Marc Bolan Interview -FUSION MAGAZINE - 1968
By Michael March
"Tyrannosaurus Rex is two young men from England: Marc Bolan and Steve Took.
They are currently on their first American Tour. Their third LP, the
first on an American label (Blue Thumb), has been released."
Then, without preamble or an opening question, it launches into Marc
"I've been writing since I was about 15, I suppose. I started out with
poetry and then I got into music. But I've been the same. I didn't want to
be a soloist. I didn't want a 4-piece band. I didn't want an electric scene,
you know. I met Steve about two years ago and it grew from there, really
through lack of bread. I just had an old acoustic guitar. Steve was a
drummer, but he had to sell his drum kit to make out, and he just borrowed
some bongos, the ones he still uses and we started playing around and we did
Middle Earth that just opened and some things on Radio London. Poetry is
poetry and songs are songs. I wouldn't write words and put music to them.
Words I can write all day. I could sit down and write the words just off
the top of my head because that's what it's like inside that. I'm very
prolific - I'll write perhaps two songs a week."
WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU FASHION WORDS TO THE MELODY OR IS IT A TOTALITY THAT
JUST COMES ?
"A bit of each. I've got books and books full of nice titles and pretty
words that look nice. And I look at a title and try to see behind the
title. I just open up the title I take all the pictures. It's like films.
I just see films in my head.
I always believed in myself, as doing things I enjoyed, so consequently
because I enjoyed them so much, I assumed other people would enjoy them.
And fortunately it worked out alright.
It comes to a point where suddenly everyone recognizes. We've done four
or five radio appearances and we were filling clubs like Middle Earth. Then
everyone goes "wow man, it's gonna happen." Sure enough, it's happening
WHAT IS THE STATE OF COMMUNICATIONS IN ENGLAND IN TERMS OF MUSIC ?
"It's non-existent. There's one show Top Gear which is John Peel's show
and that's it."
WHERE IS THE BBC AT ?
"From what I can see, the BBC don't want kids to think. Its incredible,
because all the underground bands over there are sort of family. Pink
Floyd, us, String Band, hundreds of groups, and all the groups you can think
of don't get played on the BBC. Yet they all fill concert halls. We've
been on concert tour for almost two years now, filling the halls, the
biggest halls in the country. All the bands do it - it's not a big feat to
do it, because the kids are there.
In a business sense, the BBC should promote the underground group because
they're what's happening in England. Lot's of Top 20 groups who've had like
9 hits can't fill a hall for 400 people. Thye just don't make it because
they're bad. They're record bands. All the underground groups make it
WHY DO PEOPLE VENTURE INTO MUSIC ?
"I think music's very exciting. There are things within chords that
always work with rock'n'roll music. They're magic chords that create mists
and good things inside you. All the good vibrations contained in music live
in those chords and you can be a very inspired song writer, really a
straight pop writer and just know the chords and still get hit records.
I use music as an experience for myself. It's what i do. I play seven
hours a day at home and I enjoy it because it's what I do. Music for me is
a very Godly thing. UNICORN, as an album, is a very spiritual album. I
don't see in any of the religions that are around today anything I can
associate with. The nearest thing I can see, my musical outlets are pagan -
not sacrifice, but the ability to understand that it's the earth that's
important and that from the earth comes your food and from the skies comes
HOW HAVE YOU PROGRESSED ?
"The songs on PROPHETS are very much like the songs on UNICORN, but
younger. I was at a very uncommercial stage and "Catblack" is a pop song.
Most of the things on PROPHETS weren't at all. They were wood-land songs,
very much wood-land songs. I wrote most of them in the country. They're
sad country sorts. Whereas UNICORN is a combination of the two. It's like
PROPHETS but I've used instruments. I've tried to make it more interesting
because I need more sounds. The things I'm doing now are very electric."
TODAY YOU'RE COMPETING WITH THE CONCEPTION OF A FIVE PIECE ELECTRIC THING.
BUT YOUR SOUND IS VERY HIGH LEVEL, ALMOST ORCHESTRAL, IN A SENSE, IN TERMS
OF USING VOCAL AS AN INTRUMENT.
"But I use my voice really just to give me stisfaction. The only other
person I know what gets this sense of a thing is Eric Clapton and Eric, when
he plays well, gets an incredible buzz, his face lights up.It's lovely to
watch and I get the same thing with m,y voice that he gets playing the
I would like to think that someone would play our songs making love to a
lady. Or whenever they made love to their lady would thinkof our songs.
Live performances I feel are visual, which is why I never feel hung up about
recording. I try to do them different anyway if I can just because you're
I DIDN'T ASK YOU - WHERE DOES TYRANNOSAURUS REX COME IN ?
"I guess T.Rex was a creature. I couldn't get it in my head that
something 20 feet high and 40 feet long could walk on the earth, the same
earth that we live on. And thinking of that, it justifies unicorns and
centaurs or anything that's in your head. It can't be mocked. That's a
dragon - totally a dragon. It doesn't breath fire but a species like that
could have. Consequently man accepts that that lived and I don't understand
how there's so much lacking in people's acceptance of the imaginative mind.
If a T.Rex actually walked down a street, people would go mad. They could
never get that together. But they did, they were here, the world was
peopled with beasts out of another land, another planet, another dimension.
Yet it was earth. And yet everyone's forgotten that now. It wasn't that
long ago. They were here for longer than we were. That was the proof and
the justification for all of us, really. It's all there - the interest and
the understanding in things that aren't rational. I never rationalize
anything. I never feel the need. People that doubt God or the god-situation
now..... I find it very sad, really sad. Because it's completely lost all
direction, like the Catholics and the Pope and all that hoke. I feel very
directly involved with wood-land spirits. I accept that trees have souls
and lives and that man was once a very splendid beast - he is no longer, but
there was a time. An elf to me is not someone who's that big. It's a man
that's perhaps eight feet tall with silver hair and can control his mind in
a way that's a good thing. I don't see that all people have imagination. I
don't feel part of New york at all. I feel part of the people who come and
see us but I don't feel part of the people out there. Or in London. I
don't like to segregate, it's a bad thing, but there is a difference in
people. There's something very strange happening.
DO YOU THINK WE CAN CHANGE THINGS ? DO YOU THINK WE CAN CHANGE PEOPLE'S
"Only people who want to listen. I don't think we can come in heavy
otherwise - because we might be wrong. I'd die for what I believe in,
because death wouldn't come hard like that. The whole thing is the changes
that come within you from being a child and then being told about being an
adult. Accepting that your parents know everything and then deciding that
they don't; accepting that cities were always here and then finding out they
weren't and finding out that mankind has gone through millions of changes
and that really it's only recently that man or men haven't worn their hair
long. I mean, within fifty years it's considered a bad thing and it's
WHAT WILL HAPPEN ?
"I like to believe that in ten years time, when it gets very dark, that
all of the people with good heads will walk up the rainbow and go into a
different dimension and leave all the greys here to bloody it all up. We
might have to die to do that. It might have to be an astral thing.
Suddenly, one day, we die in our sleep. I thnk we're here for that reason.
We have imagination and we care about things. Most people don't care about
things....they say they do, but don't really.
I came here as a writer, we came here as a group, because there's a lot
of people here. In England the whole underground thing is perhaps 40,000
people. In America it seems to be about two or three million. I can't, as
a person, let myself down. I was put here not just to play to people like
you, but just to anyone, to let them hear and decide if it's good or not. I
didn't come here to make a million dollars. I don't know if we will. I'm
sure there are ways it could be done. I don't think we'll ever be a
bankable commoditiy. In America there are just lots of people and I find it
incredible that they're here."