Throwback Thursdays

Issue 9: Bob Sinclar

Every Thursday we reprint an article from the Ministry Magazine back-issues.

Every Thursday we delve into the archives of our old print venture, Ministry Magazine. We pick an issue and take a look at a highlight (or lowlight) with a modern eye.

This week we're onto Issue 9 from October 1998 - a vintage year for dance music journalism. The lovely Sara Cox adorns the cover, while articles feature a range of stories about field raves, Sasha, soggy chips, something called the monkey mafia and car stereos. But the article we'll be focusing on this time is an interview with French house pioneer Bob Sinclar, and is truly one of the more bizarre features to ever come out of Ministry Magazine.

The interview takes place just weeks after Bob's huge collaboration with Thomas Bangalter, "Gym Tonic", took Ibiza by storm. However the DJ seems less keen to talk about Gym Tonic and his musical career but prefers to talk in depth about his life as an international playboy, his ambitions of becoming an aftershave tycoon and his ill-fated relationship with model, fitness guru and "Gym Tonic"-sampled, Jane Fonda - like we said, totally bizarre.

You can have a read of the original feature below and if, like us, you have no idea what he's going on about, you can try and ask Bob for clarification in person, when he plays the club in July.

Bob Sinclar, international DJ-spy. A playboy who craves excitement, beautiful women and beautiful cars. He’s every woman’s fantasy, and every man’s idol. He’s also responsible for putting out the stonking Ibiza anthem “Gym Tonic”. As soon as you hear the silky tones of Jane Fonda singing “And back 2, 3, 4...” you know it could only be Bob. It might be an amazing dancefloor filler, but we soon discover it’s just a glimpse into Bob Sinclar, the man.

So what is the truth behind Bob, this seductive enigma with a French accent? “I am all you’ve said and more,” Bob tells me unashamedly and then thinks for a minute. “I am a man of taste, a man of style, a man of charm.” And evidently a man who can seduce a dancefloor as easily as he can seduce a glamorous woman.

So how does Bob feel about being placed at the forefront of the new French house? Maison, if you like? He swings his arms about with typical Gallic abandon as he answers: “French music: Edith Piaf, Johnny Halliday... It used to be shit. But in the 70s and 80s, the disco scene became huge: it was very groovy and funky. I want to keep the old-fashioned crunchy sound quality, but add a new dynamic. There are people on the techno side of the scene, and then there are people like myself and Daft Punk at the funky end. A lot of small labels and artists like Motorbass and Super Discount are going in that direction as well. But my album is for girls having fun on the dancefloor – I just want to create a hot sound.”

But despite his charms and way with a beat, Bob has still been hurt in the past. His secret history with Jane Fonda is something he’s reluctant to talk about, but releasing “Gym Tonic” has helped him come to terms with his past. In stumbling English and with smouldering glances, Bob lets the truth unfurl:

“I used to work out with Jane Fonda in Los Angeles. When she discovered that I was a DJ of much fame she asked me to play my music in her workout classes. I DJ’d there for about a year and Jane and I had a very passionate affair.”

Bob pauses and glances around the room but then regains his composure. “Then, one day she fired me in favour of Junior Vasquez! I was... a little bit disappointed. I even gave her back her leg warmers. I had to tell her ‘it’s finished between you and me,’ and yes she cried. After I left her, a lot of models like Cindy and Elle asked me to DJ in their workout classes, but I had to refuse because I wanted to stay true to Jane. You understand? It was a very sad time for me.”

It’s obvious when you talk to Bob that there’s still tension there. So what did Jane say when she heard “Gym Tonic”? “She didn’t give us permission to make the track because she was upset with me for leaving her, even though she fired me. But we’re going to find a new girl to record the workout vocals for my CD, so everything will sound the same.”

But how can music alone be enough for this insatiable man? An international playboy he may be, but a man of such prestigious talent must surely have other projects to fulfil himself? “For the future I am going to be marketing an irresistible aftershave called Paradise, which will be a huge success. My slogan is ‘Get Bob Sinclar’s aftershave to blow your top and achieve sexual climax’ – I can see Kate Moss whispering it now. When the album comes out a lot of men will want to be like me because they know the crazy effect I have on girls, so they will all buy Paradise. At the moment, I live by myself in my beautiful villa on the Mexican Riviera – Villa Macho. Maybe when I am much older I will find a beautiful lady to settle down with. But I know my heart will always belong to Jane.”

Written by Matthew Francey

19 Jun 2014