BY BRONWYN DOWDALL
The death of Christian Houllemare over the June long weekend shocked and saddened the Sydney independent music community.
Chris, as he was known to his Australian friends, grew up in the tough French port town of Le Havre, Normandy. He developed a love of rock music as a teenager and eventually became the lead player in the Le Havre-based three piece Bad Brains, finding some success with the release of a six-track EP, Legends From the End of Time, on the French label ‘Closer Records’ (1983).
Displaying his enthusiasm, drive and commitment to playing rock music, Chris made the very bold decision to move to Sydney in 1985. At that time (the pre-internet era!) Sydney had a well-deserved reputation for being a place that provided opportunities for independent musicians to write, record and play music to an appreciative and supportive audience. Chris quickly found his niche and established himself at the centre of a thriving music scene. During this time he played bass with a number of prominent and influential bands including The Someloves, The Orange Humble Band, Happy Hate Me Nots and The New Christs.
Chris had a very fluent bass playing style, providing well thought out counter melodies within the songs, giving them a special kind of swing. Most were performed on his beloved (and well-toured) black Rickenbacker 4003 bass guitar. Chris was also a fine singer and skilled harmonica player.
Chris’s friends will remember a warm and sensitive man, who had the ability to cut through nonsense and get to the heart of things. He will be farewelled in Sydney later this week.
With thanks to Paul Berwick. Music reproduced with the kind permission of Darryl Mather, Dom Mariani, Rob Younger and Tim Pittman at Feel Presents.