Press officer for Mylène Farmer from 1987 to 1988
December 2005 / January 2006 Fanzine IAO
How did you become Mylène’s press officer? We had met on a television set. I was very friends with Bertrand Le Page (Mylène’s manager at the time, Editor’s note). And Mylène demanded from Polydor that they hire me to be her press officer.
So you were in the press service of Polydor, his record company? No. I was paid by Polydor, but I took care exclusively of Mylène Farmer. And only with regard to TVs and radios. The written press, it was Bertrand [Le Page] who took care of it.
What show did you meet? I was taking care of Guy Béart at the time. A program was devoted to him; it was turned over to him. Mylène was one of the guests. She sang “Mon cher Frantz” in duet with him. (It was on Antenne 2 – which has since become France 2 – in 1987; Mylène had also sung “Au bout de la nuit”, And in the tone of a joke, Mylène had told me: “But when are you going to take care of me?”. I replied “Whenever you want” (laughs).
Who did you take care of besides Mylène? Many artists. Bernard Lavilliers, Daniel Balavoine, Patrick Juvet, Michel Delpech, Claude Nougaro, Marie-Paule Belle, Dorothée, Léo Ferré, Sheila…
Did Mylène easily mix with people from show business? Not at all. It wasn’t her thing. She didn’t go to celebrity parties. Except when we were the organizers, like for the launch of the clip for “Tristana” at the Privilege, below the Palace. I remember that evening because when I got up from the table, I slipped on the marble with my new shoes and I broke my leg (laughs). I was in plaster for a month. Mylène was also very present and very kind to me during this period.
So Mylène was not at all Parisian evenings? Oh no ! She hated it. Just like me for that matter. On the other hand, we went to trendy restaurants because Bertrand loved it.
What did the community think of this young singer who stayed away? It was quite mixed. Some did not like her, of course. She had been a bit of a pain in the ass, but not excessively because she was very nice. Mylène makes a career in an environment that she has always fled: for me, it is the supreme success.
At the time, she was doing just about every show possible and imaginable, from the boorishness of Collaro to the intimate confessions of “Sexy follies”. Was she easy to work with for a press officer? Yes. She did everything with pleasure. But Bertrand and I had to be in control to monitor the lights and the framing. She was very demanding, very perfectionist. At this point, it’s admirable. It is a huge quality.
It is to you that we owe the iconic “My zenith to me”? Yes. It was a wonderful show. Mylène really wanted to do it. So she had accepted everything and had invested a lot in it. Everything was weighed, chosen and thought out. This show caused a scandal at the time. Mylène had been criticized a lot for her choices – she wanted to talk about the sexuality of priests, to see men executed with their heads cut off. It was quite au gratin (laughs).
This show has definitely installed her character. Was she like that in life or was she playing a role? She added a little more. She wasn’t that twisted (laughs). However, she was really secretive; an absolute introvert. I remember that she did not speak of her family, nor of her childhood; these were taboo subjects. I think it was really her very nature to be apart. And it is true that she lived with two monkeys… and Laurent (laughs).
And did its interior conform to the Gothic image that we have been able to make of it? I’ve never knew that about Mylène’s. Very few people went there.
Why that ? Mylène was so messy that she was ashamed (laughs).
“My zenith to me” was also the meeting with Zouc … Yes. We had gone to see her together at the Bataclan, and we had been seduced by her universe. I could not attend the filming of the clip for “Sans contrefaçon” because I was taken elsewhere, but Mylène told me that Zouc had arrived by ambulance to be able to lie down during the trip (laughs). She had asked for a huge fee to shoot the clip (laughs).
Why did you no longer work with Mylène after “Ainsi soit je…“? Because I left her. I got angry one day… stupidly. Yet I got along very well with her; I loved her dearly. And, even if it may seem surprising, I laughed a lot with Mylène. And Bertrand! Especially when we went wild in the provinces, for galas or filming of programs. We spent intense evenings of fun, lightly sprinkled with rosé Champagne (laughs).
It was a real fun I imagine… Yes. I remember in particular a trip to the Cognac Film Festival for “Tristana” in a program presented by Patrick Poivre d’Arvor ( Watch the video Special Cognac Police Film Festival – April 1987). We left, Bertrand, Mylène and I, with the two dancers, and a huge wicker trunk for the dresses. I also remember that we had a bit of a fight with the producer of the show who didn’t want these outfits. In the end, we agreed to wear them anyway, and, to be forgiven, she made us bring a bottle of Cognac to one of the rooms of the castle where the show was filmed. We opened the bottle with Mylène while waiting for the shoot. We were quickly very cheerful (laughs).
Did you travel the roads of France by car? By train or plane. Not in the car because it was Bertrand who was driving, and we were terrified by his way of driving.
You seem to have had a lot of affection for him? Yes. He was my friend. He is someone I loved deeply and that I will defend to the end.
Did you stay in touch with him? Until the end. I even left him a message on his answering machine two days before his death.
Why do you think he killed himself? He went through very difficult times. He tried to make a new Mylène, but he never came across the equivalent. There is only one Mylène…
He worked with Ysa Ferrer, then AB productions… Yes. He also took care of a restaurant, La Cloche d’Or, in Pigalle. He quickly found himself without a cent, chased by the bailiffs. He went from a superb apartment, in the beautiful Parisian districts, to a small studio in Toulon where he was in clairvoyance. It was there that he killed himself, with alcohol and drugs.
Some have attributed his suicide to his separation from Mylène. It was still nine years later! Yes, but he never got over it.
So you think it’s linked and it’s no coincidence that he killed himself a few days after the release of the album “Innamoramento”? I do not know. I don’t really believe in coincidences. (silence) Their separation was an absolute tragedy for Bertrand. (silence)
Do you think Mylène shouldn’t have parted with him? I do not know. Bertrand gave himself to her – body and soul. That said, it is true that it was not easy to deal with. He often put himself in terrible states; he consumed a lot of alcohol and cocaine. Mylène accepted this for a long time, until the day when she could no longer. You should also know that Bertrand behaved quite badly, in restaurants for example; he spoke very badly to people, he was very tough, very demanding. He was unbearable. But I loved him!
What is his share of responsibility for Mylène’s success, according to you? He was her manager, her editor. He’s the one who made Mylène.
There was also Laurent Boutonnat … Yes of course. The trio Bertrand, Laurent, Mylène was also very complicated. There were always two against the third.
Who against whom? It depended on the times. But always two against one. And I had to manage all that; it was not easy.
Did Mylène seem to you to be a puppet in the hands of Bertrand and Laurent? Oh no ! That’s not my idea of a puppet at all. She knew how to listen to each other’s advice, but she always had a lot of ideas and a lot of taste. And above all, Mylène has always known what she wanted and what she didn’t want. She has never been under anyone’s orders.
Why did you get angry with her? It was on the set of TF1’s “Jacky Show”. Mylène arrived and she refused to say hello to Jacky. It pissed me off a lot.
They were friends back then, weren’t they? Obviously not that day. I said to Mylène: “I’ve had enough of your whims”. And I left, right in the middle of the show. She asked me: “Are you coming back?” I said no !”. And I went to the hairdresser to paint me a color, then to Flo’s to buy me some caviar (laughs).
Do you think Mylène was capricious? Yes. Let’s say it was quite exclusive. For example, she wanted Bertrand to only take care of her. Journalists followed us during the trip because they wanted to write a story about Mylène. During the stopover in Tunis, she refused to let them sit at our table because she wanted us both to be for dinner. The report started well! (laughs) I also remember her making a scene for me because, on a show, singer Patti Layne, who I was also taking care of, sang “Déshabillez-moi”. Mylène, who was to sing this title, had to change songs and was angry with me, when I had nothing to do with it.
So you didn’t leave her for a simple “hello” story? No. Let’s say it was the last straw … The fact is that, at the time anyway, Mylène did not easily grant her trust, and did not delegate to just anyone. I imagine it’s still the same today. So she was always trying to find fault with me, and I can’t stand that kind of thing.
How do you see this separation today? It was a stupid urge. And an idiotic stubbornness: I refused to come back when she asked me to. This is one of my biggest regrets.
Because you’ve seen how far she’s come since then, or because you cared about her? Both. I still love her today. And I will always love her. She got attention. I remember that
Would you like to take care of Mylène today? I wouldn’t have a lot of work (laughs). She doesn’t do any shows.
Why do you think that is? I think she hates it.
Sure, but she could make a little effort to even greet the audience, right? (silence) Really, I think she doesn’t care. I don’t think she feels indebted to her audience for anything.
What relationship did she have with her first fans at the time? She elicited not very healthy reactions from the public. I remember a terrible story. One weekend, I received a phone call from a police officer. The daughter of his cousin, a fan of Mylène, ran away with an idea to commit suicide on the doormat of her idol. In the end, the young girl came to Mylène’s house, and her family picked her up. But what a weekend for Mylène and me!
And when you were doing all those TVs back then, how did she react to autograph requests? It bothered her. She bowed to it when Bertrand and I urged her to be a little more sociable (laughs).
Do you understand that she doesn’t have an official fan club? In my time, she already totally refused the idea. Because I think it involved a number of constraints that she didn’t want. And then I think the fans, it made her uncomfortable. It was not something that she experienced very well.
Are you following her career? Yes of course. I think she was not much wrong. But I’ve never seen her in concert.
Why ? I do not know. (silence) It would make me feel weird. But I’ve seen DVDs, and it’s amazing what she does. It is all the more incredible that she started with very small means: she did not have a strong vocals, But she made her way up, without any compromise.
As you took care of her, did you feel that she was going to become what she is today? No. I thought she was going to have a great career. But at this point, it was hard to imagine. What other singer of the 80s has made such a journey ?!
Have you seen her since you stopped working together? Yes one time. We tried to do it again, but the magic was over.
It was when ? I do not know anymore. I can’t remember the dates.
On the inside Ainsi soit je… 33 Tours sleeve in the credits, Mylene mentions: “Thank you to Danyèle Fouché and to all the Polydor team “