Transcript: Transcript Drummer Tony Newman on his musical journey with TRex, The Beatles and the Jeff Beck Group.

[0:00:00] (A): Thank you very much, Tony Newman, for joining me. It’s terrific to meet you. I’ve had so many requests from listeners wanting to hear from you, so I hope you don’t mind taking us for a little walk down memory lane to where it all started for you.

[0:00:17] (B): I don’t mind at all. Thank you for asking me. Yeah, I’m surprised anybody’s really interested because a lot of it seems like ancient history to me.

[0:00:28] (A): Well, that’s what we specialize here in a breath of fresh air. Ancient history that all the oldies like you and me remember very fondly and want to relive. Okay, terrific to have the opportunity to chat with you, thanks to your time. So what’s a good Englishman doing living in Las Vegas?

[0:00:46] (B): Oh, that’s a long story, man. That’s a really long story. I’ll have to go back to when I was with Trex, which was, I don’t know, 77, 78, something like that. And I got a call that Mark Boland had been killed in a car crash. And it was a real shake as we were doing very well. It got the new band together, the new Trex. We were voted Best New Band, believe it or not, by the listeners and watchers. And we were doing concerts, and it was like a resurgence of what it used to be years ago.

[0:01:31] (B): It was exciting. Everywhere was sold out. So to get this call that my dear friend Mark, we became great friends. We touched each other’s hearts from the beginning. And I got this call that he died, and that was it. And I was having a really bad time in London with alcohol and drugs, and I’m getting a divorce from my wife, and I’m living with this girl in London. It was just an awful damn time. It was a real bottom to me. So my buddy Herbie Flowers, who introduced me to Mark, suggested I go to Nashville.

[0:02:14] (B): Well, I’d never, ever been to Nashville. I think we did stop there with Bowie once. And the wings came. Paul McCartney came around, a party, but apart from that, I don’t know anything about it. But I thought, Well, I need a break from it all, from me mainly. So I took this trip to Nashville and I got booked straight away to play sessions. And I’d never played country of western music. I didn’t have a clue.

[0:02:45] (B): And so we got this session, and I’m listening to music, and I didn’t know what to do. I mean, it was too simple for me. And all of a sudden, the guitarist started to bang his foot in time. And I sort of followed on and went on from there and had a pretty successful career in Vegas. Ended up with the last account I had was with the Everly Brothers. And I worked out of Nashville for that. And I got divorced and I got married again and got sober, which is a miracle, and had no money I remember that was just about scraping through.

[0:03:29] (B): And my wife at the time had a house in Vegas. So I thought, Well, I need to get out of here. I want to go out west. So that’s how we came out in Las Vegas and started again and doing great, living a nice home now, and both retired. I listen to music all the time and I’m talking to people all the time about music, because when I first started, I lived in a really weird part of London. It was about 30 minutes on the train to the West End and I was about 13 or something, and I got myself I got a paper round and I made enough money on it to buy a kit of drums.

[0:04:19] (B): So I went into this store in London and I said to the guy, I want that kit. He said, all right, well, it’s going to cost X amount. I think it was like £13 for everything, which is $20. It was a fortune for me. I said, I can’t afford this. And so he said, well, we put it on higher purchase. You can pay for it over time. So I got this drum kit. Well, the guy in the store, we got the drums together. He offered me a gig straight away. So we need a drummer for this big man. So by the fact that I bought a drum kit, I got a gig.

[0:05:01] (B): But the truth of the matter was, I did these gigs in and around London and I didn’t really know how to play drums. I’d gone to the jazz clubs and I’d seen, like, Phil Seaman play. Who Ginger? Ginger Baker worked with Phil. Phil was a heroin addict and I loved him. He had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He talked to me. He was great to me. Ginger was his student and Ginger at the time was a registered drug addict.

[0:05:38] (B): But the guys like Graham Bond and the guys in the bands he was working with got him straightened up. Got him straightened up somewhat. And so I’m talking to Phil Seamen and working in a factory as an engineer and flipping burgers at night because I had to make money. I used to like to drink, party and rock and roll all the time and everyone need money. So I got this audition to work in a band which was ultimately became Sounds Incorporated.

[0:06:13] (B): So when I was with Sounds, we were doing these gigs at the weekend in Layton Stone, and a talent scout came one night. His name was Henry Henry Henry, and he was an Xboxer, very gaunt face, and he worked for Don Arden. So he said, look, boys, he said, Would you like a gig with Jean Vincent? So we’re thinking, man, this is the bitch of Bebopala and American, and this is what I want to do. I got the fever about rough and roll when I saw this poster on a bummed out building in London and had a hit parade on it. I’d never seen a hit parade before. Top ten

[0:07:00] (B): And number one was Lucille, Little Richard, and so I went to a fun fair and got one of these rides, past rides, and that was it. They played Lucille, and it was up my spine.

[0:07:14] (A): You were intoxicated?

[0:07:17] (B): Oh, it was the injection I needed. To hell with it all. I’m going to be a rock and roll drummer.

[0:07:28] (A): Let me just stop you for 1 second. How did you manage to get the audition for Sounds Incorporated?

[0:07:33] (B): I answered an ad in the Melody Maker. It wasn’t Sounds Incorporated at the time, it was Brian Bentley and The Bachelors, and they made recordings, actually, but this is very early 1960, so they asked me to come down and audition. So, I mean, my mates took me down to the rehearsal room and there was about five other drummers there, and I just got up and played, and I never dreamt I’d ever get it, and they picked me, and I’d never done an audition.

[0:08:11] (B): I didn’t know much. I played completely by feel of what I heard. The only technique I had was speed and triplets and fast stuff. At that time, the drummers were putting an edge on it. You can hear if you listen to Stevie Wonder fingertips when he was, like, 16, and the drummer there just gives him a big kick up the arsenal of massive fill. And I thought, that’s it, that’s the way I’m really on the edge all the time, on the edge.

[0:08:49] (A): Was drumming more important then than it is today?

[0:08:54] (B): Well, I love drums and drumming, but I can’t play anymore. I’m 79. I have three sons that play one’s professional in London, actually. Yeah, he does really well, actually.

[0:09:18] (A): But what I meant, though, was the presence of a drummer. Was the inclusion of a drummer more important in the band than the part that it plays in today’s music?

[0:09:30] (B): I don’t know. There’s some great bands. I see the drums are featured a lot with the rap artists, and there’s some fantastic gospel drummers, I mean, just out of this world, the films they play and what they do, and the sound of the drums.

[0:09:56] (A): But in those early days in the drummer was really all important. It was partly because of the time.

[0:10:03] (B): It was, yes, that’s right. Well, we all really wanted it badly. We all wanted to play, and I must have wanted it more than anyone else, because I was successful at it, I really was. All those years I worked with Sounds and opened for The Beatles of Shay.

[0:10:22] (A): Stadium, and I want to talk to you about all of this. Tell me, what was it like playing with Sounds that was your first professional band that you were with? What was that like for you?

[0:10:33] (B): Well, that was outrageous, because we worked with Vincent G. Vincent, we drove all the way up north of England and some lady that knew us gave us a cake in case we got hungry. Six hour drive, seven hour drive. So we get a gig and here we are and we play a set and then the guy introduces Jean and this maniac comes on dressed in black, his face all stretched out and he’s looking at the stars and we just maxed out.

[0:11:09] (B): We played rock and roll. The guys are all working on moves in the band. It was like a real rock and roll band. We got into it, moving the saxes everywhere, guys laying on their back and we get off and the place is going crazy. I’m asked for my autograph. It was something else.

[0:11:34] (A): Tony, point me to one track from Sounds that really represents that well.

[0:11:44] (B): With Sounds it’s difficult to pick a singular track because we didn’t have any original material. We were copying what the American acts were doing and we were doing it our way. So with Sounds there’s a track called on the Brink and that is sort of a good rock and roll track. It’s later, one of the guys from Manfred Man wrote it and it’s like it’s a pretty good track.

[0:12:20] (A): Awesome. That’s great. So from sounds you mentioned you actually opened for the Beatles in 1965 at Shay Stadium in New York.

[0:12:30] (B): About that, that was it. Well, we were with Sounds and sorry, we were with The Beatles and we toured with them too. We met them in Hamburg. We were with Little Richard in Hamburg and they were in there in the startup. They were doing four sets a night or something along with the searches. Not Jerry, the Facebook, all these Liverpool bands that we all became friends with. We loved it. A lot of heavy drinking, a lot of sex.

[0:12:58] (B): We’re in the red light. Distress kids, you know, giving us speed and have what you like, you know. The club the club’s drug of choice was preliminary prelis because that meant that all the sets were fast. Everyone’s playing quick. George Harrison talks about it prelis. The Beatles really liked us and we like them. Of course we worked with like couple of people. They really liked little Richard. No one ever dreamed in our era that they’d get to meet or play with Little Richard. Here he is.

[0:13:36] (B): It just was a big deal. So we get back to England. We worked in America once in 63. We did an exchange deal with Johnny and the Hurricanes and it was an English band had to go to America and play exactly the same gig for the same money as what an American band did in England. So Johnny and the Hurricanes went, and of course we didn’t get paid like them. But that club we worked at loved us and it was sold out.

[0:14:09] (B): They were going to open on Sundays and Mondays to facilitate the crowd. And they offered us a partnership. Of course, we couldn’t. We had a manager in England. Anyway, where was I? Back to working with So. Brian Epstein. Signed us to back primarily silla blacks. We would be silly backing bands. And we were a good opening act for the Beatles because we had saxophones and we weren’t anything like them. So we opened Shay Stadium with them.

[0:14:44] (B): It was incredibly noisy, and the PA system was ridiculous. It was like six Voice of America speakers facing the crowd. And I don’t know whether we had monitors or anything, but everything was a flat back. So you had to guess where you were time wise and just blank it all out and go through it?

[0:15:09] (A): Were there screaming girls while you were playing, too? Could you hear yourselves play? Could they hear you play?

[0:15:15] (B): I don’t know, we played and the screaming never stopped and the bass player said to me on the way I don’t know whether they’re screaming because they liked us or they’re screaming that we’re off so they see The Beatles so The Beatles went on and we did the whole of that tour we did Los Angeles, La. I can’t think. It’s like a shell. Famous gig. We did that in Houston after Dome. When I was in Houston, I had, like, white jeans and a white T shirt. So I went up on the parapet to look down on the stage.

[0:16:00] (B): So with that, a chief of police comes with six of his deputies and surround them. He said, what are you doing? I said, I’ll work here. And I went to walk away. They all pulled their guns out and pointed about me. I mean, six deputies. And he realized, I’m unarmed, for God’s sake. I haven’t got anything on T shirt. Jeez. And he said, I’m sorry about that, but it was crazy to have six pistols pointed at you before the show. By the way, thought you’d done wrong.

[0:16:36] (B): Nothing. They’re paranoid. Anybody out of place, they’re going to get shot.

[0:16:41] (A): That’s America.

[0:16:42] (B): It’s America. Just crazy.

[0:16:47] (A): I feel sorry for them, though. They must have had an immensely difficult time controlling the crowd in those days for acts like The Beatles.

[0:16:55] (B): Oh, they’ve never seen anything like it. Never been. I mean, the Beatles were revolutionary. They were great. And I used to use Ringo’s drums every night, and they put Towns Incorporated badge on the front with drums. Ringo had a special case made up for him. I don’t forget. We had these traps cases which held the snare drum and some of the symbols and the stand, some of it, and it had Ringo style. The Beatles from Ludwig. Drums.

[0:17:28] (B): I thought that was the first time I’d ever seen somebody get endorsed by a big drum company. It was really great deal.

[0:17:35] (A): Yeah. So that must have been an incredibly special time for you with those guys.

[0:17:40] (B): Well, it was. It was a bittersweet thing, because although it exposed us, we didn’t have any music to present to the public that was appropriate for the time. We were like robots on the end. We just go on and play our set like robots and I don’t know why it was nobody thought, why don’t we write some cool stuff or get someone to write cool stuff or get a singer and mellow it out somewhere? It was so frantic, it was ridiculous.

[0:18:16] (B): So let’s play as fast as we can, then you’ll like us if we get off quickly and the mad things that go on in your head. We did those tours and I can’t remember when I left 65 or 66 and I left them to do sessions. My wife at the time was a big session singer. She’d do three or four sessions a day and she’d work with all the Motown acts. I rather like sounds did, actually, because we backed little Richard and Sam Cook and Jerry Lee Lewis and Benny King and the Cheryls. I mean, we had a roster of acts that we worked with and the American acts really liked us because we learned the material before they got there. So they come in and we got it down for them.

[0:19:15] (A): What an incredible time in music it was back then, particularly in the UK. Amazing. Tony Newman you then went on Share the story around meeting and playing with Donovan.

[0:19:30] (B): Well, I was with the Jeff Beck group. I’ll tell you this story, just set it up a bit great. I was a session man and Cliff Richard had sort of got beyond as his main drama. I was the man that played the live shows, I’m the man who does his recordings and I was doing a gospel tour with him, of all things, with a group, a folk band called The Settlers. And I’m playing brushes, I’m not playing drums. And it was a good account.

[0:20:10] (B): I was always worked and Jeff Beck called me one night and he said, we need a drama. He said, I remember playing with you at Hammersmith Palate on the Beatles Christmas show, the Yardbirds are on. So he said, could you come down, play some tunes with us? So again, I’m going to an audition. I didn’t know. I thought we’re going to cut summer. So Rod’s there Jeff, and Nikki Hopkins is playing piano and I don’t know who the bass player was.

[0:20:49] (B): No one actually knew who he was.

[0:20:51] (A): He was a ringing.

[0:20:56] (B): They offered me the gig, I got the gig straight away, cover, let’s go to America, let’s make some records. So the bass player lasted one night in America and that was it. And then Ronnie Wood came in and played bass and Ronnie was great, a great bass player. So Ronnie and I went back to the band, went back to England and we did Donovan, we did Goo Goo Barabbajang or something Else and a couple of other tracks with Donovan. And it was Donovan with the Jeff Beck group.

[0:21:28] (B): So they were good tracks. They really were good tracks.

[0:21:32] (A): What was that to work with?

[0:21:35] (B): I don’t know. We just went up.

[0:21:38] (A): You just put the music down.

[0:21:41] (B): He was singing? No, he was there. But we were too busy figuring out what to do with the arrangement to really talk to him. I mean, I don’t know whether I talked to him or not, because I was so involved in making the rhythms interesting and getting sounds right. What we’re going to do and make the feel sort of interesting.

[0:22:03] (A): You did pretty well. Yes, we did.

[0:22:06] (B): Yeah, they are. I like them, too, which is rare.

[0:22:10] (A): And you know what’s amazing about them is that those sort of tracks actually, a lot of the music that you’ve been involved with holds up still pretty well today.

[0:22:18] (B): Well, that’s what I’m told. It really does, Jeff. See, we all got fired from the Jeff Beck group. That’s right. We were in New York and the album was 18 in the US charts Beck-ola, and it was supposed to be Cosinostra Becola, but Peter Grant wouldn’t let us do that because of Costa role, the alliance with the Mafia who were running the show anyway. So we get to get up to go to Woodstock or something, and Jeff’s not around.

[0:22:57] (B): Jeff’s gone back to England to sort out his girlfriend who’s screwing the gardener or something. So really, that was it. That was it. I worked with him for about a year. Then I told him that it was over. He called me and said, I’m getting a new band together with Tim Bogart and a piece. That’s what happened. So we got fired. Later on, I saw Jeff had remixed Becola, which I played on, and he noted he was really sorry about getting rid of that band. He said, I made a big mistake there.

[0:23:35] (A): So how does that feel for you? I mean, 1 minute you’re part of a band that’s really flying high, and the next minute it’s like, I’ll see you later. Don’t need you anymore.

[0:23:43] (B): Well, that’s showbiz, she may get used to it. There’s so much disappointment in showbiz and so much crooked business with the artists. They do what they could do, then they could manipulate me any way they wanted to. Because I got a record in the charter with Jeff Beck group. We’re moving up. It’s going to be big. Oh, don’t pay me. If you need to pay me, that’s all right. So we’re dumb. Just dumb asses.

[0:24:18] (B): And I remember we did call a strike in New York with Jeff Beck Group, and they had to pay us $5,000 apiece to play the Shape of Beer Festival. And the lawyers brought the checks down and paid us, and we got paid what we were due.

[0:24:37] (A): Good job. Well done. Sticking up for yourself.

[0:24:40] (B): Yeah, I know. Crazy, really. I was the instigator us against the Mafia. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. When I think back on it.

[0:24:51] (A): Yeah. But certainly better than being constantly ripped off and promised money that you were never going to see.

[0:24:57] (B): I know. All the Time went on all the time.

[0:25:00] (A): It’s awful.

[0:25:01] (B): Yeah, it is.

[0:25:04] (A): I don’t believe that still happens today, but it certainly was very prevalent then in those days, wasn’t it?

[0:25:11] (B): Yeah, it was. I don’t know how gullible these bands are these days.

[0:25:16] (A): Well, I’m sure if you spoke to your son, you’d find he wasn’t gullible and he had a bit of a business brain about him. I think they’ve all learned from the past.

[0:25:27] (B): Well, I hope so, but you don’t know. I hear music stories all the time, like a very big act. I won’t name him went back on the road on a stadium tour and wanted to pay the brass section what he paid them in the early seventy s. And not only that, if they cut a CD, they wouldn’t get paid for it. I mean, come what are you doing?

[0:26:02] (A): Come on, Tony. Just between me and you naming well.

[0:26:06] (B): That was Cliff Richard a few years ago. I couldn’t believe it. Somebody came and told me, I said, Listen to this one. I was with the Everley Brothers and the guys a couple of guys lived in London and they were part of the I guess it was the early, late 90s, early 2000s. It’s just mind blowing. Why don’t you just pay the guys?

[0:26:28] (A): Unbelievable. And it wasn’t like he wasn’t making money. Unbelievable.

[0:26:33] (B): Mr. Spiritual.

[0:26:35] (A): Yeah, that’s right. And moving forward, after you fired from Jeff Beck’s group, not too long after that, you meet David Bowie and join him on Diamond Dogs in 1974. How’d that come about?

[0:26:49] (B): Yeah, well, there’s a few groups in between that. Beck. Was I 70 then? I have my own band called Maple, which is a Stoned Out band that we became it sort of became cultish. People really like it for cult memories. And actually a strange thing happened about six months ago. Excuse me. Six months ago, I was talking to the ANR man at Pole Drums. I endorsed pole drums. They were very good, great drums. And they always took good care of me.

[0:27:26] (B): So I’m talking to the ANR man, he said, I’m going to Italy and I really hope I get your second album that you recorded with mapless. It’s absolutely fantastic. And that’s the head of Pearl Drums, which blew me away. The stoned out. Drummer I was there.

[0:27:46] (A): Amazing. I haven’t heard of that band. Give us my dog. Point us to your favorite track that may be listed.

[0:27:55] (B): Okay. Yeah. Put squeet up. Squsqueet.

[0:28:04] (A): Okay.

[0:28:07] (B): There’s a live album, which is great. It’s something else live from anyway, check out Alive.

[0:28:19] (A): I definitely will.

[0:28:20] (B): But.

[0:28:23] (A): That band really didn’t find commercial success was more of a cult status.

[0:28:27] (B): Yeah, it did, as long as it ran its course. So we couldn’t afford to run it anymore. And then I was with Chris Spence for a while, guitarist, and then I got a record deal with Warner Brothers to work in a band called Three Man Army. And so that was the Gervitz Brothers, and I was doing sessions while I was working with them, while I was under contract to Warner Brothers, and I was working with The Who doing some tracks for the movie. Tommy.

[0:29:05] (B): Yeah. So I get a call, I’m at the studio and I get a call from Herby Flowers, and he says to me, you got to come over here. I’m working with David Bo. We can’t get this right. We’ve had several drummers come in and it’s not right. Will you come over? So I said, Well, I’ll finish here in an hour. I’ll get over there by nine or ten at night. So we went over and we start cutting, and David just loved it.

[0:29:34] (B): It’s Mike Darcy on piano, Herbie on bass, and me just playing drums, and David singing to us. And he loved it, he loved what I did. And we got on great. And then after a few days, he said to me, do you want to come on a tour with me? I said, that sounds great, I’d love to. So very graciously. Warner brothers let me out of my Warner Brothers contract and actually, Ginger Baker did the gig. It was the Baker Gurvitz Army. It turned into that I was with David, so that was that.

[0:30:14] (B): How amazing.

[0:30:15] (A): And what was it like with him? Because that was at the peak of his career, he just exploded onto the scene, hadn’t he? And he was so very different for those times. He was just blowing people’s minds everywhere.

[0:30:27] (B): I know he was. And the band, we went to New York and we rehearsed, and the rehearsals were great. David had the dancers and the band, and it was a great vibe. We’re going to go do shows and that, and then somehow it got very theatrical when he was, like, taking Broadway on the road. So we got all of a sudden, david the group singer, as it were, david the megastar. So all changed. It all changed. We were then, I don’t want to say relegated, but we sort of are to a back.

[0:31:12] (B): We’re at the back of the stage and all these massive theatrics are going, arms are coming out. And we had a percussionist who was great, and Elslic on guitar, david Samborn on saxophone, and Richie Garndo on baritone, and two or three background singers, and it was a really good band. I mean, really good band. So we’re sold out everywhere. But I don’t know what the audience thought, because we’re playing like it’s not even fusion. It’s trans something, whatever.

[0:31:53] (B): David, when I got in the studio with him, we’re going to do a track called Sweet Thing. So I said, what do you want me to do, David? He said, I want you to imagine that you’re a French drummer watching your first Guillotini. Yeah, that was the drums on Sweet Thing. That’s so bizarre, isn’t it? It isn’t. So it turned out some people think it’s his most passionate track ever. They really like the live version. See, the live version of all that stuff is really good because we’ve moved away from recording way beyond recording. We’re now adding all the nuances that we always wanted to do and give it up a kick up the ass let’s have this rocket no messing around let’s get it on this is what we’re here for so that was the attitude.

[0:32:54] (B): David had added an MD called Michael Cayman. And what, you were on piano? Mike Garcia, who was brilliant, and so Hurry Flowers and I have got an attitude immediately. We’re the featured artists from London. We’re not taking any fucking notes of what he says. For a start. Can stick there where the sun don’t shine totally ignored. And we became great friends. We really did.

[0:33:30] (A): So I’m chatting with Tony Newman of multiple bands who were specializes in the drums. Tony, you said that David Bowie became the star and it all got really theatrical and the band receded into the background. How does that feel for a band? Because, I mean, each of you are stars in your own right and you’re being pushed right back to make room for this big feature singer out front. Did it bug you?

[0:34:00] (B): No, it diminishes the ego performance somewhat. And maybe that’s a good thing because it all stays within, like a session groove. So his backing was just perfect. There weren’t any massive solos where people are flying all over the stage. It was a show. It was a Broadway show and we were the band, so we’re all object professionals. You can’t have a turn, an ego turn about that you just get over. That’s what you’re paid to do, right?

[0:34:39] (B): So that’s Herby and I and flip. But the Bad all we all did the gig. We all just did the gig. Everybody.

[0:34:47] (A): And how long did that tour last with him?

[0:34:50] (B): Oh, I don’t know. Two or three months, I suppose. And then my ex wife it was a really strange time, had gone nuts in London and they didn’t know what the hell was about with her. And she had my daughter, who was like a year old with her and she’d gone nuts. She had these glazed eyes. So I get this call you, margo’s gone nuts. We don’t know what to do. So I flew back to London, flew over there one day, got hold of her, took her to the American Embassy, got a visa, got back on a plane and got to New York and put her up in the hotel. And I went to work.

[0:35:40] (B): And when I came back, I couldn’t find her. She wasn’t in the bedroom or the living room anywhere. And so, God, it was a weird time. And I eventually. Found her in the bath eating soap.

[0:35:57] (A): What?

[0:35:58] (B): Yeah, with my daughter there. So I got hold of John Lennon’s psychiatrist and I took her up the road to him and when he saw her, he said, look, she needs to go into a sanitarium straight away. He said, I’ll give you some pills. He said, But I don’t think it’ll work with her. So she wouldn’t take the pills, obviously, so I Mickey them and she took two and she sort of came around. But I then had her and my daughter on the road and my son, my young son, with her wife and two kids on the road.

[0:36:34] (B): And it wasn’t too bad because I’m not out rocking or rolling club and we’re doing shows every night or every other night, but the cocaine use was absolutely insane on that tour, just insane. David was like he looked like a death camp victim. He was so gone, he had weighed nothing. And that was his gig.

[0:36:58] (A): So constantly wired all of us.

[0:37:02] (B): Well, I know I was out for.

[0:37:04] (A): The maxed out and not eating very much either.

[0:37:08] (B): I don’t know what the hell we were doing. I mean, we did a live gig, we did all live gigs, we did two day recording in Philadelphia. So my nose is so packed with cocaine I can’t breathe, it’s just blocked up with cocaine. And I can’t believe we’re going to do a live recording. I mean, I get on stage and I have no idea what to do. I’m like, on autopilot, so we do it. And then the next night, apparently, I didn’t know this, but there were two nights recorded.

[0:37:45] (B): I found out later, I thought, we’d done one, so I never wanted to listen to the album. I thought, I’m not listening to the way I played on there, that’s terrible. And he puts it out and it does very well, and then they remix it and my son calls me from English and you got to listen to David live, it’s something else. So I listened to it and it’s really good. And again, I looked at the line of notes and David said, we had a lot of leakage from the singers and the guitarists and piano players because of the volume, and we had to overdub some of the voices and some of the keyboards and some of the guitar, so the only thing we didn’t touch were perfect. Both nights were the drums.

[0:38:38] (A): You can do it right, no matter what your conditioner.

[0:38:41] (B): Well, I’m sober now, so I could never imagine getting back there again.

[0:38:46] (A): All those drugs. I mean, that was just part of the course, wasn’t it?

[0:38:49] (B): It was.

[0:38:50] (A): If you were going to be part of the camaraderie of it all and one of the boys, you had to do all of that, whether you wanted to or not.

[0:38:59] (B): Well, that’s right. We make drug addict, addicts out straight people. I never saw Mike Garcia do any I don’t know what he did. He was into Scientology. Yeah, that’s right, yeah. He took us to New York, all of us, to see what other Scientology building, and he said, you’ll do really good if you get some routines going. Routines? It’s a novel. That’s what it is. It’s a novel. What are you doing? But that floats your boat cool to you all right?

[0:39:40] (A): Yeah. With the benefit of hindsight, would have you done the same if you had your time again?

[0:39:50] (B): Well, I think there’s something about being a freak that gets you into, like, the higher echelons of entertainment. And maybe it was because I was so mentally beat up as a kid and then I started drinking and taking drugs. It made me do things that I wouldn’t have done sober, but I managed to play for another 25 years without taking a drink or drugs I didn’t use at all.

[0:40:27] (A): What was the turning point?

[0:40:29] (B): Well, that was 1983, and I’m in Nashville and I’m broke and I’ve got my the girl in London without a baby, a stripper in London had a baby and I brought her over to Nashville. Tell me about it. And one day I sent them, but we’re at the Hilton Hotel at the airport, and I’ve convinced the manager to provide us with all the alcohol we drink and two sweets. Yes, of course. We got no money, nothing. And so I’ve conned him into doing this.

[0:41:14] (B): And I was going to the bathroom, throwing up blood, so was he. And I passed him, we’re both covered in blood, going to the bar, ordering another double brandy. And when I came around, I said, I can’t do this, I’m done. I don’t know where the wife and kids are. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t even have a kid drums to play. I don’t know what happened. So take me to a treatment facility. I got a sober up here, so that’s what I did. I went to a treatment facility in 1983 and I’ve had a drink since then.

[0:41:50] (A): Good for you. Where did all the money go? Did you blow all the money on drugs and alcohol?

[0:41:55] (B): Yeah. I don’t know. When you’re in treatment, they ask you to make a budget of how much you’re spending a week on alcohol and drugs. So I said it had to be 3000 a month, like $12,000 a month. Where did the money come from? I don’t know. How did I pay for it? I don’t know.

[0:42:23] (A): But I mean, all those years that you were playing, you’ve earned good money with all those bands.

[0:42:28] (B): Yeah, but I spent it all on drugs and alcohol.

[0:42:32] (A): I forgot the six. Yeah.

[0:42:36] (B): Mr. Clever dick here. Yeah, right. That’s just outrageous. That’s what I lived on. You’re a big star. And I’m not making the money, the stars. I’m making a great living. And I see the guys in the bands buying houses and nice cars and I’m broke. What happened to you? I went to Tramps or something. We had a great time. I don’t know where I ended up, but here I am.

[0:43:04] (A): Are you still friendly with Herbie Flowers today?

[0:43:07] (B): Yeah. I haven’t spoken to him in years. He’s in his mid eighty s now. And the last time I spoke to him, about 1012 years ago, because, you see, so many of the guys I knew are dead or severely handicapped from being in the music business, the diseases that come over you. Or all of a sudden, you see these guys doing all the blow and everything, and they’re like, Lemme, don’t do what I’m doing. And the next minute is dead.

[0:43:45] (B): And that’s how it is. It was the same with the Whose base player the same way, you know, you can’t do this, you can’t do it. We’re too old. Our bodies are wrecked and our bodies can’t cope with what we did in those days. Nowhere near. I mean, I’m bothered about doing an aspirin too many because ridiculous.

[0:44:13] (A): Yeah, I hear you. I mean, it’s lucky. It’s very lucky that you stopped when you did or you’d be in the same category, wouldn’t you? In the same place. I don’t know. I mean, nobody can explain Keith. Richard.

[0:44:26] (B): Well. Keith yeah, he’s A Picture of Dorian Gray. He’s the last of the great rockers. I went and saw Keith and Ronnie when they were playing with the Stones and we had a great time together. And the first thing Keith said to me was, what the fuck are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead years ago. And dear old Charlie said he was so shocked to see me. Like you’re alive. What the hell are you doing here?

[0:44:58] (A): Keith Richards. Amazing.

[0:45:00] (B): I love Keith.

[0:45:01] (A): Amazing. Tony Newman. The reason that I got in touch in the first place with you was because I had listeners requests from people who were totally into Trex. They’re massive Mark Bolan fans. So would you mind sharing some of the stories and thoughts about the time that you were with Mark and T Rex?

[0:45:24] (B): Yeah, sure. Well, it was another one of those times when I was in London and I’d lost my drums. I think the management company had taken my drums and I’m just sitting in London with this woman doing heroin all day, taking this Dr. Collis Brown Clarity. It’s for diarrhea and sickness of Victoria Lord. So you’re supposed to have three drops and I’m having a whole bottle of it. Blood Club. And I sat in this flat not playing no drums for about three or four months and all. One day I woke up and said, I got to do something about this. This is nuts. So I called my friend Herby, I said, what you got going on?

[0:46:12] (B): He said, I don’t know nothing. I’ll call you if I do. So the next thing I know, he called me. He said. Look, I’m working with Mark Bowen. He needs a drummer desperately. They don’t know what they’re going to do. I didn’t even have a drum kit. So I said, look, rent me a kit and I’ll be over there. So I went over there and I dismantled this drum kit and got it. Sounded pretty good. And Mark came up to me, he said, It’s been a while for both of us, hasn’t it? I said, you ain’t kidding. So he’d been out on a runner, too, I think, for a while.

[0:46:47] (B): And I started playing with him. And Herby was bolstering me up in the studio. He said, this is your guy. Have a listen to this. So I started working with Mark and we immediately hit it off because we were both alcoholic drug addicts, we’re trying to keep it under wrap. Somehow we managed to keep it down. And I’d go out on benders, but I always managed to make it to the rehearsals and the shows and the recordings.

[0:47:20] (B): It’s just a lovely guy. I just loved him. And he’d give me his clothes, his Jeeps to Jackie, says, see if this picture that he got me at all his trex clothes. And I’d wear them. I’d wear them. We had a great glam rock, but it was good music. He was a good guy. He played great guitar. I’ll tell you, of all the people I ever went on stage with, mark Bowen had the most charisma. He was just shot out there. It was beautiful to see and beautiful to be a part of.

[0:47:52] (B): And he couldn’t sing, but he could he’s like but it was crazy. And I remember him singing a track with Silver Black and he starts singing this gobshyte over it or what the hell she’s doing a little puppy. And thing.

[0:48:15] (A): Was, that track of the.

[0:48:16] (B): Release was that track of the release, probably. I have no idea what I said. The answer, I have no idea.

[0:48:24] (A): You obviously had a lot in common with Mark Boland, but I want to know how come you didn’t have a drum kit? Where had your drum kit gone?

[0:48:32] (B): I lost them. The management. Well, I had an agreement. I was with a band called Boxer, who was signed to Virgin, and I was managed by Nigel Thomas, who managed everyone. He’d managed, he’d managed to damage incredibly, and they’d all got ripped, included Joe Carter, Chris Dayton and everybody, the Grease Band. And so we were with this band called Boxer and we got an album out and Virgin really liked it and they released the wrong tracks completely.

[0:49:16] (B): And we went to La. And the singer, Mike Paddo, got cancer. So we’re in La, we haven’t done a gig, and Pathos got cancer. So we’re seeing him at the cancer hospital and then all of a sudden we’re shipped back to London and we hear that we’re no longer going to be Boxer. That Ollie Hallsaw, Keith Ellis and I were fired. Without our equipment, nothing. Rick Wills was in the band and we had a great band, and so I just got stoned out there and yet another showbiz disappointment.

[0:50:05] (B): We’re all out of work, nowhere to live, particularly my house had been repossessed under Nigel Thomas’s management, and my wife and kids were living in a rental place out in Reading. And I didn’t care that much because I’m living with this lady who took her clothes off in the night and during the day, and we’re going to fix the world. And so that was that. I didn’t have any drugs.

[0:50:36] (A): Wow. Amazing. I mean, by the by the time you met Mark Boland, that was already after his his first surge of popularity, wasn’t he? Because his heyday was really 70 to 73, and at that time he was compared to the Beatles with something like eleven top ten singles in the charts.

[0:50:59] (B): I know, it was absolutely fantastic. But we sold out everywhere. Everywhere was packed. I mean, he did really good business and it was a good band to work with. It really was. It was a really good band. And Herbie thought it was the best band he’d ever been with, ever. He thought it was absolutely fantastic. Yeah.

[0:51:20] (A): What do you think was? I mean, the band itself, the musicianship must have been fabulous, but the music itself were you into it?

[0:51:27] (B): Yeah, I think I just like Mark and his charisma and his delusional ego, which was just I just loved it. Laugh he’d go out. He went out. You see, he didn’t care. Go somewhere else with it and the mainstream with him. What the hell is he doing? But we went along with it. It was just playing drums for Bob Bowler. It was a great honour, really. I really liked it. He loved me and I loved him and I was really sorry to see him go.

[0:51:59] (B): It broke my heart.

[0:52:01] (A): Yeah, I can imagine. How has he managed to handle that dip in fame and fortune before resurrecting it? I’d imagine that would unless he was just off his face so much that he was impervious to it.

[0:52:15] (B): Yeah. I don’t really know. He got a bad reputation. When I joined the Trex Company, they badmouth him a lot about what he wanted, how much damage he’d done, and I thought, that doesn’t apply to me. You had that experience. I haven’t had that experience. And I really liked him from the off. I thought he had a tremendous amount of tremendous amount of talent and he had a great charisma about him. I mean, that’s like a spiritual thing, to have a charisma.

[0:52:56] (B): You don’t acquire that. You have it and you develop it or it dies.

[0:53:02] (A): Yeah. And of course, the girls all loved him because he was so good looking.

[0:53:06] (B): Oh, absolutely, yeah.

[0:53:10] (A): He wasn’t with any strippers. You could hang out with all the groupies.

[0:53:14] (B): Yeah, well, that’s right, too, but I think I was man number 658 of that week.

[0:53:30] (A): Yeah, and I’m sure with your headspace as it was, it wouldn’t have bothered.

[0:53:34] (B): You in the least.

[0:53:39] (A): And what about all those groupies who used to hang around, particularly in the Bolan days?

[0:53:46] (B): Well, they’re there for after hours entertainment. They’ll be who you want them to be. I mean, some of them are really good looking and are quite independent. They just like being with people who like to rock and roll, let it all hang out. They’re good models. They’re not interested in the straight dudes that are like they would acquire with their notoriety. They got their own money, they got their own cars and houses, so some of it can be fairly interesting. A big ego trip.

[0:54:27] (B): We’ve all been there. One thing you do when you’re rocking around the world.

[0:54:35] (A): Did you ever wonder what the appeal of rock and rollers were to women? And so I’ll just do that again. Did you ever ask yourself what the appeal of rock and rollers was to women?

[0:54:46] (B): Yeah. I once asked a girl I was with, what about me? What’s so attractive about? She said you’re different. It wasn’t your great looking and you’re a good drummer or something. You’re different, you know, very important people. You could mix in any company, which I can. I still can do that. It’s funny, I can just pick up the phone and call someone and I can do what I like.

[0:55:17] (A): So if you had it all again, doesn’t sound like you would change a thing.

[0:55:21] (B): Well, yeah. Got to remember, with all this, there’s a tremendous amount of peripheral damage when it’s so selfish and so self centered and nothing matters more than the drums and Tony New. It’s not a good thing. It’s not a good thing. It’s on the B side of life, really, because, you see, the one thing you will run out of is a celebrity. But to seek a spiritual life, you won’t run out of spiritual life.

[0:55:58] (B): So that’s what I try to do, spiritual life, being doing my best to be kind to people and be loving to people. Therefore I’m kind and much more loving to myself. I don’t abuse myself like I used to. I couldn’t do all that. What I’ve just talked about, I last five minutes.

[0:56:18] (A): Did you try and talk your son out of being a professional drummer?

[0:56:22] (B): No, those kids never asked me anything. They just saw what I did and wanted it. They never asked me what I did or something. They got to find their own way. That’s their journey. I want to straighten them up, drum wise, and they’re not interested. They like to listen to the records I played. My son listen to a record. My son in England had a thing I did with David Coverdale white strike thing. It was north Winds, and it’s really good.

[0:56:55] (B): It didn’t do anything, but the grooves are good. And he blew him away. So just listen to it. It’s absolutely fantastic. Well, glad you like it.

[0:57:08] (A): They must be pretty proud of you.

[0:57:10] (B): Yeah, they are. And I love them dearly. Love them dearly.

[0:57:15] (A): Tony Newman, what an absolute joy to chat with you. Thank you for sharing your stories. There’s a book in you. Can we expect one soon?

[0:57:28] (B): I’ve been writing it sitting here, and I’d write about once every three years, a paragraph or something. I’m not an avid writer. I’ll get it done.

[0:57:41] (A): Yeah, it really deserves to be written. You got some fabulous stories.

[0:57:47] (B): Great.

[0:57:48] (A): Yeah. A pleasure chatting with you. Thank you so much for sharing time with us.

[0:57:52] (B): Thank you.

[0:57:52] (A): All right.

[0:58:26] (B): Thank you so much. I’m humbled by this whole situation, I really am.

[0:58:34] (A): It’s wonderful to talk with you. And you’re not married to the stripper today, are you?

[0:58:38] (B): Oh, God, no. I’ve got a beautiful wife. We’ve been together we’ve been together 31 years and married two, six. Good for you. Yeah, we’re doing all right.