Interview Dick Taylor, The Pretty Things

Hallo Rocker!

Letzten Freitag hatte ich das Vergnügen, Dick Taylor von The Pretty Things kennenlernen und interviewen zu dürfen.

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The Pretty Things wurden 1963 gegründet, nachdem Dick Taylor, Gründungsmitglied und Bassist der Rolling Stones beschoss, dass er lieber Gitarre spielen wollte. Er und Phil May entschieden, The Pretty Things in London zu starten.

Sie blicken nun auf eine 52-jährige Bandgeschichte zurück. Unzählige Alben und großartige Songs bringen die Männer seitdem dazu, ununterbrochen durch die ganze Welt zu touren. Echte, handgemachte Musik, bis heute! Zuletzt kam das Album The Sweet Pretty Things (are in bed now of course) raus. Ein Sound der an die frühen Zeiten der Pretty Things erinnert – eine großartige Platte! Wer Sie noch nicht hat, sollte dringend einmal reinhören!

 

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Viel Spaß jetzt aber erst einmal beim Lesen…

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Come Backstage:

You were an early member of the Rolling Stones… How did you end up joining them?

Dick Taylor: 

How did I end up joining them? Well I was in a little band when I was at school with Mick Jagger, and we used to practice around my house. And then I went to our school later on and Keith Richards was there, we had this band, and Keith was too shy to ask if he could come around and join us… I used to play guitar with Keith in High School and we used to kind of „Hey, look, you know, how do you do this?!“ and one day Keith and Mick who had been really close friends when they were very small, met up, and then the idea came… Oh, let’s all get together… so we did. And then a little while after that, maybe six months later, we went to a club where there was a guy called Alexis Korner playing, met Brian Jones and started talking.. And Brian already had a band, he invited Mick to join the band, and then Mick said ok Keith come along, and then I came along to play bass. I played bass with them for a while rehearsing before we did any gigs, well I did a few gigs with them, then I left, because I wanted to play guitar. I wanted to go and do my Art school studies, because I was at art school with Keith… I wanted to kind of do that. Then Phil and I started another band called The Pretty Things… and here we are! (laughs)

Phil May:

(laughs) That’s it – end of story… here we are!

That was in 1963… and how did the story start with The Pretty Things?

Dick Taylor:

Well literally I left The Rolling Stones, an we actually got the Rolling Stones to come and play at our school dance… In Bill Wyman’s Book he says I played bass at the school dance… I can’t remember if I did or not… But anyway… I don’t think I did really… I swear I didn’t. Anyway… we employed the Stones, and we had to pay them 25 Pounds.

Come Backstage:

(laughs) wow, that’s cheap!

Dick Taylor:

And we said, WOW, we could do money like this! (laughs) And then we started a band!

Come Backstage:

(laughs again) Just because of the money, really?!

Dick Taylor:

(laughs) well, kind of (laughs)… No, we wanted to start a band anyways, so… yeah… that was the start of The Pretty Things! And then we started doing lots of gigs for our schools again. And the Art school I went to, after the one I was in with Keith, I met a manager… The man who became my manager in the 60s, a guy called Brian Morrison. He also managed the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. (laughs) They were actually really popular in the 60s and early 70s.. anyway, he managed them and he said „Hey, why don’t you come and start doing the Art School Dances?“. And we did lots of gigs all around London… We met another guy who told us to get a record deal… So we got a record deal with Fontana Records… And we started gigging around and here we are… 52 years later… (smiles)

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Come Backstage:

That’s great! Who were your influences back then?

Dick Taylor:

Well in those days, you know, more tough blues as Muddy Waters… But when we playd it, we made it a bit more rocky… kind of a bit faster and heavier… because we were playing for people who wanted to dance… It kind of turned into British Rhythm and blues… Well that’s kind of the influences we had… All the blues guys and the soul people… We used to listen to their records and then later on, lots of american bands… What we didn’t realize, is that we were a big influence to lots of garage bands in america. And these days people say „Hey,we couldn’t have don’t it without you!“

Come Backstage:

Well, that’s great to hear, isn’t it?

Dick Taylor:

Yes, it definitely is.  Even people at the MC5… Lots of those early garage bands, and we had no idea! Suddenly years later we found out.

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Come Backstage:

How did you and Phil come up with the idea of S. F. Sorrow?

Dick Taylor:

We were with Fontana Records, and a contract come to land. And we wanted to go somewhere else. They probably wanted us to go somewhere else too (laughs) I don’t know about that. But we were very much like „Hey, you got to make pop records… records to be in the charts.“.  When we finished that contract, we started doing stuff that we wanted to do! We did unconventional tracks and psychedelic stuff.  And then we went to EMI Records, and there was a guy named Norman Smith, who produced the first Pink Floyd album. We were actually friends with the Floyd, they were with our agency too,… Pink Floyd, T-Rex… Lots of people were there at the same agency. He actually really liked we did a thing called „defecting grey“ which was like 7 minutes I think, but had a lot of little sections in it… Which we’re doing tonight… And he said „I really like this stuff“. Then we did a couple of singles for him. Phil started writing a story, and gradually the album turned into what apparently was the first Rock Opera, I hate the term Rock Opera! That’s a stupid thing. Concept album whatever… album with a story! It isn’t an opera. And yeah, you know, it developed into this story, and apparently it was one of the first ones.

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Come Backstage:

If somebody wouldn’t know S. F. Sorrow, how would you describe it, what is it all about?

Dick Taylor:

It’s really about the story of a guys life. About his early days, then he meets his first girlfriend, he goes to war, his girlfriend dies… And then he meets a guy named Baron Saturday..

And how that happened: I was reading a black magic story, and there was a guy named Baron Samedi… And he was not actually a bad guy, but he was the god of the graveyards… The guy between the worlds, living and dead… I was reading this book, and we needed another song… And that was Baron Saturday! So that’s how that happened.

In the end, the last few songs, there’s one called „death“ and one called „loneliest person“.

So it’s just the story about a guys life. That’s it!

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Come Backstage:

You released The Sweet Pretty Things (are in bed now of course) earlier this year. What can the fans expect from this album?

Dick Taylor:

Yes we did. We recorded a lot of it live. George & Jack a young rhythm section. We wanted to do a studio album using them, and we wanted as much contribution from them. So over all the written stuff which is on it, everybody is contributed. It’s quite live and it’s hopefully a little psychy and a little bit in the spirit of the early stuff. But hopefully not to retro, you know. (laughs) I’m trying to describe what music is… We don’t want to fit into a strict category you know.. It’s too much of it…

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Come Backstage:

How would you say, did the sound of The Pretty Things change? I mean, there are 52 years of band history… That’s quite a long time!

Dick Taylor:

It has changed actually, I’d be the first to admit it.  Sometimes people say, that it shouldn’t have changed too much, because if you would’ve stayed in one row over the years, you’d be more… (laughs) like Status Quo for example.

It started pretty much British Rhythm and Blues, went on became psychedelic I guess, and more this classic Rock-Type material… After I left the band and joined again, we became quite new wavy… Then we did 4, 5 albums… But what we are now, is hopefully, more like the sound of the end of the sixties. We are what we are (laughs)

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Come Backstage:

Which bands do you like from nowadays?

Dick Taylor:

The most cool band I’ve seen lately, is a band who are based in Germany, who are americans, called Simeon Soul Charger. And they’re absolutely fantastic!

Come Backstage:

I must admit that I don’t know them…

Dick Taylor:

Well, you definitely should do! Check them out, because they are definitely amazing! We played a festival in the Czech republic… And I can tell you, I’ve seen Hendrix I’ve seen lots of people. And they were one of the best things I ever heard! Really fantastic!

Come Backstage:

okay, now I’m curious!

Dick Taylor:

You should be, just check them out!

Come Backstage:

I definitely will! If you should convince a young person to listen to Rock music, which song would you show him/her and why?

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Dick Taylor:

Oh jesus – oh… (laughs) PHIL, HELP!

Phil May:

What?!

Dick Taylor:

Listen, if you wanted to convince a young person to listen to Rock music, what song would you choose?

Phil May:

You really got me, from The Kinks!

Come Backstage:

Well, that’s actually a good one!

Dick Taylor:

(laughs) oh yeah, that’s a good choice, yes…

Come Backstage:

It’s a difficult question, I know.. Here’s the next one: If you could have kind of a fantasy dinner with three persons of your choice, it doesn’t matter if they’re real or not, if from the past or the future… who would it be and why?

Dick Taylor:

oh my god… (laughs) let’s see, let’s see…I could be really cool and say my mum… NO! (laughs) Oh jesus… Bo Diddley, just because he was fantastic. I know exactly who I’d have, but I can’t remember her name. (laughs)  Night Porter… Phil, who’s the woman in Night Porter… Fantastic actress!

Phil May:

Oh yeah,… Oh jesus…

Dick Taylor:

You know what, I’m going to be really sad…

Phil May:

Google it! Jesus…

Dick Taylor:

(laughs) yes, that’s what I’ll do.

Phil May:

CHARLOTTE RAMPLING!!

Dick Taylor: 

Charlotte Rampling! Charlotte Rampling maybe sort of 25 years ago…

Phil May:

Well, she’d probably say the same thing (laughs)

Dick Taylor:

No, she’d say 50 years ago! (laughs) She’d definitely say 50 years ago (laughs)

Who else? God, hard question… Someone serious… I’d have to have Bill Bailey, because he makes me laugh!

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Es war eine tolle Erfahrung, Dick und Phil kennenzulernen! Das Konzert danach war ebenfalls überragend – ganz anders als das, was ich bisher gesehen und gehört habe. Wenn die Männer da oben auf der Bühne stehen, dann spürt man, dass es echt ist. Absolut empfehlenswert!

Eure Ornella.

Long live Rock’n’Roll!

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