“You see, my idea of rock’n’roll is… that subterranean homesick blues feel,” said Marc Bolan. “Surrealistic rock’n’roll. That’s what I like, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I think I got close to it when I wrote the line ‘cloak full of eagles’. It’s a great idea – you open up a cloak and it’s full of eagles…”
‘You should never ‘You should never meet your idols.’ If that’s not a saying, an adage, a maxim, a motto… then it damn well should be. Of course, meeting an idol is an occupational hazard when you’re a rock journalist. No names mentioned, but the reality more often than not fails to live up to your fantasy. A face-to-face encounter with an idol can be a deflating, sobering, even depressing experience.
One of the rare exceptions was Marc Bolan. I only ever interviewed him once. But it was an occasion I’ll never forget. It was November 1975 in the offices of Tony Brainsby Publicity, shortly before the release of the Futuristic Dragon album. Not one of Marc’s best-known works, admittedly. But with his days as the teen-scream Guru Of Glitter well behind him, with the great ship T.Rextasy lost off the misty coast of Albany, he needed the press. And I, in turn, embraced – better make relished – that the chance to talk to my schoolboy (it’s that word again) idol.
Bolan looked coolly confident, well accustomed to the experience of The Interview. Hair tinted with wispy gold and blue hues, he sported large square spectacles, presenting a somewhat bizarre cross between Cliff Richard conservativeness and Elton John outlandishness.
But hold on. Wait a minute. Did I detect some slight nervousness, a little apprehension behind those lenses? Was Bolan, after all this time, still dubious about talking to the press?
“No, not at all dubious, not in the least,” he said in reassuring tones. “When I started out with Tyrannosaurus Rex the press were always very good to me – no one ever understood me, but it was quite nice, they helped to give me exposure. Then Ride A White Swan [Bolan’s 1970 hit single] happened and suddenly I was very sellable. It was very fashionable to use my face on the cover of everything.
“I still think that, regardless of what anybody writes in the papers, it’s good to have the space,” he continued. “I’ve always got something interesting to say as long as the right person asks the right questions. Alright, so I went through a period of time when I didn’t want to say anything in the papers, but I think every artist goes through that…”
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