Thomas Dutronc:

Thomas Dutronc: “What we are going through with my father is still a bit historic”

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Thomas and Jacques Dutronc will be in concert at the Zénith de Toulouse on Thursday November 24 after spending last summer in Montauban and Carcassonne. We will find their obvious complicity from November 4 on a studio album bringing them together happily, from “Cactus” to “J’aime les filles”.

In Paris, Thomas Dutronc lives with a runaway cat, on the 5th floor of an old apartment, near the Marais, not far from the banks of the Seine. The place is bright, the furniture colorful, an entire closet houses beautiful guitars. The singer offers to lean on the bar, even if it’s not really time to drink. He pours a glass of water, goes to the room upstairs to change and comes back wearing a black T-shirt with the image of Jazz au Marciac. He lights a cigarette. The conversation can start.

What was the trigger for the Dutronc & Dutronc tour?

It happened during a radio interview. My father came to talk about a duet with me on the Christmas bonuses of my album “Frenchie”. We asked him what he thought of the idea of ​​a joint tour. He replied, “Why not? »

What did you say to him to really convince him?

I talked to him about it again, without insisting, little by little. I could see he wanted it. And that he knew it would make my mother especially happy. For me, it was also an opportunity for privileged moments that we could share, during concerts but also during car trips.

Have you been thinking about it for a long time?

This tour is not a childhood dream, rather an adult desire. During the show, we do not play on the string of sentimentality, of passing time. Dad and I are modest. We are on stage to party, to play beautiful music.

What type of discussions do you have with your father?

He’s a bit quiet. But we understand each other without talking much: with him, no need to dot the “i”.

How do you feel about this exchange in front of the public?

It’s still dizzying to find yourself on stage with such outstanding songs; songs that I grew up with, that are in my heart, my DNA. My father marked the history of song and rock in France. We are all aware that we are living through something that is somewhat historic.

However, nothing is stuffy in the show. We expected it: you joke a lot…

We tease each other a lot, yes. Spontaneously, nothing is written. No question of reserving exactly the same stuff at each concert. We like to pass the buck; surprise yourself too, so that everyone imagines a new joke for the future.

How were the songs chosen?

Naturally. There are songs by my father that you can’t not do: “J’aime les filles”, “L’opportuniste”, “Les cactus”, “Il est 5 heures, Paris s’éveil”, etc. . In future concerts, we will certainly add a more worked medley in terms of sequences. There will be anecdotes but the music will not stop, to avoid breaks in rhythm.

How do your songs fit into the program?

At first, I was afraid that they wouldn’t hold up against my father’s monstrous repertoire. With “Aragon”, we are in something else. “Sesame” is also in a different tone. We needed punchy arrangements for “A manouche without guitar”. With the musicians, during rehearsals, we turned the pieces around to create consistency. And then, the balance was made.

Your father’s voice continues to impress. How is it ?

His tone of voice has something crazy; it is a gift from the gods. It has evolved over time: in the 60s it was very neutral, very clear. She then developed this inimitable grain. The cigar is probably there for something. During Les Vieilles canailles, my father did inhalations for the vocal cords. Lately, I haven’t seen him work on his voice especially.

An album comes out but, surprise, it was not recorded in public. Why ?

The live, we will record it in a second time, in some Zenith and in Bercy, in December. It was Universal who had the idea for this studio album and they convinced me. The titles are a little different, the arrangements too. I especially wanted my father to accompany me on a greater number of my songs.

How did he react to this project?

At first, he didn’t see the point. I offered to try it out to see what it looked like between two festival tour dates. The problem is that he had the Covid in June and we only had four rather cool days left, in Switzerland, before playing in Montreux. We did that, calmly, with a nomadic studio, and it worked.

Was the summer tour difficult because of the heat wave?

The heat followed us on several concerts. In Carcassonne, it was hard, in La Rochelle the same. One day, we hit a 4-hour traffic jam while the car’s air conditioning was broken. I worried about my father. We were rinsed but he showed me that he was tough in the face of fatigue.

You shoot very often, your father very little. Is this a sign of his famous dilettantism?

This sloth is a legend. My father hasn’t been idle: he has nevertheless shot about fifty films. Admittedly, it was sometimes to pay the taxes of the year before because he offered much and saved nothing. But I admire him: being an actor is a nightmare for me: we wait a lot, we don’t control anything.

“Dutronc & Dutronc” album (Decca/Universal, released Friday November 4).
Thomas and Jacques Dutronc in concert at the Zénith in Toulouse on Thursday 24 November at 8 p.m. Prices: from €49 to €85.

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