Home Hear Gene Champagne Takes Flight With Let’s Jet!

Gene Champagne Takes Flight With Let’s Jet!

The Can-rock veteran finally steps into the solo spotlight with his debut EP.

Gene Champagne pops the cork on the launch of his punchy, punky new EP Let’s Jet! — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

After decades of pounding the skins for Can-rock mainstays like Teenage Head and The Killjoys — not to mention fronting The Un-Teens — Champagne steps into the solo spotlight with his debut EP. And he does mean solo — Champagne wrote, sang and played every part on the four-track tour de force. Let’s Jet was recorded several years ago in his home studio, but is only now seeing the light of day (more on that in a minute).

The opening title track lets you know just what you’re in for — and why the wait was entirely worth it. It’s an insanely catchy throwback to the days when punk, power pop and rock ’n’ roll lived at the same electric nexus point, and you could still use music to document simple youthful angst without anybody asking you what you thought about Nicaragua. Champagne spins a tale of adolescent lust and trepidation, his hormones raging with every syllable as he musters up the courage to proposition a potential pickup who’s caught his eye:

Photo by Gordon Hawkins.

“We’ve been hanging around here way too long
But there’s a girl dancing to my favourite song
I’m gonna ask her to go for a ride
My knees are shaking, feel like I’m gonna die
I’m walking over, I’m really on my way
Let’s jet.”

The ascent continues with the EP’s other tracks — Back in My Arms, Rock ’n’ Roll Boy and Shake Some More — all of which rock with the joyous unison of an actual band while benefiting from the keen focus of a singular vision.

The vindication of finally releasing the record is all the sweeter for the trials Champagne had to endure along the way. First, his mother died; then he contracted a nasty case of Covid that sent him hospital, where he was put on an ventilator and wound up in a coma for seven days. When he finally came to and regained his strength, fate dealt another cruel hand: Gordie Lewis, Champagne’s bandmate in Teenage Head and his self-described “hero” from the age of 15, was murdered in his home. “He was taken away from us, and in a way that was not easy to comprehend or shake,” Champagne says.

Lewis’ memory and spirit live on in Let’s Jet! The title comes from a saying Lewis had passed along from Head singer Frankie Venom, and the lyrics include a reference to their band’s classic track Ain’t Got No Sense. “These days, things are brighter, and I have learned tough lessons in those past years,” Champagne says. “There’s no time like now, and we are all fragile. I can’t sit on things, and I want to do what I love in the now.”

Listen to Let’s Jet below and get more info on Gene Champagne’s website.