Life in the Suicide Riots

Jerry Snell

… rock with a sharp edge. AllMusic, USA

Life in The Suicide Riots is Jerry Snell’s first album and was produced with musicians and composers Michel F Côté, Claude Fradette and Claude Vendette. The twelve songs of this new Ambiances Magnétiques release are based on Life in The Suicide Riots, a text Jerry Snell wrote while on a tour which confronted him with social and political conflicts across the world. At the roots of his writing are depravation, taboos, institutional violence, and terror.

With a rough and powerful voice, Jerry Snell sings his texts with a sense of urgency, as a “poète maudit.” He found a well-balanced tone, atmosphere, and color for each song. Côté, Fradette and Vendette have composed a music that tightly fits with Life in The Suicide Riots corrosive universe. A music we may call rock with a feeling of blues, rhythmical and percussive, including a syncopated saxophone and a complex guitar. For the production of Life in The Suicide Riots, actor Jerry Snell has created an efficient merge between theater and music.

CD (AM 023)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 023
  • 1992
  • UCC 771028102327
  • Total duration: 48:16
  • Jewel case
  • 125 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 120 g

On the web

In the press


François Couture, AllMusic, June 1, 1992

Poet-singer Jerry Snell released his only album in 1992 on the Montréal avant-garde label Ambiances Magnétiques. Supplying his words, he was helped by drummer Michel F Côté (Bruire, Klaxon Gueule), guitarist Claude Fradette (Locomotive), and saxophonist Claude Vendette (Abbittibbi) for the music. They had worked with Snell for the dance troupe Carbone 14, where Snell’s beyond-the-grave screams left an indelible mark. The same raw energy can be found on Life in the Suicide Riot. His words of despair and denunciation fit his gravelly voice. When he whispers, he sounds demented; when he starts screaming, shivers run up and down your spine — it’s actually hard to stay where you are when starts screaming “Run, you son of a bitch, run.” The music can sound very straight at times (the overlong Preacher Bob), but it mostly takes the form of either punchy avant-rock songs (Glory, Run, No Alarm Clocks in Heaven) or more atmospheric climates following the inflections of Snell’s narration (A Conversation on Morality, Eternity and Copulation, on a text by Charles Bukowski, Edmund Kemper Lives Next Door). Snell is not a singer: he declaims, whispers, screams, but does not sing. If his message is not that powerful, his voice rips wallpaper and you can be sure the neighbors will summon you to stop that infernal racket. The overall sound on Life in the Suicide Riot could be compared to André Duchesne’s CD Locomotive: rock with a sharp edge. All but one song are in English.

… rock with a sharp edge.

More texts

  • N D - Magazine, no. 20, June 1, 1997