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Kate Wolf fest singer on Mick, homeless days

  • Marianne Faithfull, pictured here in 2011, will perform at the Kate Wolf Festival (photo by JC Amiel)

Marianne Faithfull picks up the phone, but she's still caught up in a movie.

“Hold on a second,” she says, searching for the remote to turn down the TV. “It's westerns night in Paris on TMC. I just watched 'Rio Grande' again and I cried, of course.”

These days, the former 1960s icon lives in the 6th Arrondissement, or neighborhood, on Paris' Left Bank. Tonight, she's fixing “brown rice with fresh peas and broccoli and wild salmon” for dinner.

It's a far cry from the tattered image of her former self — a heroin addict homeless in New York's Soho district in the early 1970s.

“I take great care of my health,” she says. “I've been doing it for years. It's just that people haven't caught up with it.”

It's been nearly 50 years since Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham met her at a party and introduced her to the band. Before that, she had dabbled as a singer in coffeehouses. In 1964, her hit rendition of the early Rolling Stones song “As Tears Go By” launched her career and a whirlwind fling with boyfriend Mick Jagger. She later co-wrote “Sister Morphine” with the Stones, but had to sue the band to get songwriting credit.

“It's a strange life, my life,” she said, with the cadence of having said it many times before.

But, where many might have faded away, Faithfull perseveres. She just got back from playing six nights in Vienna. She still acts (her last Bay Area appearance was in “The Black Rider” at the American Conservatory Theater in 2004). Her 1979 punk comeback album, “Broken English,” was re-released earlier this year.

Before she takes the stage at the Kate Wolf Festival this weekend, Faithfull took a break from TMC to chat about Sir Mick, sobriety and her homeless days.

Q: How have you taken care of your voice over the years?

A: I haven't particularly taken care of my voice. I just try to take care of myself and I suppose my voice goes with it. I do a lot of acupuncture. I drink lemon and honey a lot in the morning.

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