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 Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory 
 
    Andrus Espre
     Beau Jocque 
      September 10, 1999 
      Age 45  
 
Heart Attack 
 
    
    
OBITUARY 
BIOGRAPHY  
LINKS 
  
Sleeping Giant by Michael Tisserand
 
 
 
 

OBITUARY 
        
       
 
 Times-Picayune
 
     
                    Heart attack claims life of zydeco star  

                    Beau Jocque opened genre to new generation of fans  

                   By Keith Spera Music writer -  

                   Beau Jocque, the hulking zydeco bandleader who helped revitalize a 
                   southwest Louisiana music tradition and build an audience for it in New 
                   Orleans, died Friday morning at his home in Kinder of an apparent heart 
                   attack. He was 45. 

                   "He was one of the most exciting artists I had ever seen," said Rounder 
                   Records' Scott Billington, who produced five of Jocque's albums. "The first 
                   time I saw him reminded me of hearing James Brown or (blues legend) 
                   Howlin' Wolf for the first time. He took zydeco and transformed it into 
                   music that was thoroughly contemporary. He energized the whole scene in 
                   south Louisiana." 

                   Jocque gave what turned out to be his final performance Thursday night at 
                   the Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n Bowl on South Carrollton Avenue. Following 
                   the show, he drove home to Kinder. His wife reportedly found him 
                   collapsed in the shower Friday morning. 

                   Jocque's first New Orleans appearance was at the Mid-City Lanes in 
                   1993, when he already was a star in southwest Louisiana but relatively 
                   unknown locally. Soon, he became one of the top-drawing zydeco acts in 
                   New Orleans. Mid-City Lanes owner John Blancher eventually had to 
                   reinforce the dance floor of his second-story club to accommodate the 
                   dancers who turned out to hear Jocque's propulsive brand of zydeco. "I 
                   put support beams underneath the dance floor for Beau Jocque," Blancher 
                   said. "People danced harder when he played. It was almost hypnotic; he 
                   just grabbed (dancers)." 

                   Jocque, whose real name was Andrus Espre, did not set out to be a 
                   musician. After a stint in the military, he worked as a welder. While 
                   recovering from injuries suffered on the job in 1986, he began to toy 
                   around with his father's accordion. Soon he was making forays to zydeco 
                   dance halls, studying other performers. 

                   Contemporary zydeco musicians follow one of two traditions: the older, 
                   percussive style of Boozoo Chavis, who uses a button-key accordion, or 
                   the more rhythm-and-blues-influenced style of Clifton Chenier, who 
                   employed a piano-key accordion. Jocque was of the Chavis tradition, but 
                   he updated it by incorporating stuttering hip-hop beats and riffs from the 
                   funk band War and the Texas blues-rock trio ZZ Top. 

                   "When people would ask him about his influences, he'd be just as quick to 
                   say Carlos Santana or War as he would Boozoo Chavis or Clifton 
                   Chenier," Billington said. "He came up in the '60s and '70s. Seventies funk 
                   was just as much a part of his sound as the traditional zydeco sound." 

                   Given his unique approach, the popularity of Jocque and his band, the 
                   Zydeco Hi-Rollers, soared. By the early 1990s, he was filling Richard's 
                   Club in Lawtell, Hamilton's Club in Lafayette, and other zydeco halls with 
                   hundreds of dancers, many of whom had previously dismissed zydeco as 
                   the music of their parents and grandparents. 

                   "He brought younger people to the dance hall, and helped make the 
                   tradition relevant for the next generation," said Michael Tisserand, author 
                   of "The Kingdom of Zydeco." 

                   Jocque's 1993 debut for Rounder Records, "Beau Jocque Boogie," is 
                   considered a classic of the genre. It features the anthem "Give Him 
                   Cornbread," which became a massive hit in southwest Louisiana and 
                   Jocque's signature song. Radio stations were flooded with requests, and 
                   audiences would pelt Jocque with cornbread when he performed the song 
                   at festivals. 

                   "When that record hit, you couldn't go anywhere in southwest Louisiana 
                   without hearing it coming out of somebody's window or car," Billington 
                   said. "It was the kind of record they played twice in a row on the radio. 
                   When he played Richard's Club, there would be cars up and down the 
                   highway for a half mile in either direction." 

                   Standing more than 6 feet 6 inches tall, Jocque cut a striking figure onstage; 
                   an accordion seemed like a toy in his hands. He was not inclined to tour as 
                   extensively as Geno Delafose, Buckwheat Zydeco and other artists, but he 
                   performed in Turkey and England and appeared on the David Letterman 
                   and Conan O'Brien shows. When the Rolling Stones were in New Orleans 
                   to perform in October 1994, vocalist Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie 
                   Watts made it a point to catch Jocque's show at the Mid-City Lanes. 

                   During the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Mid-City would play 
                   host to good-natured zydeco "battles" pitting Jocque against Chavis. The 
                   events would draw more than 1,000 people, including many who were not 
                   typical zydeco fans. "He definitely introduced new people to zydeco," 
                   Blancher said. "To me, he was the genius of the genre. As long as I've 
                   been around, he had the most impact on the music, with more musicians 
                   copying his songs and trying to do his stuff." 

                   "He was a one-of-a-kind person and musician," Billington said. "He came 
                   from humble beginnings, but he had the vision and belief in himself to 
                   transform himself into this character that he imagined, 'Beau Jocque.' There 
                   was an intensity to Beau Jocque's music that made it transcend genre. 
                   People would see him, and whether they knew zydeco or not, it made an 
                   impact on them. I don't see anyone who really can fill his shoes, who has 
                   that authenticity and emotional substance." 

                   "His talent, warmth and humor made him truly an embodiment of the best 
                   of zydeco and Creole culture," Tisserand said. His death "is like a big tree 
                   fell, and suddenly the forest is real quiet." 

                   Jocque is survived by his wife, Shelly Espre, and two sons. A wake will be 
                   held at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church Hall of Kinder on Tuesday from 4 
                   p.m. until midnight. A funeral will be Wednesday at 8 a.m. at St. Philip 
                   Neri. Ardoin Funeral Home of Kinder is in charge of arrangements. 
 

    
  OffBeat New Orleans and Louisiana Music News
   Zydeco Giant Beau Jocque Passed Away Unexpectedly!

                Zydeco giant Beau Jocque passed away early this morning, Friday, September 
                10th, from an apparent heart attack at his Kinder Louisiana home. He had just 
                completed a gig at Rock and Bowl Thursday night & owner John Blanchar said 
                he looked and sounded great. Beau Jocque left for home at 2:30 in the morning, 
                and wove goodbye to Blanchar as he left. Beau's wife called Blancher this 
                morning to tell him the sad news. Louisiana and the world will miss Beau, a 
                great artist and star. 
 

 
KINDER, La. (AP) - Beau Jocque, an accordian player who helped revitalize  
Louisiana's zydeco music, is dead of an apparent heart attack. He was 45.  

Jocque, whose given name was Andrus Espre, performed Thursday night in New  
Orleans, then drove 177 miles home to Kinder. His wife found him collapsed in  
the shower Friday morning.  

Jocque worked as a welder before picking up his father's piano-key accordion.  
In his version of zydeco, he combined rhythm-and-blues, hip-hop beats, funk  
and Texas blues-rock.  

He was credited with bringing zydeco, a mix of old-time cajun music and  
rhythm-and-blues, to contemporary audiences, filling halls in Lafayette,  
Lawtell, New Orleans and other cities where he often played with his band,  
the Zydeco Hi-Rollers. He also played overseas, and on the David Letterman  
and Conan O'Brien shows.  

When the 6-foot-6 Jocque played one of his big hits, ``Give Him Cornbread,''  
audiences would pelt him with pieces of cornbread.  

Jocque is survived by his wife, Shelly Espre, and two sons.  
 

 
NY TIMES
        
 Beau Jocque, 45, Musician Whose Band Updated Zydeco
  
          By JON PARELES 

               Beau Jocque, whose deep, bluesy voice and muscular zydeco band 
               made him the top draw in the zydeco dance halls of the Louisiana 
               bayou, died on Friday at his home in Kinder, La. He was 45.  

          The cause was apparently a heart attack, reported The Daily Advertiser 
          of Lafayette, La.  

          Beau Jocque was the stage name of Andrus Espre, who was born in 
          Duralde, La. He was 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 270 pounds, an 
          imposing presence made even stronger by his hefty growl of a voice. He 
          played a traditional three-row Cajun button accordion, but his repertory 
          moved beyond Acadian waltzes and two-steps to embrace blues, funk, 
          reggae and rapping, and he sang primarily in English, not Creole. His 
          music kept a young audience coming to the zydeco dance halls of 
          Louisiana and East Texas and quickly earned him a national reputation.  

          Early in his life he dabbled in music, playing guitar and tuba, but he left it 
          behind when he enlisted in the Air Force as a teen-ager. In 1987, while 
          working as an electrician and welder, he was attaching a monitor to a 
          chemical container when his pipe wrench slipped and he fell 20 feet to a 
          concrete floor. He was partly paralyzed, and during his 10 months of 
          recuperation he began to play his father's button accordion and decided 
          to change careers.  

          With his wife, Michelle, he studied the mainstays of the zydeco circuit, 
          particularly the stark, propulsive playing of Boozoo Chavis. "We 
          checked out C. J. Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, John 
          Delafose, and I'd watch the crowd," he told an interviewer. "When they 
          got real excited, I'd try to feel what was happening. I realized that when 
          you get the whole thing just right, it's going to move the crowd."  

          He had grown up listening to rock, soul and blues, and when he started 
          his band, the Zydeco Hi-Rollers, in 1991, it used brawny bass lines and 
          brash rock lead guitar solos. One of the band's theme songs was a 
          rewritten version of War's "Low Rider." Beau Jocque's song "Give Him 
          Cornbread," a revved-up two-step with a rap section, became a 1990's 
          zydeco standard. Onstage the band was single-mindedly geared toward 
          dancers, with Beau Jocque shouting "K-k-k-kick it!" and "Pump it up!" 
          between verses.  

          Beau Jocque, with the Zydeco Hi-Rollers, released six albums nationally 
          on Rounder Records and others on Louisiana labels including his own 
          label, Beau Jocque Music. He and Chavis performed in occasional 
          showdowns, trading insults onstage while remaining friends. One battle 
          was captured in Robert Mugge's 1994 documentary "The Kingdom of 
          Zydeco." In recent years Beau Jocque toured the United States regularly, 
          but he never left behind the bayou dance-hall circuit where he reigned; he 
          was scheduled to perform in Lafayette last weekend.  

          He is survived by his wife and their sons, Andrus Adrian and Justin 
          Travis, of Kinder.  
 

 Sleeping Giant
 Remembering Beau Jocque
 
    By Michael Tisserand 

            The problem was size. When writing about Beau Jocque, describing his  
    enormity was the main challenge. He "straddles center stage like a  
    Colossus, spreading his long legs so his 6-foot-6 frame can fit under  
    Richards Club's low ceiling," I attempted in the 1993 liner notes to  
    Beau Jocque Boogie, the first of Beau Jocque¹s five albums for Rounder.  
    "He bellows in the kind of voice you might find at the top of a  
    beanstalk," went a later effort. 
      
            Beau Jocque was big. Once, on a drive in south Louisiana, he stopped to  
    look for a leather jacket. Most of what was on the rack barely fit around  
    his arm. Another time, I joined him in Canal Place, looking for shoes. We  
    visited store after store until finally finding a single pair that fit. 
      
            On stage, the accordion seemed like a tiny sponge in his massive hands.  
    When he opened his mouth to sing, he evoked the equally sizable Howlin  
    Wolf as a blues influence, and he married his vocal style with rap, funk  
    and classic rock styles from War and ZZ Top, achieving a big sound with  
    loud volume and long solos that led to exhausting dances. 
      
            Starting in the early 90s, his impact in south Louisiana eclipsed  
    everything that had come before. Trucks parked for miles up and down the  
    highway outside Richard's Club. Hamilton's Place in Lafayette had to move  
    the cows from a nearby field to make more room for cars. His biggest  
    song, Give Him Cornbread, was everywhere; people used to drive past his  
    house in Kinder, car windows open, radio blaring, bass thumping,  
    Cornbread² screaming. 
      
            Beau Jocque never truly made it big in the world of popular music, but  
    he did appear on David Letterman's and Conan O'Brien's shows, and his  
    records outsold most zydeco releases. These indicators of success,  
    however, seem like small change now, as does the fact that I have never  
    experienced music and dancing like I did with Beau Jocque's music, and  
    that if I wanted to turn someone on to zydeco, I always just gave them  
    Beau Jocque Boogie and it blew their mind.  
      
            Now, the biggest thing in south Louisiana is that Beau Jocque is gone. 

    "You're going to look in there," promises Gabriel "Pandy" Perrodin Jr.,  
    "and you're going to miss that big man in the middle." 
      
            TV camera lights glance off Perrodin's yellow sunglasses. It's Thursday  
    morning, Sept. 16, and beside him, three of the remaining Zydeco  
    Hi-Rollers guitarist Perrodin, bass player Chuck Bush and rubboard  
    player Wilfred "Caveman" Pierre  are standing on the walk to St.  
    Phillip Neri Catholic Church in Kinder, answering questions for  
    television reporters from Lafayette and Lake Charles. 
      
            Perrodin is describing the first show the band did without their leader,  
    Beau Jocque. It was just this Sunday in Lake Charles. Chris Ardoin and  
    J.J. Caillier sat in on accordion. They turned Beau Jocque's scheduled  
    dance into a tribute. But you still just couldn't get over, Perrodin is  
    explaining, that big hole in the stage. 
      
            The previous night at this church in Kinder, the zydeco world had  
    arrived to pay its last respects to one of their own. There was Roy  
    Carrier, owner of the Offshore Lounge in Lawtell. The Sam Brothers, who  
    were zydeco stars in the 1970s, came with their aged father, Herbert Sam,  
    who once had rocked the walls of Houston zydeco clubs in the 1950s.  
    Nathan and Sid Williams came, and Sid¹s Lafayette club, El Sid O's,  
    contributed the largest flowers on the altar. Buckwheat Zydeco drove with  
    them. Sean Ardoin arrived from Baton Rouge. Lawrence and Chris Ardoin  
    came in from Lake Charles. So did the Boozoo Chavis family. There was the  
    Dopsie family, Willis Prudhomme, Jeffery Broussard. Geno and Tony  
    Delafose, whose father, John, died from a heart attack after playing a  
    show, just like Beau Jocque. Even Keith Frank, who for years engaged in  
    the most bitter and mean-spirited of rivalries with Beau Jocque, came to  
    Kinder to sign his band into the guest book.  
      
            This morning, Beau Jocque is receiving his funeral mass. He is taking  
    one last drive down Highway 190 to St. Matilda Cemetery in Eunice to be  
    buried near his boyhood home in Duralde, and near his father, who died  
    just two weeks earlier.  

            Depending on reports Beau Jocque liked to fudge about his age the  
    musician was between 43 and 45 when he died. Born Andrus Espre, he grew  
    up in a traditional Creole household, headed by a musician father, Sandrus 
    Espre, whose talents were celebrated among neighbors, but who had  
    curtailed his music playing to please his wife. Sandrus was known as "Tee  
    Toe," a joke about his small size, but Andrus was an oversized child  
    whose own nickname was originally a taunt about his great heft. He was  
    also called Juke Jake because he could learn songs so quickly; he played  
    tuba in school, among other instruments. 
      
            Andrus Espre's life was marked by incredible near-death experiences. He  
    didn't like to talk about it, but he once said that while serving in the  
    military, he suffered from a near-fatal explosion and lost consciousness  
    for a lengthy period of time. But the accident that changed his life   
    and the future of zydeco happened in 1987,  when he was working as an  
    electrician. He fell about 20 feet and landed in a sitting position on a  
    slab of concrete. "My lower back just got real hot," he recalled. "I knew  
    something wrong had happened."
      
            His back was shattered; it would plague him for the rest of his life.  
    But after extensive operations and considerable depression, Andrus Espre  
    got up again. He taught himself how to play his father¹s old accordion,  
    and he and his wife, Michelle, began visiting local dance clubs, studying  
    the players and dancers. Andrus Espre was reinventing himself as Beau  
    Jocque. As his longtime Rounder producer, Scott Billington, has marveled,  
    it was as if he had devised a fictitious character and now was completely  
    inhabiting him.  
      
            I first met Beau Jocque during the recording of "Cornbread." Billington  
    had hired me to write liner notes, and as I walked into Ultrasonic  
    Studios, the song was blasting from the speakers, and drummer Steve  
    "Skeeta" Charlot was at the microphone, adding more high-pitched,  
    stuttering vocal shouts. Around the waiting room, various friends  
    sleepily milled about, clutching thin blankets. 
      
            "Cornbread" became zydeco's first modern hit, in no small way launching  
    the phenomenally popular contemporary zydeco scene. For the next few  
    years, I would devote a portion of my life to spinning tales in print of  
    the exploits of Beau Jocque. 

    "You know, a psychic once told me this would happen," Beau Jocque was  
    saying as I struggled to keep our rental van in line with the 90 m.p.h.  
    traffic hurtling into the city of London. "It was when I was over here in  
    the military. She told me all about this, and that I would return here  
    some day, and I'd be with a rich white man." 
      
            He paused, then let out a hearty laugh. For one week in July 1994, I had  
    decided to quit playing journalist and become a Hi-Roller altogether. A  
    friend had booked Beau Jocque on a short series of shows through England,  
    and asked if I wanted to go along to manage the tour. No money. Free  
    ticket. My duties: collect payments, rent the van, trouble-shoot,  
    coordinate any media. And, though he didn¹t tell me at the time, be  
    prepared to catch flak and take shit from all quarters. 
      
            I decided that I wanted to go and not write about it at all. Experience  
    something for itself, for once. Beau Jocque never believed I wasn't  
    getting paid. 
      
            The shows were great. From night to night, Beau Jocque was working up a  
    version of the soul standard "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You" that  
    kept getting better and better. He and drummer Charlot continually  
    bounced jokes and rhymes off each other. The band was in high spirits,  
    despite the fact that I was constantly getting us lost. In London, we  
    usually circumnavigated the fast-paced "round-abouts" three or four times  
    before spinning our way onto the desired street.  

            This helplessness behind the wheel made me a favorite band target for  
    jokes, along with drummer Charlot, who was being convinced that if you  
    look closely, your watch hands will start spinning when you cross time  
    zones.  
      
            Things had gone great in the town of Derby, where Beau Jocque played a  
    place called the Swamp Club and was treated like a visiting king. We all  
    stayed at the home of a local musician who fed us scones and even gave  
    Charlot an accordion, but Beau Jocque grew suspicious when he was asked  
    to join an informal jam session. "They get us over here because they want  
    to take our songs," he quietly muttered to me on the house's staircase. 
      
            In London, the band was booked for an event called the American South  
    Festival at the prestigious South Bank Centre. It was a posh gig in a  
    theater called the Queen Elizabeth Hall; the concert featured a number of  
    players from south Louisiana, including the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band and  
    Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot.  
      
            But as soon as we reached the Centre, things really did start to go  
    south, especially for the Hi-Rollers tour manager. 
      
            The problems started because, in true zydeco style, the Hi-Rollers had  
    been staying up night after night, scraping up gigs throughout the area,  
    making the trip pay. Zydeco rules dictate that one rests only when and  
    where one can. So, shortly after reaching South Bank, most of the band  
    fell sound asleep in the dressing room.  
      
            When nobody responded for the first call to sound check, the show  
    promoter became alarmed. She lit into the show manager, a proper Brit  
    woman named Janet. And Janet lit into me. I was ordered to gather "my  
    boys." A couple of band members were in earshot, and they got up and  
    left; they later told me they were offended by the expression, and by the  
    fact that I didn't correct her.  
      
            The British-zydeco culture clash kept worsening. The band still wasn't  
    ready for sound check, and I found myself standing in a cavernous  
    concrete hallway, being glared at by Janet. "I won't have it," she  
    hissed. "They seem to be mad at you, maybe it's a racial thing. Whatever  
    it is, I won't have it." 
      
            Inside, Beau Jocque was still snoring heavily, and Michelle was sleeping  
    near him. The band was now scattered throughout the arts complex. Then,  
    with no help from me, everyone started to congregate. Sound check  
    proceeded with no incident, but the South Bank people remained miffed  
    about how the band had showed up for the important show completely  
    exhausted. For the rest of the night, they blamed me. 
      
            There were other tensions. After the performance, I noticed Beau Jocque  
    and Michelle looking at a program from the previous week. It had been a  
    blues show, with B.B. King as the headliner. Ticket prices were higher  
    than those for the Louisiana show, which probably meant that B.B. King  
    was making more money, and Beau Jocque and Michelle weren't pleased.  
      
            "Yeah, but that's B.B. King," I offered. 
      
            Michelle looked at me firmly. "This is Beau Jocque," she reprimanded. I  
    never broke ranks again.  
      
            That week, the band had one day off, but only Beau Jocque, Michelle,  
    rubboard player Wilfred "Caveman" Pierre and I wanted to go exploring. We  
    all took off to see the real Sherwood Forest, the site of Robin Hood¹s  
    legendary exploits. When we got there, it wasn¹t much different from the  
    woods near Kinder, except there was a gift shop. But the day proved to be  
    one of those relaxing, low-key times you remember forever, filled with  
    breezes and constant jokes. 
      
            Beau Jocque's favorite brand of humor was the kind that forces you to  
    let down your guard. I learned this again as we walked through Sherwood  
    Forest at twilight. Beau Jocque solemnly told me about the forests near  
    home, the site of mass graves of Indians, a place where old Creole men  
    told him he could never stay past midnight.  
      
            "When we get back, I want you to come out there with me and bring your  
    tape recorder," he promised. "I want you to prove to those old men that I  
    stayed until midnight."  
      
            Beau Jocque pointed to a hollowed tree next to the path.  
      
            "Why don¹t you go look and see who's in there?" he dared. I peered into  
    a dark hole. A bird fluttered and swooped out, and I let out a high-pitched shriek. 
      
            Beau Jocque doubled over, and his laughter echoed through Sherwood  
    Forest. 
      
    At Beau Jocque's wake, Michelle was sitting in the first pew, receiving  
    mourners. Her young sons, Andrus Adrian and Justin Travis, ten and eight  
    years old, were playing around their father's open casket. As they  
    climbed over the kneelers, they accidentally pulled on the white lace  
    sheet that extended above the chest and face of their father's body, and  
    it lightly fluttered off the casket lid. Michelle shook her head, went up  
    and adjusted the fabric, and sat down.  
      
            She was visibly shaken. The oldest son, Andrus Adrian, who looks  
    startlingly like a young Beau Jocque, and who was just starting to learn  
    accordion from his dad, put his arm around her.  
      
            Michelle looked up when I came over. The first thing she asked was if I  
    remembered the time in Sherwood Forest when the bird flew out of the  
    tree. The Hi-Rollers came over, and our conversation turned to Beau  
    Jocque's last night. The consensus was that Beau Jocque knew he was going  
    to die. 
      
            In Seattle two weeks ago, the band recalled, he told them, "Here's my  
    money. If anything happens to me, make sure this gets to Michelle and the  
    boys." 
      
            Looking back, Michelle wonders if Beau Jocque had been teaching her  
    accordion over the past summer because he wanted to pass on what he knew  
    before he died. "That was very unusual for him to be doing that," she  
    said. 
      
            Beau Jocque's last show was Thursday, Sept. 9, at Mid City Lanes Rock  
    'n' Bowl. Michelle called her husband constantly that night, much more  
    than usual. She played an accordion lick he'd been showing her. The first  
    time she called, he said she would have to cook him a pork chop before  
    he'd reveal more secrets. Then, she called back, having mastered the lick  
    on her own. 
      
            "Pretty soon, you're going to be on the stage, and I'll be working at  
    the door," he told her. 
      
            "Just make sure you give me all the money," she shot back. 
      
            Michelle turned to Wilfred "Caveman" Pierre. "What did he say when I  
    said that?" she asked. "He laughed, like he always does," he replied. 
      
            The show was somewhat subdued. At one point, Rock 'n' Bowl owner John  
    Blancher got up on stage to address rumors that Beau Jocque wasn't going  
    to show up to play, and that he had canceled a recent zydeco festival  
    appearance. "He's a pro to work with," Blancher said, and Beau Jocque  
    launched into "Blue Christmas."  
      
            On the drive back to Kinder, the Hi-Rollers were shocked to see  their  
    leader with his shirt fully unbuttoned, washing his bare chest in the  
    frigid air conditioning. Beau Jocque slept heavily as the players took  
    the highway to Kinder. He awoke only to get a glass of milk. He slept  
    again. 
      
            At home, he didn't have his usual piece of cake, which was waiting in  
    the microwave. He crawled into bed, enveloping his wife in his arms. "You  
    know I love you," he said. 
      
            The next morning, Michelle awoke to take the boys to school. Outside,  
    men were working on a new swimming pool. Beau Jocque had gotten up to  
    take a shower. When she found him, he was curled over, a victim of a  
    heart attack, and was turning colors. The pool men attempted CPR while  
    she called the ambulance. Beau Jocque couldn't be revived. 

    The TV reporters are circulating through the Thursday morning funeral  
    crowd, requesting people to recall their most memorable time with Beau  
    Jocque.  
      
            Perrodin remembers a time in Colorado when the TV stations were all  
    warning about bear attacks. Perrodin was drunk and sleepwalking, and Beau  
    Jocque got scared because he thought he was seeing a bear.  

            "I saw the world with Beau Jocque," bassist Chuck Bush says. "He was  
    like Uncle Beau. We were all planning to go to his house last night for a  
    barbecue around the pool." 
      
            In front of the church, two posters are decorated with photographs of  
    Beau Jocque, including a large photo taken with Conan O¹Brien. The priest  
    leads the full church through a mass, stopping the homily to speak  
    quietly in French to Beau Jocque's mother.  
      
           "In 1987, Andrus Espre turned adversity into triumph," the priest says.  
    "He didn¹t give up on himself." 

            The mass proceeds towards its climax of the transmogrification of bread  
    to body. This is a church that tries to understand the possibility of quick change: 
    bread to body, Andrus Espre to Beau Jocque, a broken back into a zydeco 
    warrior, animated life to sudden, unexpected death.  
      
            Sitting in the back, I think about the first extended trip I'd taken  
    with Beau Jocque. I was writing a road journal, riding with him on  
    Highway 190 following a show at House of Blues. Everyone was nodding off.  
    "Everybody is waiting for me to be quiet so they can go to sleep!" Beau  
    Jocque thundered. "But I won't do it!" 

            Following the mass, the Hi-Rollers roll the casket down the center  
    aisle. An American flag is draped over it, to honor Andrus Espre¹s  
    military record. A line of cars winds its way back down Highway 190 to  
    Eunice, away from the realm of Beau Jocque and back to the birthplace of  
    Andrus Espre.  
      
            As the cars proceed, the surrounding prairie is quiet. Too quiet. When  
    we reach Eunice, I steer away from the funeral motorcade and slip in a  
    Beau Jocque tape and crank it up.  
      
            "Did you have a good time?" Beau Jocque used to sing to close his  
    dances. "I know I had mine."

 
 
 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
 ?Born: 01/01/1954 in Duralde, LA
Died: September 10,1999  in Kinder, LA
All-Music Guide
    Easily the biggest new zydeco star of the 1990s, Beau Jocque 
    heralded the rise of the genre's new, urbanized style; infusing his 
    high-octane sound with elements of rock, soul, hip-hop and 
    even reggae, he bridged the gap between traditional Creole 
    culture and contemporary music to create a funky, bass-heavy 
    hybrid calculated for maximum mainstream appeal. Born 
    Andrus Espre in Kinder, Louisiana in 1957, Jocque spent his 
    early adult years working as an electrician, but in 1987 he 
    suffered a serious back injury which left him paralyzed from the 
    waist down for over a year; during his recovery period he 
    picked up his father's Cajun accordion, but always bored by 
    traditional zydeco, he set about updating the music more to his 
    own contemporary tastes. Jocque and his wife Michelle then 
    spent the next five years painstakingly researching zydeco clubs, 
    discovering which kinds of songs earned the greatest response 
    from patrons; at the same time he absorbed the music of Boozoo  
    Chavis, drawn by his propulsive rhythms. Finally, in 1991, he formed 
    the Zydeco Hi-Rollers; the band was an immediate smash in the 
    New Orleans circuit, drawing huge audiences -- many of them new  
    to the Creole dancehall scene -- captivated by their hard-edged  
    rhythms and Jocque's primal, cavernous vocals. A friendly rivalry 
    with Chavis also increased his notoriety, and in 1993, the Hi-Rollers  
    debuted with Beau Jocque Boogie, one of the best-selling zydeco 
    records of all time. Pick Up on This! followed in 1994, and a year 
    later they released the explosive live effort Git It, Beau Jocque! 
    which featured the hit "Give Him Cornbread." Gonna Take You  
    Downtown appeared in 1996, followed two years later by Check  
    It Out, Lock It In, Crank It Up!  

    -- Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide

Beau Jocque & the Zydeco Hi-Rollers:  The First Few Years

With his imposing six-foot-six, 270-pound presence and raw Howlin' Wolf-like vocals, Beau Jocque is the most sensational zydeco band leader in Southern Louisiana today. Part of a new breed of Louisiana-based rural bands who play zydeco music with a modern edge, Jocque and his Zydeco Hi-Rollers have become, in just a few short years, the biggest draw on the South Louisiana/East Textas dancehall circuit, and the most exciting of several young bands pushing the limits of the music's traditional boundaries.  

A relative newcomer to the zydeco scene, Beau Jocque (aka Andrus Espre) only began to play music in 1987, after an industrial accident left him partially paralyzed. For 10 months he recuperated, and, with little to do, took up his father's Cajun button accordion. Says Jocque, "After I figured I might be able to play this thing, my wife and I went out to see all the local zydeco groups to analyze what made them work. We checked out C.J. Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, John Delafose, and I'd watch the crowd. When they got real excited, I'd try to feel what was happening. I realized that when you get the whole thing just right, it's going to move the crowd".  

It was the hypnotic playing of Boozoo Chavis and the frenzied effect he had on Southern Louisiana dancers which most profoundly inspired Jocque. And Jocque - who'd grown up listening to ZZ Top and James Brown - had some notions of his own: "A little bit of Carlos Santana, a little Stevie Ray Vaughan, some funk from Sly and the Family Stone, blues licks 
from a few different artists, plus by own style..." Fat, pumped-up basslines, rock 'n roll guitar leads, '70s funk and hip-hop grooves, and the influences of reggae and rap on zydeco's already heavy mix of Cajun-Creole and R&B, have made Beau Jocque the undisputed champion of zydecos "new direction." The combination of Jocque's burly charisma and the Hi-Rollers' ferocious groove make them one of the crawfish circuit's hottest draws and the reason today's zydeco dances are packed with young Creole couples.  
    
~Rounder Records

        Beau Jocque & the Zydeco Hi-Rollers
         

        This accordion-pulverizing colossus is 
        responsible for much of the current revival of 
        zydeco. Starting with Boozoo Chavis' 
        foundation of percussive dance tunes, Beau 
        Jocque went on to build his own house of 
        zydeco out of unusual material such as rap 
        and classic rock. (Rolling Stone once likened 
        his sound to a shotgun wedding of Howlin' 
        Wolf and Clifton Chenier, as officiated by ZZ 
        Top -- or was it the other way around?) 
        Either way, this genre-buster pleases 
        crowds with a wide range of sounds 
        anchored by a solid double-kicking rhythm 
        section. Listen for a summer Rounder album 
        that will include covers of "Tequila" and 
        Archie Bell and the Drells' "Tighten Up." 
      ~Gambit

 
 
  
 
 

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 LINKS
  
 
Beau Jocque & the Zydeco High Rollers . 902 13th St., Kinder, Louisiana, 70648. Contact: Shelly Espre 
 
 
 
 

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