AN INTERVIEW WITH MARC
AN INTERVIEW WITH MARC
Marc interviewed by Nobuyuki Yoshinari, 5th December 1972, whilst on
tour in Japan.
All right first of all I want to ask you about your new album, Born To Boogie
Ah no, thereís not an album called Born To BoogieÖ
Itís not? Itís a film; oh itís a film?
Just a film. There is music from it but I donít know if Iíll put it out as an LP, there are live tracks but I doubt if Iíll release them.
And can you name some of the titles of the songs?
We do Children of the Revolution in the film with Elton John and Ringo Starr playing on itÖ what else do we do, we do all theÖ like the set now. Hot Love, Get It On, Metal Guru, Jeepster, Baby Strange, Tutti Fruitty we do in itÖ and little bits and pieces that Ringo and I did together. Itís basically what youíve seen there, on film, with bits cut into it.
Which one of the songs do you like best?
Oh, in the film I think Children of the Revolution because itís 12 minutes long in the film, you know we did it in the studio and it was really very interesting.
And tell me about the film itself.
Itís basically just bits of a couple of live concerts we did, and weíve got together about 40 minutes that we thought was good, and then went into a studio and did some thingsÖdressing upÖthe Slider cover is from that. We did a piece of Alice in Wonderland and we did some sort of freaky things, and they didnít bear much resemblance to anything sane really, they were just sort of funny things, and we just cut it all together, so itís just like a collage really, a surreal rock ní roll collage.
When was this taken?
We finished it 2 months ago. Initially it was started 6 months before that, it took 6 months to make.
Do you have any plans for a new album?
Yeah, the new albumÖ I mean, I needed 2 more tracks and in fact we did those the other day, so I finished mixing the album on Friday of this week. As soon as I get back Iíll go straight in the studios. Iíve got some strings to put on about two tracks and most of itís finished. I donít have a title for it yet but itís very different. Iím trying to think. Itís probably the best thing weíve done. Itís much more high energy that the Slider, itís a sort of more rock ní roll sort of album.
Whatís the basic difference between the Slider and this one?
Mmm, muchÖ yeah itís much moreÖ the Slider wasÖ you know this ones more sort of mmm mmm.
Whatís it called?
I donít know yet, I havenít got a title, no, I was going to call itÖ emÖ
Yeah, I could do couldnít I? Thereís a track called Left Hand Luke and the Beggar Boys which is one of the tracks on it and I was going to call it that but Iím not now, Iíll call it something else.
Thatís one of the tracks, and can you name some others?
Let me think, thereís one called Street & Babe Shadow, thereís one called Rapids, one called Free Angel, canít remember the rest, thereís quite a few. Weíve got 25 tracks.
Twenty Five tracks!!?
Yeah, so Iíll pick the best of it.
What kind of guitar do you have?
Iíve got 26 guitars. Basically theyíre all Gibsons and Stratocasters, and thereís been Fenders. All the other ones are hand made ones, like that silver one Iíve got that I had made. But Iíve got about 6 Les Pauls and flying arrows.
Did you ever use the solid silver guitar?
I use it yes, but I only use it if I break the strings on the white one, those 2 that I have are my favourite guitars. If I broke a string on one of them then Iíll have to use it, but Iíve only had it for a month, so Iím not really used to it. The other two Iíve had for 3 years.
Is it a famous Stratocaster?
That one is yeah. Yeah.
What kind of strings do you use?
Ernie Ball Superslinky.
OK then, whatís your key when you sing, usually?
I change it; it all depends what time of the morning it is. I suppose most songs would be in E or G. But you know thatís the basic range. But I mean I do a lot in C, do some in D. Take you pick (laughs).
All right, who is your favourite vocalist?
ErÖ him! (laughter) I donít know, I donít really think Iíve got anyone in particular, I like a lot of old blues singers, you know Bessie Smith is an old blues singer I liked a lot, you know, let me thinkÖ John Lennon has a nice voiceÖ but no one in particular. I canít really think of anyone, Robert Johnson maybe, someone like that, but I canítÖ no contemporary singers.
Do you prefer black music to white music?
It depends again what mood Iím in. If I want sort ofÖ when Iím in America I tend to listen to more black stations, but I donít really know. I think somewhere between the two. I mean youíve got someone like Rod Stewart or something who sounds like a black cat really or Joe Cocker, who Iíd prefer to listen to rather than, say, The Temptations. But then Iíd refer to listen to Smokey Robinson than,,, I donít know, The Bee Geeís or something; you know (laughter). So it depends what the song is.
You mention blues guitar and blues vocalists; you have this number called Lean Woman Blues on yourÖ erÖ
Yeah, right. Do you plan to do that kind of stuff more?
Yeah, on the new album there are 2 or 3 tracks which are like that. That Left Hand Luke song is very much a blues song, Itís very slow and we haveÖ we use Aretha Franklin singers on it. Yeah, I mean it really depend whatÖ again what mood Iím in. I tend to play a lot of blues things at home, when we just jam, you know, play about, but because most blues things are basically within a 12 bar pattern if you put too many on one album they all sound the same, you know. Lean Woman Blues was done literally on the session; I just made it up, so that seemed sort of fitting to do. I think a lot of my guitaring is based on blues things, but not the chords, the chords would be more contemporary, you know, but I do listen to a lot of blues things at home.
And I hear youíre into soul music too?
Whoís your favourite?
Depends at the time. I like Joe Tex a lot, all the Stax things. Some of the Motown things are good. There are lots of good, good black people, really. Things like Otis Redding and Buddy Guy.
Has anybody influenced you guitar playing?
Yeah, Jimi Hendrix I guess, Eric Clapton whoís a friend of mine but I mean heís certainly influenced me. Buddy Guy I would say, a man called Hubert Sumlin who used to play on all the Howliní Wolf records, James Burton who used to play on Ricky Nelsonís records, who plays with Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry a little bit, not a lot, but a bit. I would say Hendrix most of all, cause I knew him about 1967 when he first came to England so I could see him develop, you know through about 3 years, and he was incredible/. He was so good. Live he was so good.
What about Jeff Beck?
I donít know, Jeffís all right. Heís very inconsistent. He can be brilliant; he can also be terrible. I prefer Jimmy Paige to Jeff Beck. Much better. In being consistent, I mean Jeff Beck can be very good, but I donít like anything heís doing at the moment. His last 3 albums have been terrible. When he was with the Yardbirds he was good, but I think he peaked early, you know.
And who would your be favourite Rock ní Roll guitarist?
I think Eric Clapton really, Ericís the most tasteful, you know.
Do you play any other instruments beside the guitar?
Yeah, I can play piano a bit, bass, organ, melotron, I playÖ what else, anything with strings I can playÖ a bit of cello. None of them as good as I play guitar, but I mean I could if I tried. I mean, if I play harmonica I can play one. You can play anything if you try.
Did you ever think about doing, by yourself, material for a recording?
What, doing everything, you mean? Well on some of the early records like Beard of Stars and things in fact I did do everything. I just didnít tell anyone. On Ride a White Swan I play all those things on it. Gets boring though if you do it all yourself, you know.
It looks like you know, this whole phenomenon of you are a Rock ní Roll superstar, and people donít pay too much attention to your music itself.
Well, I mean I donít agree with that because I donít think people would buy LPís if that was true. If it was only the singles Iíd say yes, but to go out and spendÖ I donít
know how many Yen it is to get and album and spendÖ and listen to an hourís worth of music, there has to be more to it than just your cock, I mean really.
I mean people who donít know about music, they justÖ
Well a lot of people donít know about music, but buy records (laughs). Thereís a lot of people that know about music canít afford to buy records. I think you just have to accept by your own standards that what you do is the way you want it and let it take care of itself. I mean you canít get too worried about it. And when we play badly I know weíre playing badly. I donít care if thereís a million kids going mad, Iím not happy, you know.
Which do you put emphasis on emotion or your technique?
Emotion I think has to be foremost. What you do, you see isÖ in moments of beingÖ like now if I was sitting her on my own Iíd play the guitar, just play about with no emotion at all, Iíd be watching television. But Iíd keep my fingers together you know, and when I feel emotional Iím equipped to express myself with it, you know.
So youíre practised, you know.
What is the basic difference between your early stuff like Tyrannosaurus Rex and T.Rex?
I just think it was 4 years ago or whatever. Really. Iíve grown as a person in that period of time. Iím a better musician now and I feel I can express myself better. I think the times were wrong then, for me to be very successful then, and the times changed fortunately. I did too, you know. Lucky old me.
Some people like John Lennon or Mick Jagger, theyíre into political things, like Mick Jagger once said the music cannot be the cause for revolution.
I agree, yeah.
What do you think of the music and the relation to politics?
I think itís relevant. I think you can state a thing so openly it defeats the purpose, which I think John Lennon has done recently. Thereís a lot of things on the Sometime in New York thing, which I think are just too heavy to lay on kids of any sort, I mean some of it I find a bit naughty, you know. Not that heís wrong in doing that, itís just that I think heís defeating his own purpose, which is to reach as many people as possible. Children of the Revolution is lightly political in itís own way, but I just donít say who itís against (laughing), you know? I mean you have the choice to sort it out yourself.
OK, the last thing I was to ask you about is the lyrics you write.
Like one thing I can never understand is er, what the Metal guru is?
Metal Guru is very much like one of your local deities, be itÖ I was looking through one of your booksÖ I mean itís a personal god, in as far asÖ a superhero if you want, you know, itís someone who would help you, and I was just trying to get down someÖ a religious sentiment without it being religious, you know, sort of rock ní roll god, that sort of thing. Each verse just indicates really how I saw that person, you know. In fact thereís one line, at the time when I wrote it I was being fucked up with telephones. I donít like telephones, and it was ringing all the time, so my idea of where god would be at would be all alone without a telephone, you know, which you can interpret as sitting in a cave in Tibet if you want, or being down the Biblos, or something. Whatever you want, I mean you know, your choice. For me it was being on my own you know.
All right, thatís all. Thankyou very much.
Side Note: Thanks to my dear friend Jacq for transcribing this (Rick)