Conversations: Eric Violette, the Guy

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Geez, this guy's been through a lot. First, he marries his dream girl only to learn her bad credit will force them to live in her parents' basement. Then his cruddy used subcompact gets repossessed, then an identity theft makes him take a job at a pirate-themed restaurant, and last we heard, he'd retreated to a Renaissance festival out of shame. Oh, guy, we feel your pain. The curly-haired troubadour has become, to us, the face of the country's credit problem. So what if it turns out he's actually French Canadian and he's lip-syncing? We still wanted to know more about 27-year-old Eric Violette, a.k.a. the dude in all those maddeningly catchy ads.

-- Monica Hesse

Do you get recognized in the street?

Not in Quebec. They don't air the commercials here -- credit reports don't have the same importance in Canada as in the States. . . . When I saw this guy was ready to leave his wife [in the commercial] because she has bad credit, I thought, Oh! This must be very, very important.

Yeah, in the United States, the ads have kind of a cult following.

The songs are very catchy -- three-chord pop songs. I think it's also because of my curly hair.

What's your motivation for this role? Who IS man?

He's a guy who has a lot of dreams and hopes. But he's not able to make them concrete because I think he's a little bit lazy. He's the kind of guy who always has bad luck . . . but I'm sure he has a good heart.

You graduated from the National Theatre School in Montreal. What comes next for you, career-wise?

I'm working on my music right now.

Of course you are.

I have maybe 20 songs that I've composed all by myself in my basement. I'm forming a band so that we can record a demo and do something more serious. The band's name is God Against God. . . . It's very hard to describe because I don't want to be a slave to musical style.

Any hope for your lady fans? Are you single?

Yes. [I'm] single. And I have good credit.

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