Marc Bolan

ARTICLE ABOUT Marc Bolan FROM New Musical Express, August 19, 1972

It is my Birthday today, and as I celebrate one more year on this planet and also mourns the fact that I am one year closer to my unavoidable death, I give you an article on someone that was laid to rest way too early.
Oh, and if you would like to leave me a Birthday greeting – please do so on my Facebook wall:
I will be very thrilled to hear from you.
Read on!

Bolan on love, hate and the Press

By Keith Altham

MARC BOLAN may not be one step ahead of the shoe-shine, but he has certainly been slandered, libelled, heard words you’ve never heard in the Bible — and all because he’s trying to keep his customers satisfied. Paul Simon, at least, would understand Bolan’s problems.
It seems that almost any time someone writes something now about Bolan the man, it is a case of canonisation or crucifixion — and the truth, as usual, seems to be between the two extremes.
No one, in fact, is more aware of the love-hate relationship being conducted by the Press, and certain sections of the public, than the man himself.
Says Bolan: “I’m aware that one week I’m on the front page of all the papers as a hero of the people, and then suddenly next week they’re trying to nail me to a cross.
“The week after that, I’m on the cover again because I’m selling papers.
“That doesn’t bother me from a business point of view because I can appreciate the reasons, but it does tend to make me a little cynical.
“I used to open up far more with the Press than I will now — I’d take certain reporters into my confidence and ask them not to print certain things and explain why — then they’d go right ahead and print them.
“I got hurt and angry. Now I watch what I say more carefully.
“I don’t expect the whole world to love me or my music, but when people turn round and infer I’m just in it for the money, I can’t help wondering what I was doing it for over the past seven years when I was skint.
“Every three months or so the criticism and the pressure really begins to build up and I get stretched to the point where I think ‘bollocks — Fuck ’em’, I`ll just give up and retire. But I can’t because it’s a part of me.
“Then I think about the genuine love and concern I get from so many young people, and I think why should I worry about what a few pretentious mentally-stunted students in their twenties are saying!”

ALL GOOD quotes folks, and taken right out of the context of a much longer feature for NME in the near future in which I was trying to get some degrees of perspective on Marc Bolan the person.
There are lots of other juicy bits and pieces, like the fact that he does not believe he has too long to live, which ought to be the silliest thing to make the papers world-wide since Paul McCartney hid in Scotland and everyone presumed him dead.
We can kill the “Is Marc sick?” rumours right here, because he is in perfect health, but the remark was just one of the interesting items he let drop in our two-hour session.
There were others, including his feelings about being invited to tour America shortly on a teen-package caravan being headed up by the legendary Dick Clark.
When I get the words down for all you NME faithfuls out there it is not to be a “Poor old Marc – no one understands him”; nor is it to be “Good old Marc, the saviour of rock and roll”.
It is not a look inside his head, because everyone has been doing that and trotting out the same presumptious interpretations.
I am not a Marc Bolan ‘fanatic’, in fact, neither am I his severest critic.
Personally I think Bolan’s music is “fun”, and I see no need to go much further than that in a criticial analysis. It was never necessary with the early Beatles, Stones or the Kinks either.
I do not think Marc Bolan really cares too much about doing anything else other than enjoying himself and communicating that joy to other people.
Marc Bolan is POP music, and if we have become so introspective and hyper-critical that we cannot recognise it, then it’s our hang-up not his.
If you had suggested ten years ago that Chuck Berry’s songs were socio-political, people would have laughed in your face. It is only in the passing of time that rock becomes an historical art-form by reflection. Right now it’s fun, entertainment.

JUST IN CASE I may have given the impression that Marc is sitting up in his London offices brooding, here are a few final words on the present position:
“I’m sorry if some of my actions upset people, but my head is absolutely clean inside, and I am honest about what I’m doing.
“I know it gives a lot of people a lot of pleasure. It’s my life, and I’m enjoying it more than ever before.
“I’m a rock and roll poet, man, who is just bopping around on the side, and I’m not Donny Osmond, and I’m not Engelbert Humperdinck, and if I get into those bags I would expect to be ripped off.
“What I do know is what I like and, if people are offended, they can switch off.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Marc Bolan (T. Rex) FROM New Musical Express, March 20, 1971

Some interesting tidbits in this one. Enjoy!
Read on!

Bolan the defiant

By Nick Logan

T. REX now have two hit singles to their credit, the second going great guns to dislodge McCartney from the top, and Marc Bolan isn’t in the least bit repentant. He has no need to be.
“I watched them play ‘Hot Love’ on Top Of The Pops,” Marc addresses us from a perch on the arm of his Chesterfield, and as the record came on all the little girls began to smile.
“There they were dancing away in their little hot pants and that really turned me on. Because they probably didn’t know anything about me or who I am, but they are digging that record. I can remember for me how it was…”
Remember he does: Recounting how the child Bolan would sit on the floor, back against the record player pressing his head back against the speaker cloth in some sort of subconscious attempt to make himself a part of the music.
“… Like you thought you could force your way through and suddenly tumble out into the studio,” put in his publicist, B. P. Fallon.
“Yeah, right that’s it exactly.
“And if you can get that feeling across to anybody then forget all about your sell outs and your knockers.”
What the defiant Bolan is getting into — now that the latent potential of the one time vexing Rex is gushing like a backyard oil strike, because they really have been getting better as well as commercial — is the power and potential of the single as the most immediate and exciting bridge between artist and audience.
A kind of second best though maybe better because the machinery is there to serve the whole country — to singing new songs from a balcony the minute they run off the pen. Like cakes, sell ’em when they’re hot and fresh and, if they sell like hot cakes too…

Fab fancy

It was primarily a music day for T. Rex — “I’m really into making demos” — but the morning had been set aside for the NME and, earlier, a photo session for one of the teenybop magazines: Marc`s a Fab Fancy this month you know. The sun streamed in on the activity as I waited my turn, the new Hendrix album providing the musical backcloth and Marc’s June engagingly dispensing a “Lyon’s Corner House” service in cream cakes and coffee. “Hot Love” has the hot cake qualities Marc is after. All three maxi tracks, featuring Mothers of Invention vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, were cut in a session a few hours long begun at four o’clock one morning; the only time the singers could get a release from Zappa. It was in the shops as soon as possible after strings had been added, and has lost little time since in emulating the success of “Ride A White Swan.” “Basically because White Swan` had been out 19 weeks or so,” started Bolan in explanation of the hot-on-the-heels of release. “It was going down, obviously, and as we leave for America later this month for four and a half weeks we would have had to wait until we came back to promote the new one. That would have been almost four months; too long to wait when things are good.
“It wasn’t done as a follow-up but the minute we did it we knew it was and it got us over the whole follow up vibe. Then it became a case of either put it out quickly or wait until later, by which time maybe we would have gone cold on it ourselves and wouldn’t want it released any more.”
Photo session over, June set about organising a hire car for a drive to Reading. All they had available were XJ6s, the prestige Jags, the “flashness” of which Marc accepted with a certain reluctance.
What the success of the T. Rex singles has done is speed up the group’s development and leave Marc’s mind in a state of animated flux; churning out sometimes conflicting ideas like a berserk cement mixer.


They emerge in machine gun spurts… about how the stage act should evolve; what shape the group should take; should it grow? Preparing for the American tour, he is most mindful of the need to impose self discipline.
“There will only be 40 minutes in America. We’ll be scrapping all the old stuff, basically all the acoustic things. I want to make it really visual for them. I am going through so many changes of what I want. I’m very hopeful of getting Howard and Mark to do the tour with us.
“One of the things I got out of the Reg (Elton John) concert at the Festival Hall was that the strings really worked. Possibly we might get into using Howard and Mark here too eventually.
“My attitude to live gigs is changing incredibly. I am trying to tighten up. It is me. I get so involved in playing. Sometimes I feel I don’t play enough, sometimes I play too much. I would like to get over that and become more consistent as a musician.
“That really upsets me, The recording is okay. A lot of musicians dry up in the studio but that doesn’t happen to me.”
The phone rings; Marc declines to answer. “I don’t take calls on a music day. I just have nothing to say to anybody. Do you get like that?”
He returns to his theme: “On stage sometimes, if when we go on the people are a bit cool, unless I am in really good spirits I tend to get into their mood and play just for myself and Micky. But that is wrong. In those circumstances you need to come on extra strong to warm them up. I suppose I am not a professional.”
He talks excitedly about bigger backings, a silver console to “take the guitar further than it’s ever been…
“But then I go to see the Neil Young concert and see him doing things completely different from the records and it being really strong too.
“Finding the people I could work with would be difficult, because I am sometimes an eccentric person. I don’t always talk to, or want to talk to people. I have been lucky with Steve (Currie) and Micky, and with Howard and Mark. It is a whole new scene with them. We get very noisy together. I have a tape just of the talking we did on those sessions. We went in at four and took a bottle of Remy Martin with us.”
The Mothers singers and T. Rex first met on the duo’s first American tour when they shared gigs with Kaylan and Volman’s old band, The Turtles.
“They were so excited to meet us,” remembers Bolan, “and we found that they had all our albums and knew the lyrics and everything, and I didn’t know anybody else in America like that. We vibed and played together in hotel rooms on tour.
“They are such good singers. It is really exciting to work with people like that. They can sing everything I have ever heard in my head with ease.”

Knocked out

It is insisted that I listen to their vocals on the “Woodland Rock” track off the maxi single and conversation returns to “Hot Love” after the playing of a Presley bootleg ’45 of “You’re Right, I’m Left, She’s Gone,” and a couple of Creedence Clearwater album tracks that Marc felt should have been singles.
“What I was trying to do was to take a leaf out of a real music persons world and it knocks me out that after all these weeks people are still ringing up and wanting to do interviews. “I still can’t relate to it. I don’t mean all that bit about not believing that it can be happening to me… but what is hard to understand is that it is going out across England. “It is like all I get is the music. I am just pleased that a lot of people are listening to it. That is what excites me. I love putting singles out. Lennon is into that, and `Hot Love’ is so right because it’s so new. Its like the last song I had written at that time. I used to say that albums were behind what we are doing but singles like ‘Hot Love’ are well ahead.
“That’s exciting me no end because I don’t know what I want to do yet and I am forcing myself to grow. In the past I wouldn’t have taken any risks but everything I am doing now is a risk. I am very self destructive.
“The risk is that `Hot Love` could have died a death and we could have blown the whole thing. Some people spend their lives covering themselves, insuring themselves against risks. All I am trying to do is open up my potential as a person. I could sit down now and write an album. I don’t know if would be any good but both ‘White Swan’ and `Hot Love` were written like that.
“I have another one right now that we could put out,” he says, jumping from his chair, taking up a cross-legged sitting position on the floor, clutching an acoustic guitar and singing.
“It’s called ‘Mambo Sun’.”
“Or here, here’s another, `Cosmic Dancer’…”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Marc Bolan (T. Rex) FROM New Musical Express, January 16, 1971

As the casual follower of this man`s career – this article learned me a lot that I didn`t know about what he did before be became the Bolan that “everyone” knew. Quite interesting! Bound to be a star?
Read on!


Beau Brummel, Bert Weedon, Bill Haley and Helen Shapiro… figures in the formative years of the T. Rex leader

By Nick Logan

EVEN with the wine Marc had put away beforehand, it must have required a good deal of precocious arrogance. A “dude” dresser from the age of 9, writer of his autobiography at 14, subject of glossy magazine features at 15 here he was at 19 making his first ever public appearance in front of six or seven million people. And he’d never sung before.
“I had no real idea how to sing,” remembers Marc of that “Ready Steady Go” promotion on his first solo single, “The Wizard” back in 1965. “I had only sung before in the studio when we made the record. I thought it would be easy. You just stood there and started singing and that was that.”
But for the child Bolan, who’d learnt all he knew about singing from watching Cliff Richard in “Summer Holiday,”
Elvis in “Loving You” and Eddie Cochran in “Untamed Youth,” that wasn’t that. The result, with the band starting late behind Marc and playing in a a different key, was a fiasco.


” I was so embarrassed,” recalls Marc, who made a silent pledge to himself as he left the set “to really work at being a musician from that moment on.”
One time sideman for Helen Shapiro (yes really), male model, child poet and first of the East End Mods before the breed had yet been given a name by the press, Marc’s has been a chequered life.
“The first time I heard music seriously,” he recalls, “was through my Dad who worked in Petticoat Lane and used to bring me home records. The first I had was Ballad Of Davey Crockett’ by Bill Hayes. Remember that?”
Just in case I didn’t, Marc was on hand with a half-remembered verse, “Da-aavy, Da-aavy Cro-ckett….”
“I played that all the time until my Dad came home one day and said: `I’ve got this new Bill Hayes record for you’ and I thought great. I looked at the cover and there was this guy jumping around with a guitar. I said ‘But Dad this isn’t Bill Hayes, this is Bill Haley.’ It was a real downer. But I played it…. Rock Around The Clock,’ ‘See You Later Alligator’…. and I thought ‘Wow … what’s this?’
“Bill Hayes got thrown right out of the window.”

Fave stars

Apart from serving as a kid at the famed 2 I’s coffee bar — where incidentally he can remember Cliff Richard being thrown out for jamming in the downstairs room — Bolan’s next brush with the temptingly attractive world of rock and roll occurred at the Hackney Empire where “Oh Boy” was being filmed weekly and where the “fave” rock stars of the day could be seen and idolised and later imitated in front of the mirror at home, guitar clutched to breast.
Marc as yet couldn’t actually play the thing, but he could pluck a nifty tea chest bass, his dexterity on which got him a placing with a local outfit — not so much church hall as street corner group — glorying under the name of Susie and the Hoolahoops. Lead singer was Helen Shapiro.
It was when the friends of that period grew apart, and Miss Shapiro went on to be a teenage star — “I couldn’t relate to that because it was outside my neighbourhood and that was all I knew” — that Marc got into the clothes scene.
“The Life Of Beau Brummel” being one of the first books he got deeply into, he’d been a “smart dresser” from as early as nine but at 13 fell in with an older crowd from Stamford Hill for whom clothes had become a way of life. These were the early days of what was to ignite the whole Mod cult and the Carnaby Street bonanza.
“Visually,” remembers Marc, “these cats were amazing. They were about 20 when I first knew them but I decided that that was where I wanted to be too and by the time I was 14 I had the same sort of respect they had in the neighbourhood.”
So strong became their reputation, spreading further afield than the immediate East End, that when the National Press realised not only that Mods existed but that they would make good copy Marc and his friends were the people they went to.
At 15, “Town” magazine was devoting an article to Marc’s wardrobe and his views. He got out, he says, when the media moved in but claims that if you went around certain parts of the East End and mentioned Marc Feld, his real name, there would still be people who would remember.
His obsession for clothes came to an end when the family moved to Wimbledon — “because nothing ever happened there.”


Leaving school, he “went into exile for two or three years, like Beau Brummel had done.”A living of about £4 a week was made knicking records from second-hand record shops and selling them back.
He also did a bit of male modelling, for John Temple, the tailors, among others, and then, having learnt by then how to play as well as pose with guitar — with assistance from the Bert Weedon “Play In A Day” instructor — he set about breaking into music.
He made demos for everyone and anyone, failed an EMI recording test singing Betty Everett’s “You’re No Good” and finally signed with Decca to cut “The Wizard,” a new extended version of which is on the current T. Rex album.
From that first abortive “RSG” he went again into a form of exile, cutting himself off from former friends and associates — as well as Decca — to learn the art of songwriting. His difficulty was a lack of anywhere to play. The Underground was non-existent and the choice for a solo performer singing his own songs with a guitar was either folk clubs or rag balls. “I knew that the kids were there though,” says Marc, “because they were buying Dylan records.”
It was with producer/manager Simon Napier Bell that Bolan made his second solo record, “Hippy Gumbo.” A press handout of the time was recording such illuminating facts as…. “Likes: £9,000 cars. Dislikes: £8,000 cars.” Again, through his friendship with what was then the elitist circle of the day he was able to do a further “RSG” promotion. “I wasn’t ashamed of that one,” comments Marc, who remembers it primarily as the first unforgettable television appearance of Jimi Hendrix. Despite it, the single sold about 200 copies.
Napier Bell also managed a group called John’s Children who had had a minor hit with their first single. They wanted a lead guitarist. “Actually they wanted Pete Townshend and I was the nearest equivalent thing he had under contract,” laughs Marc.

John’s Children are probably best remembered for publicity photographs posed in the nude (before Marc joined) and their single “Desdamonah” (after). The single was Marc’s song all the way through, and often looked back on as a source of encouragement when things looked black.
When he finally split from John’s Children because he didn’t like the way their music was going, Marc started Tyrannosaurus Rex. It isn’t commonly known that for a brief spell they were a five piece electric group.
Marc had modelled them on Tomorrow and they managed a few gigs at The Electric Garden, later Middle Earth. “We didn’t rehearse,” recalls Marc. “We didn’t know about rehearsing. We thought you just went on and said `Here are the songs’…..”
Big Rex had a short life, permanently stunted when Track Records re-possessed the band’s equipment. Marc, bereft of his Gibson, bought a £12 acoustic with money his mother had given him and with Steve Took, who’d played drums with the five piece, set up the bopping duo.
John Peel’s assistance through “Perfumed Garden” and the duo’s free gigs in Hyde Park aroused the initial interest and created the impetus.
Before long they were back at Middle Earth. “A fiver a night and a cab home to Wimbledon we got when we started. A cab home…. wow that was really living.”


The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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ARTICLE ABOUT Tony Visconti FROM SOUNDS, September 28, 1974

This one should also be of interest to fans of T. Rex and David Bowie as they are heavily featured in this article. I really like to read articles that involves the great record producers as they have “been there and done that” to a whole legion of different artist. They are the people that really have stories to tell and many of them were sober enough to tell them correctly. Mr. Visconti is 75 years old on April 24th this year and is still active in his trade.


The spider who nearly got to mars

By Geoff Barton

The name Tony Visconti pops up with fair frequency at the bottom of record labels. The man is a record producer, as you probably know. He has been involved with Bolan, Bowie, Cocker, Procol, etcetera, ad infinitum.
But to look at him you wouldn`t believe he`d been anywhere remotely near such people. When you meet him the impression you get is of a clean-cut American – why, he even looks like one of the Osmonds. This time, however, you can throw your first impression to the wind. He`s been around, has Tony.
Tony comes from Brooklyn, New York, and has been a professional musician since he was 15 – he`s 30 now. He grew up with the likes of Fats Domino, Little Richard and Alan Freed. He studied classical guitar for three years, played bass and tried to be a jazz musician. “I did everything,” he says. “I was into every musical involvement in New York City.”
When he was 22 he was trying desperately to break into recording. He had visions of being a singer, a guitar player or a songwriter, or maybe all three. Instead, he was offered a job as record producer.
“My publisher was impressed by some home demos I`d made, and he reckoned I had a talent as a record producer. But I didn`t even know what a record producer was. The few times I`d been in the studio I`d only noticed the engineer and not the other guy – in those days he was called an A and R man.
“But I said I`d have a go. I did it for about a month, and then I met Denny Cordell, who had come over from England. He was looking for an American producer to bring back to England with him and introduce an American sound in Britain. He said he`d consider me.
“He failed to bring back Phil Spector so I got the job.”
Visconti spent his first six months over here as assistant to Cordell. He sat in on a lot of the early Move and Procol Harum sessions, and co-produced a few of the tracks on “Shine On Brightly”.

Then he met Marc Bolan in the UFO club, and watched what was then Tyrannosaurus Rex`s third gig.
“Tyrannosaurus Rex were the first group I discovered,” he says. “I went out and found them all on my own.”
So he came to produce “Prophets, Seers And Sages”, the first Tyrannosaurus Rex album, on a really low budget. “That was very sad. We made it in about four sessions, and it sounds drastically different from the ones that followed. `Prophets`, the next album, we got on a higher budget. But I think it really happened on `Unicorn`, when we had total control and I had started to develop lots of technical tricks. We were making guitars sound like violins and pianos like brass sections. We had a ball.”
Much of “Unicorn`s” individual, distinctive sound, he told me, is due to the fact that a large part of it was recorded in the gent`s loo at Trident Studios – which, as you might guess, had acoustic properties all of its own.
“Marc and I both had a passion for Phil Spector in those days, and we were into our Spector thing on the `Unicorn` album. Of course, it turned out completely freaky because Marc Bolan and Spector just don`t mix.”
And then, Marc went electric.
“Well, that was just a slow development. Marc got himself a little Strat, and that was it. Although he`d always wanted to play electric, Steve Took was more into electric music at the time. He was dying to pick up a guitar and play. He was writing loads and loads of songs around the time of `Unicorn`, but as we all know Marc isn`t about to share billing with anybody. They broke up about that, really.
“Steve was very frustrated, he wanted to play electric but it just didn`t happen. Had Marc allowed him to write I think that Tyrannosaurus Rex would have developed into a very different thing today.”
Do you approve of the “thing” T. Rex has now become?
“No. Quite honestly, no. I think Marc had something extremely unique in those days. I was really surprised that he switched, and tried to appeal to the mass market. You shouldn`t make hits for the public`s way of of thinking. You can`t live to please the public – there`s too many of them and they have too many different ideas. You have to be true to yourself.


“When we went over to electric I still tried to innovate new sound techniques, but one thing I had no control over was the quality of the songs.
“When I look back on it I think the most important thing to Marc Bolan was to be successful. He really wanted to be successful, and that lead to our break up.”
At the same time Visconti was producing Bolan he was also producing Bowie. And, conversely, he`s really pleased with the way Bowie has evolved.
“On one hand I had Marc Bolan, an aggressive little go-getter who really wanted to get somewhere, and on the other I had David Bowie who, at the time, was the laziest, most untogether person in the world.”
So, he split with Bolan and continued with Bowie. Well, for the time being at least.
“When I was involved with Bowie originally, he was trying desperately to become a pop artist. He didn`t want to be underground. I was producing him when he had his hit with `Space Oddity`.”
But, strangely enough, Visconti didn`t produce that single. Apparently he considered it to be a rip off, a “nick” as he calls it, of a number of other records including “Sounds Of Silence”. So, he didn`t want to know. Gus Dudgeon eventually produced the single, but Bowie came back to Visconti for the album of the same name.
“He must have respected me for not wanting to produce the single and we did both the `Space Oddity` and the `Man Who Sold The World` albums together. That last one was particularly gratifying because I got to play bass on it. I would have been a Spider From Mars if David and I hadn`t fallen out over domestic matters.
“Recently we`ve got together again, though. Bowie said to me: `the best time I ever had was making “Man Who Sold The World”. Can we do it all over again?` So, we did.”

Result: what Visconti calls Bowie`s “black album”. Like “Ziggy”, it`s another identity album, and it`s due to be released early next year. It was recorded in studios in Philadelphia, the centre of America`s black music industry, and is apparently unmistakably Bowie but with some “black treatment” – whatever that is.
Then, of course, there`s the Bowie live double album, mixed in quad, that was recorded over two nights in Philly, once again. They both should be interesting to hear.
Visconti has produced hundreds of albums, but I wondered if there were any he thought should have received greater acclaim.
“Yes. Two albums, in fact. The first one is an album I produced with my wife (Mary Hopkin) called `Earth Song, Ocean Song`. Mary has always been a folk singer, but when she won `Opportunity Knocks` she was taken into the glamour of it all, and it took her a long time to recover.
“She had been trying for years to do a folk album, and when I was first approached to produce it, I turned it down, saying `Mary Hopkin isn`t capable of doing a folk album`. The second time I was approached I actually met her, and we hit it off great. I found she knew her folk music very well. I ended up producing her, and the end result was a beautiful album.”
Mary was anxious to lose the image of the “Knock Knock, Who`s There” girl, but she couldn`t promote the album because she had to do a Summer season in Margate as the “old” Mary Hopkin. That finished her, and by the end of the Summer she had lost all her nerve. Tony hinted that she could now be on her way back, though.
The other album Visconti thinks should be better known is Carmen`s first album. That, he feels, was a victim of the energy crisis – the band couldn`t go on the road to promote it because of lack of petrol at the time.
Now, he`s making his own records as well.
Isn`t that just a bit of an ego trip?
“No. I`ve been writing songs for years, and I`ve always been an active musician.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ron Wood, The Sharks, John Cale, Michael Fennelly, John Sebastian, Sparks, John Entwistle, Maggie Bell, CSNY, Scott English, Tommy Aldridge, Tom Scott, John Grimaldi, Brian Robertson, Steve Howe, Lorraine Ellison.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Marc Bolan FROM SOUNDS, January 26, 1974

It has been a while since I last printed an article with this influential artist on the blog, so here goes once again. I hope you like it.


T. REX on the wane? An emphatic no comes from the lips of Marc Bolan as he unveils the new Zinc Alloy persona for his first British tour in two years.
From bopping elf to rock and roller to teen idol, Bolan says:

I`ve never been just a pop star

Feature by Steve Peacock

Well, whatever happened to the teenage dream? It came true, that`s what, and then Marc Bolan veteran of the 21s, self proclaimed king of the mods, and latterly sage of the hippies, became a teen idol.
He was fond of saying that he`d known it would happen all along, that he knew he was destined to be a star, that it had been planned that way. It was four years ago?
Somehow it doesn`t seem as long as that, but it`s getting on that way that Tyrannosaurus Rex became T. Rex and electric. “Ride A White Swan” hit the charts, and Marc Bolan dressed up, made up, and waggled his arse into a million teenage fantasies.
It`s true, he did lead that particular revolution, shimmying from mystic romanticism with stars in its hair to million dollar romance with glitter round the eyes: and he took the mainstream of British pop with him – always rock and roll, that broadest of musical definitions, but a revolution in style.
Now he`s saying “Glitter Is Dead” – a good headline, but a rather strange statement if you`ve been watching `Top Of The Pops` lately. What it means is this: “Of course, showmanship and glamour will never be dead, but the impact of what that change meant is over. As far as I`m concerned, it has no use any more.
“If you went to a talent show – do they still have those things? – you`d find that ninety per-cent of the groups would be in satin jackets and make-up; that`s what I mean by the impact being over, and if I was managing a group now I`d avoid it like the plague.”

Mind you, that good and faithful satin jacket served him well. Tyrannosaurus Rex was a reasonably saleable project, but interviews were invariably at the top of an old house off Ladbroke Grove, with a bed in one corner and a stove in the other. These days there`s the well-appointed West End office with gold discs on the wall, and he can off-handly remark “Oh, I never have to worry again, anyway if you`re talking in those terms” and move swiftly on to something else.
See, appearances can be deceptive, especially with a man who says he never plans, and who makes a point of living for the moment. With his singles automatically zipping into the charts, his face in all the teen-mags and his concerts sold out to a mass of waving arms and screams – and him so obviously enjoying it – you began to wonder just what had happened to Marc Bolan. You`d dug him, enjoyed his music, liked his style, but it all seemed a bit distant and smacked a bit of the instant hero. Was he blowing everything for the instant buzz of being this year`s craze?
Well, T. Rextasy did fade: but Marc Bolan ain`t no fallen heart-throb, sitting back with his feet on a pile of royalty cheques while his investments provide a handsome pension. The tour which started at the weekend marks the return of T. Rex to the British stage after an absence of two years, some changes in the line-up of the band, now known as Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow, and a new approach to presenting the music on stage. Where he used to rely on the basic strut your stuff and hear `em scream approach, this time the presentation will be more subtle, with more extravagant lighting: more of a total stage-show concept.
And the music? Well, he`s been developing the use of a particular sound – mainly on record, but with the augmenting of the basic band with extra singers, horns, two drummers (Dave Lutton and Carmen`s Paul Fenton) and guitarist Jack Green, you can expect Zinc Alloy`s band to sound a lot fuller, and a lot different. Though they`ve been away from England, and they`re coming back in a new style, it is something that`s been evolved through working in America, Japan and other far flung reaches of the world.

“It`s true, I did get a bit tired of playing concerts at one time,” he says, “but I haven`t just been lazing around. We`ve been round the world twice since we last played here, and I`ve been writing, recording… you know. It wasn`t a conscious decision to leave England alone either – it was good that we did, but it took care of itself really. I spent practically a year doing the new album, and at one stage I had 33 tracks down for it…do.”
And the fact that last year wasn`t as successful for him as the year before in terms of chart singles neither worries him nor makes him think that T. Rex are on the wane. He points out that he only released two singles last year, says that although he`s quite prepared to admit that “Truck On” wasn`t his strongest single, it also got lost in the pre-Christmas rush, and he says that his audience is still very definitely and visibly there. “The reason I was late this afternoon was because I couldn`t get out of the house because there were about 100 girls outside.
“The thing is that I know what`s going on, and the kids know what`s going on, so it really doesn`t matter what other people think, what the media think.”
But again, he recognises that while there is a strong T. Rex following still, with his last few things he hasn`t really caught the attention of people who might have bought the odd T. Rex record that caught their fancy, but don`t automatically buy everything. “There are probably 200,000 people who are super-dedicated to T. Rex, definite T. Rex fans, but there are another 400,000 or so who`d buy a record if they liked it, or come to a concert if they liked the last album or something. That`s the same for any group – it all depends on what you put out.”



In a way though, it is fair to say that the new tour, the single “Whatever Happened to The Teenage Dram” – which will surprise you – and the album all add up to something of a re-launch. He did cool it for a while, even though it happened as much by circumstances as decisions, and the Zinc Alloy thing shows a definite maturing of both music and approach, and what appears to be much more positive thinking from Marc than came out at the height of the teen-mania.
He says he`s never felt so free as he does now, admits that although he obviously enjoyed having his face all over the colour mags and the win-a-chance-to-meet-Marc thing “it was all getting a bit too close to Donny and David for comfort. Any rock star can do that.”
But equally, he says he wouldn`t change what happened – it was something he conceived and dreamed when he was nine years old, it happened, and he dug it. “Of course, for the first two years I was really enjoying it, anyone would, but once you`ve done that… I just didn`t want to lose sight of what I originally did it for, which is to play music. It`s nice to be screamed at. Jagger still likes to be screamed at, and I do too, but there`s more to it. I`d still put a recording session before anything else, but two years ago I wouldn`t have.
“Whatever happened I wouldn`t change and I`d like it to happen to everyone who wants it, but what I am is a craftsman. I`m a craftsman at what I do, and whether people like it or not is none of my concern.”
T. Rex lives on, but so too does Marc Bolan as a solo artist. The official title these days is Marc Bolan and T. Rex As Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow – which gives him plenty of scope for surprises and a range of different ideas around the basic T. Rex axis. The new single is in effect a Bolan solo track, cut in America with 40 piece orchestra and friends, including War`s Lonnie Jordan on piano, and he`s working on ideas for a solo album alongside future T. Rex records. He hadn`t intended “Teenage Dream” as a single, but record company people picked up on it “and who am I to fight destiny?”.
The search for a sound was much of the reason for the album taking so long. They recorded in various places, and it wasn`t coming out as he`d heard it in his head, until one time it just happened.


“I had a definite conception of what I wanted, most of which I get in the mixing anyway, but suddenly I got it, it was there. Mostly it`s got a lot of spaces – kind of intergalactic Neil Young, very under-produced in a way. But compared to the last two albums, it`s very wordy too – I think “Teenage Dream” the best record I`ve ever made lyrically, and I just wrote that down in the studio, just wrote it down without thinking about it. I got what I wanted on the album, got what I`d been looking for, and I`m proud of it. Unintentionally, it`s very different.”
Destiny strikes again. It`s difficult to say before you`ve seen the tour and heard the album, but from what he says and from hearing the single, it seems that Bolan pulled back from becoming last year`s face, and has – as he says – regained his sight of what he originally did it for. The glitter hero stage has given him the opportunity to ease back and get on with as many projects as he`d like, and apart from T. Rex he`s about to set up his own label and produce and release music of a kind you might not necessarily associate with him.
He hopes T. Rex will be accepted as a band of musicians, as people who play music and happen to be successful. “I hope we`re seen as not just going out to make a hit record – that`s a different part of the business, a perfectly valid one, but I`m not involved in it.
“Anyway, I`ve never been just a pop star.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Dylan, Status Quo, Ralph McTell, Incredible String Band, Kiki Dee, Carl Palmer, Jethro Tull, Pointer Sisters.

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