The Rock’s Backpages Flashback: Marc Bolan Gets It On (1971)
David Bowie turned out to be the more enduring artist, but T. Rex's Marc Bolan was the greatest star of glam rock. Keith Altham interviewed him for NME in October 1971, following the release of T. Rex's classic Electric Warrior album and just before their smash hit 'Bang a Gong'——Barney Hoskyns, Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages
I do believe I am in grave danger of becoming a pleb! For example, in the opinion of a number of eminent musical critics Marc Bolan "the little Bopper" is contributing nothing significant or worthwhile to the pop music front with his recent singles or new album Electric Warrior.
There is, for example, very little in the way of progressive musical diarrhoea or intuitive cosmic flashes from the lyrics department. What there is appears to be good old-fashioned funky kind of music in the form of easy rock and roll, which has brought him a string of big hits like 'Hot Love', 'Ride A White Swan' and 'Get It On'.
Is it right that someone should be making music apparently just for the sheer joy of it and transmitting that enjoyment to other people, I ask myself, without any apparent regard for intellectual, spiritual or political well-being of others? Are there no more philosophies of the Id to be expounded? No more secondhand quasi-religious theories to be elaborated upon? No more individual egos to be bared?
Just well-played, refined rock and roll with some good hooks and story lines. Tish and Tush. But I like it. Should I wash my mouth out with few thousand decibels from the "Fathers of Destruction" or go bury my mind in a good mantra from Ravi Oli? No. I've decided to play it clever and admit my deficiencies. A pleb and proud of it, sir.
Meanwhile off Little Venice where Mrs Bolan bakes an extremely appetising spinach pie, I find the lad himself straight from his long tour around the Stateside recording company, where he has been attempting to put a little fervour into their ardour by ringing round the positions of T. Rex in the around the World's singles charts in red ink and inviting them to remove the proverbial digit from the all American arse.
I taxed our man at the top as to what he had to say for himself and how dare he be a success and an entertainer to boot? Just what did he mean by going on Top Of The Pops and camping it up anyway?
"Oh come on," grinned the amiable imp ensconcing himself upon the lounge sofa lounging, "I've always been a wriggler. I just dig dancing. It was just a bit difficult to wriggle when I was with Peregrine sitting cross-legged on the stage.
"I mean, I am my own fantasy. I am the 'Cosmic Dancer' who dances his way out of the womb and into the tomb on Electric Warrior. I'm not frightened to get up there and groove about in front of six million people on TV because it doesn't look cool. That's the way I would do it at home.
"It's not serious. I'm serious about the music but I'm not serious about the fantasy. It's no big deal being on TV! I'm on Top Of The Pops doing that routine next to people like Val Doonican to demonstrate just that point — it's not serious.