of these words can be used to describe Jane Child, and the
car she drives. The story of how I came to meet this celebrity
Citroeniste follows the course of a teenager's dream sequence.
39 I can hardly be called a teenager, but my musical taste
ranges from the classics to modern rock. One day I picked
up an album by Jane Child. I bought it specifically for the
song “I Don't Wanna Fall In Love", the hit single.
As I looked over the album contents list I noticed another
song called “DS 21” with a marque of Double Chevrons
next to it. I immediately began jumping up and down in the
store yelling "This girl has a DS 21 '" Breaking
speed limits I drove back to my shop, tore open the CD and
popped it into the player. Out came Jane's voice “I
get so exited, love I cannot unchain, When we make contact,
and you start to rise"... I was in Citromusical heaven.
Here at long last some brilliant artist had finally brought
to music what all Citroen fanatics have felt for years! After
playing this song over about 15 times I went on to play the
others on the album. I then knew I must meet this gifted artist
and share this meeting with Citroenistes the world over. I
called Warner Bros. Records in New York and asked how I would
go about getting in touch with Jane. The receptionist said
just write to her, care of Warner Bros., and we'll see that
she gets it". I sat down and typed out a letter saying
how exited I was to have heard the song and that I would greatly
appreciate her granting me an interview. I posted the letter
thinking that by the time it got through the chain of command
at Warner I would have little chance of getting a reply.
about 4 weeks later. a letter appeared. in my box, hand addressed
from Los Angeles. It was Jane's personal reply:
on being the first to understand what DS 21 is about and what
the corresponding “clue" symbol stands for. I get
asked constantly what it means and I've had some pretty wild
interpretations (i.e. a religious fanatic was convinced DS
stood for "Darling Son" (as in Jesus Christ) and
21 stood for the 21st century!) As long as I can remember,
I've loved these cars. I saw them for the first time in Toronto,
where I grew up, and have been obsessed by them ever since.
They look like no other car in the world, and as you may or
may not know individual style is a way of life for me. The
first time I was in London I thought that I died and went
to Heaven. There were Citroens everywhere. I got so excited
just seeing them. They are so exquisite. I made up my mind
that if I ever got enough money to buy a car. I had to have
a Citroen, there could be no other.
signing my record deal with Warner Bros., I marched out and
bought a 1972 DS 21 (my first and only car) and the love affair
love to do an interview with your magazine. I do have professional
pictures taken with my car that would work very well in your
publicist, Victoria Rose will be in touch. Thank you for "getting
calls were made, tickets were purchased, and I was on my way
interview was to take place at the West Hollywood apartment
of Jane's publicist. I arrived early and was greeted by Victoria
Rose. She and I spent some minutes getting acquainted. It
was nice to finally meet the voice at the other end of the
phone that had helped engineer this meeting. Then the knock
came at the door announcing Jane's arrival.
I would meet the person at the other end of the music! At
this point I began to wonder which of the two personalities
inside my head would appear next; the starry eyed teenage
fan or the inquisitive journalist. Fortunately the intensity
of the moment caused the journalist to appear.
greeted me dressed in a beautiful black antique dress complete
with full length black gloves and brimmed hat (also black)
covering her legendary spiked hair. Dozens of small tightly
woven braids coursed down her back and stopped within 12 inches
of the floor. She was not as tall as she appears in her video
but was even more strikingly beautiful. "You came this
way just to interview me?" she said. Our exchange began.
got you started with Citroens?
I just loved them when I first saw them as I was growing up
in Toronto. And in fact the guy who the album is dedicated
to, Victor Unsworth, was a bass player in my first band and
a very good friend of mine, was a Citroen fanatic. He never
had one, but he introduced me them, and would point them out
to me. So that's how I first became aware of them, then every
time I'd see one, I'd get a rush. When I went over to England
for the first time, (there's a lot more of them over there),
I knew was that they were Citroens. I didn't know what the
model was that I liked. I would try to stop drivers and ask
them what the model number of their car was. It was an obsession
to the point where I would get excited when I saw one. They
were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen, I was
so into them! So I’m in England, and a record company
had flown me over there to meet its chairman. I hadn't signed
with them yet but they knew, because what I had told their
artist relations people, that I loved these cars, so they
were going to get me a Citroen as part of the signing bonus
incentive. Well, I ended up go with Warner Brothers instead,
and bought the car on my own. That was the first thing I did
after signing record deal. I used my advance to purchase a
did you find it?
I bought my car through Jacques Laude at Challenger Motors
you done any restoration on it?
I haven't done a lot because it was in pretty good shape when
I got it. In fact I planned to paint it black. I love black,
my house is black. everything is black. But color of the car
was this incredible blue, and as much as I love black, I couldn't
touch this color blue. It’s unique.
that the original paint?
I believe it was originally black. and the first owner
painted it blue. Jacques told me the original owner was a
president of Citroen of America. I'm the third owner and I
bought it from a French guy who just loved the car.
do you like most about it?
Its design, both physically and mechanically: it's brilliantly
engineered. I've changed a tire on it before. You change the
hydraulic position and the car just kind of Iifts up and says,
“Okay, here." It's ridiculously easy. I can change
a tire on this car. It's so easy. It's logically engineered,
and it looks so incredible, People stop me all the time and
ask what kind of car it is, They wave. And I know I paid a
lot less for my car than they think I did.
prompted you to write the song "DS 21 "?
My manager's wife would be around the studio and she'd see
me leaving, from her vantage point she would watch me get
in my car, I'd sit in my car, and it would rise. She made
a very sexual comment about that, and I thought "Yeah,
that's kind of interesting: I turn it on, and it rises".
So that's where I got the idea for the song. I wanted to immortalize
the car. I am thrilled that I was the first one to do it:
It's an honor.
you had any strange breakdowns or incidents?
Well once I parked in back of the studio over one of those
concrete stops, and the car sank while I was in the studio.
When I came out the car wouldn't start, so I had to have it
towed and it dragged over the concrete.
the car ever stranded you anywhere?
No, never. Actually my manager was really reluctant for me
to buy this car because of the safety requirements, but this
is my first and only car. My friend has a Jaguar, and compared
to the amount of maintenance he has to do, I think I'm in
pretty good shape.
you given it a name?
Well, actually it's kind of a joke. I have this word for babies:
I call them "Budges". So it's the "Budge"
car. But more often people think I'm from another planet,
so they call it my spaceship. It gets called the blue spaceship
the longest trip you ever took In it?
I think doing Christmas shopping has put a lot of miles on
it. I really haven't done any business in it. Basically I
drive back and forth to the studio.
does your family think of your car?
They're in love with it too.
you driven any other models?
No, but I'm dying to. I'd love to get a 2 CV.
should try an SM sometime.
I nearly bought an SM. It was between my DS and an SM.
Jacques told me it was difficult to get parts for the SM.
He steered me towards the DS. The SM was black, too. I could
have gone either way. But he told me it would be wiser to
get the DS. SM wouldn't have made as good a song anyway.
is the most common comment from people about your car?
They wonder what kind of car it is. Nobody has ever seen
anything like it and they're intrigued. A lot of people think
it's very expensive. They want to know what year it is.
may interest you to know that I have sold several copies of
your album at my garage. Even people that aren't into rock
music love "DS 21"
It's amazing to me the number of people that haven't "got
it". I specifically put symbols, clues, in there. The
Citroen logo, you know. People ask "Are they sergeant
stripes?" I constantly get asked '"What does DS
21 mean?" An interviewer from Rolling Stone asked me
and I said, "Well, I'll give you a clue. The symbol is
a registered trademark." and he still didn't get it.
Finally as he walked me to my car I pointed it out. But it's
amazing-a lot of people think it's about a keyboard.
outline your musical career.
I was classically trained. My parents are classical musicians.
I started hearing funk as the kind of music that I sort of
gravitated towards, in Florida actually, because I spent my
Christmases as a kid in Ft. Lauderdale. There really wasn't
black radio in Canada, so that's where it started for me,
hearing it on the beach in Florida. Then when I was 15, I
dropped out of school and joined a band as a keyboard player.
I realized then that I wanted to sing, since I had been playing
since I was 5. In order to sing you have to have songs, so
I started writing songs as a means to an end. I found when
I was performing my own songs live, just how unlike anything
else it was, because I was able to communicate. It's like
complete communication. It's my words, my music, my performance.
So songwriting became more important to me than anything.
I didn't get signed in Canada however. I got picked up by
a production company who moved me to New York. There was some
label interest in LA so I was moved here. I lived here for
a year, got signed here, got my car, and here l am.
your video was shot?
The "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" video was shot
in New York because I wrote the song there. It's a New York
song for me. I insisted they shoot the video there because
that's what the video is about.
you have any plans for putting your car in any future videos?
Well, I've taken pictures of myself with the car and if
"DS 21" becomes a hit single I may. We thought about
starting the video with me driving onto a parking lot. Anybody
who knows me associates me with the car. I think we look alike.
has been the main musical influences in your life?
Everything I've ever heard. Since I come from a classical
background I was exposed to the classics, Beethoven, Bach,
Mozart. But also the contemporary composers, Bartok, Debussy,
Messiaen, things that to a Western ear might seem a little
dissonant. My father is a contemporary composer, as well as
my mother. After the ban on rock music was lifted from my
house, I was influenced by black music. Funk, Rock, Stevie
Wonder, Led Zeppelin. I also love Indian music. Eastern ethnic.
I also love Country. Randy Travis. K.D. Lang, Loretta Lynn,
anything with soul.
you brought up on the piano then?
you also play organ?
Yes. In fact I was playing in this rock band at 15 and
we were making no money. So I had this job at the Anglican
church in my neighborhood filling in for the organist, and
it was really fun because I’d be coming off the road
with the band and I’d be changing in the van and going
to church to play the service. I also played the harpsichord.
can you tell me about the next album?
It’s going to be better. I am really looking forward
to it. It’s all written. I feel that the first album
was difficult because I had already demo’d a lot of
the songs. Only three of the songs on it had I cut for the
first time. So it was recreating a creation. You’re
just recreating something that already exists to make it sonically
better. But the passion you have when you sing something you’ve
written for the first time-you can’t fake that. All
of these songs are new, so I’m really looking forward
you were to do an album with another known artist, who would
Well, I really not a collaborator. I’ve never collaborated
with anybody. When I write and what I write – even when
I’m not in the studio-is really personal. I feel kind
of inhibited if somebody else is around. To write with somebody
is to expose myself and say, “This is what I’m
trying to say, that’s why your line won’t work
here.” But I guess hypothetically, I’d be thrilled
to work with Stevie Wonder.
word would you use to describe your personality style?
word would you use to describe your musical style?
you have any plans to go on tour?
Yes. I’ll be going on the road after this next album
you had any offers to do commercials?
Actually I have. But I really don't feel like I write
songs to sell soda, (although Citroens maybe). Who knows,
I might need a sponsor, but I'd like to try and do it on my
own if I can. Because I feel it's special, an artist is special
to their audience, and when they suddenly become a product
of a huge corporation, they become impersonal. They just become
so far removed.
your song "You're My Religion Now", was that commemorating
a turning point in your life?
No, it was the way I've always felt about it. I think
it's probably the most personal song on the album. I never
really got it, you know, and I've always had my own feelings
about God. I felt that the best I've ever communicated exactly
what I feel is in that song. I think religion is a very personal
thing. I believe that God is in all of us, and that you don't
have to go to another man to get a direct line to God. I don't
think that the Pope has a direct line particularly. I think
all we have to do is call and we'll be answered.
would you consider your first sign that you were doing the
right career, your first big break?
I had written a song and signed with a publishing company
and it got the attention of Maurice White ( the group Earth,
Wind, and Fire.) He was going to cut it. Nothing transpired,
but that was an affirmation, it told me that what I was doing
was good. So I think that really was the first big break,
although it didn't lead to anything then, in my mind it was
all I needed.
are your interests besides Music?
Citroens! and antique clothes and antiques. I haunt junk
stores. You should have seen me yesterday. I had to buy 20
long did it take to get your hair that long?
Well, that's kind of an age question. Let's just say it
took a long time. I get it rebraided once a month, and it
takes three girls 14 hours to do it. It's very painful, but
once it's done I don't have to bother with it for a month.
The top part I wash and do every three or four days.
makes you happiest, saddest and maddest?
I'm happiest when I'm doing what I do best, which is making
music. And it's selfish, but when I think it's good, that's
when I'm happiest. I'm second happiest when other people respond
to it. I mean I was happy when I wrote "Don't Wanna Fall
In Love", and I was doubly happy when people responded
to it and it went to the top of the charts. Conversely I'm
saddest when I'm not working. When I'm doing things I don't
think are good. What makes me angry is kind of unrelated.
What angers me most is ignorance. Ignorance that is uneducated
and racist. It scares me because it's irrational, and it doesn't
have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
I'm really looking forward to going on tour. I'm looking
forward to playing my songs with a band. Being able to really
put across the songs the best that they can be put across.
Before I was signed, I was playing bars and wasn't really
able to do it right. This time I'll be able to do it right.
It's really exciting to me, the prospect of these kids that
write me letters actually being there and seeing my concert.
be one of those Kids! Jane Child is the Citroen of the music
world -She is bold in her outward individual style and explicit
in her expression of ideas and artistry. If you really want
to find out how Jane feels about her car, just buy her album.
"That's a good thing to say", says Jane as we closed
our meeting. Jane writes, produces and performs all the instruments
on her album, except for the guitar parts. Lets all hope that
for years to come Jane Child's Incredible Tunes Resound Over
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