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Madonna Interview : Melody Maker

Madonna - Melody Maker / November 05 1983

Despite her bedroom wall potential, success has so far largely been supported by the black and hispanic communities, but the release of “Burning Up” and the accompanying video could rapidly change all that. Madonna pouts, pants and beats the ground in a frenzy of contrived frustration. Hands desperately pushing up her hair she pleads, “Do you wanna see me down on my knees… Unlike the others I’d do anything, I’m not the same I have no shame, I’m on fire, You know you got me burning up baby, Burning up for your love.”

In a way it’s preposterous and then again there’s this undeniable attraction in watching someone who just doesn’t care about the rules of good taste and who can say and do the most outrageous things and still seem charming.

Considering her performance, with more heavy breathing than a marathon she comments: “Well I am passionate! That’s the latin in me. I’m also very manipulative, I like to be at the centre of things. But as well as this outward agressive side there’s a part of me that’s very shy as well.

“You see I think it’s really important to make yourself vulnerable to people in a performance. On the other hand it’s nice to keep your distance too. I’ve always thought the most charismatic people have those dual opposites.”

Here she recalls the seminal figures of the old Hollywood, stars that came out a period that now appears touchingly naive when compared to the Eighties.

“But I still think it’s possible to stay open and child like. There are basic human elements there no matter what the time is – they transcend eras and fashion. I think it is very important to maintain the child in yourself. I think the people who aren’t afraid to stay like that are the people who always come up with the freshest ideas.”

In fact Madonna’s “ideas” aren’t the most original under the sun, but the enthusiasm and verve with which she presents them give them a new lease of life, a spark that let’s you believe she could have dreamt up the whole sweet-bad girl scam herself. Her recent show at the Camden Palace proved she had plenty of resources to cope with the unexpected) the complete collapse of the sound system) and the typically icy London crowd (something she’d already experienced earlier this year).

While she’s anxious to attract “the kind of people who might like Grace jones”, her current ambitions don’t stretch beyond the celebration of teenage passion. “The world is in such a bad shape at the moment who wants to hear about it in songs,” she opines. “They want songs about falling in lone and being lonely.”

The incredible success of Grandmaster flesh’s “The Message” argues that things aren’t quite that black and white, but Madonna eagerly dismisses their “voice of the people” stance. “I know Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five very well and they are so full of sh*t! Those guys are well off believe me, and very sure of themselves.

“I’m tired of hearing records about how we live on the street, y’know it’s a joke at this point. They don’t live on the street that’s their image. If you wanna make a hit record you’re not living on the street, I’m sorry! And now they’re singing about evils of cocaine – what!”

For someone who lives and works in New York, Madonna has refreshingly balanced attitude about the city every other British dance group is busting to record in. “Actually I get more of a buzz coming to London,” she says, adding that the scramble in search of that Midas touch from manhattan;s name producers is just another empty fashion.

“In fact nearly all the new music I like is British,” she asserts. And to show her faith the next album will probably be recorded in London. “With all your bands in New York I shouldn’t have any problem finding a free studio don’t you think?”

© Melody Maker