In the archives of Match – Summer of 98. Nino Ferrer, his last interview

Paris Match n°2570, August 27, 1998

The “Téléfon” going to sound more. Thursday, 13 August, at 64 years of age, Nino Ferrer has chosen to hang permanently in the killing of a rifle bullet near La Taillade, ownership of the Lot. His real name is Agostino Ferrari, Nino, born August 15, 1934 in Genoa, and emigrated to France in 1947 with his parents. “I discovered what was the racism in me colletant with my classmates. “Therefore, and until the end, Nino will feel like a Martian among his contemporaries ? As a teenager, he wants to be an explorer. To achieve this, he obtained a license of ethnology and another of prehistoric archaeology. After a few searches, it is finally found : it will be a singer. From 1965 (the year of ” Mirza “), the successes are linked. But the label of yé-yé fun it quickly becomes unbearable. With ” The house near the fountain “, and then “The South” (1 million copies), he thinks he has saved his soul of the songwriter. He asserts his independence and will be ruined to be his own producer. Depressive, the singer-painter wanted, like Van Gogh, from all alone in a field

The end of the 60’s, was submerged by the great wave of yé-yé. The young French request to its “idols” of the twist and laugh. Nino Ferrer as Antoine, forge its fame thanks to its tone comic. In 1967, the master of “Mirza” may be glad of him. In his garage is lined with the most beautiful cars (Rolls royce, Aston Martin, Bugatti), and in his bed, lengthen the prettiest girls. “The problem is when one is rich, he confided, bitter, it is that it attracts flies. And I was infested with parasites…” Nino decides to detach from the world of the show. Its success of early weighing on him ” like a cope of lead “. Impose a new style on the ruins. In 1976, he sold his home in Rueil-Malmaison and moved to Saint-Cyprien, in the Lot, with his wife, Kinou. Now, it will prefer the brushes to the guitar. His paintings, inspired by the surrealism, to give him the serenity. The death, in July, Mounette, his mother, 87 years of age, has deeply reached. Last Thursday, the artist has decided to leave the world of colors for the black death.

“If there is something after life. Strongly that that happens. It must be fantastic”

Paris Match. What look do you wear on your thirty-year career, on your course, on your choice ?
Nino Ferrer. I discovered music when I was a teenager. This has been a wonderful discovery that has filled my life with passion. I’ve been wanting to make music as I would have wanted to make love with a woman. I never calculated, I’ve never made a career plan. I continued as well, with the greatest naivete. So, I have taken slaps in the face. I came with a disk which I was really happy and I did listen to the people of show business who looked at me as if they didn’t understand. They asked me : “is It a disk or it is the model?” Complete phase shift, total. However, these pieces – then, I had written under the breath of inspiration, carried by something. This was not songs made with a dictionary of rhymes and corrections constant. But as it happened to me to make a few big hits that have touched hundreds of millions of people, the houses of discs – all show business, for that matter – would I copy my hits of the 60s, or that I redo titles like “The South”. What interests them, it’s money. And me, I am unable to do the same thing twice.

This does it cost much to stay a free man ?
It is very expensive. Most of the doors are closed. I’ve never been able to find someone who would pay me a clip correct. My discs very often, it is the diy. “Blanat”, for example, this is the disk which I know, as an artist, he is far and away the best I’ve done, the most powerful. Well, it is released to the state of the model non-mixed. I had more wheat and I haven’t found anyone who would be willing to pay for the mix. I am ceaselessly faced with this kind of problem. It is very painful. Then, there are moments of discouragement, of bitterness. Give concerts, being on stage, communicating with the public, it is awesome… But it needs the wheat for the tour, promotion, pub. And a disc walk to the auditorium to be full, for it brings money to the organizers, so that the musicians are happy. If you don’t offer enough work for the musicians, they do not remain with you. This is exactly what happened with the girls that I had on stage and that I have dropped…

You often say that, in your job, you feel like a Martian !
Completely martian! I don’t have a single friend in all of show business, I do not know anyone. I do my music, period.

Yet, you appreciate people like Little Bob or Jacques Higelin.
Yes, but I don’t have friendly relations with them. It is a question of character. Martian yet. For more than thirty years that I make the discs, I feel more and more martian. I have no affinity with this environment.

There are still pure artists who feel, as you, a little martian ?
Certainly. The two you have just mentioned are part of it. Little Bob, I met him once in my life. I was struck by this guy. I followed him in his career. There are also a Paul Person, a fantastic bluesman, a guitar player extraordinary. But I can’t say that I have friendly relations with him. Musically, it is a good person, as Higelin, who is someone very, very well.

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You’ve never had the desire to know if, humanly speaking, they are in phase with what they make you feel musically ?
Initially, yes, because I was extremely naive. When I heard someone that was making me spacey, I really wanted to know. And I realized that, when one is on stage, when one has success, it becomes a different animal. It makes a shell. Everyone, including me. In this moment, with you, even if I try to be as sincere as possible, I can’t be really natural, The only time where I really am, it is with my tribe, in my home, in my corner. It swallows too many snakes in this business, it has too many problems of human conflicts, disappointments…

Betrayals ?
Oh yes, non-stop ! When I see all these people who, after years and years of career, continues to give the impression that they are always happy to be in the crowd, in all kinds of events… Finally, it may be their character. In any case, this is not mine. I am a lonely, wild. I love the relationships that are truthful with people, I don’t like the film, the blare. I liked it when I was 25-30 years ago, because I didn’t know the trick. I realized that making movies, this is funny for a time but that, in the background, it is bogus.

You said one day that you no longer want to do music.
It was out of boredom. Pleasure, I find on stage and I know that I will continue. I won’t stop because of this vermin of show-business, I will not, even if I often have moments of despair. I am an old crust, but I still have the same passion.

There’s also the paint
The music stresses me out because it requires a lot of energy, constant intercourse with all sorts of people, musicians, technicians, organizers… With the painting, I feel completely different. I am calm, peaceful. When I take the brush, I paint six to eight hours per day. It bothers me physically, but it plunges me into a state of absolute serenity.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
It is very mixed. I am very pessimistic compared to the fate of humanity. I am very afraid of what is going on since the beginning of the century. Evolution, I see it difficult to finish with anything other than a total disaster and catastrophic, with the ecological disaster and overpopulation, All this does not prevent me to find that life is wonderful, even if it is filled with anxieties and problems. I knew a pessimist cheerful.

You believe in man ?
I find that the human nature, the humanity, was something wonderful. A dirty breed of creatures harmful able, at the same time, so of impulses of generosity, passion and selflessness that this is admirable. There was centuries ago, William the Silent wrote : “II is not necessary to hope in order to undertake, nor succeed in order to persevere.” It is fabulous to be able to say that !

Is it because you are interested in the human being that you have begun studying ethnology, history of religions, and prehistoric archaeology?
No, the choice was not of a metaphysical nature ! I had fallen very much in love with a young girl. I lived with her on an adventure that lasted a year. I made a song that made the world tour, “One year of love”. It was the fragments of a diary that I had just set to music. I was really desperate. First, I was tempted by suicide, but I didn’t. Also, I’m not a nature suicidal, I too love life. After that, I wanted to commit myself to Indochina. Luckily I didn’t, because I’m not of a military nature. Then, I said to myself : “I’m going to become an explorer.” My parents responded : “okay, but do studies to become a writer.” I thought that ethnology at the Sorbonne was this that drew the most. I studied ethnology and I discovered the prehistoric times. I especially found Mr. André Leroi-Gourhan, who has been my teacher for several years and that has given me the love of the prehistoric.

Have you participated in excavations ?
Yes, at Arcy-sur-Cure and in Spain, near Santander. This was a very intensive period, but this was not my thing. I have not the scientific spirit. II need to be too meticulous, too reasonable, too ordered. However, I am messy and I work by fits.

By beating of the heart, by passion ?
When I am connected to something that I am passionate about, I can fuck her 24 hours on 24. And there are times when I floundered, when I think about it. I would never have been able to get up every day at the same hour and go to work in an office.

En plein succès, à la fin des années 60, Nino profite avec ses parents et Claude, sa petite amie du moment, de sa propriété de Rueil-Malmaison. Ruiné, il finira par la vendre.

Full success, at the end of the 60s, Nino enjoys with his parents and Claude, his girlfriend of the moment, of his property in Rueil-Malmaison. Ruined, it will eventually sell. © Jean-Marie PERIER / PARIS MATCH

You are an artist, with all that it represents!
Yes, and fortunately, I met a strong woman who was able to help me, to ensure the rear. Without it, I would become a tramp or an alcoholic!

Women are the great business of your life ?
I love many women. Wheat is strong, reasonable. If the world was ruled by women, it would surely hurt less. Because men have testes, they produce testosterone, which makes them aggressive and mean.

The problem would therefore be purely biological ?
Ah yes III there’s a lot of companies matriarchal, which work perfectly well. Women should get more involved everywhere. In my personal and professional life, I am amazed by their ability to take on the situations, to work, to calm down the game. As they can be bitches between them, as they are able to face the great problems of life. Where is the center of gravity of your life ?
In love, It is really the essential thing. When I speak of love, it is not only the sentimental love or sex, it is love in general. The fact to love people, to love animals, to love, what ! To love deeply, passionately.

The weight of time weighs you down ?
Difficult to respond to you in a few words. Aragon wrote : “The time to learn how to live, it is already too late.” It is true. I will say that I am happier later in life than I was a teenager or young man, when I was more tortured, more desperate. But I also have this feeling of having so little time ! And it is a little sad somewhere.

Do you believe in reincarnation?
I am an agnostic. I do not have belief. However, I was raised in a practicing catholic family, a family of people really well, against which I had no need of me rebel. To tell the truth, I don’t know what to think. The time and the materials available were all chemical combinations possible are produced an infinite number of times, and that certain conditions have caused the appearance of life. This explanation seems logical, but when one tries to look any further, we ask why and how this is possible. How the chance was he able to achieve such a thing? Wouldn’t we rather be characters in a video game programmed by someone ? But I find that living is wonderful in itself. Whatever the answer, life is beautiful. Well, if there is something after, this is awesome, hope that it happens, because it must be fantastic ! And if there is nothing, well, too bad ! For honor, for the honor of life.

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One comment

  1. Gazza was the best English footballer we have ever produced……the FA should be ashamed of themselves of how he has ended up. Was always obvious he woud struggle when his carreer was over. What does the PFA get their money for?

    Ultimately, Paul will do what he wants to…..maybe he has got a Georgie Best Death Wish

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