Started of at the art academy, went to the USA (where he went to live in the negro ghetto’s) and was expelled from there (for being an anarchist). When he came back to the cosmopolitan port Antwerp, he was discovered by Hans Kusters (Yup, that’s the same man who has the record company HKM that’s now producing the music of the likes of Clouseau) in an Antwerp bar and the first “Jazz-festival” at Bilzen.
His debut album (Ring-ring) conquers the world with its powerful mixture of skiffle, folk-songs and improvised blues music.
From the book “Wit-lof from Belgium” : “After that famous first album and the ensuing international success, things started to go wrong and would continue to go wrong after that. Because Johnny Hallyday had a hit with one of his songs without paying the royalties, Grignard changed record-companies from Philips-France to Barclay. But the first Barclay-album “Captain Disaster” (he asked for it) didn’t do as well as expected. A comeback at the beginning of the seventies failed, as did another come-back-again at the end of the seventies.”
His manager recalls : “The success in 1966 came too suddenly. He enjoyed it too recklessly. He went to live in a mansion, the birthplace of Peter Benoît, where he made music, painted and partied with the 20 friends who lived with him. When he was paid 10.000 fr. for a gig on Saturday, he would come begging for 100 fr. on Monday to buy some bread. He also systematically refused to fill in his tax-forms, so after a while all royalties went directly to taxes. One big mess”.
He died in Antwerp of throat cancer in 1982 (at that time he was living on an attic without heating, surrounded with empty bottles)
After his death however, his influence has continued to live on : many in the Antwerp scene (groups such as dEUS & Zita Swoon) cite Ferre Grignard as one of the influences on the way they make music. Belgian blueslegend Roland Van Campenhout recorded a version of “Hash Bamboo Shuffle” in 1998 for his cover-album “Waltz”, citing Ferre Grignard & the Muze as one of the reasons he started making music back in the sixties.
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