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“Half-empty rooms are annoying”: Maxime Le Forestier, a life of highs and very lows

A figure of the anarchist left in the 1970s, notably with titles like Parachutiste, Fontenay aux roses, La ville a des princes, Maxime Le Forestier slid towards the more mainstream variety with titles like “Born somewhere” and “Born somewhere” and “ On the road".

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“Half-empty rooms are annoying”: Maxime Le Forestier, a life of highs and very lows

A figure of the anarchist left in the 1970s, notably with titles like Parachutiste, Fontenay aux roses, La ville a des princes, Maxime Le Forestier slid towards the more mainstream variety with titles like “Born somewhere” and “Born somewhere” and “ On the road". Has the artist, who celebrates his 75th birthday on February 10, abandoned his youthful ideals? “I didn’t change the world but I don’t think the world changed me much. I’m always a little utopian, a little crazy and on cloud nine,” he explained in 1988 in Bains de midnight, the cult show by Thierry Ardisson – available on the INA ArdiTube channel.

Maxime Le Forestier's career has been marked by very highs and very lows. After the dazzling success of his first album My Brother, in 1972 - more than a million copies including San Francisco -, the progression in the years that followed was more difficult. Fewer hits, less television, fewer spectators. “At the beginning of the 1980s, I noticed that the theaters were less full than before. I took it philosophically. I said to myself: ‘I’m going to stop performing and when people want it again I’ll come back.’ It only took 5 years. It was crossing the desert... with oases,” he laughs.

How can you find the motivation to continue your profession when the rooms are half empty? “It's a buzzkill. But we must sing for those who are there. We cannot make those who came pay for the fact that the other half of the room did not come,” says Maxime Le Forestier, who admits to being, in 1988, “less anti-militarist” and “a little less anti-nuclear.”

“It is not far from the Capitol to the Tarpeian rock,” said the historian. What follows is less well known: “But the man who fights for reason, for his country, does not so easily consider himself defeated.” In 1987, he recorded “Né somewhere”, a huge hit which won a Victoire de la Musique. But is Le Forestier still the same? Or did he “compromise” himself to find success. We saw him disguise himself as Yves Mourousi in a Patrick Sébastien show. “I hope the audience had a laugh. I always said that I was an acrobat, not a thinker or a philosopher, he justifies himself. I am not ashamed. I’m ready to do it again and I’m ready to dress up as Mireille Mathieu.” He won't need it: success will return for a long time: hits (the very beautiful “Passer ma route”), very successful cover albums by Georges Brassens and ingenious collaborations with Julien Clerc (“Double Enfance”). Far from being affected by “rust”...

An extract to discover:

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