Deja Voodoo (Canadian band)
A Deja Voodoo ticket from 1986
|Origin||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Past members||Gerard van Herk|
Deja Voodoo was formed by Gerard van Herk (guitar and singing) and Tony Dewald (drums), who combined 1950s horror imagery with rockabilly and country musical influences. Van Herk's guitar only had the top four strings and he sang in a deep voice, whilst Dewald's drum kit had no cymbals, which resulted in a low-treble rock style they termed "sludgeabilly." The band toured in Canada, the United States, and even Europe.
Both born in the 1960s, van Herk and Dewald each grew up in Montreal. In 1981, the two joined together to form Deja Voodoo. Their music generally consisted of short songs influenced by rockabilly and punk artists. As Deja Voodoo was embarking on its first performances, Montreal was receiving an influx of immigrants from Western Canada, and independent record labels were starting to spring up. In turn, numerous niche bands began to appear across the city. As a result of an oversaturated market, Deja Voodoo struggled to find an audience in its first year. While they remained popular locally in Montreal, it wasn't until 1982 that the two-man band began to see interest outside of Quebec, particularly in Toronto.
The turning point for Deja Voodoo came with van Herk and Dewald launching Og Music in 1982 with a second pressing of their debut single "Monsters in My Garage." Named after a fictional caveman, the independent label allowed for Deja Voodoo to control its own distribution. The first full-length release by Og Records was their cassette Gumbo. The tape sold relatively well in the Montreal independent scene, but failed to penetrate the market in the rest of Canada. This would later be rectified with the release of Deja Voodoo's second album, Cemetery, in 1984. Cemetery was the first Deja Voodoo album to be sold in vinyl form, selling widely across Canada and even to some small [stores?] in the US and Europe. The band used Og Records as a venue for like-minded artists to release music that reflected the "sludgeabilly" attitude in different styles. They released compilation LPs in the It Came from Canada series. Five volumes were released between 1985 and 1989. The compilations always included other Montrealers, like Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, Terminal Sunglasses, and The Gruesomes, as well as bands from all across Canada. In its seven-year lifespan, Og Records released 29 albums, the last of which was a recording of a Deja Voodoo performance in Finland.
Once Og Records took off, Deja Voodoo started touring across Canada. At first focusing on Ontario and Eastern Canada, they later branched out to Western Canada, going as far as Prince George, British Columbia. Deja Voodoo was able to embark on several European tours, primarily in Greece and Finland. In Canada, they did manage to get semi-regular airplay on CBC Radio's overnight Brave New Waves program. As Deja Voodoo's popularity grew and other bands continued to sign on with Og Records, van Herk and Dewald started putting on popular indoor events each December, called "Voodoo BBQ's". The last Voodoo BBQ was held in Toronto in 2008 as a kind of reunion show.
Despite their relative success, Deja Voodoo never managed to break into the mainstream markets, and by 1990 both van Herk and Dewald decided to split up Deja Voodoo. Both men had reached their thirties and were interested in pursuing other careers. As well, both members decided to sell Og Records that same year. Since then, van Herk has gone on to become a university linguistics professor; while for the last decades, Dewald has worked as a brewer on the West Coast, and is currently the head brewer at a successful brewery in Langley, British Columbia.
- Cemetery (1984) (Og Music)
- Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die (1985) (Midnight Records)
- Swamp of Love (1986) (Og Music)
- The Worst of Deja Voodoo (1987) (Og Music)
- Gotta Have Money (1987) (Gaga goodies)
- Big Pile of Mud (1988) (Og Music)
- Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die (88 re-recordings) (1988) (Og Records)
- Live at The Backstage Club, Helsinki Finland (1990) (Og Music)
- "Monsters in My Garage" (1982) (Og Music)
- "Cemetery" (1984) (Og Music)
- "Hiekkaa Hietarannan" (1988) (Gaga Goodies)
- "Gumbo, 17 Sludgeabilly Greats!" (1983) (Og Music)
Appearances on compilations
- From Montreal (1983)
- It Came from Canada, Vol. 1 (1985) (Og Music)
- It Came from Canada, Vol. 2 (1986) (Og Music)
- It Came from Canada, Vol. 3 (1987) (Og Music)
- It Came from Canada, Vol. 4 (1988) (Og Music)
- It Came from Canada, Vol. 5 (1989) (Og Music)
- On Garde Reargarde Magazine 14 Montreal Bands (1989) (Cargo Records)
- 50th birthday tribute to Buddy Holly (1986) cassette (hipocket records)
- The House of Doctor Stimuli
- White Sugar
- Dillon, Charlotte. "Deja Voodoo Biography". allmusic.com. Allmusic. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "O CANADARM!: DEJA VOODOO (Canada)". ocanadarm.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
- "Gerard Van Herk". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
- Tessier, Ryan (29 December 2016). "Meet the Brewmaster: Trading Post's Tony Dewald". Dished. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
- "'Have Not Been the Same' Book Spawns Covers Comp Featuring Kevin Drew, the Hidden Cameras, Great Lake Swimmers, Bry Webb". Exclaim!, November 14, 2011.
Barclay, Michael (June 2000). "Features » Research » Jun 2000 » Deja Voodoo's Gerard Van Herk Og Records". Exclaim!. Toronto: 1059434 Ontario Inc. www
.exclaim .ca. ISSN 1207-6600. Retrieved 10 October 2008.