He took us backstage at the London opening of The Girlie Show tour and gave the world one of the most memorable TV interviews of the Sex / Erotica era when he interviewed her in Milan in 1992.
In 1994 Steve was invited to talk with Madonna for a 2nd time. In Paris, they discussed her new album "Bedtime Stories" in-depth, along with a lot more! The interview aired for the first time exactly 20 years ago today - November 2nd 1994.
Madonna-TV caught up with Steve recently who is still a force to be reckoned with in European Television. He kindly shared his thoughts on that 1994 Madonna interview and the superstar in general!
I was 21 in 1980, had left University and within a year of my graduation moved up to London. I was discovering who I was, I was ego-driven like everyone during that era, and here, a few years later, was a woman who would become the biggest idol of the late 20th century, doing her own thing.
Uncompromising, non-conformist, enterprising, and outwardly looking like she had it all. Madonna was always pushing the boundaries of sexual mores, she was open, sexual, non-judgemental, and that made her an important figure, especially for gay men, and particularly during the 80s and early 90s.
Meeting with Madonna:
There was a period in in the 90s where Madonna seemed to thrive. Not just that she was a chameleon, creating a new image for each album, but that she was actually changing and developing as a human being.
It all started when she released the book SEX in 1992, a compilation of photos by fashion photographer Steven Miesel and stills from a film shot by Fabien Baron, of Madonna in various erotic poses, with a number of unknown models, actors, pop stars and other celebrities. The book received different reactions around the world. Headlines in Britain and America described it as shocking, but in Europe the reaction was less vociferous.
By the time I first interviewed her in Milan, about that book and the album Erotica which had been released the day before, she was already having to defend the photos, and she did with her usual vigour, coming over as aggressive.
But when I interviewed her again in 1994, the furore had died down, her attitude had become less uncompromising, and her words shed some light on how it must be to be Madonna. The interview took place at the Ritz in Paris, and she had clearly suffered from the backlash against her at that period. She talked about herself in terms of being a survivor. And she saw survival as nothing new in her life.
In interviews, where her brother Christopher has said that she is at her most uncomfortable, Madonna will downplay any insecurities by going on the offensive. In the interview I conducted with her in Milan she was fighting for control from the moment the camera rolled. Each question was challenged. Each answer dissected. Then something unusual happened. For me there is a key moment in every interview which will define it.
And in Madonna's case it came during the pre-amble to a question. “It is often said that you like to control everything around you“, I started. Before I had finished the question Madonna squeezed her hands together, her knuckles cracked and the sound reverberated around the room. It was no co-incidence that this occurred during the word 'control'.
“I have known that certain things I would do would provoke a certain reaction”, she told me in 1994. During that later interview in Paris, which coincided with the release of Bedtime Stories, she described the songs as being about “a spiritual struggle, about realisations about life”. Madonna was changing. There seemed to a different, more reflective person, the taut atmosphere she creates was still evident, but it seemed that the hurt she felt from the press reaction to the book SEX and the album Erotica, had made an impact. I asked Madonna whether she felt she was being punished. She agreed.
In bed thanks Madonna?
There are no pre-conditions interviewing Madonna, she’s an adult, she will answer what she wants, my book is always to try and get something a little different, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Off camera Madonna has always been very friendly to me.
In Milan I took my boyfriend along, an Australian Greek model who had traveled the world with his Madonna memorabilia. He waited outside the room and as the interview ended I asked Madonna if she would say hello to him. In her best Marilyn Madonna pose she lent towards him, blew him a kiss and said seductively ‘hello X’. My boyfriend almost fainted. But I had the best sex that night.
Never say that Madonna is over, or that she cannot act or direct or anything else the haters would say because she will come back and bite you one day. I love her commitment to her life. And for that I will always love her. She did masses for gay people, yet sometimes we are the first to slag her off.
The world changed, at least our western world changed, Madonna is no longer needed in western societies to advance gay rights, yet we must always appreciate her forthrightness and outspokenness. It may be a different era but just two years ago she still made more money than anyone because of her tours. She's too good to put down.
Post by madonna-tv.com.
(MTV, Oct 1994)