important member in the band, therefore they should not even take the chance to replace a guy like that. That’s what I said about Freddy and I will say it again because it’s the absolute truth.

KM: Could you have discussed this with the other members of Top Vice among yourselves away from the public?

Shoubou: (Raises voice) I can’t talk to Robert because he’s not the one who told me about this. Freddy is…I saw the guys from Top Vice at the airport in Guadeloupe the other day. I saw Robert and he said "Shoubou my singer". He asked me for matches so that he could go light up a cigarette.

KM: The guys from Top Vice weren’t upset about your statement?

Shoubou: Charlot showed me that he was upset. After my statement he asked me why I said what I said. I just got off the stage and I left. After the party Freddy is the one who went to drop me at the hotel. I had to do that for Freddy. Musicians have to learn that a lead singer in a band, I’m not saying they are the band but he is the one that represents the band.

KM: Is the lead singer in a band the most powerful member of a band?

Shoubou: I will not say that because it depends on who the singer is, but it’s on the singer’s shoulders that the band rests. Let me give you some examples. Gerard Dupervil used to be with "Jazz Des Jeunes". As soon as he left the band wasn’t the same. When Roger Colas left Septentrional the band wasn’t the same. Michael Jackson left the Jackson Five and it wasn’t the same. Lionel Richie left the Commodores and it wasn’t the same. So many examples.

KM: And if Shoubou leaves Tabou?

Shoubou: I will put an interrogation point next to that question for you to answer it yourself.

KM: The Konpafet press conference when Alan and Georgy had a problem at the time. They said that you were the one who aggravated the incident that day when you made some declarations.

Shoubou: Yes. I will no longer defend Georgy because she caused too many problems in the band. I can no longer defend her. That time I spoke on her behalf and with Alan and they took her back in the band. I asked them to forgive her. I did that twice already. I will not do it again.

KM: Why did you interfere in the matter?

Shoubou: Don’t forget that I’m a moderator. When I speak people listen. It makes a lot of noise when I speak. I don’t like it when anyone is being treated unfairly in any band. I also don’t need anyone to defend me. I’m my own lawyer. I’m a clan all by myself. I always feel that I have to defend someone who’s smaller than me. Do you understand what I’m saying? I don’t do these things to destroy. I was trying to bring harmony in there.

KM: Where do you see Tabou in five years? Will Shoubou still be in the band?

Shoubou: If Tabou is still around I will always be there. All the way to the end.

KM: Can they kick Shoubou out of Tabou Combo?

Shoubou: (Angry) Can you kick out a boss from his job. Have you ever heard of a boss getting fired from his job? It’s like saying that someone can survive without water. Do you see a Tabou Combo without Shoubou? Answer me. I could be away from the band for one year, when I decide to come back they have to take me because I’m one of the leaders of this band. Fanfan is a leader, Kapi is a leader, Herman is a leader. We are all leaders of the band. Do you see what I mean? It’s five bosses.

KM: Any final word for the fans, young musicians and anyone else?

Shoubou: For the young, stay out of drugs. Don’t dress like a star before you are a star. Try to develop your voices at home by singing all the time to better your vocal chords so that you don’t have a squealing voice like the ones we’re hearing out there. I know exactly why I said what I said.

KM: Let me ask you a question. Sources tell us that Tantan was all set to join Top Vice. Are you the one who pressured him into not joining the band?

Shoubou: (Angry) Can I put pressure on something that can bring money to someone? That is totally not true. Where am I going to see or find Tantan? I know that when I speak people listen but if I tell him to go steal, will he do it? Come on. You see what Freddy is doing in Top Vice right now? I ask myself if I would be able to do it.

KM: Can I ask you about certain musicians?

Shoubou: No. I will not talk about any musicians. The artists that I like I will keep to myself because if I don’t mention certain artists it’s going to cause trouble in the long run. I will not give you any opinions on anyone at all. It will not be good for me in the long run. You see that statement that I just made about Kino? I know it’s going to cause me a lot of problems but I don’t give a damn. I know that I said that he’s the guy from this generation that I see that can stand next to me.

KM: Thank you for the interview Shoubou

Shoubou: Tell everyone that I love them. I wish them a happy new year. Thank you for their moral support. I will do my best in order not to deceive them. There is something else that I want to bring up. Do you ever see me on the street?

KM: Well people usually say that Shoubou is rarely seen.

Shoubou: Exactly. An artist is not supposed to be seen on the streets all over the place. That is the best piece of advice that I can give them. I want them to follow that example. An artist is not supposed to be seen on the streets all the time.

KM: Is that what makes you a star?

Shoubou: (Real serious) Do you ever see Michael Jackson on the street? I was in Paris and the guys asked me to hop on a train with them to go buy something. I asked them if they ever see Charles Aznavour (French singer) on a train. This is exactly why people say that I’m stuck up. This is exactly why. This is a principle that’s been established.

An artist is not supposed to be seen on the streets all the time. You have to be seen on stage. When you do that, when someone sees you away from the stage it’s a dream come true for them. I have several restaurants in the vicinity of my house, however you won’t see me often. You won’t see me at Bouillon Night. (Raises voice for emphasis) I will go to buy food at the restaurants but I will have them bring me the food outside. An artist has to keep his integrity.

KM: Are you getting bodyguards too in the near future?

Shoubou: No, no, no. I don’t need all that. I will always remain simple. •
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