( Pics from the Bolanfest : Bernard pavelek )
During the Bolanfest ( 23rd/24th september 2000, Birmingham ) I had the chance to meet Mick Gray, also known as Micky Marmelade, the name Marc gave him when he worked for T.Rex.
Micky Marmelade started working for T.Rex during 1971. from 1971 to 1976 he has been very close to Marc Bolan and was only forced to quit Marc because of a car accident he had, late 1976.
On George Rab's idea I asked Mick if he could reveal some unknown infos about his stays with Marc in France and especially in Monaco. Here's the interview I did with him through e-mails between the 1st and the 22cnd november 2000. The man talks of Marc with passion and I hope ( I'm sure ) that it will be interesting reading for you. Let me thank him from the bottom of my heart.
Marc Bolan leased an apartment from
January 1975 until 1976
The address was Apartment 8. Etage 19, Estoril B, Ave Princess Grace, Monaco.
The agent for the apartment was an Englishman called Gordon Blair who had his office at 11 Ave Grande Bretagne, Monte Carlo
Bjorn Borg also had an apartment and tennis shop in the same block.
In July/August 1974 Marc and the band stayed at the Negresco Hotel in Nice while they rehearsed at the Victorine Film Studios for the US tour in the Fall of '74
Marc and Gloria also stayed in a Health Clinic for two weeks in the spring of 1975. The clinic was in the hills behind Cannes on the Nice side of the town. Sorry I cannot remember the name or date.
The little girl on Mad Donna was the daughter of the boss of our Record Company in France who visited us at Strawberry Studios.
She was not the daughter of an engineer at the studios.
To which I answered asking some more precisions :
Q: The clinic was in the hills behind Cannes on the Nice side of the town. Don't they call it 'Super Cannes' there ?
Q: The little girl on Mad Donna was the daughter of the boss of our Record Company in France. You mean CBS ?
Yes he was the boss of CBS. I had to visit his office in 75 in the Champs Elysee. I also met him at a Bar B Q for John Mclaughlin at the Strawberry Studios in August 1975 when I called in for a social visit.
Q: your official title was 'Executive road manager', I think. Of what consisted your work for Marc ? Was it a full time job ?
While the band were on the road I acted as Tour Manager and Nurse Maid. This meant I had to get them up in the morning,to the airport, on the plane, off the other end, into the new hotel and to the gig. I was also responsible for making sure all luggage was on and off the planes and in and out of the hotels. I also kept the tour float and paid out expenses. I made sure all riders were adhered to and when Tony Howard was not around received any artist fees payable.
My role in the studio was minimal apart from ensuring there was food and drink. At the end of sessions I would remove all Marcs notes which he kept or if they were discarded I destroyed!
When Marc was not on the road I was
his personal assistant driving him to meetings/office/studio,
looking after personal business matters and carrying a float
When Marc stayed in LA I stayed with Marc and Gloria at the house in Del Resto Drive, when in Monaco I stayed in what was then the Holiday Inn, I believe it now called the Beach Hotel.
When we recorded at Herouville I was responsible for booking the studios and ensuring everyone got there. I also liased with CBS, and took tapes to their office in the Champs Elysee on two occasions. After one session in 75 Marc decided to hang out in Paris for a few days and we stayed, (Gloria, Marc and I) at the Paris Hilton.
Q: In 72, two shows were sheduled at the Olympia on 4th september. They were due to be broadcasted on Europe 1 as musicoramas. Things went as far as posters in the streets but the two shows were cancelled. Can you remember why ?
There is no logical answer because they could have been good warmup gigs for USA later in the month.
I do not know why they were cancelled, it could have been over money or poor ticket sales ? Only the promoter and Tony Howard would know the real reason!
Q: On July the 5th, 1974, ( the date is taken from Cliff Mc Lenehan's chronology ) Marc was in Paris, staying at the Hilton, for the purpose of recording a video to promote 'Light of Love'. Journalists were invited from England. The footage was made in a small studio in the outskirts of Paris. Were you there and have you some details about this event ?
I cannot really help you on this one, I vaguely remember being in Paris but cannot swear it was July 74. The journalist in your article mentioned June but by this time she was well and trully off the scene and Gloria was living with Marc. We did some filming at Herouville but I cannot put song to venue. We stayed at the Hilton in the spring of 75 after a bad session at Herouville before going back to Nice, could this have been the time rather than 74?
The engineer on the last Herouville sessions was Clive Frank who was Elton Johns sound engineer. Clive was not impressed by Marc due to his attitude caused by an excesss of Brandy and most of the takes were rubbish.
Micky : I cannot really help you on this one, I vaguely remember being in Paris but cannot swear it was July 74. The journalist in your article mentioned June but by this time she was well and trully off the scene and Gloria was living with Marc.
Me : Yes, noticed that !.....it's likely that the fact was not so much known at the time and Marc protected his private life.
Micky : We did some filming at Herouville but I cannot put
song to venue.
Me : The only filming at the Chateau I'm aware of is on feb 3rd 1972 the filming for French TV of the following tracks : Telegram, Cadilac, jeepster and Hot love . The show, called 'Rockenstock' was broadcasted on 12th feb same year.
Micky : We stayed at the Hilton in the spring of 75 after a
bad session at Herouville before going back to Nice, could this
have been the time rather than 74?
Me : Billy Super Duper & Depth Charge basic tracks were recorded on sunday 19th may 1975, at Herouville ( from my Mc Lenehan's bible )
Q: Have you any rememberance how you arrived in Nice in 1974, was it on plane from London, ...Paris, on train, on car ? Did Marc come back from the States ?
Marc certainly was living openely with Gloria and would have made no excuses or implied that he was still with June.
Also we were not in Herrouville in May
1974 it was earlier eg March early April.
I think you mean 1975 ? No objection 'bout the recorded tracks ? ( Billy super Duper & Depth charge )
I drove down with Mick O'Halloran and his family, stopping off in Paris on the way. Marc,Gloria and the band flew in from London.
Q: Next question : How long would you say the stay in Nice lasted during summer 1974 ? Can you remind some anecdote related to this rehearsals or stay ? what was an average day then for Marc & Gloria ?
We stayed in Nice for about a month, a check with the hotel register, if possible would confirm this. Rooms would have been booked in the names Feld,Finn,Curry,Lutton,Dines,Gray,O'Halloran and Conlon.
The weekdays were spent rehearsing at Victorine at least until 3pm when we would join our ladies on the beach. Weekend were free for whatever. Marc and Gloria were not ones to sunbathe and were quite reclusive in the evenings and at weekends. A few times I would drive them out to the villages above Nice for a meal and a couple of times we drove over to Monaco just to look round. I had no idea we would be moving there in Jan 75!
Officially Marc had a Minder/driver with him called Pete Conlon who was a friend of Mick O'HALLORAN but he was deemed as being hostile towards Gloria, so it fell to me to do the honours. Pete was sacked on our return to London. Most evenings were spent in the bar of the Negresco which was a bit of a waste in such a beautiful city. We did see a festival of flowers one evening!
I did try and get out and about when I could using the excuse of business eg going to the bank and I managed to explore the old town around the port. A couple of times I drove over to Monaco and Menton with my girlfriend for a drink away from the band.
Q: From your point of view, when did Marc decide to live in Monaco ? Who ( on Marc's behalf ) made the deal with the English agent ? Do you have an idea who actually owned the flat ?
Marc first visited Monaco during the summer of 74 and I think that was when the seed dropped. The deal was done from London during our absence in the USA touring and recording during the late part of 74.
Marc finally moved to Monaco during
January 75. I drove the Rolls to Paris and then took the
Couchette to Nice. Mick O Halloran drove down with Marcs furniture and fittings in a truck. MOH stayed for a few days and then returned to London.
Marc was never totally happy in Monaco and did not venture out much. Most of their meals were from a bistro at the bottom of Estoril B. They were happier in LA. The stay in Monaco was not very productive. Marc was reading for a part in a film while we were there, produced by John Marshall who produced the Whicker Man. The film was due to star David Niven but nothing came of it and Marc had problems learning his lines.
Q: How long did Marc stay in Monaco ? ( from january until ? ), this stay was not in a row, I think ( did he not travel to California once or more during this period ? ). Did he stay reclusive ( or did he go to the casino, receptions, did he meet famous people as the Prince family ). Did Gloria and you stay with him all the time he was down there ? what you've been doing since you had to leave Marc in 1976 ?
Marc stayed in Monaco during January 1975, April -May 75, briefly during the summer and a short stay during the winter months. I was not always needed when they stayed there.
Apart from Ringo and his PA a man called Hillary, Marc did not socialise in Monaco. Gloria would occasionally go to the Salon at the Casino but only to play the machines, never to play the tables. The band did play the tables in Nice in August 74.
They used to frequent a fish restruanrt behind the Casino in a quite road but apart from that and the bistro in Estoril B and a couple of meals at the Holiday Inn they rarely strayed!
When I was not needed, in the evenings I would normally eat in the Holiday Inn where I became friendly with the staff. A couple of times I drove into Italy as far as San Remo to look round and buy shoes, I also went to Menton and Nice. I also went on two Sundays to see Monaco play football.
Since leaving Marc through the results of my own car accident in late 76 I have stayed in the business. The first twothirds of 77 saw me unable to work having broken a leg and dislocated my pelvis. Thats why I missed France and the Dandy tour.
I tour managed a few artists eg Curtis Mayfield, Slave, Dean Friedman during their UK tours and then became a Entertainments Officer at what is now Kingston University, where I apparently met Cliff.
After that I ran a club in London called the Ace which became the Fridge. Since 1987 I have worked in Cambridge as the Entertainments Manager for the City Council.
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