Marianne Faithfull Interview

The full, uncut conversation with the 1960s siren...
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Over the course of her 45-year career, Marianne Faithfull has led many lives. From virtuous to vilified, juvenescent to junkie, stigmatized to survivor, she has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows that fame can often cruelly bequeath. Now enjoying her self-confessed “third life”, embracing the past and relishing the future, she has returned revitalized with her strongest and best-defined album in years.


Marianne Faithfull’s autobiography is one of the most captivating stories you’re likely to read. It has the basics of every great modern fairy-tale - sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll - but more than that, it chronicles the very essence of a progressive soul and the decades she has encountered.

She epitomised the 1960s. Discovered by Andrew Loog Oldham, The Rolling Stones’ manager and impresario, at a party, he turned this “angel with big tits” into a virtuous pop ingénue. Her rise mirrored the boom of Swinging London. Her blossoming relationship with Mick Jagger inspired countless classic songs; the pair were the king and queen of Chelsea’s chic rock set, and Marianne reaped all the rewards of being so. But with it came a price. After a day of tripping on acid at Keith Richards’ Sussex estate, Redlands, the police raided the house and arrested all present. As the only girl in the group, Marianne was tarnished with rumours, and the ensuing consequences provoked a downward spiral of drug abuse, which only heightened after the death of Rolling Stone Brian Jones symbolised the callous death of the ‘60s dream.

Marianne started the 1970s as she ended it: a hardcore junkie. Now split from Jagger, she pursued an acting career alongside her singing, but was famously despondent, living for a time on a Soho wall. The magnificent punk-infused ‘Broken English’ album in 1979 stands as testament to her frame of mind at this time: angry, wretched and doomed.

She cleaned up in the 1980s, and returned to the stage as a dignified diva; her once-pure voice clearly ravaged by excess, but suited perfectly to this new torch-singing persona. A diagnosis of breast cancer in 2006 - of which she is now clear of - forced a new reassessment of life.

‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ is Marianne’s latest album, her twenty-second in total. It is a collection of cover versions and interpretations of songs close to her heart, made with the help of trusted friends. These comforts are hugely apparent when listening to the intimacy throughout. This was made by a woman enriched by experience.

Clash has come to her adopted home town of Paris to discuss the new album, clear up misconceptions, and find out why being Marianne Faithfull has been so much damn fun.

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On the cover of your new album there’s a subtitle, ‘18 Songs For Music Lovers’. Why did you have to make this distinction?

I just liked the phrase.

It reminds me of a Sinatra album...

Yeah, what was that called?

‘Songs For Swinging Lovers’.

Yeah, I know that, yeah.

Was that the kind of image you were aiming for?

I suppose so, yeah.

Because you’ve created this image of yourself as a jazz/blues crooner...

Well, it’s so many mixtures, it’s not just jazz or blues; it’s jazz, blues, country, rock, folk, everything,

That sums this album up - it’s got all those things and then some.

Yeah.

Where was the album recorded, here?

No, in Seer Sound in New York. The people we wanted in the band and the people that we wanted to sing on it were all in New York - apart from Nick Cave, he was in Brighton. He did it in Brighton and sent it back - it was lovely.

You say in the album’s accompanying documentary DVD that you’ve entered your “third life”. What did you mean by that?

I really don’t know what I mean. It was probably just something to say. What could it mean? Well yeah, I’m sure it goes youth, middle age, then the beginning of the end! (Laughs)

Oh, I wouldn’t say that!

No, I wouldn’t say that either, but I’m just trying to guess what it is I meant.

Well, your last few albums have been better than the one before. Do you think you’re back on a roll with this one?

They’ve done awfully well. I always keep my mind open; I don’t really know what will happen, but it’s done terribly well and people really like it. So, I think it might, yeah. I mean the other two records were lovely too - I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them - I just think we’ve struck lucky.

By “third life”, I wondered if...

Well, you tell me what you think it means and then we might be able to get somewhere! (Laughs)

Obviously recently you battled breast cancer, and I wondered if perhaps you meant that surviving that ordeal had given you new ambition or aspirations to achieve?

Maybe. Yeah, that’s probably what I meant! (Laughs) It’s possible. Getting over something like that is always a gift, and I’ve really gotten over it - obviously I have to have a test every year, but I’m really well, and I’m really grateful for that. I didn’t really expect it, but of course I was very lucky with the breast cancer - it wasn’t a huge thing because they found it very early.

Was there anything in particular that you thought afterwards, ‘I must do less of this’ or ‘I must do more of that’?

Mm-hmm. (Lights cigarette) Obviously not smoking though! (Laughs) Yeah, I mean I do take care of myself - I mean, I always did, but these things, you can’t really control it. Well, I didn’t always take care of myself, but I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time: diet, getting enough sleep, exercise, massage, acupuncture; all those things. But I had to make some adjustments, yes.

All these trials and tribulations that one faces in life builds up character...

(Laughs) Do you think?

If you’re famous, you’re made to look stronger...

That’s bullshit.

Well, for instance, someone like Billie Holiday - she’s seen to have put up with a lot, survived through adversity, and is seen as very strong, but she was only just living life.

That’s a sad story. Mine’s is a happy one. I’m very aware of Billie, and um, I want to change history! (Laughs)

Does that tragic image help you inject a passion into your music?

No. I think the passion has to be there naturally. Maybe it helps the audience to get a passion for the music, but it doesn’t really work like that with me - except that I’m really glad to be alive and I’m really glad it wasn’t much worse, and really glad it’s all going so well.

Speaking of Billie Holiday, you’ve covered the Duke Ellington song ‘Solitude’ on this album, of which you admit your favourite version is Billie’s. Why did you choose this song and what does it mean to you?

It just means a lot to me, you know? I’ve been in that situation quite a lot... and I love solitude anyway. But in this last year and a bit when I recorded it, my relationship was breaking up. I’d been in a relationship for twelve years and it was over, so that meant a lot to me, that song.

Billie’s version is fantastic.

Oh, it’s brilliant.

Do you think that you did something comparable to it, or improved it?

Well, I don’t want to compare myself - please - with Billie Holiday! I can’t!

You’ve always had a very diverse list of influences. In your autobiography you said that your first forays were Joan Baez-style folk songs. What can you remember about this time, being an aspiring young folkie?

I was just a little folkie - I really started like that!

Were you singing around the clubs?

Well, no. I’d made the record and then I started singing. I was so young; I was only 17. I was still at school, just singing for friends.

You said in the book that you always thought that instead of recording another record that you’d go back to school, but you never did. Is that something that you regret not being able to complete?

I used to. What happened to me - I can’t really remember when - but there was a moment when I accepted it as my fate, and after I’d done that it all got much easier. While I was fighting against it and saying, ‘Oh, I’d much rather do this’ and being upset about it, it was much more difficult.

You stood out from the early 1960s pop crowd - it was funny, in your book you said that even your reading material on the tour bus was different.

Oh, they liked it! I mean, the nice people, Graham Nash... They all read too - it’s not like I was the only one.

Do you think it made you stand out from your female contemporaries?

I don’t know. Maybe. I was lucky, I really was. I think I was very lucky. I had a good enough education that I could become an autodidact, which is what I did, and then I realised I wasn’t really missing anything; all I had to do was basically follow my nose.

But you managed to inject your literary influences into your music. ‘This Little Bird’ was adapted from Tennessee Williams’ play Orpheus Descending.

Yeah, and also lots of things: Lewis Carroll, Shakespeare... all that stuff I managed to put in to it. And I’ve always needed it. I’ve always needed my own interests to keep myself afloat. I would be lost if I just had to be a celebrity.

Were you trying to intellectualise pop music?

No, I’ve never done that. I admire people who can - there are people... Nick [Cave] is very intellectual, Brian Eno is very intellectual, Lou Reed is very intellectual – but I try not to. I think of my intellectual life is separate. I try not to give lectures, you know? (Laughs)

Was pop music seen as a transient fad at that time?

It was, yeah, and you had to think about what you really wanted to do, and I didn’t think of this as something that would last. I’m amazed.

When you were 40 you reinterpreted ‘As Tears Go By’. How did time affect your feelings to that song?

Well that is a place - in that version - where I put all my longing and regret and disillusionment. Time changes it all the time, and now again it means something else. I’ve got a lot more acceptance now. I’m not angry anymore. If you’ve read Faithfull, I was still very angry when I wrote that.

There’s a fantastic version of ‘Somewhere’ on this album. You say on the DVD that you’re “trying to sing it like something I’m not...a good singer”. How do you rate your voice?

I think it’s an interesting voice, and I like that kind of voice. I don’t really like great virtuoso singing, certainly not in a woman. I love it in Antony [Hegarty] and Rufus [Wainwright]; I think they do it really well - when it’s cool, not trying too hard, it’s natural, and I like that. I like Leonard Cohen, I like Bob Dylan, I like Neil Young, I like John Lennon’s voice... All these people have got strange voices - quirky voices - but we’ve grown to love them. And also, I think that a voice like mine, which is quite slight - I know that - is much easier to record now. They’ve got the right equipment to record this kind of voice.

Do you sing up close to the microphone?

Not always. I think I did when I was younger - I really had a tiny little voice then. But now, I think it’s got better... a bit. (Laughs)

Your book reveals that in the early days you couldn’t move on stage - you stood very still.

I got terrible stage fright. I still do, but it’s a lot better - I’m not completely paralysed.

I suppose that would make people listen harder to your singing, since there were no visual distractions.

It was very effective, yeah. I didn’t know that. Also, I didn’t want to be like those little chicks dancing. I thought that was too silly.

Jarvis Cocker appears on that song. Why did you invite him?

Well, first of all he’s a friend of mine. I really used my friends. He lives here [in Paris], we did it here, and I just wanted to see what he’d do actually. it was fascinating what he did; that crooning Jarvis, which is not really what he’s like, but he’s got that side.

So it was a bit of a gamble?

All of it was a gamble! We were working without a net - we didn’t know if it would work; that’s why I’m so pleased.

You’ve aligned yourself with great collaborators over the last few years - PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Beck... What is it you draw from people that you work with?

Literally I get tunes, because I can write lyrics. I do actually hear music, and if I trust somebody when I’m working with them, I can say what I hear and they’ll listen. But I still can’t play an instrument, you know? So I do need to work with collaborator. But of course this was different, because it was a different kind of collaboration - using these great voices.

Has there been anyone that it’s not worked with? Maybe you’ve brought friends into the studio and it just hasn’t clicked?

Yeah. I won’t tell you who, but I have had that experience. Not on this record.

Talking of songwriting, you said in your book that by the end of the 1960s you felt that your career was reaching a “dead end”, and you blamed “the banality of the material”...

Did I?

Well, it was in the book.

Was it? Well I meant my early stuff. I mean, no, I never saw my career was at an end. I knew that it was up to me to create myself again, and that was my job. When I stopped, it was after... I think my last record had been ‘Summer Nights’... I’ve also relaxed about my early career too. I don’t think it was all banal and stupid, but at the time I was a huge cultural snob, as you are when you’re 17/18. I think maybe I just got bored.

Did you have to create your own destiny in the music business?

I definitely did. There was no place for me. I made a place.

Do you sympathise with young pop stars at the moment?

Of course I do, yeah.

Do you have any advice for any that you meet?

No. I mean, the person that I think has the most charisma now is Amy Winehouse, but I wouldn’t give her advice. I think it wouldn’t be a friendly thing to do; I don’t think she’d take it well. All I can give her is appreciation and affection and think she’s great, which is what I do, and hope. And I think it’s quite possible, you know. I don’t think it’s any reason to give up on Amy. I think she probably will get through it.

You entered into a relationship with someone in the 1960s whose career overshadowed yours. Do you think that hindered your own success?

Well, unfortunately I didn’t have to let that hinder me - and I shouldn’t have; I should have just carried on - but I did. I got overwhelmed, and of course it was quite hard... In fact it was folly to try and compete with Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, and then in the end I couldn’t, so I just stopped. And I wanted to stop. He did an awful lot for me; he took me out of having to work all the time and so I was comfortably off - very comfortably off - and I had a lovely life. What I decided to do was to put my brains and talent to him, which I think was also a good idea. I think that enhanced a lot of his songs - he had my brain to use as well.

You held a very important role as a muse. Is that a rewarding role?

No, not really. Well, it is... I mean, now I go to see the Stones whenever I can, and I’m very proud of it. I feel I did a very good job.

So it’s more gratifying that rewarding?

Rewarding in what way? I do feel I contributed, so in that way it’s rewarding.

Your fame turned into notoriety after the Redlands bust. You were very much tainted by the ensuing media glare...

I know. It’s what happens to women - still - who use drugs. It goes with all sorts of other things: loose women, slut, all that shit.

Around this time you were seen to be pursuing an acting career, or to do something different. Was this a case of wanting to be taken more seriously?

After Redlands I almost hope, really. I did. That’s why I went full time into drugs. I didn’t think I could get out of that. It was really a very daunting thought, and in fact it took a long time to get over that.

It’s crazy; the ’60s were supposed to herald the sexual revolution, but the double standards evident after the bust were terrible - the man is revered, the woman is reviled.

Obviously it was all going to change, you know? Things were going to change, and they did. Eventually I did get through it. I don’t think there are very many people now - especially not young people - who believe that story of what was going on at the Redlands bust. It’s so obviously not true, and you only have to meet me to know. I’ve stopped bothering about it, really. If people want to see it like that then there’s nothing that I can do.

Fortunately your relationship with Keith Richards has endured through the years, and he appears with you here on ‘Sing Me Back Home’.

It’s really, really strong, yeah. This is a lovely evocation of it, too.

It’s almost like a George Jones and Tammy Wynette duet.

Well, we’re not married! It’s not really like that; it’s a friendship.

How do you think Keith has changed from when you first met him?

He’s much more articulate. He was really paralysed in beginning, I think, by fear...

And shyness, you say in the book.

Shyness, yes. It’s shyness. No, he wouldn’t like that - don’t say ‘fear’. It’s shyness. Maybe that’s what alcohol and drugs did for Keith - or maybe he just grew up.

It brought him out of his shell?

Yeah. And he found out he had quite a lot of interesting things to say and didn’t need to stay silent all the time.

That song is a Merle Haggard cover. What’re your reasons for its inclusion?

It’s a song that I learnt from Keith and Gram Parsons singing it in the 1960s, so it’s part of my history. I really wanted to do it on this record, and Keith agreed to sing it with me. And play - he’s playing guitar too.

I’m a huge fan of Gram Parsons, and am obsessed with that period when he tried to ingratiate himself with Keith and the Stones.

It was very, very fascinating, and he was very, very talented. I didn’t really see Gram like that, but apparently he was very annoying too.

Yes, I’ve just finished a book about his ex-bandmate Chris Hillman, in which he says the same sort of thing.

He was just irritating, I think! (Laughs) There’s nothing really wrong with that.

He was just very rich and didn’t have a proper work ethic.

No, that’s what Keith didn’t like. Because whatever is going on with Keith, he has a very strong work ethic. He considers it a cop out if you say, ‘I’m too high’. And of course we all had this terrible example of Brian [Jones].

In your book you called Brian the “emblematic victim of the 1960s”. Did you feel like everything changed after his death?

There were a lot of emblematic victims of the ‘60s.

And you weren’t one of them.

Well, in a way I was. I had to really work to change all this. But Keith admires that. That’s probably why he still likes to work with me.

I don’t think he’d suffer fools gladly.

No. And whatever else I may be, I’ve never been a fool.

It seemed that your drug abuse had taken its toll and affected your voice...

I think my voice became - I’m sure it did, yeah - but I actually think it was quite good for me. I don’t know if it was the drugs though. I’ve never really bought that. It probably was something to do with alcohol and cigarettes, but also it might have just been growing up. I think I got the right voice for me.

You grew into it?

Yeah.

Cat Power sings on ‘Hold On Hold On’. Did you invite her in?

I love Chan, yeah. I think she’s really, really good.

She’s been doing the same as you: releasing her interpretations of other people’s songs.

That’s a very perfectly okay job. It’s just since the 1960s that it became a bit derogatory, because people were so creative and wrote such great songs. Not many people are doing that now.

Is that something that you’re going to continue doing?

Yeah. I got a lecture already - a bollocking - from Nick Cave about it. (Laughs)

So you’re not planning on writing your own material?

Not yet, no. I’ve got to go with this [album] now, and I’m going to perform and tour and do all that and I’m going to enjoy it. I’m not going to worry about what I’m going to do next; that’s a big mistake.

You’re certainly not afraid to embrace new styles. ‘Broken English’ was clearly inspired by the emerging punk styles.

Well that was what was happening.

It swept away the dinosaurs of the ‘60s and ‘70s and made their music redundant, but then you made your best album to date.

I think it had got too grand, you know? It had gone away from the basics, which is what Keith likes: work, writing songs, and doing it. Everything had got too grand. But there were a few bands that didn’t get swept away by punk: Led Zeppelin didn’t really get swept away, although they did get into folie de grandeur, that’s for sure - but I love Jimmy Page. I think he’s great. I’ve known him so long.

Keith stood up as a hero for the punks.

Yup, and Lou Reed. Quite a few people made it. Pete Townshend.

The losers were the ones that took themselves too seriously.

When you think about Yes and all those people, Todd Rundgren, it all got much too big, puffed, pompous; that wasn’t going to last after punk, no.

What was it about ‘Broken English’ that made it so special and timeless?

I don’t know. I always think it’s just something to do with luck. I’ve had a lot of good luck - I’ve had a bit of bad luck too - but on the whole I’ve had very good luck.

What was the luck: the right time, the right place, the right people?

Well, I make my luck. I can’t say that it just landed on me without me working for it. But yeah, the time when I started to work and write my songs was a very good period for me. Maybe I was on drugs, but that didn’t really matter. A lot of people work very well with a handicap.

The song lyrics and subject matter courted controversy. ‘Why D’Ya Do It’ even got you banned from radio...

Yeah, it’s incredible now when you think about it.

You said earlier that you were quite angry...

Of course I was. I thought it was one of the best things on the album.

Is channelling your anger into music the best release of your energy?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think it’s a great thing to do. It’s still very satisfying.

Do you find yourself writing little diatribes after anyone’s annoyed you?

No. Anger isn’t good for me. I’ve just got over it.

Is that the hippy inside you trying to peace out?

No, no, it’s the recovering alcoholic. (Laughs)

You cleaned up in the 1980s, and afterwards you definitely reinvented yourself, becoming this graceful diva of sorts. Was that because you thought it silly to pursue a pop career at your age?

I think it came naturally, again, just like ‘Broken English’ came naturally, and ‘Strange Weather’ did too. I couldn’t have done it without Hal and those great musicians. It was sort of, ‘I got the blues’, you know?

This style definitely suits you now. Do you think people your age shouldn’t be prancing around stage pretending they’re 20 again?

I’m not sure. I don’t think there’s a rulebook. There never was for black artists - all those great blues singers went on, they didn’t stop. I just saw Leonard Cohen recently in Paris and he was fantastic - and he’s in his 70s! I don’t know what the rules are.

There are lot of people who recently have made their best album in years. There’s Leonard Cohen, then there’s Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Paul McCartney’s Fireman album...

That’s very good, The Fireman. I never thought it would stop for Paul - and it wouldn’t have stopped with John [Lennon] either. They’re just really good songwriters, and really that’s the basis of any great record.

The Fireman surprised a lot of people who were probably split in opinion about Paul.

I know, yeah. I really love him because I’ve known him for so long. I’ve known him since I was 17. Mind you, I’ve known Keith too since I was 17. This is now 45 years, so I’m not going to be disloyal to Paul. Anyway, I’m fond of him, and I also thought The Fireman was really good - whatever people think about him. He’s also looking much better now, now he’s not with that funny woman. I told him when I saw him in Paris last week how great the songs were, and he’s still very happy when you notice. He’s very important, Paul. Really.

So, there’s all these people - and yourself - coming back with great albums. Is there something in the water?

I think we were a very good crop. All of us - older than me, some of them, but it doesn’t matter; a very good crop.

Your position as this iconic divine being was finally confirmed when you played God - twice - in Absolutely Fabulous.

(Laughs) Well that was very funny, because I said to Jennifer [Saunders], very grandly, “I don’t want to play myself!” And she looked up very sardonically indeed and said, “Would God be alright?” And of course there was nothing I could say. “Yes, fine.” And that was that.

Anita Pallenberg was perfect as the Devil opposite you.

She was wonderful, wasn’t she?

Are you both still friends?

Of course, yeah. We’re terribly good friends and I see her every time I go to London.

If you were God for a day, what would you do?

Oh, it would be too much! I’d have to change everything! I’d certainly stop Gaza. I don’t really know, because I’m really not very political. I can sense... I mean, all the wars and destructions and everything are very wrong, and I can’t believe anybody got into them. How could they even pretend to believe in that? There’s so much wrong... and I’m not God! (Laughs)

As someone who grew up through the civil rights battles of the ‘60s, do you feel that with Obama getting in that a change might be due?

Yeah, of course. The lines are still drawn the same way. The conservative right wing, they will hate Obama - and do - on that very thing, race. And probably liberalism.

Some things don’t change.

No. There will be a lot of people that want him to fail, that’s for sure.

Aside from Ab Fab, you’ve had a great acting career, on stage and screen. Is that something you’d still like to pursue?

I love it, yeah. I really love acting; I get a lot out of it, and I hope I’ll get more parts.

Is there any role in particular you’d like to do?

A lot of the films I would have liked to have played in have been made, but I hope I’ll be able to find some work, yeah.

There was talk about adapting your autobiography into a movie...

I think it’s going to happen.

Do you know who will play you?

No. I’ll turn that over to the director. I’m not going to be that involved; I’ll read the script, make sure it’s okay, and then I’m going to let it go. If they chose a good actress... You’ve got to trust the director and the actress.

Are you happy for it to be as warts and all as the book was?

Yeah, sure.

So you’re quite prepared for it?

Well, you know, I may not see it! (Laughs)

You recently said that you were preparing yourself for retirement...

I’m not actually. Not yet, no. I’m so healthy and feel good and looking forward to everything, so I don’t think this is the moment to retire.

When the time comes, would you like to bow out gracefully, or release one last amazing album to go out with a bang?

I’d love to go out with a bang, yeah.

Do you know what that might be? What musical aspirations do you still have?

I have to really wait and see. I’ve got a little idea, but I wouldn’t tell you. I have got some ideas for the next thing, but it won’t happen yet, so I’m not going to worry about it yet. I find it’s very helpful not to give it away beforehand, and anyway you don’t know if that will be what you really do.

So how does this album fit into your catalogue? What’s its place in the grand scheme of things?

I don’t know. I didn’t expect this to turn out so well. I’ve been completely surprised, and I’m really pleased, but I didn’t know if it would be what other people liked as well, but they seem to, you know? It’s obviously something I didn’t understand. Maybe it’s if I give myself to it intuitively, it works. That’s what Keith would say.

And you’re going to be playing live dates?

Oh yeah. I started in February in London. Jools [Holland] and his producer filmed it.

To be televised?

Yes. I was very nervous, I can tell you. Then I’m going over to New York for promotion and two shows with the original band. Then I’m doing a week in Paris - they’re doing a Marianne Faithfull week: La Demain du Marianne Faithfull. That’s all different parts of my inner life, and it’s so rich that I can do a lot of interesting things. It starts at the Salle Pleyel with The Seven Deadly Sins, which is a wonderful work. Then I present the music of Shakespeare, the songs of Shakespeare done by very good people, and then the night after that, a really great actor reads the works of the Beats, and then I end up with two nights at the Cité de la Musique. This is a really wonderful thing to be asked to do.

Was it someone who was curating it asked you to be involved?

No, they do it for people here; it’s a custom. I suppose it’s a little bit like - not really, because it’s not so much - but it’s a bit like Meltdown, but in a smaller form.

You used to have Garth Hudson in your live band.

Oh, he’s so wonderful, Garth. I’ve never seen him not be great. He’s completely natural. What you see is what you get. You can’t direct him onto any route, but it will be interesting if you can go with it.

Do you have any regrets in your career?

Whatever happened, I got to here, and this is a great place to be. I do sometimes think I could have done without the drugs actually; that was a waste of time, and a huge risk. But then again, there’s nothing I can change, so in a way regret is pointless.

It’s such a hard subject to avoid in your life - interviewers do tend to dwell on that aspect of you.

I’ve understood that one of my jobs is to be a bit of a witness, and if I’m just doing that, I can do it, and I don’t take it all so personally.

What’s the best thing about being Marianne Faithfull today?

I have a lovely life, I do really good work that I like doing - I’m really looking forward to performing - and I’m really proud of this record. This is a very good place to be.

That’s great, because I really do like the album.

Do you like it?

Yes. I completely agree that you’ve grown into your voice; the songs here sound very intimate - I thought you sang very closely to the microphone.

It was interesting because we did it on analogue in the studio in New York with all the musicians in the room, the old way.

Recorded live?

Yeah, it was. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do sometimes more than one take, but it was still pretty live. That gave a certain...what? The musicians were so good and everybody involved was so good that all I really had to do was create my bubble and my sound - think about the words, think about what I was trying to do - and it happened.

Were you intimidated going into a studio with all those people?

Well, they were all friends of mine. To have Chan there and Mark Ribot and Greg and the horn players, they were just great. They’re all trying to help me, you know? So we’re all trying to do a good job.

And you did!

And we did, yeah!

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‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ is released on March 16.

ClashMusic.com has FIVE copies of the new album to give away. To be in with a chance of winning a copy, simply follow these instructions:

Send an e-mail to mike AT clashmusic DOT com writing Easy Come Easy Go in the subject line and your full name, address and a contact telephone number in the e-mail body. There is no question to answer. First five out of the hat when the competition closes on March 16 win an album. Good luck!

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