Rock baroness Marianne gets more direct before heading to Leamington
“I expect the offer was good,” she says. “This is a very good show with some very good people in it and we took the best offer.”
It’s the ‘very good people’. Faithfull spells it out with the determination of someone who feels their work deserves to be taken seriously. The band, which includes Wayne Kramer from proto-punk band MC5 and guitarist and writing partner Doug Pettibone, will be playing at Leamington Assembly on May 26 to promote her latest album Horses and High Heels and Faithfull makes it clear she does not want to dwell on her past.
It’s a past some people could make a career out of. A folk singer and actress, Faithfull recorded As Tears Go By and achieved notoriety as the girlfriend of Mick Jagger. Drug addiction left her homeless in the 1970s before she returned in 1979 with the album Broken English and finally cleaned up in the 1980s.
“Whatever,” she says. “I got out of it. It all happened for a reason and it’s all part of the journey. I’m fine now and have been for years.”
Much of the interview goes like this. Less flower child than slightly impatient baroness - a great uncle was Austrian nobleman and writer of Venus in Furs Leopold von Sacher Masoch - she clearly prefers discussing her recent work, with good reason. The past two decades include albums encompassing Brecht and Weill, jazz, blues and acting. Faithfull has worked with Billy Corgan, Beck, Blur, Jarvis Cocker and PJ Harvey.
Perhaps it’s that unlike her former cohorts the Rolling Stones she isn’t encumbered by people’s expectations and is freer to follow her tastes. Or not. She said: “The Stones have done fantastic work and that’s how they have to be judged. Of course I’m not shackled to my past. My past was difficult and I didn’t really enjoy it so I’m much happier now and I’m glad of the work I did.”
Even since then it hasn’t been plain sailing. Faithfull had a breast cancer scare in 2005, and in 2008 revealed she had been diagnosed with depression. She doesn’t seem concerned with that now.
“Depression can be treated and you can get better from it,” she says. “I did have difficult times but it was a long time ago now.”
Did it help her make better records?
“I have no idea. I don’t know. I do the best I can.”
She’s equally brisk about writer’s block, now lifted, and anyone wanting the Marianne Faithfull interview experience could do worse than listen to her song Why Did We Have to Part, so honest it is hard to listen to.
“I like to put things in plain speech,” she says. “It’s very direct - I get more and more direct as I get older, of course.”
Tickets cost £25.