JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me Soligny (a serious journalist who uses words like "plebiscite"), David
Bowie (Glam Rock star) and Alan Edwards (Subject of a Financial Times feature
earlier this week!) at club Man Ray in Paris after the ElysÃƒÂ©e Montmartre gig in 1999.
I could make it all worthwhile as a Rock & Folk star...
Hot on the heels of their DVD special (which included 'Ashes To Ashes' on the cover-mounted DVD), French magazine Rock & Folk have made David Bowie the "hero" in the reader's poll of their latest issue. Elsewhere in the magazine, our good friend JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me Soligny conducts a brief interview with David, and as if that wasn't enough, the cover-mounted CD includes 'Wood Jackson'.
Here's how the readers voted... Boy, the French have good taste!
Artist of the year:
1) David Bowie
2) Bruce Springsteen
3) Manu Chao
Concert of the year:
1) David Bowie
2) Noir DÃƒÂ©sir
Hero of the year:
1) David Bowie
3) Michael Moore
David was also voted third in the Sexiest Character of the Year category (I think some of our regular MB contributors may dispute that), and in the writer's poll, Philippe Manoeuvre (editor of the magazine) and JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me himself voted for 'Heathen' in the Albums of the Year section. Well done David, no more than you deserve.
Here follows an illustration from the mag drawn by great R&F illustrator Colonel Moutarde, and the interview with JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me Soligny. Thanx to R&F for flying the Bowie flag all these years... must do a feature on the magazine's Bowie features one of these days.
David Bowie in the latest issue of R&F by Colonel Moutarde.
David Bowie interview by JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me Soligny (David's answers are in Bold type, as if that wasn't obvious enough!)
One may think that at 55, after such a brilliant career, you've seen it all. Does it still mean something to you when young readers (the majority of them now...) of a faraway country rock magazine plebiscite you like this? Why? Do you feel a special relation with France (Golf Drouot, Chateau d'HÃƒÂ©rouville, Saint-Malo, etc)?
That my audience still have an interest in what I do and that a new audience seems to be dragged along with them is just fabulous. I have been very lucky in having such a loyal crowd. I may not sell a trillion albums, but then I never did, but I have a consistent and interested fan base and that's all I could ask for. I suppose my interest in people like Piaf or the Belgium Brel gave me a real understanding of French chanson plus the history of the cabaret i.e. Chat Noir in Paris in the late 1800's, artists mixing with gangsters, where the strong lyric combined with great melody transformed popular song. I'm sure the French feel that empathy when I sing.
Last time I interviewed you, you told me you'd hope that "Heathen" would find a public by word of mouth. It actually worked very well, in terms of sales too. Does that also mean something to you?
But of course. It's a very good album and I really knew my crowd would 'get' it.
After September 11, it seems like many major classic acts have toured the world and worked hard (The Who, Paul McCartney, etc), and there has been a new rock'n'roll explosion (The Hives, The Music, The Libertines). Do you consider the world events have an influence on your work? Do you like any of these young bands?
There is a sense with too many of the new bands of trying to capture a bygone era. I think this comes from a deep sense of wanting to create a 'structure' of some kind. Much of the music is overfamiliar to me. I would hope that they will break out a little and experiment more with the form.
You're "Rock&Folk live act of the year" and it's true that in 2002 you seemed to be really happy on stage even though you were far from home? Any reason for that? A few words about your great band of yours... Can we hope to see you next year on some European stage?
Without doubt you will see us next year. I plan on doing a really extensive tour. Maybe even Australia and Japan! My band, many of whom have now been with me for a number of years, just seem to get it right, night after night. I cannot tell you what a joy they are to work with. The atmosphere at this last set of shows was indescribable.
You've spent the 90's toying with different music styles but the success of "Heathen" and the world tour proves that the audience adores it when you're still David Bowie, The Man Who Wrote (and still writes) Those Famous Tracks and sing them with all his heart? Do you agree with them? How do you see yourself now?
You are right in one way. That is, I have become very relaxed about just singing my songs with no elaboration or set of any kind. I see myself working this way for the foreseeable future. I am a working singer/songwriter.
Whatever it means, you've also been voted "hero of the year" by R&F readers? What do you think of that? Who'd be your heroes of the year?
I have none. I prefer to be considered a 'popular' artist to hero.
I guess you're back to writing new songs. Do you have any idea of how your next album will sound ? Will Tony V be involved? Any key reissue for the next year? Is "Toy" going to be released as an album?
TV and my whole band will be involved in the next album. And, of course, some surprises (I hope) I have a rough idea of where the sound will go. Let's see if I can accomplish that.
How looks your future? Do you think man will learn from its many mistakes? Do you consider hope as a vehicle, a goal or a lure?
Hope is a structure for living. I am not judgmental on its merits or otherwise.
Is there anything you've not accomplished so far you're dying to do?
I'm dying to get old.
Many many thanx to JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me Soligny for giving us the exclusive on this, what a thoroughly decent chap he is!