Two nights after he attended the Eagles of Death Metal concert at Le Bataclan, Guillaume B. Decherf was supposed to cover Motorhead’s show at Le Zenith in Paris for the magazine Les Inrockuptibles. Decherf had broad tastes, but hard rock and heavy metal were his beat: His recent reviews included AC/DC, Mastodon and his favorite band, Iron Maiden. He looked the part, too, with his shoulder-length hair, earrings and vintage T-shirts. “It was impossible to forget him after you had met him,” says Azzedine Fall, his editor at Les Inrockuptibles‘ website.
Guillaume Barreau-Decherf, 43, was born in Bar-le-Duc, a small town in northeastern France. While studying in Paris in the early 1990s, he spent a year at Loughborough University in England through the Erasmus student exchange program and hosted a heavy metal show on the campus radio station. After graduating from the school of journalism in Lille in 1999, he began his music-writing career at the Liberation newspaper. He subsequently edited Hard Rock magazine and wrote for the French edition of Rolling Stone, along with Metro, where he also covered films, books and comics, before finding a freelance berth at Les Inrockuptibles in 2008. “We will remember Guillaume as a very good journalist and a very nice guy we all loved,” says Alain Gouvrion, the editor-in-chief at Rolling Stone in France.
Fall describes Decherf as a passionate professional who generated his own ideas. Decherf also published a biography of veteran French band Indochine, No Rest for the Adventurer, in 2010. His biggest challenge was juggling his work commitments with the task of raising two daughters, Salome and Seraphine, with his partner, Flo. “At worst, as with homework in high school, I finish writing my articles at night. It boosts inspiration,” he wrote on the social networking site Copains D’avant. Despite his family responsibilities, he wrote with self-mocking humor, “I continue to honor Parisian cultural life with my august presence.” In an obituary for newspaper Le Parisien, his fellow critic and frequent concert companion Eric Bureau described Decherf as “one of the best and most lovable music journalists.”
Decherf’s penultimate album review for Les Inrockuptibles was Zipper Down by Eagles of Death Metal, the band he was excited about seeing at Le Bataclan. He praised a record “moved solely by the desire to please” and signed off with a celebratory shout: “Pleasure shared!”