Montreal in the 1970s was a hotbed for disco. Big hair, platform shoes, flashing dancefloors and funky beats blasted out of Quebec’s largest city for nearly a decade. Patsy Gallant, whose hits include “From New York to LA” and “Sugar Daddy,” was a leader in the city’s bell-bottomed movement. She is performing at this year’s Disco Disco party, Pride Sunday at The 519’s Green Space, and promises a special trip to disco paradise.
Xtra: You had great success in Quebec at a time when disco was booming in the province. Did you feel like you were part of a movement? What was the vibe like back then in Montreal?
Patsy Gallant: The vibe in Montreal never changes. It’s always had that joie de vivre, a party place where people like to have fun, enjoy life, drink all night, dance their asses off and celebrate! Trends change, but good ones don’t need to.
Disco is making a great comeback these days, thanks to a lot of French groups and, especially, Daft Punk. What do you think of the genre coming back to life?
Well you know, disco never died! Those sweet melodies, funky beats and empowering lyrics bring joy to every dancefloor, and basically this is what disco is about! So the ball has kept rolling — from Donna Summer to Madonna, Diana Ross to Kylie Minogue or Lady Gaga — the disco spirit has always stayed alive and vibrant. Daft Punk’s latest album is amazing, by the way, don’t you think?
Any regrets from the glory days of disco? Are you still getting up on tables and dancing?
The glory days of disco are not over; they are going on around us. And yes, I still jump on tables — but for singing, not dancing! When I lived in Paris, I was working with Luc Plamondon, and we often used to go to the same restaurant for dinner. Every night, after some champagne and wine, I used to jump on the table and start singing. The waiters got used to this and started cleaning the table as soon as a plate was finished, to minimize potential damages. I still do this now.
One of your biggest hits, “From New York to LA,” is a classic. But really, you mostly went from Montreal to France! How was your time in France?
Paris is a big part of my life. I was in the best show that Paris had seen for ages, Starmania. It was huge, a production Paris hadn’t seen since maybe [Ballets Russes founder Serge] Diaghilev! I lived Paris intensely, had my loved ones and my partners in crime. The night life is pure debauchery; I spent so many memorable nights at Queen with Karl Lagerfeld and Gilles Dufour. I didn’t merely dance on tables there, but used to grab on to those crazy nets they had attached to the ceiling — that held those gorgeous boys dancing inside of them.
The style during that time is so iconic, and you are such a show lady. Do you remember some of your favourite outfits and hair styles? You’ve had some huge hair!
You have to have the slick dress and you have to show lots of leg — pant suits, lots of sequins. I had so many wild outfits, but maybe one of my favourites are those pants that Rafaele, my designer for my TV shows, made for me. They looked like pants, and technically they were, I guess, but they had those cuts on the side running all the way up to the waist. Daring, and I loved it!
Final question: what can the party people expect at your Toronto Pride show?
I will be onstage with dancers in a special set prepared and remixed by my DJ, Mario Leonard. I am planning a special trip, not from New York to LA, but from Toronto to the Paradise of Disco Fun. No worries — all you have to do is dance!