Teenage Head / Killjoys Drummer Gene Champagne Hospitalized with COVID-19

The musician is in a Burlington intensive-care unit on a ventilator

Photo: Ivan Sorensen

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Mar 29, 2021

Gene Champagne — an Ontario musician known best as the drummer for Hamilton bands Teenage Head and the Killjoys — has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Multiple outlets point to news of Champagne's hospitalization arriving on social media through Champagne's wife Julie, who had her message shared to Hamilton's music community and beyond by former This Ain't Hollywood co-owner Lou Molinaro yesterday (March 28).

"My husband Gene Champagne is currently on a ventilator in the ICU. He is battling Covid and a very bad case of pneumonia," Julie wrote. "For those reaching out via calls, texts, messages and emails, I hope you know how much it means to both of us. I am hoping this is what he needs to finally start healing so he can come home to me and get better. For anyone who wants to share this, please do so, Gene has so many friends I'm not connected to. Keep us in your thoughts."

A native of Stoney Creek, the 52-year-old Champagne was admitted to Burlington's Joseph Brant Hospital on March 22 with pneumonia, and later tested positive for COVID-19. Both Teenage Head and the Killjoys shared messages of love and support through social media yesterday.

"Sending our Love And Prayers out to our brother Gene Champagne, who is currently in the I.C.U. with complications from pneumonia," Teenage Head wrote. "Stay strong Gene, stay strong Julie, we'll all get through this and be back doing what we love together!"

The Killjoys added: "Good thoughts tonight for Killjoys drummer Gene Champagne. So many people are pulling for you, brother."

Champagne co-founded the Killjoys in 1992 with singer/guitarist Mike Trebilcock and bassist Shelley Woods. The group's 1994 debut Starry spawned successful singles "Today I Hate Everyone" and "Dana," and netted them a Juno Award nomination for Best Album Design.

On the strength of 1996 sophomore effort Gimme Five, the Killjoys captured a Juno Award for Best New Group in 1997. The album's lead single "Rave + Drool" was also included on the inaugural Big Shiny Tunes compilation.

Champagne joined Teenage Head in 2016, replacing longtime drummer Jack Pedler who left the band due to illness. Outside of those two bands, Champagne mans the drum kit for Hamilton's Tongue Fu, and fronts local outfit the Unteens.

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