When I Am A Kid
1 january mmxii
An interview with the inimitable Demis Roussos
Doris will tell you, and I’m not ashamed to admit, I have a few man-crushes. There are the standard ones, like Clint Eastwood and Daniel Day Lewis, but at the top of that list (tied with Clint of course) is Demis Roussos. I first saw Demis in a YouTube clip from 1970 with his now legendary psychedelic-rock band, Aphrodite’s Child. Back then, he was a clean-shaven mod and I only noticed the amazing music that, somehow, I had never heard before. But, after a few clicks on related videos, onto my screen came a vision of awesomeness: Demis, now a solo act, hippier, happier, wearing a colorful caftan, with long unkempt hair, beard, with some sort of giant necklace made of animal teeth, and singing what sounded like happy Greek songs in English. I was smitten.
Demis is very well-known throughout the world for his career of making and performing great pop music (and singing them in an impressive number of languages). He was born in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to Greece as a boy, where he would eventually join a number of rock bands including Aphrodite’s Child. He is more known in younger circles for the incredible records he made with Aphrodite’s Child, and in particular bandmate Vangelis (who went on to score films such as Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner). Their final album, 666, released in 1972 was obviously controversial, sold over 20 million copies, and is now a psychedelic-rock classic.
Today, Demis is still making music and touring regularly. I was so excited when Demis answered several of my questions from his home in Paris. I hope you’re as smitten with him (and his use of smiley faces) as I am after reading this! Thank you, Mr. Roussos.
Mark: What is a typical day in the life of Demis Roussos these days?
Demis: I’m on tour in France right now, so basically, performing, eating and sleeping ;-)
M: Do you have a routine while you’re at home and not out performing?
D: When I’m at home I like to simply relax and read good books, listening to some opera music.
M: What was it like in Greece (and as you toured throughout Europe) during the 1960s?
D: I started to tour out of Greece in ’67. But before that, Greece was going through another hard time with the Colonels period. So, however, the country always has been good to artists like me, it was another one of these weird periods politically.
M: Were the music and cultural scenes similar to what was taking place in the United States?
D: Ho [sic] no! ;-)
M: What were some of your early musical influences at a child or teenager?
D: I liked jazz and rock mostly.
M: We always ask our interviewees a food question: what is your all-time favorite meal or food?
D: I have to admit I eat much lighter now, more veggies and fish etc. than when I was younger ;-)
M: Do you ever visit NYC?
D: So rarely unfortunately. New York is such a fantastic city and so powerful on independent culture!
M: Do you have a favorite place or memory of it?
D: I used to take my children for a walk in Central Park when they were younger and kept it like a peaceful and fantastic memory.
M: You’ve always had a great style and expressive way of dressing. Was there something that influenced you to embrace your own style?
D: No. Nothing but my spontaneous way of seeing life! ;-)
M: Who would you like to see in concert?
D: Elvis Presley!
M: If you weren’t singing/performing, what would you be doing in an alternate universe?
D: Cooking, decorating…any other artistic work anyhow.
M: What are the five most important people/things in your life?
D: Both my children and their four children of course!
words Mark Ho-Kane
images DemisRoussos.info forum