We love live music at the Tree House. We also love Marc Bolan. We generally shy away from tribute bands, but this is something a bit different, and when Stella, the person behind the wonderful Food Covolution project and website and a key part of the team at the Tree House, went along to interview the lead singer of the band T.Rextasy, I thought it would be great to publish the interview. The band are at the Albany Theatre in Coventry this Thursday, 28 November, one of only 10 performances in the UK of this particular show, and this should whet your appetites. Over to Stella!
T.Rextasy, the world’s only official live tribute band dedicated to the iconic music of Marc Bolan & T.Rex, is playing Coventry’s Albany theatre on Thursday November 28th. But this will be a show with a difference, as Stella FoodCov found out when she interviewed guitarist and lead singer Danielz.
Stella FoodCov: Hi Danielz! How did the idea for this very special tour come about?
Danielz: After one of our usual electric gigs that we’ve been doing for the last twenty-seven years, I was speaking to my agent, Sweeney Entertainment, and I said “it would be nice to do something a little bit different” just once, just a one-off, never to be repeated. So we came up with this idea of the whole band playing acoustically with the Mavron String Quartet behind us. We’re only doing ten of these, ten in the UK – that’s all there is. But working with the Quartet has been fantastic and the sound is amazing because it takes the music into a different sphere.
SF: So what should the audience expect?
D: It’s very relaxed and it gives us the opportunity to make things a little more intimate than at the electric gigs. With the Albany show, for the first half of the set we go on as a four-piece and we play four or five songs on our own. Then I introduce the Quartet and we close the first half with them. When we come back after the interval, again we do four or five songs on our own, then I do a Q&A with the audience. After that I introduce the Quartet again, and we do a lot more with them. And it’s not just the hits – we are doing the odd album track as well for the die-hard fans that want to hear something a little bit different with the strings behind it.
SF: Marc’s lyrics have a superb poetic quality, don’t they?
D: People annoy me when they say Marc’s lyrics were nonsense. Marc was very well-read. People know he was influenced by the writing of JRR Tolkien, but he was also into poets like Dylan Thomas, and I think that set him apart. A lot of his lyrics were autobiographical. There’s an acoustic song called ‘Spaceball Ricochet’ (from The Slider album), and it’s a song we play in our set. The lyrics are pure poetry and it’s all about Marc’s life at that period.
SF: And he was a great innovator?
D: To me as a young kid, he looked like he’d beamed down from Mars or Venus or something. Unlike earlier bands, he really didn’t look like someone who might be your next-door neighbour! But it’s a mistake to say he invented glam rock, because in the 1950s you had totally outrageous people like Little Richard, who wore thick eyeliner and very glamorous clothing. People like him were years before Marc, but Marc loved them. What I think Marc did invent was 1970s glam rock. I met up with David Bowie once, and I asked him about that, and he said “Well of course, Marc was the first”.
SF: How does Marc’s legacy continue?
D: Marc was one of the very few people from that era to be cited as an influence by punk musicians like Siouxie Sioux and Johnny Rotten. And as recently as a few months ago, Nick Cave played ‘Cosmic Dancer’ at his show in London; before he sang it, he said something like “this is one of my favourite songs of all time”. On a more personal level, because he often mentioned him in interviews, Marc introduced me to Bob Dylan, who has become almost as important to me as Marc himself. Marc helped a lot of people, he paved the way for a lot of people.
SF: For people who think of T. Rex as an electric band, why should they come and see this show?
D: People who’ve been to see us in Coventry before will be used to seeing us as a live rock’n’roll band playing Marc’s music in a certain way, with electric guitars, very loud, very lively, very up-on-your-feet. With this, it’s a completely different thing. Bring an open mind. Come along and see it beautifully played by a string quartet, hear different songs that you probably won’t hear live ever again. It’s a one-off, I think that’s the main thing. Fans can still come along in their glam-rock gear, clap along, sing along, but they can also see and hear the songs in a completely different light. I can one hundred per cent guarantee that if people have been to see us as T.Rextasy, they’re going to love seeing the acoustics with the string quartet. Everybody who’s seen what it entails has come away thinking “My God, this is tremendous”.
Stella FoodCov would like to thank Danielz for generously giving his time to be interviewed.