Origin: Montréal, Québec
The 222s formed in Montreal in the summer of 1977. And like the Action over in Ottawa and Teenage Head down in Hamilton, they had one foot in punk and the other firmly rooted in the glam rock of the New York Dolls. This is what probably opened the door for the band in a city still awash in disco and prog rock. Singer Chris Barry, who joined the 222s in 1978 while still a high school student, recalls in Perfect Youth (The Birth of Canadian Punk), “The 222s were on TV a fair bit, so I sort of became a minor celebrity in my high school.”
Along with The Normals and The Chromosomes, the 222s helped kick start a scene cantered around places like 364 St. Paul, Station 10 and the Hotel Nelson. By the time the guys (as it turns out minus Barry, who had only just joined the group) walked into the long forgotten Le Petit Studio du Nord in September 1978 to record this single, the first punk record to be released in the province of Quebec, the band were as tight as the skinny leather pants they often wore. Barry: “We wanted the show to run like the Ramones, not a lot of time between songs. We wanted to be as slick as we could be (which) just meant doing our best and being in tune and trying to not drop songs in the middle of them.”
How the effervescent ‘I Love Suzan’ escaped the major labels is anyone’s guess. With nods to doo wop, the Beach Boys and of course their heroes the Ramones, it’s a perfect power pop charmer that should have been the soundtrack to the summer of ’79 rather than an obscure collector seven-inch. What’s more, the tougher sounding ‘The First Studio Bomb’ over on the flip takes the lads more firmly into punk territory, making this a potent little double-sider well worth the digging.
Ah, but the 222s story was only just beginning. With numerous TV appearances in Montreal, and packed shows in Toronto and at Max’s Kansas City in New York, they seemed ready for the big time. But by 1981, the popular band still had not released a follow-up, and well, Montreal being Montreal, they somehow managed to hook up with some of that city’s less savoury types, who had plans of their own for the boys.
One of Montreal earliest punk bands, the 222's hold the distinction of releasing the city's first indie punk single back in 1978. Taking their cue from the likes of The Stooges, The Dolls and the original Alice Cooper band as much as from the Ramones or Pistols, in the late '70s, the 222's, led by charismatic 16 year old front man Chris Barry, were unquestionably Montreal's premier glam/punk outfit, capable of drawing capacity crowds wherever and whenever they played.
By 1980 the band had been unofficially adopted by Teenage Head's management, and, in between regular jaunts to play Max's Kansas City in NYC, spent much of the following year supporting the Head in Québec and Ontario. In 1981 a second 222s single, La Poupee Qui Fait Non, was released. The recording was produced by Ex-Harmonium producer and featured the Michel Polnaroff single 'La Poupee'. The record was highly regarded by the French mainstream radio stations, along with the backing of the successful European label ‘Gamma’ who had immediately signed the band, after hearing it. The whole purpose of recording a French song for the band (although it was bilingual in reality) was to be able to finally break into the french radio system and it worked. La Poupée was added to CKOI FM’s regular playlist for example, and The 222s were finally being recognized in their own province and all of it, because of the fact that the song was playing on radio stations all over Québec. The band then received several booking offers from all over the province of Quebec. The song was great, well performed, and was a former hit from the 60's that was loved by a public that our punk band was part of. No other Montreal punk band was able to achieve that at the time.
After the band achieved their goals, Louie Louie left the band to pursue a solo project, which being French dance songs (that charted on ‘le Palmarès français) with Chris Barry's band ‘39 Steps’.
In 2009, the 222's reunited and started practicing their old songs. They were back on stage playing music festivals and continue to perform together ever since.
Chris Barry: vocals
Pierre Major: guitar
Joe Cerratto: bass
Louie "Louie" Rondeau: drums