Born in Montréal in 1952, Jerry Doucette was exposed to music literally from the day he was brought home from the hospital, as his father and uncle had a band which did the local bars and coffee houses. His family moved to Hamilton when he was four and by the age of six, owned his first guitar. Incredibly, he was in his first band, The Reefers, at age 11. He moved to Toronto on his own five years later, where he was already making a living as a musician, working in several local groups over the course of the next few years.
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He moved to Vancouver in '72 where he starred in more local groups over the next couple of years, including The Seeds Of Time, featuring Lyndsey Mitchell, and The Rocket Norton Band. Norton and Mitchell would coincidentally wind up working together in Prism a few years later. Tired of the bar scene, Doucette became a recluse in his basement, writing material with John Hadfield, who would also serve as his manager. After releasing a demo to Mushroom Records in '76, he was quickly asked to write more material and was subsequently signed to a deal.
MAMA LET HIM PLAY was released in November of '77, with fellow guitarist Brent Shindell, drummer Duris Maxwell, Don Cummings on bass and Robbie King on keyboards. The record went platinum practically overnight, riding the success of the title-track, "Down The Road" and "All I Wanna Do". Opening for the likes of Bob Welch and Meat Loaf, Doucette quickly made a name for himself south of the border, touring the United States for most of 1978.
Following an extended Canadian tour, Doucette went back into the studios and emerged in late '78 with THE DOUCE IS LOOSE. Though it failed to live up to critics' expectations considering the success of his debut a year earlier, it still made evident Doucette's amazing guitar prowess, as well as his keen pop sense. The singles "Nobody" and "Run Buddy Run", as well as the sleeper hit "Someday" and the tender ballad "Father Dear Father" did however push the record gold. Internal and financial problems were plaguing Mushroom Records by this time however, which he felt hurt TDIL. Doucette was making a name for himself as a gifted musician though, via his live performances opening up for such acts as The Atlanta Rhythm Section, The Doobie Brothers and The Beach Boys, during a year and a half on the road. Unfortunately even the tours weren't going smoothly though, as there seemed to be a revolving door for band members.
By the time COMING UP ROSES was put out in the summer of '81, the only member remaining from the first album was bassist Don Cummings. Released on Rio Records, it probably didn't stand a chance, considering Rio's less than stellar support of a guitar great stuck in a tide of new wave hitting the airwaves. With synthesizers dominating the music scene, Doucette found himself like the proverbial fish out of water and, after a brief tour, went back into seclusion, coming out to do the occasional gig or mini-tour for practically the next decade, preferring to do session work with the likes of Aldo Nova and Prism.
Legal battles over control of his music were finally laid to rest in the early '90s and Doucette re-emerged with PRICE OF AN EDUCATION in '95. His return was unfortunately met with lacklustre interest, despite the sheer genius of his comeback. Backed by the tracks "Big Government Man", "Miracles" and the title-track, his trademark raucous blues style of guitar was back, but wasn't being heard. He did however do limited mini-tours in support of the record, and was met with raving crowds. Young and old, they knew who he was and were glad he was back.
Jerry Doucette is perhaps one of Canada's most gifted and influential, yet under-rated performers. Though hindsight is 20/20, it's quite likely Doucette's career would have gone slightly differently, had he not been involved with a label in financial woes so early in his recording career. Still all in all, he proved with PRICE OF AN EDUCATION he was back. And proves it again each time he hits the stage that he hasn't lost his edge, delivering clean melodies and slick pop each time out.
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