Interview with Tony Newman ( T.Rex Drummer 76/77)
(conducted by Friendly Bolan Fan John Wass based on questions from the Till Dawn & T.rex Lists)
This Q&A with Tony all started earlier this year when
Danielz mentioned to me in passing that the only ex-T.REXer he'd not had any
contact with was drummer Tony Newman.
This got me on the search for the lost drummer ! finally tracking him down in
Tennessee, USA, where he now lives, still making a living from session work
when not touring with the Everly Brothers.
Tony kindly agreed to do this Q&A which hopefully shed's a little insight on
Marc from someone who worked directly with him.
I would just like to say a big thank you Tony for the time and trouble taken
on this.Also to all who submitted questions. John Wass.
All questions submitted by members of the T.REX and Till Dawn lists
'Bolan fans continuously compare his musical output from one period to
another ; how did you rate it around the 1976 / 1977 era compared to previous
years ? ' Johnny X
Hi Johnny X - Difficult question to answer, especially as his career had
cooled off somewhat. So it's a matter of taste.
Marc was often slagged off by critics for his musicianship. A question I'd
like asked is what musicians themselves, like Tony Newman, thought of Marc as
Hi Gordon - I thought Marc was a great musician. He had a good groove, was a
really good guitarist.
Was working with marc and Gloria different from just working with
I enjoyed working with Marc and Gloria. Gloria was always uplifting, and good
Who did you get on with most in T.REX !!
Herbie and I had been buddies for a long time. however, I got on great with
everyone at T.REX. We all had our little trips that we'd get into.
Which group/s are you working with at the moment? He was with the Everly
Brothers but I think they may have given up on touring.
The Everly Brothers are off the road, and I'm not working with any groups at
the moment. Just doing a few sessions here and there.
Any funny/memorable stories from the Marc shows?
The funniest moment I remember with Marc was him falling off the stage
(pissed) on the TV show after his duet with David. Ha Ha- that was funny.
What is his favourite T Rex song that he appeared on?
I didn't have a favourite T.REX song?
Any memories of the last ever T Rex gig in Sweden?
Hi Michael - the gig in Sweden was cold,but the audience was warm.
How\when\where did Tony get recruited into T.REX !
I understand that Herbie Flowers put in his notice with T.REX just before Marc
did you have any plans to do the same or where you happy working with Marc ?
Refer to question regarding my joining T.REX. Herbie was always giving his
notice in at some place or another, so I took it all with a pinch of salt.
Personally, I had no intention of leaving. I enjoyed it too much.
What are some of your memories of the Marc shows
Great , great fun. I don't remember a bad show. Marc had wonderful charisma.
Did Marc and David actually perform a full song. I read that Marc was
really upset that one take hadn't been video taped!!
Marc and David did perform a full song.
How did T.Rex get on with the Damned?
I always took the piss out of the Damned, and would announce them on stage as
"not everyone's cup of tea --the Dimmed" Great pals we became.
Did you record anything with Marc that has not yet seen the light of
I'm sure there are some tracks that haven't seen the light of day yet, but I
don't remember what they are.
Do you ever listen to T,rex in your spare time??
Hi Gerry - Ya, my son in England keeps me in touch with all the re-released
T.REX stuff. Pretty interesting.
After Bolan's death we got the "Billy Super Duper" album. Was this
really close to what Marc's next album would have been like, if the accident
had never occurred?
For Tony Newman T.Rex was just a short part of his life. What has he
done before and after?
Hi Helmut - I have no recollection of (Billy Super Duper). All I remember was
recording Dandy in the Underworld. More information is available about my
career or some of it, on allmusic.com Tony Newman rock drummer.
These are all Bolan / Bowie questions:
1 What was it like working for Marc versus working with Bowie?
Working with Bowie was much more grandiose and theatrical. Whereas Marc, it
was a more intimate thing.
2 Did Marc make any references to Tony about Tony working with Bowie?
I don't remember Marc ever talking to me about Bowie.
3 Did Marc make any remarks or criticisms about Bowie's style of writing,
performing, producing, etc.
Marc was always uplifting about Bowie, and held him in high esteem.
4 Marc was not at "the top of his game" when Tony Newman (and Herbie
Flowers) began working with Marc. How did they go from Bowie, whose star
was still glowing, to Marc, who was in the process of a comeback and had
been written off by many as a has-been.
Marc maybe was not at the top of his game, nor was I. In fact, I sat in London
for six months doing heroin. One day, I called Herbie Flowers, who was working
with Marc. And they didn't have a drummer. So I went to the session and
proceeded to record with Marc and Herbie - and the rest is history. He
resurrected his career, and as far as I remember, got rave reviews about the
shows and the recordings.
Knowing that Marc was always a perfectionist where his music and
sound was concerned, how did his technique compare to that of what you
experienced with Sounds Incorporated in the 1960s ?
Well, Marc was a writer and solo performer so there was nothing to compare
with Sounds Incorporated as we did not write our own material. Thanks John.
My question that instantly springs to mind. It isn't
about Marc but about Tony himself. I'd like to know how seriously he
and Herbie Flowers took being in the band, did they really consider
themselves 'in a band' or were they merely session musicians for
Marc? They certainly don't look serious on the 'Marc' shows.
We did consider ourselves part of the band. Of course we larked around a lot.
Why not. Too middle aged men trying to be glam rockers is ridiculous.
Also ... They both played with Bowie and Bolan, how did the two
compare? Bill Legend has frequently been quoted as saying working
with Marc as a drummer was incredibly frustrating - what was it
like for Tony? Did Marc give him free reign or was he told what to
play and not given much time to learn the songs? And what is Tony's
personal opinion on Marc Bolan - great musician/guitarist or
bluffer, really nice guy or 'arrogant little shit', and someone who
was really getting his act together or someone who was still on a bit
of a downer?
I always found Marc to be polite and open minded. Never once did he tell me
what to play. We had a very good working relationship.
Thanks for the question though, Rory.
And finally---If you had one lasting memory of your time with Marc...what
would it be ?
The last of the great pop stars. Full of colour, charisma, joy, and show biz
to the max.
Thanks and good night Tony .......!
(On a side note -Rick here- I personally thank Tony for doing this Q & A with the list and not dragging his feet but jumping right into it..sadly I wish I had promoted it more on my list because there are so many questions that now come to mind I am hoping maybe John and I can set up a "Part #2 to this)