Four weeks before Phil Spector was arrested on murder charges, the revolutionary producer told a British journalist he was “relatively insane.”
In an interview published Tuesday in the London Daily Telegraph, Spector talked about his mental struggles as well as his reputation as a mad genius and recluse (see “Phil Spector: Mad Genius, By Kurt Loder” ).
“I would say I’m probably relatively insane, to an extent,” the Wall of Sound innovator told author Mick Brown, who called the interview Spector’s first in 25 years. “I take medication for schizophrenia, but I wouldn’t say I’m schizophrenic. But I have a bipolar personality, which is strange. I’m my own worst enemy.”
Spector also revealed that his mother and father were first cousins and that after years of not accepting it, he is facing it now. “I don’t know, genetically, whether or not that had something to do with what I am or who I became,” he said.
Although the interview is humorous at times — like when Spector says of rap: “It’s like the ‘c’ got left off at the printers” — the producer mostly comes off as sad.
“People tell me they idolize me, want to be like me, but I tell them, ‘Trust me, you don’t want my life, because it hasn’t been a very pleasant life.’ I’ve been a very tortured soul. I have not been at peace with myself. I have not been happy.”
When pressed on the topic of happiness, Spector explained, “I am trying to get my life reasonable. I’m not going to ever be happy. Happiness isn’t on, because happiness is temporary. Unhappiness is temporary. Ecstasy is temporary. Orgasm is temporary. Everything is temporary. But being reasonable is an approach. And being reasonable with yourself, it’s very difficult, very difficult to be reasonable.”
Spector told Brown his greatest fear is that his mental struggles will affect his 20-year-old daughter, Nicole. “Even if she genetically was well, I worried that as she grew up, by seeing me as an example she would become unwell herself and be attracted to men like that — manic-depressive, or psychotic, or cuckoo,” Spector said. “And I wanted to have a healthier relationship with her than I could have as a neurotic, sick person. I wanted her to look up to me and say, ‘This is what a reasonable man is like.’ ”
The producer said his daughter played a large part in pulling him out of a 22-year retirement by taking him to a Starsailor show and encouraging him to produce the group. Spector also revealed that he was in talks to work with the Vines and Coldplay.
As for the topic of his decades spent behind the iron gates of his Los Angeles area mansion, where he allegedly shot and killed actress Lana Clarkson early Monday (see “Phil Spector Met Shooting Victim At Club Where She Worked” ), Spector shared much insight.
“I wasn’t well enough to function as a regular part of society, so I didn’t,” he explained. “I was different, so I had to make my own world. And it made life complicated for me, but it made it justifiable. ‘Oh, that’s the reason they hate my f—ing guts. I look strange, I act strange, I make these strange records, so there’s a reason to hate my guts.’ Because I felt hated. Even when the music became big, I never felt like I fitted in. I never did all the drugs and the parties. I didn’t feel comfortable. I always preferred the studio. Going out was always the big ordeal. Too hard. It was like being in front of an audience.”
In the interview, Spector talked little about his previous personal relationships and refused to even say the name of second ex-wife Ronnie Spector, who unsuccessfully sued him over song royalties years after their divorce.
She released a statement on Wednesday addressing her ex-husband’s arrest. “My heart goes out to the woman and her family,” the former singer of the Ronettes wrote. “I don’t know what the circumstances are; I can only say that when I left in the early ’70s, I knew that if I didn’t leave at that time I was going to die there. I’ve said it in my book over 12 years ago and I still believe it to be true now.”
Spector will be arraigned on March 3.