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Skip Jensen: Montreal garage revivalist takes us on a long-forgotten journey

If you build it they will come, so goes the catch-phrase. Skip Jensen (a.k.a. Serge Gendron) has built it over the years, and they have come, from far and wide to witness it. It being the proverbial rock ‘n’ roll of the dirty, greasy variety played through old amps and mics, sweated out through pain and rain.

Jensen’s six-string and vocal magic have touched many a local project: Scat Rag Boosters, The Stack O’ Lees, The Wrong Doers, Skip Jensen & His Shakin’ Feet… His latest record is another wax stack of blues-fueled punk, The Spirit of the Ghost. He takes us on a tour of his Top 5 deceased Montreal bars/venues.

1. Le Cargo
“I never played there, but I was a regular over a long period of time. I used to see all kinds of hardcore and punk bands: Subhumans, Black Flag, GBH, TSOL, D.R.I. I was a lot younger than most everyone else, so I used to stay in my own quiet little corner.”

2. Rising Sun
“Another great place to get into the punk/hardcore action, even though at heart it was a reggae bar. It’s been a long time and my memory is a little hazy, but I remember being a captivated listener.”

3. Jailhouse Rock Café
“A funny place and a little dumpy as well, but there were always good shows. This is where I first played in Montreal. I think it was with The Spaceshits. They were one of the only bands that we liked in Montreal at the time.”

4. Hotel 2 Tango
“We played there only twice with Scat Rag Boosters. It was great. A big loft space with the smells from the garage below seeping up, while outside in back were the train tracks. The vibe was simple and relaxed, which was always a bonus. Mile End as we know it was just beginning to take shape.”

5. Old Café Chaos
“Another weird venue. There were some rotten things going on but the ambiance was very cool. We played our first local shows as Scat Rag Boosters there. What I remember most is having seen the end of a concert by a band called Fuckface... assez trash, merci, ouf!”

Skip Jensen
March 10th | L’Escogriffe
4467, St-Denis