Fearless chanteuse reveals all on the eve of her new album and 50th Anniversary World Tour.
“I DON’T LIKE LONDON,” admits Marianne Faithfull. “I come here for promotion and I’m asked the most incredible questions.” The last time she was here one journalist even had the brass neck to ask her “Why exactly did you kill Jim Morrison?”
“I decided to take it very seriously,” she said, in a relaxed and confessional interview, “and tell him exactly what happened and why I didn’t kill Jim Morrison. But I know who did.”
The story goes back to the summer of 1971, when she travelled to Paris with her then-boyfriend, heroin dealer to the stars Jean de Breiteuil. Upon their arrival Breiteuil told Faithfull that he had to pay a visit to The Doors’ singer’s apartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis. She says she felt a strange sense of foreboding and stayed behind at the couple’s hotel, knocking herself out with downers.
“I could intuitively feel trouble,” she recalls. “I thought, I’ll take a few Tuinal and I won’t be there. And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him. I mean I’m sure it was an accident. Poor bastard. The smack was too strong? Yeah. And he died. And I didn’t know anything about this. Anyway, everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me.”
Marianne Faithfull in 1979 by Derek JarmanMarianne Faithfull in 1979, by Derek Jarman
In a fascinating piece that roams freely over her now-50-year career, she recounts how she worked with Nick Cave on her new album, ponders how life might have turned out if she’d become “Mrs Gene Pitney” and reveals how she was “appalled” by the death of Amy Winehouse.
“Amy was very, very wary of me,” she says. “She knew that I knew and she didn’t want me to say anything. There’s a level of narcissism which is all mixed up with self-hatred. I know it well. It’s like a glass wall between you and the world, so that all the love that everybody pours onto you, you don’t feel it. But I can’t think what I could have done apart from take her and [shouts] shake her! ‘You stupid little c**t! Wake up!’”
Faithfull’s new studio album Give My Love To London is released on September 29. Produced by Rob Ellis and Dimitri Tikovoi and mixed by Flood, it features collaborators including Adrian Utley (Portishead), Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt and Warren Ellis & Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds). Songwriting contributors and co-conspirators – with Marianne penning the majority of the lyrics – include Nick Cave, Roger Waters, Steve Earle, Tom McRae and Anna Calvi.
Her 50th anniversary tour opens on October 11 in Stuttgart, Germany. She plays London’s Royal Festival Hall on November 29. Full dates can be found at http://www.mariannefaithfull.org.uk.
The track Sparrows Will Sing from Give My Love To London is currently streaming on Spotify…