1979 – present (39 years)
After Shave is the name of more than one artist
1) After Shave was formed in 1979 by Knut Agnred (tenor), Jan Rippe (base), Per Fritzell (tenor) and Peter Rangmar (baryton)
2) At the beginning
The group was produced in May 1968, in Bienne, by Pierre-Alain Kessi (Pakman) (guitar and vocal) and André (Dédé) Pascal (drums), reinforced by Bruno Zuest (vocal) (future father of “QL”s bassist) and by “Noldi” (bass guitar). One of its first gig consisted in the featuring, in Spring 68, into a pop contest organized by a Zurich magazine. Disqualified without glory with this commentary : “the group might be good if the guitarist did not use so much distortion…”. Nevertheless, the group carried on playing the blues out of the repertoires of Cream, Hendrix, Mayall, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. A first single was recorded but never marketed (Look for a woman), because the group had run out of money. After different changes of line up, the group consisted in a trio in 1970, following the withdrawal of lead singer and bass guitarist, this last one being replaced by Jean-Claude Fontana (Cacou). With this new formation, the group won the famous first price in Golf Drouot in Paris in November 1970. In December 1970, Dédé decided to quit the group and was replaced by the late and regretted Rodolphe (Jötu) Baumgartner. Between 1971 and 1974 After Shave became famous, creating their own legend and repertoire. They begun touring in Switzerland, France and Germany, and experienced their first LP called “Skin Deep”. This album is now being gloriously praised in “Hard rock anthology 1968-1980” by Denis Meyer, Editions Enfer Magazine, as well as in the “Encyclopédie du hard rock des seventies” of Denis Protat, Editions Alternatives. Those two specialists repertory more than one thousand groups and records. After Shave also produced two singles. The group took on a new English singer named Barry James Brown, and a new bass guitarist, Silvano “Gugus” Paroni replaced Cacou. At that time, Pierre-Alain Kessi and his drummer Jötu had the great honour to accompany Champion Jack Dupree on his last Swiss tour.
After Shave recorded in 1974 a new LP called “Strange Feelings”, accompanied by a second guirarist, Peter “Misteli” Mischler, in a studio proposed by the producers in Antibes. Unfortunately, the producers not having ever paid the bill, the tapes were impounded and reappeared at the beginning of the 90’s with an Italian pirater edition, mentioning other name and titles of the pieces. Copies of the original mixing still being in Pierre-Alain Kessi’s possession, a new production can still be envisaged. At the beginning of 1975, After Shave recorded a demo with two titles : “So you’r gone away” and “Ain’t ready for you yet” that draw EMI’s attention, in England, who was ready to sign the group, as long as they changed their name. So After Shave became Slick. The contract would nevertheless not being signed, being cancelled by EMI’s directors who had just hit the jackpot with Ten CC’s “I’m not in love”, this last piece sounding like “So you gona way”. It seems not to be such a good idea to compete with oneself! Exit After Shave, exit Slick! Everybody was back again to its first occupations.
Last but not least
On his part, Pierre-Alain Kessi carried on with different groups and styles, playing with different musicians, i.e. with Mory Kante on a special gig at Lausanne Festival Hot Point, in front of 15000 people. On demand of After Shave’s fans, the group would carry on for a few more gigs with the original founder members (Kessi, Cacou, Dédé). PAK also took part in different projects (City Leaders, Gopfriedstutz, Diaboulus in musica, Totem, Chip’s). In 1998, he took part in a contest organized by the Guitarist Magazine, consisting in the re-recording of one of Clapton’s titles. At his home studio, he reinterpreted Badge (Cream) and his creation was chosen by the jury among more than 500 tapes. The first price was a Fender Stratocaster signed by Clapton himself .
At the beginning of the 90’s, i.e. 20 years after the birth of the group, After Shave was featuring again the second trio (Kessi, Paroni, Jötu) and published the CD “Twenty years after”, made up of new recording of main titles already produced, as well as of originals. As always encouraged by fans and supporters, After Shave went on tour again and produced the LP called « Live 96 », which is the result of the last concert of the group.
At this moment, After Shave consists more a in concept than in a group. This concept is getting around the prominent figure of Pierre-Alain Kessi, guitarist-lead vocal-founder, who never denied blues or his admiration before great guitarists of the last Century, such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Paul Kossof or Stan Webb, all of them belonging to the 60’s wave, or Steve Lukather or Stevie Ray Vaughan for the younger, without forgetting the three King (BB, Freddy, Albert) and their US fellows. Their music and way of playing the blues are of utmost importance to Pierre-Alain Kessi who has been totally influenced by them.
These elements became integrated into his way of playing the guitar, and his characteristic sound, made out of extreme bending of the strings and intensive use of vibrato, help him to be distinguished among the majority of other guitarists at the moment.
Around the guitarist, we will find Silvano Paroni, happy to play the bass again with the group, as well as Mario Lepore, the drummer, who has also been playing with Kessi for more than 20 years in other musical concepts. A real power trio, enjoying itself in a repertoire of the seventies, playing new titles as well as covers from Hendrix, Cream, Free, Clapton, Gallagher, Deep Purple, Rolling Stones, Who, and last but not least from Robert Johnson or Elmore James.
Trio can appear on demand for special gigs. Pakman has actually in mind the production of a new CD. He is also working on yet unpublished tapes and re-masterising very important pieces.
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