Simon and his brother, Barnaby, caught up with the pair of them after they had finished working on their joint project, T. Rex Regeneration. It was a venture that saw them chiselling new songs out of old recordings from studio tapes of Marc Bolan to incredible effect. The result provides an insight into what could have been, and also gives us an intriguing insight to the working relationship of two men who share not just DNA, but also a deep and profound respect for each other’s work.
BH: How did the T. Rex Regeneration project come about?
Tony: I did a BBC TV interview about 10 years ago and they wanted me to sit at a console and move the individual faders of a T. Rex classic and speak about the separate parts on tape. When they went, they left the copy master behind. A few years ago I discovered it and gave to Morgan to just fool around with it.
Morgan: Dad loaned me a couple of multitrack sessions (“Ride a White Swan” and “Jeepster”, and I started making sampler instruments out of them and came up with a new groove and chord pattern. I felt like I had done something sacrilegious, but I played it to Tony and he said, “We have to do something with this!”
Tony: I was very impressed, but then I wondered whether Marc (Bolan) would use that chord, that turn of melody, that guitar lick — then I was involved and it became an official project.
BH: How did/do you find the process of working together?
Tony: We worked seamlessly and enthusiastically.
Morgan: It’s been a blast.
BH: How do you feel that your approaches complimented each other on the project?
Morgan: Well, my dad practically created glam rock, and his approach originated from that school, however he’s perfectly proficient in modern approaches to recording too. I suppose this was the perfect project for our methods to meet in the middle.
Tony: Because it was all originally recorded in the 70s and Morgan is very much a ‘now’ composer, we complimented each other with his ability to make it sound like T. Rex just walked into the studio last week and I was in the producer’s chair – still!
BH: How do you produce an artist who isn’t physically in the studio? What challenges did it throw up for you as producers?
Morgan: Not only absent from the studio but on another spiritual plane altogether. Dad knew Marc Bolan very well so each time I started to push the sound to something more modern, I would always ask, “Would Marc be okay with this?”
Tony: Regeneration needed to sound natural, not doctored. We went back to the drawing board many times. We knew we had something when T. Rex fans of all ages thought it was a ‘lost track’. In the end, it sounded so natural and real we actually performed it live with the tribute group, T. Rextasy, and a string quartet at a Marc Bolan tribute/charity show in London this past September, to a few thousand fans. They loved it.