Do you still collect snakes?
Andrew Woods, Glasgow
I used to have a huge menagerie of about 75 snakes – boas, pythons, the lot – but I got rid of them around the time that my first son was born. Because I’d had some close calls with snakes nearly eating my pet cats and had this sudden feeling that something terrible might happen to my kids. So I gave them to various respectable reptilian institutions around California, and they’re all doing well. We’re down to two cats, a newly acquired kitten, and my wife’s Pomeranian. But I couldn’t resist getting this new anaconda recently. I told my eldest son, “look, the snake’s shedding, so just don’t touch his face, whatever you do”. And that’s the first thing he did. And he got bitten. So there’s a lesson for him.
What’s your favourite British sitcom?
Absolutely Fabulous, of course. Patsy really was my alter ego! And I love anything with Dawn French, she’s fucking brilliant, man. A little bit before that I loved The Young Ones, Fawlty Towers and Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder. And I’m often impressed by new stuff I see.
You can’t be a rock and roll god all the time. What in your record collection might surprise us?
You’ll find lots of Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Minnie Ripperton, Cat Stevens, all that kind of shit, but you’ll also find complete catalogues of Walt Disney music. All the classic themes – Jungle Book, Cinderella, Lady And The Tramp, the whole lot. And I love Carl Stalling, this guy who did all that weird background music for Warner Bros cartoons. And, among my classical CDs, I think I’ve got a version of pretty much everything ever written by Erik Satie. Oh, and you’d find catalogues of movie soundtracks and TV soundtracks.
Would you let Michael Jackson meet your children?
I already did! Michael met my eldest, London, when London was one or two years old, at the home of [film producer] Robert Evans, of all places. And no, I didn’t let Michael hold him. No offence to Michael but, at the time, with all that unnerving shit going down, I held on to him tight. You know, I give the benefit of the doubt to Michael on everything – innocent until proven guilty and whatnot – but I was thinking, okay Michael, you figure out your shit and I’ll hold on to my son! But I like Michael a lot, and I enjoyed recording those two albums with him. He’s different.