t rex: Marc Bolan with elton john: "Get it on (Bang a Gong)"

t rex: Marc Bolan with elton john: "Get it on (Bang a Gong)" 


Frequently Asked Questions Who is this Marc Bolan guy? FAQ :: MARC BOLAN  T-REX 

I am grateful to have a friend like Danielz of T.Rextacy who keeps me straight on details. He is part of a T.Rex tribute band and looks the spitting image of Marc Bolan. I nearly fainted when I met him in person. He wanted to put a few details right on this FAQ page and here are his comments. I can assure you that Danielz will be proof reading my Marc chapters in my book before I release it on the public. Thank you Danielz --Tony --- Dear Tony, Your site is looking exceptionally good! I haven't had a chance to look at it for a while. I did go into the FAQ pages and had a read. A couple of things you may or may not like to note: The leather hat is actually in the Hackney Museum in London. I had to wear it on the day it was put into the museum and had photos taken for the press with the Mayor of Hackney! Harry Feld actually owns the hat itself. The track Marc appears on, on the Ringo album is called 'Have You Seen My Baby?'. Hope this of some interest to you for your records. Bye. Danielz --- Q: I have a question, one of Bolan's numbers is titled "Oh Baby", recorded in 1970 and credited as "Dib Cochran & The Earwigs". The members of the band were said to be Bolan, Finn, Bowie, Wakeman and Tony Visconti. But some people (especially Ronson fans) say the vocal was sung by Mick Ronson. Is that true? A: No, it was me. Mick Ronson came as a visitor because we were all living in the same apartment with David Bowie and Mick wanted to get out of the house for a break. Mickey Finn and David Bowie did not appear on this recording either, nor were they even present. The band line up was Marc Bolan on guitar, John Cambridge on drums, myself on bass and Rick Wakemen on piano. I also sang the back up vocals with Marc. I wrote the string arrangement too. Q: With regard to Marc Bolan, I've always wanted to know where he got the leather tophat and whatever happened to it? A: I don't know where he got the top hat, but it was probably at a place in World's End, at the end of King's Road in London. There were several shops he loved to frequent there. I couldn't tell you where it is now. Q: Also, June Child was not officially divorced from Marc at the time of his death and since Rolan was/is his son, why didn't both equally inherit from his estate? What happened to all the money that should have been paid to you for royalties, June for being his wife (legally the divorce was not final), and Rolan, who should have inherited most of it for being a legal blood relative? A: June Bolan received some money (not much) after Marc's death but Rolan and Gloria weren't provided for in a will. Marc never updated his earlier will, not thinking he would die so young. Even I was left £5,000 in Marc's original will, along with similar gifts to the members of his band, but it was discovered at the time of Marc's death, that he wasn't solvent. He made some very bad investments in the art world and he was never able to regenerate the kind of money he was making at the height of T.Rextacsy. Now, since Marc's recordings are a hot commodity again, there is no reason why Rolan or June's childeren shouldn't benefit from the money Marc's estate has been making. It is currently a mystery who is actually benefitting from Marc's estate. I can tell you that I'm not, but sadly neither is Rolan or June's children. Q. Are there any plans for new Bolan re-mixes? A: None that I know of. I would like to remix everything with today's amazing technology, but I don't own the masters. Q. Was the "gong" on "Get It On '87" added by you or on the master copies already? A: I added it. It was a massive six foot gong. Q. T.Rex In Concert 1981 release, what went wrong? A: You tell me. Q. Have you heard Rolan's stuff? A: Yes I heard his stuff and it's lovely. I speak to him from time to time and I've heard there is label interest in him. I can't see how he can fail with such an excellent pedigree. Q: We are having a debate on Till Dawn about the guitar Marc Bolan used on A Beard of Stars. I say its Fender Strat....but another guy INSISTS it's a Gibson Les Paul. Pleeeeeze help us and put our molish little minds to rest. Tanx A: It was the Strat. The gold top Gibson made it's debut on T.Rex. Q: I was wondering what you used to get Marc Bolan's voice so warm & fuzzy sounding on "Jeepster". On the rest of the album his voice doesn't sound like that, so i was just wondering if you used some sort of mystery device (mic,tube preamp or something.) The only other thing I've ever heard that sounds similar would be on John Lennons voice in the first half of "I am the walrus". A: That was unintentional distortion that we decided not to fix because we liked it. Jeepster was recorded hastily at a now defunct studio in New York, when T.Rex where on an American tour, called Media Sound. It was a marvelous studio, but something was wrong with the input of one of the 16 track tape machines channels and we didn't realize it until we played Marc's first vocal back. It's also the same vocal track where Marc is stompin' his boots on the intro. You can hear the stomps "flutter". That's the bad track. We double tracked the vocal on a good track and, at the mixing session back in London, decided to use them both. Q: I do have a question regarding the first T.Rex album... where is it! I have been trying to find it but it appears to be out of print? I noticed that Electric Warrior is on a different label from the remainder of the T. Rex catalog. Who has the rights on the that record? Who should I beg to release it! I have not hear the songs on that record and I certainly would like to buy a CD copy of it. A: Polygram are reissuing all of the T.Rex albums in America. They've always been available in one form or another in the U.K. Keep looking. Electric Warrior was the only album released on WEA in America and I don't know what plans they have for re-releasing it. Look at my album discography on this site to find the names of all of Marc Bolan's records that I've produced. Q: I visited your site from a T.Rex link. Very impressive list of production efforts. You produced many of the recordings in my collection. Well I could drown you with praises for the rest of this letter but enough already. I have a couple of questions that have been floating around in my mind for years unanswered. Maybe you could answer them... Do you Know if Marc Bolan ever played guitar on a Ringo Star record? A: He certainly did. Marc played on a cut from Ringo's Photograph album. Although I don't have that album in my collection I think the song is "Back Off Boogaloo" or the title track itself. I was in a restaurant once and heard the track in the background. I didn't recognize Ringo's voice but the guitar playing was unmistakable. Q: Why was there such a departure from The sound of The T.Rex Tanx LP compared to The Zinc Alloy LP. They are both fine records. Did Gloria Jones Influence the latter recording? A: Zinc Alloy brought many significant changes to the T.Rex line up. Paul Fenton played drums on a few tracks and Danny Thompson played acoustic bass. Gone were Flo & Eddie doing backing vocals replaced by Gloria and Pat. Marc was changing dramatically as a person and his life was, frankly, a mess during the making of Zinc Alloy. Q: What about Mickey, Bill and the others. Please tell me what happened with these people? A: Mickey Finn and Bill Legend are the only two survivors of the original T.Rex as both Marc and Steve Curry died in separate car accidents. Mickey lives in the south of England and occasionally does session work. For the most part, he is not very active in the music business. Bill Legend lives in Southend and plays drums in a few local bands. Bill, too, does occasional session work. I met up with both Bill and Mickey last September for the commemoration ceremony of the plaque on the site where Marc died. Q: After you left, Marc's voice tended to sound shrill and harsh...so my question is, What methods did you employ to soften Marc's voice and what efforts did Marc make to make his voice more 'listener friendly'? For that matter, Who does own Marc's Fly Records material? A: Well, Marc was a softer person before I left. I used a great microphone on his voice, a Neumann U67. He double tracked his voice a lot and I also treated his voice with ADT (automatic double tracking), flanging and phasing -- all tape tricks that are too complicated to explain here. Q: What a great and informative page. I am interested in getting your views as to the apparent decline (at least in my view) in Marc's career from around Tanx / Creamed Cage onwards (around 74). Unlike his earlier career, the music from 74 on appeared to lack direction, was somewhat piecemeal, murky and inaccessible and he (unsuccessfully) tried to amalgamate American influences into his music. In other words, nothing new. By contrast, Bowie had and still has in my view, the ability to reinvent himself, which Bolan appeared to lack. Is this your view? I add that "Dandy..." appeared to be an upward turning point in Marc's career, having more direction and stronger material. Had Marc lived, I'm sure that he would have bounced back and revisited his earlier chart successes. I am a big fan of Marc's. Congrats on a very interesting site, and thanks for producing the music. You are one of the production greats!!! A: Thank you very much. I try real hard to be. Marc's decline was due to well-documented drug use and an ego that got way out of control. He did manage to get his act together around Dandy and had he lived he would've reinvented himself and turned out great works. Bowie has a very different mind. It never stands still. I expect he'll be surprising us for many years to come! Q: On "Rock on" from The Slider, where the riff goes from G to B flat, what instrument is used on top of the guitar? Is it a tuba? A: It's a baritone sax, double tracked. There is also a French horn used in the choruses, playing a high part in the background. Q: How did you get the shrill/whining guitar sound that is most easily heard on Born to Boogie and not quite so easily on Solid Gold Easy Action? A: Marc had some good pedals. He used something called the Screaming Bird by Electro Harmonix. He also had the Fuzz Face. Often he'd have all the pedals on at once. That's probably the sound you are referring to. Q: How did you rate Marc as a guitarist? A: His knowledge of music was imperfect, but he invented his own world of harmony. His style was completely unique to him, you couldn't mistake him. He had fire in his fingers!!! There is an article coming in either the January or February issue of Guitar Player magazine all about Marc. I've contributed to it quite heavily. Q: On a T. Rex bootleg at home I have a song that claims to be written and performed by you. It's call 'Moppity Mop' (I think!!) and it sound really kooky and strange, but really quite endearing. Is this actually you, or have I been deceived? If it is you, where can I get a kosher copy from? A: I'm shocked! That track was from my solo album "Inventory". It is me tracked 16 times singing a doo-wop B side from the '60s! So now I'm being bootlegged? I guess I should be flattered. Q: You comment on the Bowie albums you didn't produce, but what about the three T. Rex albums; Bolan's Zip Gun, Futuristic Dragon and Dandy in the Underworld that you had nothing to do with, do you own or rate any of these works at all? Personally they all contain something special (it's Marc innit!?) cf, Till Dawn, Think Zinc, All Alone, Casual Agent - all of which are classic Rex (it's funky!). And of the three, Dandy is probably the weakest. A: I have to agree with you. Marc did some fine work with just Gloria Jones by his side. By the way, I produced "Till Dawn" for the Zinc Alloy album, which it never appeared on (can't you just recognize the string writing?). Marc had a temporary memory lapse when he didn't credit me. Q: Is a solid Tribute CD to Marc possible and would you consider producing or compiling it (or at least contributing to it). There is such a need for somebody to do it right, for even though you can't deny that all the Tribute compilations of cover versions that have come out over the last half-dozen years or so are well-meaning and enthusiastic Marc's career and impact beg a really great tribute CD (I think of all the performers that could be drawn upon - Ringo Starr, Bowie, Elton John, the Ramones, Steve Harley, Lloyd Cole, and many others). A: It's always been on my mind to do that. It is a big chore, a lot harder to do than an ordinary album. I would like to do it but I'd need help organizing it. It would be a labor of love. Also, someone has to finance it! Q: One article that I would have loved you to offer your fans, and especially those like me who are also Bolan fans, would be an accounting of how you went about building those great songs in the studio. I think for example of a song like "Strange Orchestras" or "King of the Mountain Cometh". How did you get from Marc's home or demo tape to the finished product? A: Longer articles like the one you request are really too long for this site. They're going into my book! Q: What happened to all the extra material/outtakes from the Slider sessions? Are you going to get involved in any releases of old material such as the Edsel catalogue? PS Thanks for all the great work you did with Marc. A: We finished and released everything we recorded, there was nothing left over. When Marc was alive outtakes were considered unusable and he took the masters home every night for fear of being bootlegged! Now that he's dead his fears have been confirmed. He would never have approved of his outtakes, rough mixes, etc. being released. As far as getting involved with Edsel and other companies releasing Marc's material, I have never been approached by them. Q: Marc Bolan may be the most printed artist of this decade. How and where do all these little labels get the rights and the tapes to this? Who owns the T.Rex catalogue at this point. How did Bowie manage to hold on to his material? A: Marc's estate is controlled by a law firm in England. They lease his tapes to whomever comes up with a decent business plan, currently Edsel. Bowie bought his tapes from former colleagues and record companies. He's a smart business man. Q: The UK band Suede are *constantly* compared to both Bowie and T. Rex. Are you aware of their work, and if so, how plausible are the links to (especially) T. Rex? A: Yes, I have some albums by them. They are definitely inspired by Marc and David. So many British groups are derivative of earlier groups, I'm wondering if anything new is actually happening? It all seems derivative, but not as good as! Q: What made me think of this is that I recall mention of Bowie intending to do "Pin-ups II" for songs from the seventies and that he would do a Bolan song on that LP. How far did this get and what was the song that he intended to do (I'd guess 20th Century Boy)? A: It never got past the drawing board. Another Bowie project that never came to light was a "crooners" tribute, singing songs made famous by Sinatra, Crosby, etc., like "Stardust".

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