It’s fair to stay that T*Rextasy is more than just a tribute band, your personal knowledge of T-Rex and in fact Marc is encylopeadic.
Danielz: Well I’ve had comments like that in the past, but I leave it for others to judge, but I’m quite honoured by those comments. I’ve been a fan since the early seventies and I think that’s part of the longevity. It’s not just something I do because I look a little bit like Marc.
Marc is very much in my heart and has been for many years so I’ve learnt more and more about him in that time.
Before your T-Rex time, tell us about your early life
Danielz: Well me and my family are nomads really, my father was in the Army, so the first time I saw T-Rex was in Germany at the age of 13, when I heard the song Jeepster.
Before that I was like most boys, into football and a little into music, no one else in the family was musical.
Growing up, The Beatles and the Stones, although I liked them they didn’t really speak to me musically. So when I heard Marc, he was from my generation, there was no one else like him at the time. So this was before David Bowie floated down like an alien being, so Marc for me was that alien being and he still is today. He’s not like other popstars, he wrote and recorded his own songs, he went and worked with Tony Visconti in producing them.
When I first heard Jeepster, as a teenager, it had an enormous effect on me, and slowly music took over my life.
The band went on to become enormous and you have to remember in those days, unlike today, you had to sell a lot of records to get into the charts. Telegram Sam for example sold 25,000 copies before it was released! That’s unheard of today.
So you liked T-Rex, were there other musical influences for you at the time?
Danielz: Well I’m a rocker actually, but contradicting that slightly I also love Bob Dylan he for me is one of the finest writers of our age. But I like bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath as well as being a fan of the punk era, The Clash and Sex Pistols. Strangely I’m not that much a fan of bands of the glam era. Marc even though he innovated glam rock, when other bands started climbing on that bandwagon, by 1973 Marc had already stated ‘Glam rock is dead’. He didn’t want to be involved with those who were then coming into that genre. Marc’s friends from the period were people like Roy Wood (Wizzard), Steve Harley and Eric Clapton, rather than the Mud, Showaddywaddy and Rubbettes side of the movement. So because of the latter he pulled away from the glam side, although he will forever more be seen with a feather boa around his neck.
Marc and Roy Wood were very good friends, they both were from that background of writing their own songs, rather than being manufactured and recording what was given to them. They liked lots of the same things, in fact they shared a love of the same shoes!…. Marc used to wear these little tap shoes and Roy loved them and so because of Marc he ended up wearing them too.
So once you got into music did that then takeover your life and ambitions to become a performer?
Danielz: Absolutely, T-Rex led the way for me to pick up a guitar. When I used to put on a T-Rex album I really wanted to be able to play like that. I used to buy the albums and listen intently to them and then to go on to playing along to them.
So how did you make the break into the industry?
Danielz: Well I was in schoolboy bands and then other bands, I got recording deals, but I never quite made it. Strangely enough there’s a great rock label called ‘Angel Air based in Stowmarket, they heard about my band prior to T*Rexstasy, a band called Tarazara and they knew I’d recorded an album worth of stuff that had never been released.
We were going to sign to Atlantic Records but the old story, although we recorded everything the deal fell through. So with the success of T*Rexstasy Angel Air offered me a deal two or three years ago and released the Tarazara. So it was nice that my 80s rock band stuff finally got released. I’m still friends with all of that group and in fact we did an anniversary show at the O2 Islington Academy.
So you’re currently touring and coming to the Corn Exchange in Ipswich, who are the audience?
Danielz: Well we do pull in a big female audience, also lots of people our age, the older fans. But lots of those older fans have children of their own who also want to see what all the fuss was about with Marc Bolan. So we have a whole new generation of fans.
You’ve worked with and been endorsed by people such as Tony Visconti, who of course produced Marc.
Danielz: Yes, what was nice was that last year we did a show at The Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Tony flew over and hired a string quartet and played about a dozen songs with us, which for us was a great honour. Marc Almond joined us along with Boy George, Sandie Shaw and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols.
What has been the response from Marc’s family?
Danielz: Well Rolan (Marc’s son) did his first ever gig in this country with us in 1997. He was so nervous, there were about 1,200 people in the audience and he’d never performed in front of an English audience. We did a duet together and he was still shaking when we walked off the stage.
He says he appreciates what we are doing as we are keeping his father’s performances alive.
Do you ever get the urge to perform not as “the man who sounds like Marc Bolan”?
Danielz: I used to, but because I don’t really do anything else, it’s difficult. I sometimes when I’m in a hotel room I still write songs, but that’s just for personal pleasure. So maybe one day I will record them. However whenever I try and sing anything else, I kinda end up singing it how Marc would have.
What can we expect to see at The Corn Exchange?
Danielz: We are doing the “I Love to Boogie” tour this year. So there will be two full on electric sets. Approx 50 minutes the first half, then give us and the audience a break and then another hour. We do all the hits, but we also try and keep the die-hard fans happy with some album and B-side tracks.
• I Love to Boogie – T*Rextasy are at The Corn Exchange, Saturday 30th March, 8pm. Box office 01473 433100 or www.ipswichregent.com