A note from the web master:

In 1972, while Europe was madly buying every T. Rex record it could get its hands on, America was still waiting for a follow-up to "Bang A Gong" that would never come.

This fan-zine article, originally published in "Words And Music", was unique since it was written from the American perspective. Marc Bolan's mood was upbeat and jovial; he was looking forward to an eventual success in America that, when all was said and done, would only be his in terms of influence on future musicians.

Beside the text, you'll see an occasional icon; this is where I've made some "scrawlings in the margin" - basically, thoughts I've added while transcribing the article nearly 30 years after being written. Click on the icon if you want to read them; otherwise, enjoy the article as it was originally written.

- Robert

The Boogie Man Cometh

- or -

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and
Love T. Rex

by Bruce Harris

appeared in January '73 issue of "Words and Music" magazine
published 1972, Poppy Press, New York
(now out of business)

"There will never be another one like you,
There will never be another one
who can do the things you do,
Oh, give a little chance,
Try a little try
Please stop and you'll remember
We were together anyway..."

("Shaman's Blues", Jim Morrison 1969)

"I want to give every childe the chance to dance..."
("Childe", Marc Bolan 1971)

Backstage at the T. Rex concert at New York's Academy of Music: a phantasmagoria of pandemonium, hysterical stage hands ("where ARE those fucking fuses?"); panic-stricken record execs ("You think Marc's too coked up to go on?"); lurking rock critics ("This is nothing! I was backstage with Mick!"); and groupies ("You can't throw me out! I'm one of Mickey Finn's closest friends!").

Meanwhile, back at the boogie, Bolan is upstairs, locked away in a room with a trio of Aretha Franklin's backup singers, teaching them the words to "Chariot Choogle":

"Standing on your porch
You wear your pleasure like a torch
Hiding in the road
Like a Pasolini toad
Gonna give up all my load
And go oo yeah..."

The three black females wail the chorous back at Marc in r&b/gospel fashion as though this were a miniature revival meeting in some dingy loft on 14th street:

"Baby, you know who you are -
Baby, you know who you are
Don't you know who you are..."

T. Rex had tried to get Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (alias the Phlorescent Leech and Eddie, alias two of the Turtles), who have sung background vocals on Bolan's last two albums, for that night's performance, but (even with the help of Marc's manager-wife June Child) had not been able to work things out. So rather than go on as a foursome (Bolan, Mickey Finn on percussion, Steve Currie on bass, and Bill Legend on drums) and take their chances on crashing the way they had a few months back at Carnegie Hall, they decided to get Arethas's soul sisters for protection. The idea was for the Carnegie Hall fiasco never to happen again. The idea was to capture America.

Just before the group came out on stage, two gigantic pasteboard cut-out photos of Bolan freaking out on his guitar descended from the rafters at both sides of the stage. Everyone cheers. Our satin savior is on his way, sliding into our souls. There he is - twenty-five feet tall, not once, but twice, a duo of dinosaurs, a true Tyrannosaurus.

The band rushes on stage. Shrieks from the audience. Anywhere in Europe, Bolan's appearance creates emotional havoc in the heart of every teen-child within sliding distance. But New York merely screams. "Chariot Choogle" begins with Bolan poking out a tight, dancey riff on his guitar. The bassist seems out of tune, the drummer out of tempo, Mickey Finn out of his mind, and the three singers seem to have forgotten the words. Neither they nor Bolan seem perturbed by any of this.

"Baby, you know who you are!
Don't you know who you are..."

Bolan runs around the stage, singing and playing at random. T. Rex has arrived. The Boogie Man Cometh! Ah, but the night was still young...

Next: The Interview Begins...

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rev 3.19.04, RAE Productions