Iíve been refraining from doing a Marc Bolan Screen Gems article for some time. Partly because itís something Iíve got a vested interest in. Plus Iím also in contact with several of the people who have created the websites. Iíve not wanted to upset anyone, either by saying dreadful things about their work or by excluding them from the article. In the end though, a manís got do what a manís got to do. So this monthís Screen Gems is all about Robbie Williams. No, on second thoughts, perhaps not.
One thing you learn very quickly while surfing is that there arenít quite as many Marc Bolan websites as you would expect. Put that down to failure to conquer the USA. The Yahoo! search engine, generally reckoned to be the best on the web, is pretty poor. For a significantly more comprehensive listing of Bolan websites and Internet material, head for the TOMB (The Official Marc Bolan Resource Centre). Itís an almost definitive listing of whatís out there, and is updated on a regular basis, so you can be sure you wonít be chasing a load of dead links. The TOMB doesnít quite include every site, so itís also worth checking out The Bolan/T.Rex Webring.
Sadly, at the moment thereís no Bolan website as authoritative as those dedicated to other bands (the ĎTeenage Wildlifeí Bowie site springs to mind). However, there are a number of interesting smaller sites, specialising in particular fields. The closest to a fairly comprehensive site is probably Ivan Kocmarekís Dancing In The Midnight, though it could equally be called By The Light Of A Magical Moon. On the whole, itís an excellent site, with an interesting choice of Bolan related articles (including some obscure North American material), lyrics and very comprehensive discographies. Iíve got two minor gripes though. The discographies are now a little behind the times, though given the continuing stream of Bolan releases, thatís understandable. Secondly, the siteís a bit difficult to navigate around. Also worth checking out is The Groover. This is a new site, which at the moment itís still very much in the development stages, but the potential is there. It currently houses the Spaceball Boots Bolan online bootleg reference.
So now we move on to the more specialist sites. S. Mottolaís T. Rex Australian Tour 1973 is based around the T. Rex gig in Melbourne on the bandís only Australian tour. Besides a couple of contemporary newspaper articles there are some excellent private photos taken from the audience. Donna La Folle (thatís ĎMad Donnaí in English - donít worry itís a perfectly understandable T.Rex reference) is Pierre Championís page devoted to Bolanís French career, taking in concerts, television and all sorts of other stuff. It includes some excellent research, following up the initial work of a highly respected author. It also in English and French, so you can get some education while browsing through it. The Boogie Man Cometh features an old article from a US rock fanzine, written at the time of Bolanís only major headlining North American tour, in the early autumn of 1972. The article is now supplemented by some intelligent annotations by webmaster Robert.
Natalie McDonaldís Depth Charge is also worth checking out. Natalie worked as a publicist on T.Rexís 1974 North American trek, which, no offence to Natalie, shows just what a state the T. Rex organisation was in at the time. She was still at school! Natalie was also responsible for what was probably the earliest T. Rex fanzine, Electric Warrior Free Press. You can read all about the history of the magazine as well, as well as other material on those far off days. The site also includes Bolanís poetry book ĎThe Warlock Of Loveí. Other Bolan writings, this time from 1966, can be found at Rockmine Online and A Marc Bolan Information Page.
If youíre looking for some interesting downloads, check out the Till Dawn site, as itís full of them. Till Dawn is one of the major T.Rex mailing lists and the previously mentioned TOMB is a sub-site of the main page. The site is full of intriguing bits and pieces. Included among the goodies is an MP3 of Bolanís ĎRaw Rampí as performed by some of the list members. Whatís the big deal, you may ask. Well, the track was produced by the different members of the Ďbandí recording their part of the MP3 and then sending on the file of the unfinished track to the next member for him to record his part. Is this the future of recording? Maybe bands will never have to get together all at the same time ever again, which would probably suit the Stones. Also great for downloads is Marc Bolan Net which is visually stunning, but be warned, youíre going to need an up to date browser with all the latest plug-ins if you want to enjoy the page in all its splendour.
One of the aims of the T. Rex Action Group is to maintain the site around, and close to, the tree where Bolanís fatal car crash occurred and where the Performing Rights Society memorial stone is sited. TAG were recently responsible for the CD release of the first Tyrannosaurus Rex performance at premier Kondon hippie club the Middle Earth. The site includes some interesting features and an excellent photo gallery with some unique photographs.
On the fanzine front, two publications are represented on the web. Firstly thereís the long running German fan club magazine The Slider. The site is in both German and English and itís possible to download the complete contents of an issue. The magazine has long been known for itís attractive professional appearance and this is carried through to the website. More recently, Rumblings, the journal of the UK based Marc Bolan Society has also gone online. The print version of the magazine is pretty much compulsory reading for Bolan fans.
So far Iíve refrained from mentioning The Official Marc Bolan Fan Club Website. Over the years the Official Fan Club has been a source of considerable division among Bolan fans. The club is now under new ownership. Iím going to reserve judgement on the website for the time being. The site is currently undergoing a huge makeover, so it may be better to check back in a couple of monthís time to see how things are developing.
One of the areas of concern was the way in which the post 1971 T.Rex master tapes were being treated and how certain aspects of Bolanís recorded legacy were being handled. Since then the tapes have changed hands, more than once, with a sizeable cache ending up in the hands of Thunderwing, a company whoíve got off to a good start with their recent ĎBump Ďní Grindí CD.
Some people want to play T.Rex songs; others always wanted to be in T.Rex. Up till now thereís been a total lack of T.Rex guitar tabs on the Internet. Pierre Champion has taken it upon himself to change this situation and has set up Write Me A Song, which Iím sure the members of the excellent British tribute band T.Rextacy are eagerly checking out now so as to add a couple of numbers to their not inconsiderable repertoire. If theyíre not, Iím sure American tribute band Futuristic Dragon are.
Of course, before Bolan formed Tyrannosaurus Rex, heíd had a brief career as a solo artist, followed by a short stint with Johnís Children, recipient of the sobriquet ďthe worst band in the worldĒ from their manager Simon Napier-Bell. Well, they werenít and despite being largely a footnote, albeit an interesting one, in rock history, interest in the band has lingered on, as evidenced by the Johnís Children Web Page and their section at the excellent mod site Making Time. Morrisey guitarist Boz Boorer also includes on his favourite band at Bozís J.C. Page.
During his career Bolan had several important musical partnerships. The first was with Steve Took, a man who has been largely written off, uncharitably, as a Ladbroke Grove drug casualty. A fairer assessment would be that Took possessed a fragile talent that sadly never blossomed in the vicious rock arena. Steve Peregrin Tookís Domain remembers the man fondly. Tookís replacement was Mickey Finn. Well, Mickeyís still treading the boards with his own controversial T.Rex line up. For the majority of fans, to all intents and purposes Marc Bolan was T.Rex. No Marc, no T.Rex. Decide for yourself at Mickey Finnís T.Rex. Finally, Tony Visconti, producer of most of Marc Bolanís best recorded work has his own site where he talks about his work with Bolan, Bowie and other glam rock luminaries such as the Moody Blues.
Thanks to Cliff for his well rounded and all inclusive article - also this is the "original" writing of the article there have been some changes made in the issue through their editing staff (?) I never thought in the 8 years working on the internet helping to promote Marc's legacy that one daye I would see an article like this in a major magazine WE ALL have come a long way in our quest....to bring Marcs name & legacy to the forefront as well as try and build bridges among the various Bolan factions .