It's a noble thing to work hard, and that's what Marquis Michael Des Barres has been doing all of his life. Mostly known for his cinematic presence - he graced the screen in a lot of movies and TV series, including classics like "To Sir, With Love" and "MacGyver" - but it was a singer's role that he laid a claim to fame with in the '70s. Yet, having peaked as front man of POWER STATION at Live Aid in front of million eyes, His Lordship came back to the movie world. Not that he entirely left music: in 2011, Michael appeared in MAROON 5's video to "Moves Like Jagger" as a geezer who has both American and British flags behind his back, which brings us straight to "Carnaby Street", his first record in 25 years, and a great one to boot. Talking to Des Barres, one can't get rid of the impression that the artist himself is taken aback by this album's success. If there's some aristocratic air during the conversation, you have to remember that Michael's an actor, yet his honesty cuts through such veneer, so there's no holds barred and no barrels held... save for the cinema aspect: it's only rock 'n' roll y'know!
- Michael, let me congratulate you on your new album. It's a killer one, and there's no allusion on your Murdoc character!
(Laughs.) Rock 'n' roll assassin!
- But may I quote this: "I was taught in the finest schools, raised to be arrogant and cool". Remember that line?
I do. CHEQUERED PAST! I remember when we formed the band, I wanted to write a song that each guy could sing - as you know, each guy in the band had a verse. And that's what I was taught in these dreadful schools because at that time in England the class system was - and remains - so powerful force. And I really hated it. I went to these upper-class schools and I really resented it and, as a consequence, chose a working class career in rock 'n' roll (laughing) as a sort of a revolutionary act.
- And how did your parents react to your rock 'n' roll rebellion?
I never knew my parents. I was pretty much, I guess, orphaned would be the word. My mother was very young when she had me and was a schizophrenic, and was put in an institution a month after I was born, and came in and out of that institution. And my father was in jail. So I spent most of my childhood without parents, so I had no idea what they thought, since we never communicated. I didn't have to fight against them, no, they weren't around, so I've been alone most of my life in terms of any authority figures. And going to these schools, I learned discipline, I had an incredible education, and most importantly, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, which was express myself as an artist. And there was nobody there to stop me from doing that. There was also nobody there to encourage me to do it. It was a decision that I made and I followed it through.
If you have not done so already, check out Michael's Gonzo Artist Page