Source: Record Collector July 2012 nr 403 by Garth Cartwright © 2012
WILLY DeVILLE Stroll on! Was he the most underrated talent?
Are Spanish Stroll and his gigs at CBGB all you heard about Willy DeVille or his Mink-lined band? If so, you missed out. Garth Cartwright charts the troubled yet inspired journey of a singer who found life anything but a gentle amble.
The hotel was tucked away on Paris’s Left Bank, discreet and very chic. Entering the lounge area to wait on my interviewee I glance at a series of small, framed photos and note that they are of previous guests: Johnny Depp, Miles Davis and many a French celebrity. Obviously, those who stay here enjoy its intimacy and privacy – without an appointment there is no possibility of getting past reception.
My interviewee appears at the bottom of a staircase, a remarkably tall man with long black hair, pencil moustache and goatee. In summer 2005, Willy DeVille might seem a strange guest to be considered alongside the aforementioned superstars – in the UK he is remembered, if at all, as leader of Mink DeVille, the New York band who scored a 1977 hit with Spanish Stroll – yet in France DeVille was considered a rebel, a true star. As he strode towards me, wearing an outfit that may well have suited 18th-century Bourbon gatherings, I noticed he was limping and reliant on a walking stick. “Have you hurt yourself?” I asked, and DeVille groaned before describing a car crash in the mountains of New Mexico. “I wasn’t drunk,” he says, “but I was driving to a bar to get drunk. And then this pickup truck full of Mexicans came around a blind corner and hit me straight on. The … [You must be a subscriber to view the full article]
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