There I was, taking respite in one of those nasty Oxford Street polythene-food restaurants, sipping what the menu called coffee (tasted more like car radiator flushings), when my mind was attracted to the piped music. It was a diluted, plasticised version of T Rex's "Hot Love". Blank amazement turned to laughter - I couldn't believe it.... the day had come when Marc Bolan's writings were considered suitable for mass audience muzak...... Fabulous!
Well, that clinched it; I'd been on the point of seeking a chat with Mr Bolan ever since the 'T Rex is selling out' bogus controversy had begun limping across the boring letter pages of the weeklies. So I did just that - fixed it up with BP Fallon, his press liaison man, and zipped down to groovy Kings Road where his managers hang out. BP summed up the whole scene very well I thought: "everyone seems to be auditioning for a part in some film, ..and they all fail the auditions". it was true - even the way the trendies sat down in the pub was a practised movement, with facial expressions to match. But this is all irrelevant because, having eaten, we burned off to Little Venice, off the Edgware Road, where Marc currently lives. Earphone, on the balcony, he greeted our arrival.... It was 1956 Elvis that he was listening to.
But enough of this old waffle - let's get to the meat.
ZigZag- Let's start with the T Rex put-downs bit now the way I see it, the people who were never T Rex fans seem to think that you've sold out because they've been influenced by the letters, but the people who were always T Rex fans still are except for the 0.0001% who write letters. (The ZZ questionnaire reflects an exceptional love and loyally to T Rex).
Marc - Right. On live gigs we haven't had one bad vibe. .. not one. As you say, about 10 people may have written in, but the sad thing is that I know for a fact that at least 40 or 50 good letters were sent in and didn't get printed. It's nobody's fault - It's just the 20th Century, and I have to accept it whether I like it or not... I don't like it, but there you are.
ZigZag- But it has been blown out of proportion - they usually have a sensational headline and a big photo beside the letter.... it's because you're a big wheel at the moment.
Marc - Yes - we're big business now, but you've known.. me for a long time and you know that after 3 1/2 years or so of funking along, doing alright and, in fact, no different from what we're doing now, we just happened to grow in a way that became acceptable to a wider public.... as did rock'n'roll. But I think that practically any of our old songs could be a top 5 hit now - now that people have got used to us.
ZigZag- Does the criticism bring you down?
Marc - Well, the first time we got knocked in the papers, I was well prepared to just split and forget everything. We were 4 or 5 dates into our last tour, and I was ready to leave.... I felt really rejected.
ZigZag - It hit you that hard?
Marc - Yes, but don't forget that I'm not a reasonable person... I'm very erratic. I mean, my immediate reaction was "fuck it; why should I play for them if they feel like that?" But, as you just pointed out, it's not the people that dig us who are criticising... so it's very stupid to let it upset me, But I did the whole number.... "I'm not going to do anymore, I'll split, I'll blow out the group, I'll just make records, I'll write books" and so on. But the gigs were dynamite - the whole tour was sold out in an hour - so why should I let it get me down.
ZigZag- There were no people standing there shouting "boo"?
Marc - Not one... it was all good vibes. So I realised - "what am I doing? It was only 4 people".
ZigZag- And now that the furore has died a bit - they've milked the story dry - they have printed a few pro-T Rex letters.
Marc - Yeah, but meanwhile I got used to the fact that these things happen. I know where I'm at, and I know where the music is at; if people don't dig it, then I'm sorry, but I've never felt so good about my music I'm satisfied both as a musician and a poet, which is very important. A lot of people think that because I've got away from long visual descriptions that I'm no longer a poet, but what I'm writing now is poetry of the heart really, and I'm much more interested in that now. Mind you, I've got enough poetry written down around the place to fill 25 books, and they're all just like the old T Rex stuff - I mean, that is all still there, but my interest now is getting to people's heads and hearts, and relating to their love lives, their problems, what pain they feel.... that's all I care about. I mean, in the last two years or so, I've had a fucking awful lot of pain we all have, because we're in the right age in a problem world. That's all I'm into, and if people don't understand that, then they're not mature enough to feel pain - in which case, I don't care about them anyway.
ZigZag- You're not the first successful musician to get shat on, anyway.
Marc - Right; Dylan has had so much shit laid on him, it's unbelievable.
ZigZag- Well, that's a parallel case - he went electric and got ostracised, he changed style and got ostracised again, he simplified his poetry and imagery and got put down again - it's happened to him all the time, and all he does is turn his back and say "get stuffed if you don't like it". Great!
Marc - It's the only way - but I saw a letter the other day which said "why can't Marc write songs like he did on the incredible Beard of Stars album?" Well, that was our least selling LP - why didn't they buy it at the time? It's very convenient for them to say it now... "what an amazing LP that was - they've sold out now". Anyway, a lot of the stuff on that was more electric than the last one.
ZigZag- Your songwriting has changed pretty radically in style over the last year.
Marc - Well it's matured in relevance to the society we live in - that's what I hope. You see, I'm no longer interested in abstract thought - I'm now living my fantasy... I am what I used to write about on those old albums - I am that, so I don't have to write about it anymore.... I see everyone as those images. At that time I was just a very young boy who had some sort of talent - or perhaps I didn't, it all depends on where you're sitting. I now live that incarnation.... I see life something like a Fellini film - my head is that way - so I don't have to write like that anymore. Now I try to hit into the middle of what human beings are about. To me, it's the only important thing