« I’m still not into rock’n’roll »

The 26 tracks captured on stage last spring crown fifty years of a dense career which exploded in 1972 thanks to the legendary album « My brother”, which included among other successes “san francisco » and « like a tree« . Titles rearranged here with the help of musicians from classical, blues and Latin music. In a particularly peaceful voice, Maxime Le Forestier also unveils his new songs, including « my streamand his claw against pollution. While the tireless refrains of « Let’s stay lovers», «better days » Where « Idea female dog» always work wonders. Great musical education.

New album, new record company after five decades at Polydor. What need did that meet?

In fact, my contract had expired and Universal Music gave me no sign to extend it. But I think it’s time to leave the multinationals because they are now looking to drive up the share price. For them, it’s more important than making records.

Because of the pandemic, this double live album almost never saw the light of day…

Some dates have been postponed up to four times, that’s why I often started the concert with this sentence: « We finally found a date!» I wanted to record this disc, because it is a round which stopped too soon without being able to blossom.

At the opening of the concert, you pay a beautiful tribute to the one you married as a teenager: the guitar!

Oh yes ! (Laughs.) The text “With a guitar» is quite autobiographical, I sing: «We are not the same pedestrian when we carry a guitar« . It’s really something that I felt at 14, when I left the Paul Beuscher musical instrument store in Paris with my new guitar. It was the desire to learn alone, and then it is the instrument of anar, of adolescent revolt.

Without the rock’n’roll side!

It’s true, besides, I’m still not into rock’n’roll! At Beuscher, the seller had a hollow nose when he sold me scores of Brassens and « the momby Aznavour.

On stage you just dropped the guitar. Why ?

Because I fell off my bike a week before rehearsals started and broke my elbow. So I gave up playing it. And I tasted the pleasure of concentrating only on my singing, saying to myself: « Damn, why did I wait until I was 70 to find out!»

Are you still taking singing lessons?

Yes, I alternate between two teachers: Jeremy Reynolds and Raymonde Viret, who is 98 years old! It allows me to keep my voice in good condition, because it’s a muscle to maintain. Moreover, Raymonde says:The voice is a bitch, if we don’t maintain it, it breaks.»

In the title « the Big Asshole», we wonder if you are talking about Donald Trump…

I say : « And he’s not afraid of competition/From my neighbor’s house to the White House/He knows all the plans by heart« . The public is waiting for me to nominate someone, when in fact it’s a competition, there are a lot of candidates! Politics ? I can’t say it’s circus, because it would be unpleasant for circus people…

In « Deadline», you slip: «Will know when she leaves us the carelessness of childhood« . Do you make friends over time?

Yes, I accept it, which does not mean that I do not ask myself questions. I really like nostalgia when it’s sung by Souchon or Brassens. I myself refuse to do so, I am in the present moment. Just as I don’t see too much of the future. Until I was 60, I thought I was eternal. Today, as I have friends older than me who disappear, I begin to doubt.

For the first time, your guitarist son, Arthur, accompanies you on tour. Happy to work as a family?

Yes I love that. I really like his guitar playing, which he learned with the very demanding Manu Galvin. And then, when Arthur sings, I find it beautiful, our timbres are very close, but he rises a little higher than me. It’s like a double, it’s really good.

In « To appear or not to be», you wonder about the role of appearance in the social relationship. Verdict?

If we only appear, we exist as an image. And if we refuse to appear, we no longer exist, since no one calculates us. You have to find a balance between the two. Recently I was walking on the Grand-Place in Brussels and people were filming themselves walking around with poles, it’s completely crazy. And when they make stories on Instagram, it’s not their life that they show, it’s a life to make their friends envious.

You pick up « Caricaturein tribute to Cabu, killed in the attack onCharlie Hebdo« . We are almost seized with dread by these verses:Our life is in pencil, our life is erased in cannon»…

I wasted six months trying to write a song for Cabu, who was my friend and whose death I experienced very badly. And then, one day, my son said to me:But you already wrote your song.« And indeed, « Caricatureis from 1975. I am very happy to sing it again.

You also intonethe school mistressby Brassens. Why this title?

First, it’s a posthumous song that he never sang, so people can identify me with it. Then, it is well suited to end a concert, it is tender, funny and a little naughty. It is a beautiful image of Brassens.

A majority of French believe that the school no longer works. What do you think ?

I don’t think it’s the school that’s in decline, but his ministry. A little over forty years ago, I sang a piece by Romain Bouteille called « My little dead“, it said:”Too heavy for their poor faces, more dead than alive, my children are going to government school« . I think that today a lot of teachers and institutes take their job to heart, you have to help them, love them and maybe pay them a little more.

Is the Culture pass set up by Emmanuel Macron for 15-18 year olds a good idea in your opinion?

It depends on what is called the culture. I don’t feel like what I’m doing is part of it. The song, it passes in the culture when the authors are dead. Before, it’s entertainment. Notice, on the cover ofBourgeois gentleman», of Molière, it is inscribed «entertainment » under the title.

You have just started a tour called « Brassens evening« . Who do you think his heirs are?

Orelsan, Benoît Dorémus, Alexis HK, Jeanne Cherhal. I have a fondness for 40-somethings because they turned 20 shortly after the year 2000, when the Internet began to kill record companies. These are therefore artists who have not benefited from promotions, because the labels were looking to make hits and not to build careers.

By the way, what are your good resolutions for 2023?

I never take it! It’s terrible to be forced to do something or not. We must keep the surprise and think that our desires will come true.


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