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Inductee: Claude Rajotte: Claude Rajotte

Claude Rajotte

Instantly recognizable on radio and TV for 35 years

"I’m Claude Rajotte… and you’re not!" went the famous tagline. No, we certainly are not – nobody is. Long-serving Montreal DJ, and former VJ, Claude Rajotte is an original. The 54-year-old Rajotte has made an illustrious life out of his love for music, his passion and vast knowledge of a dizzying range of musical styles informing a DJ career that started at Drummondville radio station CHRD in 1974.

Though Rajotte began work in Montreal at CKOI in 1976, he is best known for his 20-year stint on the air at CHOM from 1982 until 2002 (where he was known to address his large francophone audience in occasional French until, at the behest of CKOI, the CRTC put an end to that), and for his 17-year service as a VJ on MusiquePlus, where he hosted, among other things, Le Cimetière des CD, dedicated to critiquing records. Rajotte promoted a 2001 compilation CD of the show, Le Cimetière des CD, Vol. 1, by sending out little plastic baggies containing one of his few remaining hairs. These have now become, given his current cranial circumstances, collector’s items.

"For his thousands of listeners, Claude Rajotte has always been a beacon, shining his light through the mugginess of cookie-cutter pop," says MusiquePlus VJ Nicolas Tittley. "Wide-eared yet uncompromising, he was the go-to guy for eager kids in search of something different. He reigned supreme at MusiquePlus, bringing an air of credibility to the station, where he regularly – and literally – tore shitty albums to pieces. As anyone who has listened to his current program on Radio-Canada can tell you, he was, and still is, a pioneer."

Rajotte is still doing what he loves best: hosting and producing a wildly eclectic Saturday and Sunday night radio show for Radio-Canada’s Espace Musique.

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  3 comments

  • by Reuven De Souza - December 10, 2009, 9:58 pm

    What more can be said about Claude Rajotte? His legendary CHOM show, Cimetiere Des CD and piquant MP commentaries and critiques are above and beyond the typical assessments. ( I’m looking at you Six dans la cite or Bazzo.tv ) Here’s a man who champions what he likes, which is, more the most part, excellent. I will forever be endebted to him for championing such gems on his CHOM show as Portishead, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins and others of the era. Which was contrary to what was popular at the time-talk abuot being ahead of the curve! With Cimetiere he, with no false modesty, called out the pretenders and the never weres. Sure occasionally it was pretty devastating listening to him tear a new one…but then didn’t many simply deserve it? Rajotte is indeed an original-to anglophones and francophones alike. And, certainly deserved of the induction!

  • by Pedro Eggers - December 20, 2009, 4:22 pm

    Music appreciation on TV and radio is all the lesser because we don’t have more people of Claude Rajotte’s ilk. Seriously, can anyone tune in FM radio or MusiquePlus and not want to cry foul at the content and the trained halfwits pushing it on us? I can’t even fathom how MusiquePlus or MuchMusic stay on the air given the lack of actual musical content there. The TV personalities and VJs are interchangeable and pretty much the definition of slick corporate stooges. Radio ain’t doing much better. Claude Rajotte was a surly but smart sort that spoke for the frustrated masses that demanded more from the industry as a whole than brainless commercial pop. I didn’t always agree with his musical choices but I respected where they came from. I imagine that if he could take a Destroy! button to the pablum coming out these days he’d be a happy man…and so would we.

  • by Mark St Pierre - January 14, 2010, 7:10 pm

    Claude Rajotte – have to admit that he’s definitely a unique voice and character in the annals of both local DJ’s and VJ’s. After all, apart from his distinctive physical form particularly the bald head (one of his trademarks) and his sly and sleek, cool elocution, he’s also known for his entertaining inability to suffer bad music (or the fools that give rise to it), hence his CD Cemetary. Having said that, though, that’s not to say he doesn’t have expansive and daring taste in music (’cause he does) and if anything, he definitely contributed to my alt-music indoctrination. He may be a little harder to track down being off the beaten radio airwave path, but he’s well worth the dial twiddling ’cause time has definitely not dulled his acerbic wit one bit.

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