"I loved his difference, I loved the non-conformist," says Tony Visconti, historical producer of David Bowie, who came to Paris on the occasion of the release of the book of his friend Jerome Soligny, "Rainbowman", on the author of "Heroes".
In half a century, we can read the name of Visconti on sixteen albums of the Thin White Duke, as Soligny, a man with multiple caps (composer, especially for Etienne Daho, journalist, etc.). So inevitably, it marks a life. "I've been told many times in my career + I want Bowie + sound, but except missing something, he misses Bowie," smiled the director, sitting next to the writer in a small rock bar 'n'roll of the 11th district of Paris in front of some journalists.
Visconti, then 23, came to England as an assistant to an English producer to dissect the sound of "swinging London", meets a Bowie "nervous and shy", 20 years old, at the beginning of his career, in a recording studio in London, as Soligny writes.
The handshake that follows will change the lives of the two men, with many similarities.
"I quickly understood that I belonged to this city, London, I had to say goodbye to my wife then, break my marriage: you will not believe me, but a fortuneteller me ' had said that I would meet someone like him (Bowie) in London and I would stay there, "says Visconti, 75, in an Italian black suit with a floral tie.
- 14 years old scramble -
"What was unlikely for a guy like me, born in Brooklyn, from the working class," arrived at the music through "three years of classical guitar in high school with an extraordinary teacher," he recalls.
The name of Visconti - who also produced T.Rex - remains associated with legendary albums of Bowie, "Space Oddity", "The man who sold the world", "Young Americans", "Low", "Heroes", "Scary Monsters "-" my favorite "according to the producer - to the last of the artist" Blackstar ".
"He practically started with me and finished with me as a producer," says Visconti.
Everything has not been smooth in their relationship. Bowie is seeking other producers, such as Nile Rodgers for "Let's Dance" (1983). One day Bowie also calls him for help on a tour with imperfect sound, convinced that Visconti will leave with him on the roads. But the latter declines: "No, I planned a vacation with my wife, I'm not going to divorce because of you (laughs)".
And then there is the scramble. "We worked together for a long time, he was open to the press, then he went private, one day I spoke to an English newspaper about his relationship with his son, and he almost tore off my head (laughs). He told me that I was not allowed to talk about his family, he did not talk to me for 14 years anymore, and I thought + what will be + ... "
- Presence that haunts -
Bowie's phone call that breaks the ice comes one day. "I wanted to give up what I was doing then (laughs) When we talked again, we realized how close we had always been." "It's good that he worked with other producers, so he appreciated my job even more", Visconti laughs again.
Bowie's presence still haunts him. When he remixed "Space Oddity" for the "David Dowie Conversation" box, Visconti admits that he watched the Grammy Award for "Blackstar" by asking "Are you okay, what am I doing?", Like if his old accomplice (deceased in 2016) was going to answer him.
"There is a small bench in his studio where Bowie sat and Tony sometimes turns to this bench", also describes Soligny. His first volume "David Bowie Rainbowman, 1967-1980", which collects testimonies under a musical angle - "not the point of view of managers, groupies, dealers ...", insists the author - is available in bookstores. The second volume is planned for the winter of 2020.
© 2019 AFP