T. Rex

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: geirmykl@gmail.com
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.

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: geirmykl@gmail.com
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, November 20, 1971

There is still a lot of interest in Marc Bolan out there, even if he`s not been around for a while… In fact, in my all-time statistics for this blog, the blog article from NME dated November 11, 1972 is in 9th place when looking at the number of views on single articles.
I often wonder where he would have been today if his sudden departure from this world didn`t happen way too early. Unfortunately, we will never know.


Just a touch or sight of Bolan

Steve Peacock, on the road with T. Rex, reports from Liverpool

Marc Bolan grins and says hello, but he looks tired. In fact, all the band and their travelling entourage do, but then it`s the last night of a long tour and there are two shows to do that night.
Liverpool stadium is a boxing hall, or it was until boxers gave way to wrestlers and, on some nights, rock music. The equipment is set up on the ring, and half the stadium – behind the ring – will be empty. It`s not an ideal place for rock music, with every echoey acoustics, but then there isn`t really another good big hall in Liverpool except the Philharmonic, and they`ve stopped doing rock concerts.


The audience for the first house are filing in. They look mostly very young (it`s a 6 p.m. show) and a bit edgy – as if they`re not quite sure what to expect, nor quite what is expected of them. There`s the feeling in the air of schoolkids on an organised outing who aren`t quite sure how to behave; quick backward glances to see if someone`s going to push them back in their seats if they get up and rave.
Down at the front there`s a band of dedicated screamers – some close to tears at the frustration of being ten feet from Marc, Mickey, Steve and Bill, yet knowing that`s as close as they`re likely to get. They`re lip-biters and hand-claspers, rather than arm-stretchers. They came later.
The whole thing`s a bit tense in the first house, but it loosens up with the last few numbers. The band`s warmer then, punching out the hits and the “Summertime Blues” encore, and standing out in the audience you could feel the energy flowing. They`ve got a lot to get out, these kids, and it`s beginning to come now, but there`s still a block somewhere, and as the set ends you feel neither they nor the band quite made it.
Back in the dressing room everyone`s a bit more lively. It`s warmer in a physical sense and in atmosphere; it`s still essentially a musician`s waiting room, but this time you feel they`re building up to something, rather than hanging around, almost impatient to get out there and get it over.


The feeling`s different out in the hall too. The people coming in are still young, but a bit older than the last lot, and there are more of them. They seem more at ease, noisier, more alive. The girls gather in groups and chatter excitedly – there`s a lot of giggling – and the blokes move in in gangs, swaggering a bit, shouting to each other over the hall. Just before the lights go down, one guy stands up on his seat at the back of the hall to cheers from his mates, waves to the crowd, and drops his trousers, waving his arms around to a mime of exaggerated potency. A strange moment.
Bob Harris – the phantom autograph signer – takes the stage and gets some nice things going with the audience, starting off with the Who`s “Let`s See Action” and building through various moods to Rod Stewart`s “Maggie May”. Bob`s been doing a lot of the dates on the tour (the ones he couldn`t make B.P. Fallon did the opening spot) and later he said that he felt it was a good audience when it felt right to play Cat Stevens as well as the harder things. The electricity is building up.
Bob announces the band, and they bound on stage – Bill Legend, Steve Currie and Mickey Finn first. Pause. Then Marc. The place erupts with screams and cheers and clapping and shouts. Rock on. The joint was rockin`. The band`s playing well from the start a lot better than the first house, the people are stomping and round the stage – at the front and at the side – girls are leaning forward as far as they can, arms outstretched, trying to touch, trying to touch.



Will he notice me? Some of them scream a name, over and over again, some of them throw rings, pendants, anything, some of them have fingernails painted bright red, bright green. Will I stand out?
From the stage it`s a sea of faces and arms waving, pleading, pushing forward. It`s rare to see a couple – at the back maybe, but near the stage it`s mostly girls, with groups of blokes either dancing in the aisles or standing on their seats shaking shoulders and heads, arms up, flashing peace signs with the beat.
The band retire, and Marc sits crosslegged to sing. “Spaceball Riccochet”, “Cosmic Dancer”, “Deborah” with Mickey. Three or four times, girls make it over the edge of the stage and lurch towards Marc, grab him round the neck, hang on for dear life until they`re dragged off and gently but firmly pushed back into the crowd.


The band come back for the final push up – “Ride A White Swan”, “Hot Love”, “Get It On”. I`m beginning to get a bit scared. The bass cabinets have already been pushed over once, a spotlight has been toppled from the PA cabinets, and I`ve got visions of them tipping over on top of people. It doesn`t happen.
“You want more?” asks B.P. “Gimme a T”… and so on. They come back. “Summertime Blues” it is. It`s a good way to end – hard rocking but loose enough. You think back over the music, separating it in your mind from the whole thing, and you realise that without thinking about it you`ve been hearing some great playing.


Marc`s still out front, but his guitar playing is much less flash, much more part of the band than it used to be, and the rhythm section is really strong. Steve Currie, particularly, had been playing some excellent bass, and the combination of Bill and Mickey is just right.
Back in the dressing room, the group have gone, and so have most of the autograph collectors. Four girls are left, wandering around, confident they`ve every right to be there. They don`t say it, but you feel their attitude is “we pay their wages so…”
They`re picking over the debris on the table – empty bottles, cigarette packs, bits of paper. “Who smokes these?” One of them is holding up an empty cigarette pack. June, she`s told. “Marc`s June? Does he smoke them too?” No, we don`t think so. Disappointed, she drops it back on the table.


A really classy ad from Zeppelin. So famous they didn`t need their name in it all, just the symbols.

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: Ray Charles, Roger Daltrey, Bell & Arc, Ornette Coleman, Rory Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Felix Pappalardi, Van Morrison, Mr. Fox.

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: geirmykl@gmail.com
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, August 14, 1971

In this article we get to know that the change of Marc Bolan`s musical style came as a shock to some, but the journalist quite fancy him as a rock star. At the time of writing he was on the verge of being one of the biggest with the release of his album “Electric Warrior” on the 24th of September 1971. The album went to number one in the UK charts.
A nice tidbit that I decided to include here is the equipment for the band and individual band member. Today this would count as a really modest set-up, but I guess it was different at the start of the 70s. For the fanatic T. Rex fan, I hope this is useful when you start your T.Rex cover band.


Elf King`s switch to a rock star

By Penny Valentine

All the aficionados of the elf with stars in his hair got quite a shock this year. Surely the most amazing success story of the 70`s must be Marc Bolan`s transition from Elf King to commercial rock star.
Hands were raised in horror by the Bolanised minority – the people that had come to expect a never-ending impression that Marc Bolan was carrying on where Donovan had left off: a pop poet with a strong leaning towards magic and mystic references during the course of his lyrics.
The first shock came when “Ride A White Swan” suddenly appeared in the singles chart – a fact that meant Bolan was no longer solely confined to one audience. And the inverted snobbery which has existed since pop music began raised its head and howled. Marc Bolan had taken T. Rex out onto the commercial market. What was more, he`d made it work.
You`d have thought the Eiger had fallen over or the Mona Lisa had said “arse” the way everyone carried on. “Sold out,” they cried and yet how much real difference is there between “Desdamona” and “Ride A White Swan”, between “Woodland Bop” and “Get It On”?
In breaking into the mass market, he has lost none of the charm, the insidiousness, the musical technique that first brought him to notice.
Bolan raises what might be described as an ethnic point in music. I have always considered that a musician`s job was first of all to do what he thought was right and gave him most pleasure as a musician, and secondly what people enjoyed. Bolan has done both.


But the fact is that when people look on you with the same rapture as they look on Bilbo Baggins they don`t take easily to having you turn into Elvis Presley overnight. And what was worse for them was that Marc Bolan was actually enjoying it. Actually enjoying rushing off to Mr. Freedom for sparkly jackets and skin-tight trousers and behaving outrageously on stage. Actually rolling around with his guitar and getting pretty phallic in the meantime.
Bolan himself with Mickey Finn spreading further to record in America with a couple of the Mothers is, he says, just naturally extending from the point he started at. On his own admission, he took a Rick Nelson guitar riff and put it into many of his numbers, including “Ride A White Swan”, and nobody complained or even noticed then.
“You can hear,” he says, “parts in my old material which were completely based on the rock music I`d been brought up with as a kid.”


So the music basically remains unchanged. What Bolan needed to do – get extrovert on stage – came through easily with the success on the commercial market. One naturally bed the other, and Bolan took to his new role like the old rocker that had laid beating always under the fairy glades and elfin gambols.
Perhaps today the mystic aura and the attentive audience (small) has been replaced by the wild sexuality and riotous audience (large). But in the ensuing change-over Marc Bolan as musician and composer has lost nothing and gained much more. Not just success in monetary terms, or recognition from the world at large that he never had before but, lo and behold, here`s Marc Bolan and T. Rex a real life rock and roll idol – the kind everyone said we needed a couple of years back!


T. Rex`s equipment

3 Vampower 100 watt amp
3 Vamp cabinets
2 Vox Supreme amps
1 Vox Supreme cabinet
1 Vox AC30 amp
1 WEM echo unit
1 fuzz box
1 treble booster
1 wah wah pedal
8 100 watt stereo quad amps
5 RCA cabinets – custom built by Kelsey and Morris
5 monitor speakers – custom built by Kelsey and Morris
1 studio mixer deck – custom built by Kelsey and Morris
5 horns – custom built by Kelsey and Morris
1 transformer – custom built by Kelsey and Morris

9 Shure microphones

1 Fender Telecaster guitar
2 Fender Stratocaster guitars
1 1947 Les Paul guitar
1 Custom Les Paul guitar
1 Epiphone acoustic guitar
1 Woolworths organ
Picato strings

1 Mexican conga
4 African talking drums
2 sets bongos
1 Chinese gong
Set of Mexican claves
Various marraccas
Various tambourines

1 Fender Precision bass guitar
1 Fender six-string guitar
Rotosound strings

1 Hayman Professional drum kit
Zyn cymbals, 1 ride/1 crash/1 Hi-Hat
Ringo Starr drum sticks


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: Alun Davies, Roger McGuinn, Rev. Gary Davis, Judy Collins, Ottilie Patterson, Gentle Giant, Black Sabbath, Moby Grape, Henry McCullough, David Bowie, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Family, ELP, Jethro Tull, Grease Band, Osibisa, Strawbs, Pink Floyd, Mimi Farina.

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

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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.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

I just had to transcribe this interview for several reasons. You will figure it out yourself.


Saucy words and a lot of ooooeee…
Marc Bolan on the wind of change, Bowie, Slade and Michael Jackson

By James Johnson

It was a pretty normal day at the London offices of T. Rex Wax Co.
The ever-present gaggle of teenies hung around outside, jumping slightly in excitement when anybody however unglamourous appeared from behind the impassive black door, while upstairs the phone rang with eager female voices asking the whereabouts of Marc and being told “We don`t know. This is a solicitor`s office.”
In the back room, chairman, general manager and chief shareholder of the operation, Marc Bolan Esq. was talking brightly and with quick-witted assurance about current developments.
Despite reports to the contrary, says he, overseas expansion is going well – especially in the States – while on the home front new product is about to be released.
One thing he`s been avoiding lately are press interviews and, dropping a nugget of ice into his glass of white wine, he explains that he`s sick of answering for things he doesn`t give a damn about anyway.
“Most of what I say is supposed to be taken humourously,” he continues, “because it`s not worth saying anything seriously anymore.”

What`s happened is that Bolan has tired of some of his more flippant comments being taken out of context and allegedly used against him.
In fact, he now seems almost too sensitive to criticism, and there`s a strange contradiction. He says he knows that whatever`s said can`t hurt him, because people keep on buying the records. Yet at times he seems almost desperate to defend himself.
I mention the band`s last tour of the States and the somewhat unflattering reports of their progress, and it brings forth a speedy response.
“I just appear to be a very open scapegoat for everybody and my only answer to those people is that they should look in the America trade press and see where we stand in the charts. And they should know that the truth is we didn`t play third on the bill to half-empty houses.
“Really I`ve no time anymore for people`s opinions when they`re totally untrue and misguided. If you want to know, we`re asking a lot of money to go back and we`re going to get it.”

So how did he personally feel about the tour? “Phenominal…I loved it. At the start we were playing alright but by the end we could have blown anybody offstage and we did, in fact, in `Frisco when we played with a couple of very big bands.
“It took four years to get to the position we`re in now here – and it`s taken less time there. The thing is, we`re not a singles band in the States. `Get It On` did a million but the others haven`t meant anything.
“It`s only through lack of airplay though, like we had in the beginning over here. I`m still convinced things like `Magical Moon` and `Rumbling Spires` would have been hits if they`d been played.
“But in the States we`re an album band and it`s not the same audience. The reason why people were knocking us was because there weren`t twelve-year-old chicks screaming, but that just shows the people who are against so-called teeny-bop music are really knicker wetters themselves.”

It was, according to Bolan, quite an adventurous tour, not least because they used Aretha Franklin`s backing singers on most of the gigs.
“I like to work with people,” he remarked. “I`ll use anyone if they`re good. On the `Born To Boogie` film, Ringo and Elton John play and it still sounds like T. Rex. I just move back and let Reg play the solo.
“I like playing back a bit. I`m not an egomaniac. I love to do my bit but I love to play with good people too. I`d like sometimes not to play on a number- just to sing. I`d really dig that, with chicks and stuff.
“In fact I want to find another guitar player who can also play sax and keyboards, so I can get into more solos.
“It`s likely we`ll do some concerts round Christmas and I`ll certainly use chick singers, probably also a couple of drummers and a piano player too if I can find the right people.”
All this is part of a wind of change blowing through T. Rex; a change that`ll be particularly evident on the band`s next album, recorded in Paris on their return from the States.
“We`ve gone through a radical change,” thought Bolan. “The album is totally a heavy rock album. I used a lot of black chicks on it, also Lesley Duncan. I feature a pianist very, very heavily and I play slide guitar on every track.
“It`s a gospel album in fact. Like, the title track is seven minutes long. There`s a lot of ooooooeeeee on it.”


What prompted all this?
“The States always does that to me and I spent time with Leon Russell, people like that, but it`s been coming for a long time. It`s just a natural thing. I`m into soul music actually but any change is just what I believe in at the time.
“I don`t believe in working out a plan saying next year we`re going to bring in flower power and next week Marc Bolan`s going to get his hair cut and every kid in the country is going to do the same. If that happens – fine – but I don`t believe in working on it.
“I don`t believe in taking fifteen full-page ads in music papers to let everybody know my name. If people come to see you for six months, they`ll know it anyway.
“You can hype it all up and ram it down people`s throats but all the experts seem pretty dumb anyway. Like, I know every rock and roll record ever made. Last night I read all the music papers in three minutes and knew everything in them. Theres`s nothing much to pore over is there?”

Back to the album: “I`m using a lot of brass and in fact a couple of saxes doing solos. I don`t know how radically different it`ll seem to other people, but I think it`s different.
“Like, I think you`ll have to agree that `Children Of The Revolution` was a change from `Metal Guru` or `Jeepster`. It was five times slower and had three string quartets on it for a start. It`s a bold album actually. Some of the lyrics are a bit saucy.”
More so than before?
“Yeah, I think it`ll upset a few mothers but then mothers are made to be upset.”
Is he still finding it easy to write lyrics? As easy, he answers, as some of his more basic bodily functions.
Yes, but lyrics people can identify with?
“Yeah, you look around and there`s a million things to write about. I`m trying to find things not to write about. I write like a maniac.”
But some of the lyrics on, say, “The Slider” seem a little obscure.
“Well, you tell me what`s obscure and I`ll tell you what it means.
“Like, somebody said to me the other day, `Marc, everything you write doesn`t mean a thing`. So I told him that for him it obviously doesn`t. I don`t mean it as a downer but that just shows where his head`s at. It just shows he doesn`t know what`s going on in mine.
“I`ve never written a line that doesn`t mean something. Like in `Baby Boomerang`, if you don`t know of Max`s Kansas City then that doesn`t mean anything. But where do you draw the line? Like, Dali isn`t going to sit there and say, `Hey man do they know what a soft clock is? Maybe I ought to paint an ordinary alarm clock.`
“But I must admit at times I`ve considered that nobody knows what I`m talking about…”
Perhaps it doesn`t matter?
“I don`t think it does. Who cares as long as it gets you off?
“The thing is, when I first started I borrowed from literary sources but now I can`t find many. Before, I was always in bookshops and now I`ve got rooms full of books I`ve never read.

What about the new line in teenage idols? Cassidy, the Osmonds, Bowie, people like that?
“Well the whole Cassidy thing is a very different scene from mine. And I think it`s much too soon, with no disrespect to David, to put him in the same class as me.
“Slade are on a different level – I`d give them that credibility but, without being arrogant or unfair, I certainly wouldn`t give it to David. He`s still very much a one-hit wonder I`m afraid. In four or five records` time it may be fair to put him in the same category – statistically speaking that is; it`s nothing to do with my own personal taste.
“Really, I`ve always thought Mott the Hoople were bigger than David. When you`re talking about him, you`re only talking about one record so far.
“I see myself put alongside all the people you see my name put alongside and I feel no kinship with them in any way. It`s not that I don`t like them, I just don`t listen to them.
“I`ve never heard a David Bowie album, or at least any of the last four. I`m not saying whether they`re good or bad, I just haven`t heard them. I`m still into Charlie Pattern or Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Leon Russell and Smoky Hogg.
“I know all the titles of these other things but I`ve never heard `Mouldy Old Dough` and don`t intend to.
“But anybody who can write a good song, to me, is a brother. People like Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne I think warrant more than some other people. And Pete Townshend is incredibly under-rated.
“As for David Bowie, I`ve known him for years and always been interested in what he did and his abilities. I think maybe he`s been sucked into something that`s unhealthy for him. I don`t know…But you can`t create an image, it`s only what you are. I don`t think you can create a James Dean.
“Also, the whole pop star machine thing is a heavy one to handle. Maybe David can cope with it. I suppose I managed, so…”

Bolan, in fact, seems to have handled all the pressures extremely well. Close to, he looks pretty healthy even though he says most of the time his system is a little done in.
“I look done in, don`t I?”, he asks. “I certainly have moments when I am.
“I suppose it`s part of the pain you have to bear as a musician. That`s how people become a great artist I suppose, it`s part of the pain they have to bear.
“I always say I`m a poet whether people like it or not. I`ve got a poet`s soul and it means you can hurt yourself a lot.”
Bolan once said he was a romantic poet and that all romantic poets have a death wish. Does this still stand?
“Yeah, I don`t know whether I`m going to be around for much longer as a human being. Like we had about four near-death plane crashes on this last tour, that`s why I can`t take everything seriously.
“I might easily stop tomorrow anyway. I don`t feel any obligation to carry on.”

Is he ever worried that in years to come he may be remembered more as a teenage idol than a serious musician?
“Look at it like this. As far as I can see, Michael Cassidy…no…that`s good, keep it in…Michael Jackson is a superb singer, unbelievable on stage. And there`s no way he`s not going to be around for the next forty years.
“If I`m still about I`d put myself in the same category, although some of the other people I`m not so sure about…namely the Top Twenty, Tin Pan Alley pop rock and rollers.
“I`m not that sort of person. I don`t mind if people think of me like that but it`s not true and never will be.
“Like the Beatles when they first came out were supposed to be the ultimately banal thing, but after five years people had just about got as far as dissecting their bogies. I don`t consider myself like the Beatles but I`ve got that credibility and I intend to use it, believe me.
“I can`t believe you would think I`m that shallow. Like, I paint. I`ve got enough for an exhibition and I`ve got five books finished which I`ve been sitting on for a long time.
“It`s not that people aren`t ready for them, it`s just at present they`re secondary to the music. There`ll be a time when they won`t be…maybe in five years` time if I get bored with being born to boogie.”

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Elton John, Ralph McTell, Blondel, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Liberace, Brewer`s Droop, Birtha, The Jacksons, Alice Cooper, The Osmonds.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.