PORTRAIT. Alain Castaing from Saint-Ybars, the good times of Toulouse rock’n’roll

the essential
A retired architect, Alain Castaing, in his youth, frequented the rock idols of Toulouse. Meeting with this resident of Saint-Ybars, in Ariège.

In this man with the white beard, the memories have the rhythm in the skin and transpire through the eyes.

Alain Castaing, barely 76 years old, goes back in time in no time and takes pleasure in recounting his very rock youth. Toulousain rock to be precise, which is not just anything. “The Toulouse sound! Are you kidding or what? It’s exceptional,” he says.

The Condorcet studio is still there to talk about it. But Alain Castaing has been living in Saint-Ybars for a few months now, after spending 5 years in Algeria to lend a hand to his son and his family, settled there. Alas, a hasty departure and shots fired at the comet, the rock comet of course, changed the situation.

“Friends” with evocative names

With his wife Monique, a native of Sainte-Suzanne, right next to Saint Ybars, they took their cliques and their slaps, heading for the metropolis. “I had planned to organize a rock festival there. Everything was almost complete, then there was the Covid and upheavals in the minds, too”, summarizes, fatalistic, Alain Castaing.

But it is with a vibrant heart that he likes to talk about his great time in Toulouse, with evocative names that make the eardrums tremble: Mike Shannon, Ticky Holgado, Roger Loubet, Pierre Grocolas, Jean-Loup Sieff and many others. . “They were my friends. With some of them, we started the group The Meteor, between 1959 and 1962. We played covers, we performed at the Bob Rock club, we toured the southwest” , says by making a big gesture of the arm Alain who, him, throned behind his battery.

And it was chopsticks in hand that he saw his friends leave for the capital. For them, we know what has become of them. He entered the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse, with the intention of becoming an architect.

“That’s what I wanted to do anyway. Music was good, but I couldn’t see myself in it all my life. And then my dad was watching!” he laughs. At the Beaux-Arts, he quickly joined the school brass band, the “Bozards”. In the same way, arriving in Saint Ybars, he joined the local brass band, “Los Compañeros”. With a few more years.