Marc Almond: ‘I’ve been through all the vices and now don’t have any’

The singer-songwriter, 62, on examining mortality, living with trauma, and learning to become a druid

While my childhood was broken, it wasn’t totally miserable. I had fantastic grandparents, who I adored. I had a nervous breakdown at 17 when my parents divorced, and was sectioned for two months. But I try and put a positive spin on everything. After that, I got accepted into Leeds art college, where I met David Ball – and we started Soft Cell.

You never expect something like Tainted Love to happen. I always thought I’d do experimental theatre and just dance about, but I have no coordination. I muscled my way into singing Dave’s songs and we were such an odd duo it captured the imagination. When we got to No 1, we were still living in student accommodation. It went crazy after that.

I can relate to sociopaths. I had a motorbike accident in 2004 that left some terrible legacies. I have memory and emotional problems and a lack of empathy. I’m not distressed if a friend dies, but in tears if an animal is mistreated.

I feel the world is going through a big change at the same time I am. I’m getting older, so you think about mortality and what you’re going to do with how long you have left. Then you think about the world – it feels like this ending, the climate, pollution, fires and floods. We’re told it’s doomsday all the time.

I’ve been taking time to become a druid. This spinning acceleration of everything brings out the inner pagan in me. I feel a need to have a connection with the earth. I want to dance around Stonehenge in pagan robes connecting back to earthly things.

I hate it when people become victims. I create my own mechanisms to get me through life. I’m drawn to people who are stoic, emotionless and just get on with things, because that’s what I do.

The best relationships are the ones that are mostly in your head. You can see somebody, get together, have a great time – and not have to put up with all the drudgery and arguing.

I’ve been through all the vices and now don’t have any. The last time I thought I should binge was on millennium eve – because I thought that was what everyone else was doing. I had a big party at my house and everyone was completely out of it, and it just looked like a mess. Now I just like going to the theatre or out for dinner with friends.

I’m happiest when I’m busy and can’t indulge my thoughts. I’m naturally quite depressive and melancholic, and I don’t like being like that. As long as I’m doing stuff and dancing as fast as I can, I’ll just keep dancing. I can’t slow down – it’s ingrained. Sometimes I hear myself say I’m going to retire and not write any more songs, but I just can’t do it. I love what I do too much.

Chaos and a Dancing Star, Marc Almond’s latest album, is out now

Rachel Corcoran

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jason Derulo: ‘Lockdown’s been the most fun I’ve ever had in my life’
The singer, 30, tells Rachel Corcoran about being a cool uncle, speaking Creole at home and having 30m followers on TikTok

Rachel Corcoran

12, Sep, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
Rufus Wainwright: ‘I have always been an old soul’
The musician, 46, on coping with grief, becoming a parent and why he loves being a pop star

James McMahon

19, Apr, 2020 @7:30 AM

Article image
Louis Tomlinson: ‘I’m low-maintenance. I don’t have diva requests’
The singer, 30, on selling pies, losing count of his tattoos and why he’s not been out clubbing in years

Rich Pelley

19, Nov, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
50 Cent: ‘I’ve lost the luxury of walking around the mall freely’
The musician, 42, tells James McMahon about respect for Eminem, people-watching on trains, and seeing through the news

James McMahon

03, Feb, 2018 @2:00 PM

Article image
Guy Garvey: ‘I’ve gone back to playing Lego fanatically’
The musician, 45, tells Rich Pelley about his five sisters and two-year-old son, streakers on stage, worrying about songwriting and earning accolades from Paul McCartney

Rich Pelley

30, Nov, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
Chuck D: ‘I don’t think old folks should be leaders’
The rapper, 60, tells James McMahon about forgetting lyrics, visiting Africa and confronting institutions with Public Enemy

James McMahon

31, Oct, 2020 @1:59 PM

Article image
Patsy Kensit: ‘You don’t have to marry all your boyfriends’
The actor, 53, talks about her charming dad, never reading her reviews in the papers, staying strong and eating nothing but shepherd’s pie

Michael Segalov

21, Aug, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
Jim Moir: ‘I’ve been trying to shake Vic Reeves off for about 20 years’
The comedian, 60, on his passion for painting, being accident-prone, and learning cool dances to surprise his twins

Caroline Rees

07, Sep, 2019 @12:59 PM

Article image
Graham Coxon: ‘Music has always been there for me’
The Blur guitarist, 53, on his addictive personality, making music as you age and being a Britpop brat

James McMahon

03, Dec, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
John Grant: ‘Music has been a healing balm for me’
The musician, 50, on his anger problem, coming out, and why he’s glad he contracted HIV

James McMahon

17, Feb, 2019 @1:59 PM