Pierre Bensusan

Press Release

By David Whetstone for The Journal, The Morning Newspaper for the North East of England.
David Whetstone:
I loved the new album. Did you enjoy making it - and if so, why?

Pierre Bensusan: Thank you ! Oviously I did enjoy making it because a lot of these tunes have gone full circle from the writing to the playing mode on stage and touring. It was the right time to lay them down onto a recording, even if the title track "Intuite" was almost completly improvised in the studio. Also because it was the first of my recordings that I did by myself in my home studio. So, I look at this all experience with a special smile and contentment. Especially since Steve Rodby (who has produced Pat Metheny, Herbie Hanckock, Michael Brecker, Oregon and many others) has brought his tremendous experience in co-producing the final stage with me. The mastering and mixing were done in Los Angeles with a great engineer, Rich Breen, and since it came out in UK through Discovery Records, Steve Vai took the album on his label, Favored Nations, for a worldwide license and distribution. So, I believe Intuite has been channeled in a very serene and gracious way from his conception until its delivrery.
You have performed quite a lot of times in the North-East, and recently at Newcastle Opera House. Do you like coming here?
PB: Yes, I do, don't ask me why really. The wether is most part of time pretty horrible but there is something very special here, a feel to it which irradiates the people living here. On mylast show at the Opera house, I spent 2 hours listening to hifi system in a store near by and brought back a great stereo to my home. I had bought the last stereo in London 25 years ago. There is defenetly something with UK and sound... And the fact that my UK agent, Dave Smith and his wife, Mylene, live here, and the late Isaac Guillory who I was friend with and used to see often for a drink, a meal or a jam, these are also a big part of my appreciation for the North East. I have played in Jordy Land so often that I could almost drive all the roundabouts leading to South Shields with my eyes closed.
You are performing at a guitar festival in South Shields soon. How and when did you first fall in love with the guitar?
PB: My father who was a big Django Reinhardt fan, always wanted me to play the guitar. I started with piano and classical music. He could not resist and bought me a steel string guitar which I taught myself at the age of 11. At the beginning I didn't know what to do with it but soon, I started to sing a lot of folksongs and play trad. music. I guess it was not exactly what he had in mind but when my playing became more jazzy and open to Tango, Brazil, Musette, and else, I put lots of smiles onto his face. I thank him after each concert and this very dear gentleman will remain one of my best inspirations.
How old were you when you first performed in public and where was that? 

PB: It was in May 68 while my 2 sisters were demonstrating in Paris and throwing stones onto the CRS. I was 11 and playing piano in front of a jury, at le concours Leopold Bellan, a terrifying experience all together, much more than demonstrating in the streets. I played guitar on stage the first time in Nantes, at "le Bateau Lavoir" when I was 14. I remember that I played a song by David Crosby, called Triad which was a philosophic outlook at why can't we look at a "menage a trois" with a bit more grace and natural. At that time, I was hardly understanding the English lyrics of the songs I was singing, but it was an excellent way to get to language down, much more exciting that college which I quet as soon as I could when I was 16. I did my first album one year later and won Le Grand Prix du Disque at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland with it.
How many countries have you played in in the last 12 months? How do you maintain a jet set lifestyle?
PB: I have played France, USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Switzerland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany, Italy, soon Japan, Taiwan, China... I feel fortunate to shareÊmy passion and love of music with people around the world, collecting their fleeting moments of happiness. It fills me withÊtremendous energy which is used and regenerated every timeÊI play. Surprinzingly enough, what holds it together is my family who I haven't seen much lately.
What is the longest you can go without picking up a guitar? 

PB: 4 to 5 weeks but it's painful in every sense of that word ...
Do you have lots of guitars or do you prefer to play on just one? 

PB: Even, I have had several electrics, including a synth guitar, I have owned and played just one S22 Lowden guitar for almost 23 years. The "Old Lady" is now retiring, but still very fresh and dangerously exciting to play and has signed off with "Intuite" which I have recorded with. Now all of a sudden, I find myself with 4 Lowden guitars, but I still play just one: my brand new Lowden Signature Model which is only 7 months old, and on its way to become a fantastic instrument.
What advice would you give to any child - or adult - thinking of taking up the guitar?
PB: Don't !!! Just kidding ! Whatever you do, do it just and only for the pleasure of playing, listening, sharing, and fulfilling your life, with patience, humility and drive. Any other motivation sucks.
Do you have a wife/children? Do they also play guitar?

PB: Yes, Doatea, who I met in Paris when I was 17, a great dancer, choreographer and soul mate. She has co-produced all my albums since Solilai which we have done in Germany in 1981 (When Mitterand was elected). She has also written several lyrics. She is my muse and implacable critic. 8 years ago, she gave me a boy, Th?ophile. Very sport and Zorro oriented but he also loves music and learns the percussion and drums at the conservatory of Chateau-Thierry. Both will accompany me for the first time on this July trip to UK. Th?ophile will discover England and the English cuisine, he will need his both parents to recover from that experience.
Do you have one big ambition in life that you have not yet achieved? 

PB: Yes, I do but I don't dare sharing it with your readers here because they'd believe I am a sexual obsessed. On a more conventional side, I would like to incarnate the music I play as soon as I hear it inside. I can touch that quality once in a while and this is defenetly a place where I'd like to be more often. 

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