Fame: Tony Visconti


Do you get recognised in the street?

In the UK I get recognised all the time, maybe because I’ve been on telly more than I have here in the States. It doesn’t bother me, because I’m not a rock star. I know I won’t be mauled or get my hair pulled out.

When did you first become aware of being famous?

Marc Bolan put my photograph on the back of Tanx [1973] and I began to get recognised. But in those days producers weren’t stars. In the seventies people honestly thought a producer just sat in a chair, did nothing and got lots of money for it.

You’ve been well-placed to see the effects of fame on people. How did Bolan and Bowie handle it?

I don’t think they were very different. Anyone who gets famous and starts to accumulate wealth also has to find security. So both of them had minders. And of course you need a car to get around, so you might as well buy a nice one.

How did someone like Phil Lynott deal with fame?

Phil was the quintessential rock star. He loved the adulation. He was a hundred per cent on all the time. He’d come to the recording session dressed up as a rock star, rather than turn up in a T-shirt or hoodie. And that’s probably one of the secrets of success: to be a star whenever you walk out of your front door.