Few modern musicians know Paris as well as Lenny Kravitz, who divides his time between the city and the Bahamas. Kravitz was in the latter when the Paris attacks took place, but was nonetheless deeply impacted on several levels. The singer told Rolling Stone about hearing about the attacks and how this will affect the country going forward.
Paris is my only city home. In the Bahamas, I live a very bush, low-key life in the middle of nature. But in Paris, I have my house. My friends go to that Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge [site of one of the attacks] all the time. I’ve been to the Stade de France [stadium] for concerts or a mach. I’ve played on the stage of the Bataclan. I’ve gone to concerts there. Back in the Nineties, Alice in Chains were playing there and they invited me up onstage to jam with them. The last show I saw there was the Black Keys and I was up in the balcony. It’s an institution.
I was in the Bahamas when I heard about [the Bataclan shooting]. I heard about it before it hit the news. A friend in Paris got a text from somebody inside, saying what was going on. This was a close friend of somebody who works with me in my camp. The details were quite chilling. It was horrific and the bravery this person had while being wounded and texting the details. Somebody who worked on my tour staff on my last tour [in catering] was injured and the person who was with them, their man, was killed. They were working for the band [Eagles of Death Metal]. She wrote to my friend Craig, saying how she had to play dead the whole [time] lying amidst the bodies.
One of my friends who I hang out with in Paris had tickets to the show and wanted to go badly, but sold his ticket and didn’t go. There are stories of other people who were coaxed into seeing the show by friends: “Come on, we’re going.” And they lost their life. Whether it was anybody I knew or not, it hit a chord with me and I’m deeply concerned. I think at this point, It could happen anywhere. I live my life onstage and in venues and these things can happen. And they’re being chosen as targets.
I’m not worried about returning to Paris. I was in New York for 9/11. Things bounced back. But in general, I think life is changing. You’ll definitely think about it when you’re sitting in a café or in a restaurant. Obviously, we’re talking about France and these people, but at the same time, these things are going on all over, in Lebanon, Syria, Africa. I’m concerned about this on every level for everybody. It’s not just “pray for Paris” — it’s “pray for the world.”
As told to David Browne