Toutainville: fan of Johnny, Thierry lives his passion on stage

Far from certain clichés about the singer’s fans, Thierry lives his passion in his own way, interpreting Johnny Hallyday’s tracks on stage. ©The Norman Awakening

“I really hate Johnny doubles, whether it’s physical or vocal! The tone is set from the first notes of the interview. If he comes closer to the voice of his idol on certain titles, “it’s never voluntarily”. No, Thierry is not a fan like the others of the “Taulier”. Instead of collecting mugs, lighters or t-shirts with the image of Johnny Hallydaythis resident of Toutainville (Eure)near Pont-Audemer, prefers to return tribute by reinterpreting his songs, the best known and those who deserve to be more famous by taking the stage with his group Firelighter. The 57-year-old father of two adult children works at BernieShe’s getting ready to celebrate her ’45 years on stage’.

The music virus, Thierry can’t really remember how he contracted it. “I was a kid, it’s more of a story that was told to me later,” he confides, sitting comfortably at his dining table. I saw a poster of Johnny in my uncle’s room, who was a little older than me, and I asked him who this guy was. It was he who made me dive into it by making me listen to the song break everything. »

Early life fan

With nostalgia, as if hearing the familiar melody for the first time, Thierry tells of his first feelings: “That was it so different from what my parents used to hear and I wanted that. Even physically, this guy was really different. »

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Barely older, the amateur artist discovered the joys of the stage at a Johnny concert in the Saint-Étienne area where he was born. “There’s even an anecdote: I was so small that I watched the concert on my shoulders, but when I changed my shoulders on the way to the stage and my uncle lost me for a moment,” he laughs.

But 50 years later, Thierry has changed his passion remained intact. With his earring, his cowboy boots, several rings on his fingers, a guitar-shaped necklace around his neck or his biker t-shirt, he has all the trappings of a rock fan. “In all the groups and orchestras that I’ve been a part of, we’ve always done Johnny, but not only,” says the one who mainly sings and plays a little guitar.

A year without going on stage

Over the years and at the rhythm of the concerts, Thierry has focused on his childhood idol. Up to the artist, certainly always amateurs, but quite demanding. “When I have an idea in my head, I do everything I can to implement it! Sometimes I even wake up at night with ideas for the next concerts,” he says with an open smile.

“The shock was really big, we didn’t want to disregard it”

Thierry, fan of Johnny Hallyday

His expression darkens at the mention of the singer’s death. “It was a bit dry when we found out,” he murmurs, dark-eyed. We haven’t played with the band for a year. We rehearsed, huh! But the shock was really big and then we didn’t want to disregard it. Certain groups or doppelgangers used his death to promote themselves and frankly I was disgusted. “It takes a good cause and the entertainment of a telethon night to get back on track. Since then, the six members have been working on a new show, which they will once again be able to test in front of an audience on June 18th for a good cause.

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“There’s a lot of work and rehearsal to sort out all the details,” continues Thierry, who prefers to keep his job to himself to “completely separate passion and work.” At home, few traces of the old old villainexcept on a shelf which has a book, some vinyl records and a small statuette offered by another fan.

Finally, it’s in Thierry’s voice that Johnny is most present when he’s rehearsing in the dining room. “It doesn’t bother me at all,” says his wife, who is sitting next to him. He never tried to impose his passion, the fifties, nor on his two children. But the family gathers around Thierry to support the club that runs the group. “My son is not very Johnny, but we are very family. He firmly believes that one day we will be able to do this Stade de Francewe can’t get that out of our heads,” laughs the clan leader.

Thierry is proud to own this 1960's poster, the very one that was the source of his passion.
Thierry is proud to own this 1960’s poster, the very one that was the source of his passion. ©The Norman Awakening

Without going to the largest “hall” in France, he dreams of taking a step forward. The training is slowly becoming more professional, the technology is improving and “producers seem interested”. No question of money for Thierry, he swears by it the stage, the show and the emotions communicated to the public: “We play, no matter what, for fun. I’ve done it in front of an audience of 10,000, like one drunk guy in a room! No, by nurturing his differences with the artist, Thierry is definitely not a fan like the rest. But if there’s one thing that unites them, it’s this feeling that there’s nowhere better than on stage.

Work out. On Saturday 18 June, Thierry and his group Firelighter will be on stage in Épaignes in the town hall from 9pm. Prices: €15 adult, €7.50 under 12 years old. Evening in aid of the Blue Stars association.

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