jeudi, octobre 07, 2004

Anita Pallenberg 1984

Lu ça une fois et il y a longtemps... c'est pas pour me dédouaner, c'est certainement de la merde. Déjà le titre...
ROCK WIVES by Victoria Balfour 1984 (Part I)
Although Anita Pallenberg has an impressive list of acting credits behind her-including roles in the films Barbarella and Performance-she is far better known for her real-life role as the woman who bewitched first Brian Jones, then Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.Anita's long and notorious association with the Stones began in 1965, when she managed to finagle her way backstage at one of their concerts in Munich. Right then and there, Brian Jones took a fancy to her, and soon they were rendezvousing for romantic weekends all over Europe. When, some months later, Brian, whose position within the group was crumbling, brought Anita to England to live with him, the arrival of this long-legged, multilingual Italian-born German beauty immediately elevated Brian's status with the others. In any case, Anita and Brian, with their identical bleached-blond Beatle-style bobs, were a mischievous pair: Anita persuaded Brian on one occasion to pose for the cover of a German magazine wearing a Nazi SS uniform while crushing a doll underfoot. But there was a dark side to Brian: He had a tendency to beat up his women. Eventually Anita grew tired of Brian's abusive ways and in 1967 fled into the sympathetic and willing arms of Keith Richards. That union-which lasted a dozen years or so-produced Marlon, now fifteen, and Dandelion Angela, twelve (a third child, son Tara Jo Jo Gunne, died in 1976 at the age of two months).At some point in their relationship, both Anita and Keith became heroin addicts, and it seemed like that whenever they got their names into the papers, it was because of one drug arrest or another. In 1977 Canadian customs officials found a heroin-encrusted spoon in Anita's luggage (and a package of Tic Tacs, which they confiscated for examination); this led to a raid on Keith's hotel room in Toronto, where police found an ounce of heroin. As a result, Keith kicked junk and managed to stay out of trouble. Anita was not so lucky. In 1979, a seventeen-year-old boy shot himself in her bed in the Westchester home that she shared with Keith. Disturbing as that incident was (Anita was eventually cleared of having any part in the boy's death), people seemed to be more shocked by the photographs of Anita taken as she was escorted from court: Vastly overweight and dull-eyed. Anita was virtually unrecognizable from her acting days.Not long after that incident, Keith and Anita began to drift apart. From time to time, Keith was seen in the company of other women. Then he met freckle-faced American model Patti Hansen, and that was that. Keith and Patti married on December 18, 1983.Since there has been no news of Anita for some time, many people have assumed that she has become just another pathetic victim left behind by the Rolling Stones.
True of False: In 1985 Anita Pallenberg is:(a) Fat(b) A practicing black witch(c)A hopeless junkie(d) Happy, and in love with someone who is not even remotely connected with theRolling Stones.Answers:(a) False. The Anita Pallenberg who arrives at the Plaza Hotel in New York for the interview is model-slim and looking quite glamorous in a full-length black-and-white fur coat. She has just been for a brisk walk in the cold December air around Central Park, and in fact, she looks downright healthy.(b) False. Although Anita has always been interested in the occult ("I do believe in forces") and was, by her own admission, at one time "messed up about it," these days Anita is just sticking to reading about the stuff.(c) False. Anita, it seems, has finally kicked the debilitating heroin habit she once shared with Keith. For a while, she even stopped drinking, and produces an Alcoholics Anonymous card from her wallet to prove it. "But I was too hyper, too active," she says. "I was annoying everybody. So I just have a drink once in a while."(d) True. One of the first things to come out of Anita's mouth is that she is happy-"Which is something I didn't know, never." That's hard to believe: Anita can't seem to stop smiling, and her gaze is direct. And she is in love. "I met a guy who had nothing to do with the Rolling Stones or music," she says with a big smile on her face. "I have to have somebody to love. It keeps you going."

ROCK WIVES by Victoria Balfour 1984 (Part II)

So much for the rumors. Now for the story:Anita Pallenberg was a war baby. She was born in Rome in the middle of World War II at a time when Italy was being heavily attacked by the Nazis. Because of this, Anita says she remembers being in sort of a permanent state of shock all the time. "My dad had to go to Germany and my mom took us up in the mountains, up close to Austria. We drove through all the burning cities. My mom must have been mad, but she was just trying to get us away from the Nazis. So this is how I learned to walk and talk. I don't think I even spoke Italian or German-I talked in some terrible language."So by the time Anita was eight and back living in Rome after the war, she felt much older than her years. "When I was eight, I felt like an eighty-year-old person. I felt wise, I felt the pain of everything weighing on me. " And to add to her troubles, Anita's older sister was a bully. "I was at her mercy for many years." Anita points to the joints of her fingers and says, rather dramatically, "She cut my fingers when I was about two months old so I couldn't suck them anymore. She broke my arm. She sent me down a hill on a sled. And I was tiny, rickety, a very bony little girl. She just wanted to get rid of me." But one night Anita decided to take action against her sister. "I used to have insomnia at night and used to share a bedroom, so I played the flute under the covers. She was complaining, obviously, so I banged her on the head, and she passed out." Anita smiles like a mischievous little girl. "So I finally found out that she was vulnerable. And from then on I grew up really wild. I skipped school very early on. I used to say good-bye and then not go, so eventually they put me in a live-in school in Germany."At first, Anita liked it there. "My performance was really good. I read Kafka at an early age and all the classics and I wanted to study medicine." At some point, though, Anita lost interest in school. "I was precocious and I wasn't happy, either. I just liked to go sailing and out into the wild. Skipping school, they kind of threw me out of that school as well"-only half a year before she was set to take her university entrance examinations. "I really thought it was terribly unfair," says Anita, suddenly becoming indignant. Then after a pause, she seems to change her mind. "Well, I must have deserved it somehow," she says with a little shrug of her shoulders. Since university was out of the question, Anita decided to go to art school in Munich. "A real fun town. There I had my first sexual encounter. I'm a real late bloomer, I guess." As Anita tells it, it was not a pleasant introduction to sex. What happened was, one day Anita went to get some art books from a friend. The friend, however, had mistakenly handed over her books to a strange man. "I said, 'Well, I'll go pick them.' He tried to rape me. That was a big shock for me." After that, Anita didn't go near men for quire some time. "I went totally antimen," she says. "I found them to be very obnoxious, so I just ignored them." Which is not to say that Anita led a chaste existence. "I went with women," says Anita, with that impish smile of hers. "In Italy it's like a pastime. It's in the summer when the sun shines out. Everybody does it!" By the time Anita was nineteen, she was, as she says mdestly, "quite attractive." Attractive enough, certainly, to arouse the interests of film directors in Rome, who began to offer her parts in their movies. "I thought, 'Well, in the summertime, when I'm not studying, I might get some little role and not tell my parents.' And then my dad found out and he said, 'You're just a slut." So I left home, because I really didn't want to give in to what he was saying." By this time, Anita must have gotten over her fear of men, because she had hooked up with an Italian artist by the name of Mario Schifano (who, coincidentally, would some years later have a fling with Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger's girlfriend). "We were good pals and everything and we decided to go to America and see Rauschenberg and all the pop artists."They arrived in New York in 1963, right about the time of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Anita remembers how somber the mood of the city was at that time, but she also recalls how, in spite of that, she managed to have a good time at jazz clubs and hanging out with artists like Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. Things with Schifano, however, didn't work out, so Anita eventually went to work for an Italian photographer who worked for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Sometimes she would stand in for models who were late or ill. Apparently, someone in a high place must have liked Anita's look, because before she knew it, she was a full-time model. Anita says she was never that thrilled with being a model, though. "I've got straight hair, and in those days you had to have curlers and false eyelashes, and I refused all that. And I never had a good relationship with photographers, I must say. I thought they were slightly male chavinist. So, I'd just walk our. My reputation was a bit odd, but I still used to make tons of money. The first money I made I went out to Paris to buy myself a snakeskin jacket." (Which she would later lose on the road with the Stones-"With my lifestyle, I lost everything, especially the things I liked, " she says.)In 1965, Anita went back to Europe and modeled all over the continent. She was in Munich on a fashion job when she read that the Stones were going to do a concert there. A photographer smuggled her backstage, where she met Brian Jones, the sensitive and musically gifted Stone, who, by the age of twenty-three, had fathered three illegitimate children. And that wa the beginning of Anita Pallenberg's long association with the Rolling Stones. For the next few months, Brian and Anita renezvoused all over Europe. "When I think about it, in the early days it was kind of fun," says Anita. "' I will meet you in that town,' and then I would fly by myself and I would see them in the other town. But then when things started to get bigger, I didn't enjoy the lifestyle at all. I didn't like the whole scene. Honestly, I can say now if I knew they'd become that famous, I'd have moved out and disappeared long before."

ROCK WIVES by Victoria Balfour 1984 (Part III)

Within a short time, however, Anita was installed in Brian's house in London. The domestic situation there would not prove to be exactly harmonious. "I think Brian was a terrible person really," she says. "And I put up with a lot. I was really fascinated with his talent. Why I stuck first to Brian and then to Keith was because of the music. But all the side effects...he was a tortured personality, insecure as hell. He was ill very early on from when I met him. He was totally paranoiac." They argued, especially over things like Anita's career. "He didn't like the fact that I was working. So when I came home with this big fat script, he tore it in half. Jealousy. English people are odd in the head, you know? Eccentric. But I went on." Anita landed a role in German director Volker Schlondorff's first fiction movie, A Degree of Murder (he went on to direct The Tin Drum) and talked Brian into doing the music for the movie. "That movie had success," says Anita. It went on to Cannes Film Festival."In spite of their collaboration, things between them were rapidly falling apart. Brian was drinking heavily and, as the story goes, could be terribly abusive. Finally, when Anita couldn't take his behavior anymore, she left him for Keith. "I found there was an enormous talent in Keith, and Keith was really a shy little guy in those days, couldn't come out of himself. And I had all this kind of Italian energy and outgoing personality, so it was really easy for me. And somehow it finally came out. Then he started to write songs and he started to sing them himself. I though it was wonderful."Would Anita say that she was the inspiration for some of Keith's songs? "I couldn't say that, " she answers. "I was writing songs with them. We wrote together 'Honky Tonk Women' and 'You Can't Always Get What You Want.'" Anita also played critic: If she did not like their music, she was not afraid to say so to the Stones. "I'd always tell them, and to my amazement they would listen. Nobody else would. They were all yes-men. I call them 'shampoo people'-guys with three-piece suits and curlies." In general, she thinks that most of the Sones' hangers-on were afraid of her-"I've always done what I wanted, and that scared them. And I do have my temper."Compared with Brian, Keith was a far easier person to live with, but still "Keith had the same problem as Brian with doing the movies," says Anita. "I got to do Candy in Rome, so I got to meet Marlon Brando. So Keith heard that Marlon Brando and I had a scene, so he took the first plane and he was out there. It was the same story, so eventually I tried to time it out to work where Keiht was working. But he'd always stand me up. So eventually I gave up and I didn't show up on a couple of sets. And then I had kids, so I slowly moved out."Anita's increasing dependence on durgs didn't exactly help her career, either. "We started on acid and all that stuff. Wherever I was, I was getting busted. For nothing! I got busted for Tic Tacs. Ridiculous. Very embarrassing, really," she says.What got Anita into drugs in the first place, was, she says, a combination of "loneliness and boredom." But she syas it was her sense of discipline that kept her from self-destructing entirely. "I'm really amazingly German in that way," she says. "I think I had a notion of what excess it, so I never really took blindly. It's not like Marilyn Monroe, who forgets how many barbs she's taken. I couldn't do anything like that. I remember. But," she adds, her green eyes twinkling, "I thik I know the art of falling over. And everybody seems to love it. Marianne Faithfull know it some more. She knows it to perfection. I always was jealous how she used to get carried around. So why didn't they carry me around?"Anita maintains that, throughout the roller-coaster years with the Stones, she and Keith were "always basically down-to-earth, keeping things very simple. All the other people can say wheat they want," she says, a little huffily. "The example I can say is my son [fifteen-year-old Marlon, who lives with her on Long Island]. He could be a snotty little kid and he's really down to earth. We lived together because Keith was always on the road, so we've been stuck together for years, and to see how he comes out, it's great. He's got no airs. He wants to be an archaeologist. For me, children are the best thing I ever had. Everybody was slashing me when I had Marlon, saying, 'You must be crazy to have children. How can you have a child on the road?' I thought it was better to be with the parents than by himself. Marlon learned to walk on stage, practically."If Marlon thrived on the road, Keith and Anita's twelve-year-old daughter, Angela, did not. When the subject turns to her daughter, Anita sighs. "With her, I don't know. On the road, she used to go off by herself, pick up guys, bring them back-'Mommy, here.' Big guys. And I'd get really scared. And she'd go out of the hotel rooms, and I'd find her sitting on the lap of somebody. That's why I decided not to have her on the road anymore." For now, Angela is being brought up by Keith's mom, Doris Richards, in England. Explains Anita, "I lost one child, right? So at the time when I lost him, I went through a heavy nervous breakdown. For about three months I was very upset. So Doris offered herself to look after her. Now the problem is eh's keeping her in a shell. She seems to be more conscious of who she is, who Keith is. Like Marlon is Keith's mate, and they've always been mates, but it seems to be more difficult with her. I meet Keith now and tlake about it and see what we can do. We're trying to redeem her. Surprisingly, up until this point in the interview Anita has not made a single reference to Mick Jager, with whom she reportedly had an affair on the set of Peformance. When this is brought to her attention, Anita smiles naughtily and rubs her hands together, as if getting ready to tear him apart. "From when I first met him, I was Mick was in love with Keith. It still is that way." In Anita's opinion, Mick would like to be the way Kieith is, "tough and macho." And she says she helped him out with his acting when they worked together on Performance. "He'd never done a movie and he didn't know how to react to a camera at all. He had a problem with it. I'd say, 'Relax!'" But she adds kindly, "He's really quite sweet. He tries very hard. He's learned a lot. He's become very cultured and very kind of gentleman-ish and well educated."How did her lengthy relationship with Keith Richards finally come to an end? Answers Anita, "They lawyers told us we were no good for each other because of the drugs and all that" (reportedly some people in the Stones' camp blamed Anita for Keith's 1977 drug bust in Canada). "They say we're a bad influence on each other." What Anita says next is unexpected: "I always had my boyfriends on the side! It was loneliness. I didn't think anything bad. I used to introduce them to him. He met them all. But I think the relationship was good, you know? It's not like Bianca and Mick or Angie and David. It was nothing like that with Keith. He's very understanding, a very human person and he appreciates home and he's really a rewarding person."Anita took the breakup hard. "For a while it was a nightmare," she says. "All my life was practically in the same bag. So I couldn't really make out what was what. I didn't know where my sanity was and where my identitywas at that point. I think it was the pain of love. That's what really hurts. Then I was still being harassed by the police and I really didn't find any reason. In London they tried to do that. I had to go to court again, and that really hurt me. "I thought I could never have another love in my life," she continues. "I really thought, 'That's it.' I'm jaded. Where can you go after you've been in love with Keith Richards? What else is there? But it heals, it really does. You can actually get over a person. And then I met a guy who had nothing to do with the Rolling Stones or music," Anita purrs. "English people are wonderful. My cup of tea. It sounds like roses, doesn't it?"It certainly does. And in other ways Anita's life has changed. For one thing, she is no longer a "preacher for the Rolling Stones sound and the Rolling Stones everything." (In fact, she thinks they should retire, "gracefully.") "Now I just started to discover other bands."Lately she has been traveling all over the world because she feels that in spite of all he rtime on the road with the Stones, she never got to see it properly. "I went to all these airports and all these hotels, but I actually nevery really saw what I want to see. I tried to go by myself, but I always got right in trouble because of security." And she wants to see the world soon "before it shuts down. You do understand that there's going to be a Third World War, don't you?"Anita has no plans to return to acting, althought she would like to try her hand at moviemaking again (she produced a movie in Italy in the sixties that starred Mick and Keith called Human, Not Human and won a couple of awards), this time a documentary on the life of Leni Reifenstahl, the official government photographer during the Third Reich. Her relationship with Keith these days is quite amicable. "He doesn't ignore me. He doesn't put me through any bullshit [that is, alimony haggles] like Bianca. We already had so many legal hassles as it was. Who wants to go through more? He comes and visits and says, 'Hello,' brings goodies for Marlon, brings me tapes to play. He's mellowed out a lot. He's had lots of girlfriends from when we kind of split up, and I met them all. There was now way out of it. And I've been around him so long anyway. But Patti's the only one I think is okay. She takes care of him. I'm really happy, because you do feel you have to look after them. At least, that's the way I felt. I felt I had to protect him. He was flying so high in the music world. Anything material, anything that was going on, he couldn't recognize a face or anything."That said, Anita begins to gather up her things, saying that the car is waiting out in front of the Plaza. Then, rummaging in her purse, she produces a package of Tic Tacs. "You see, I'm still on them," she jokes, and pops one into her mouth.