Q&A: Brett Anderson
‘During the making of Head Music I was weak and selfish and thoroughly horrid’
‘I’m very suspicious of materialism and have a demented personal crusade against the pernicious effects of advertising.’ Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi
Brett Anderson, 43, was born in West Sussex. In the late 80s, he became the lead singer of Suede. The band won the Mercury Music prize with their debut self-titled album in 1993; their second album, Dog Man Star, was released the following year and, in 1996, they made Coming Up, which charted at number one in the UK and produced five top-10 singles. The band split in 2003, but reformed for concerts in recent years. Black Rainbows, Anderson’s latest solo album, is out on 26 September and he plays London and Manchester in October.
When were you happiest?
Right now. It’s a beautiful thing to find yourself “the wrong side of 40” and more in love with life than ever. I never tell people this publicly as they wrongly assume the only valid creative state is that of the cliche of the tubercular, tortured artist coughing up blood in his garret.
What is your earliest memory?
Being obsessed with Elton John when I was about four and walking round in comedy outsized yellow plastic glasses as a homage.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
My wife. She is the most beautiful person I know in every way and has an endless energy for other people that a vinegary old misanthrope like myself can only marvel at.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
The litany of self-loathing is almost boundless.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
During a video shoot, I had to mime the Suede song Saturday Night at double speed, Minnie Mouse style, while on an escalator with members of the public pointing at me and laughing.
Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
I’m very suspicious of materialism and have a demented personal crusade against the pernicious effects of advertising.
Where would you like to live?
London. It is home and as real to me as my feet.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I broke my nose when I was 10 and I’ve never really liked how it twists my face into a ferrety mask.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Someone once said I looked like Mads Mikkelsen. He has a sour, unhealthy pallor and plays shifty, unlikable characters. Quite apt, I think.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
I feel horribly embarrassed by my conduct during the making of Head Music. I was weak and selfish and thoroughly horrid and I owe Richard, Mat, Simon and Neil a huge apology.
What was the best kiss of your life?
In the grounds of Kenwood House in Hampstead on a perfect June day.
If you could go back in time where would you go?
Even though I’m not a Christian, I can’t think of anything more fascinating than observing the reality of the human being whose legacy became one of the single most powerful forces on earth.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
During the great storm of 1987, I was staying in the spare room at my ex-girlfriend’s parents’ house when a huge oak tree crashed through the roof and stopped 2ft from my head. Luckily, I had closed the door which supported the trunk just enough to stop it from crushing my skull like a walnut.
Follow Rosanna Greenstreet on Twitter: twitter.com/celebQandA