Rubettes - ft John Mick and Steve - Glamnezia

Rubettes - ft John Mick and Steve - Glamnezia

Legendary Manchester-based writer and producer Mike Bennett has been working furiously on his latest project Glamnezia. It sees him teaming up with The Rubettes (ft John Mick & Steve) and is co-produced by Steve Etherington. Glamnezia is a boxed set and coffee table book which will feature re-recordings of glam classics and a selection of new songs.

Mike has worked with a slew of high profile acts such as Bad Manners, Fuzzbox, Hazel O’Connor, The Fall, Ian Brown and The Specials, Neville Staple and Gregory Isaacs, but this is his first foray into the glam arena!

The Rubettes featuring John, Mick and Steve have created the music for the boxed set with reworkings of famous glam classics from the ‘70s era including a glam metal version of Crazy Horses by The Osmonds (with Donny playing the opening organ screech!), See My Baby Jive by Wizzard and many other timeless smashes from the day.

Sugar Baby Love recently entered the top 10 in the North American charts inspiring them to embark on this ambitious project.

The Glamnezia box set and coffee table book has been put back due to the pandemic, and lands when the press implants and book manufacturers are back in full flow. Release dates to be announced with massive contributions from artists Steve Bowden and Tony Gleed of Boogaloo Radio.

Louder Than War’s Nigel Carr caught up with Mike Bennet to discuss everything glam, from its origins in English music hall, through the very first stirrings in the late sixties to the US crossover of glam and hair metal!

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Mike Bennett
Mike bennett

NC: Did The Rubettes represent Glam? If you look at Glam from as early as 1970 when Bolan turned up riding a white swan with that little bit of glitter on his face they did not look like your average sparkly glam star.

MB: “They looked like Pearly Kings and Queens. Arthur Brown argues the point about the glitter, he’s put in the claim! I can argue about Rubettes being archetypical glam rock because I would say that I would put them in the bubble glam category, right? Because I’ve got my own categories”.

“What I say is this: Glam rock is quintessentially English, but we are musical magpies. We flew over and we went back in time, and we hit the American jukebox diners, and we took as much from the American jukebox diners as we could or in Roy Wood’s case, as much from Phil Spector’s catalogue as he could, and then we made it our own. But we also harked back to a time gone by to a place called the East End and that is where glam rock started”.

NC: So you are talking about Marie Lloyd and the old music halls?

MB: “I’m talking about Marie Lloyd, I’m talking about Little Titch, I’m talking about Vesta Tilley as well”.

Steve Etherington
Steve Etherington

NC: That’s interesting I was talking to the guy from It’s Immaterial, John Campbell and he talked about how music hall tradition and particularly Little Titch was an influence on early punk.

MB: “Very much so as well. I used to write an article for Encore magazine. A series of articles about the evolution of music hall. Prior to being commissioned to do this, I was chatting to Andy Scott from Sweet, and he said they used to watch The Good ‘Ole Days permanently, saying ‘Look at that patch, look at that coloured garment that woman is wearing, and then they would show it to their designers and that would help with the costume. Now, you mentioned punk, you mentioned glam. These are all pop genres and so the costumes in some ways and the fashion statement is as integral as the song”.

MB: “Glam rock came out of a poverty-stricken period. The three day week, the miners’ strike, when the going gets tough, the Brits go glam!”.

“In the music hall period you had your pearly kings and queens, that was pure glam and at places like The Players Theatre under the arches in Charing Cross, they would form the chorus, they would also be the bouncers. They would be a bit like those guys who used to jump on the stage with Mud”.

“When I was looking at the Wilton’s Music Hall, I was going through some of the old original literature and some of the programmes, and they said ‘Next week please make sure you’re wearing your ‘glam rags’ which was a play on the words ‘glad rags’ but they actually used the phrase, ‘please bring your glam rags and dress as your favourite star”.

“The coincidence is that if there ever was a glam rock musical, it’s the Rocky Horror Show. People turn up in their ‘glam rags’ dressed as their favourite star so there is a correlation”.

NC: Surely it was a coincidence that they wore their glam rags and we had glam rock? Where did the term ‘glam rock’ come from, who coined the term?

MB: “It just struck a chord with me because the real phrase is ‘glad rags’ not ‘glam rags’ so they used the word glam and look at the pearly kings and queens you know and look at the risqué factor of your Marie Lloyds and a ‘little bit of wot yer fancy’. It came from a working-class area that was poverty-stricken and then flash forward to early ‘70s and meanwhile ex-bricklayers who have turned into musicians are putting on make-up up north!”.

“This whole thing about the criticism about bands like Slade and Sweet ‘Oh they’re just like a bunch of brickies’, I think well what’s wrong with that? It’s even better it was a working-class phenomenon. Very English but of course you did have people like Suzi Quatro who came from Detroit and Alice Cooper. Suzi Quatro was sent really to English glam finishing school and the headmaster was Micky Most”.

“There is a saying in glam rock, ‘Tony Hatched the plot but Micky made the most’. I say that because Tony Hatch, in the very early days, did work with Bowie and not many people know that and I just quite like the phrase!”.

Glam Fact: Donovan sang the high notes on Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies!

NC: Alice Cooper was psychedelic when he started with Frank Zappa on Straight

MB: “Theatrical rock really. I’ll tell you what I would say. You’ve got Roxy Music. They jumped on the glam wagon, that’s art school rock – art school glam as far as I’m concerned. If you notice, a lot of people from the glam community were synonymous with acting”.

“Those are the people that jumped on the glam wagon. They were fading rockers. Your Barry Blue’s and the Alvin Stardusts”.

“Mott The Hoople, I’d say were a band that made copious amounts of excellent, if not sketchy bluesy kind of albums and they jumped on the glam wagon because Ian Hunter enjoyed it. The rest of them didn’t”.

“Then you’ve got your bubble glam bands like Paper Lace, which was more like bubble glum! The Night Chicago Died and all that”.

NC: There was a lot of shit in there wasn’t there?

MB: “You had Barry Blue in there, Racy, which I would call bubble glam”.

NC: Arrows?

“I liked Arrows because of the American connection in our book. That is because he’s American, Alan Merrill. He wrote I Love Rock and Roll and lived on it for years. Of course, I worked with Kim Fowley for a very long time. Far too long. I’ll come to that because what I think happened was in the mid-’70s, almost getting to ’76 when pub rock, I’m talking about the Dr Feelgoods and glam was fading but Slade, Sweet and Queen, all decided to cross the pond and the music was getting sleazier with groups like Twisted Sister and Mötley Crüe. They owe a debt of gratitude for this Frankenstein thing called glam metal or corporate glam”.

NC: Kiss were around in ’72/73 so they were around at the same time?

MB: “Indeed, so were the New York Dolls who were glam and they were punk mixed together somehow”.

NC: If you listen to Trash, it’s pure proto-Clash

MB: “Yeh, absolutely, I’m not a fan”.

“Mötley Crüe, because it’s glam with no irony. They call it glam metal and hair metal, respectively. Kiss took on bands like Slade and Sweet as support acts. Sweet’s Desolation Boulevard was a massive album out there but a completely different album here. It’s got different tracks on it, heavier mixes. Sweet were a career band out there, possibly about 4 or 5 hit albums. Desolation Boulevard being the first one”.

“I bought into Sweet because of the B-sides, I was listening to them by accident. My brother had Little Willy and I put the other side on and it was a track called Done Me Wrong Alright and it was really heavy”.

“The Rubettes, they were definitely part of the glam scene, and If you look at all the bills they were on, they were half-way between something that’s Saturday morning pop and glam. What happened was, The Rubettes were a bunch session musicians and they were asked to record this track by the Svengali, Wayne Bickerton, who was one of the two co-writers. The first idea was that it was going to part of a new rock and roll musical. Then he re-made it, submitted it to Showaddywaddy (you can hear the Showaddywaddy name tag in the lyric), so it got sent to them and rejected, and Bickerton the Svengali producer of the time, released it as The Rubettes without telling the guys. It was going to be a flop but it hit number 54. It was going to bomb, but then they got word that Sparks could not get their work permits at the time to make Top of The Pops, so they ended up on Top of The Pops and ended up number 1 here and it was an absolute Billboard smash, leaving Sparks at number 2 with This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”.

“A lot of the Rubettes hits, Juke Box Jive, appeared on all the Glam compilations”.

NC: So they were very much Glam, but they had this Great Gatsby look – berets, and red shirts, very much theatrical?

MB: “When they were on the way to do Top of The Pops, they saw the Gatsby hats in the King’s Rd but I always thought that that was the pearly kings and queens hats off thing. I always thought that was their tribute to the music hall because they looked very music hall”.

“The fact it was a Gatsby thing and it was incidentally to hide the fact that they were very serious hard rock players really, hair down to here and they didn’t actually wasn’t to be associated with it at that point. The bass player has played with Elton John and The Tremeloes. They were all very seasoned session musician players and the reason they are doing Glamnezia, by default, it’s glam rock, because we have six glam rock classics, on side one. Then we have six re-vamped hits of The Rubettes on side two”.

“They are a massive arena band in France. It’s ridiculous! I am trying to pin them down to do Juke Box Jive and Yeh I Can Do It and I said, ‘do it as a medley, cos we are late in getting this album in’.  I just finished Fuzzbox who were the first to cover Spirit in The Sky which I say was the first glam related riff”.

“One big giveaway in the glam sound is the slap-back sound on the drums. Adam Ant rode the crest of a wave from glam through to punk, but it’s a lot of using slap back on the drums. I’ve recorded drums before, and then I have got the guy to double track it but then you put a tiny bit of backwards reverb so it sounds slightly out but it’s not out. It gives it like a glam crunch. Then you put a big crunchy handclap trigger on the snare. A sort of double-tracking on drums”.

NC: If you listen to the first Gary Glitter tracks, Rock & Roll Part 1 and 2, it’s that sound isn’t it?

MB: “Yes, it does unfortunately, I can’t bear thinking about it. The glam crunch comes in all shapes and sizes. Double tracking of drums was more prevalent than one thinks, just on an ordinary record”.

NC: Is that what Martin Hannett did with Joy Division?

MB: “Yeh, he made them very dry but then augmented them with drum machines, didn’t he?”.

NC: There is a connection between Joy Division on their track Digital and Alice Cooper’s Slick Black Limousine. The opening bass lines are very similar.

MB: “I’ve been trying to get The Rubettes to do Slick Black Limousine. It’s Donovan on vocals, isn’t it? Donovan does all the high pitched falsettos. Donovan was up there; Alice Cooper was down there and it went ‘Hey Don can you come and do the high pitched bits?’ So Donovan’s a glam rocker by default!”.

“What I say is that we plundered the American Jukebox”.

NC: But hang on, we had Sweet and they were steeped in bubblegum and then you’ve got Eddie and the Falcons era Wizzard and The Rubettes and they were more American. Is there a twin threaded thing coming through here?

MB: “Yeh, I’m thinking that David Bowie was influenced by some American blues, wasn’t he? There is an American connection but we made it our own, and then we dressed the turn-up and put a British flag on it, and we sold it back to them in the late ’70s. This Frankenstein called glam metal also known as hair metal was born. I don’t like it but it made a lot of money”.

NC: If you compare The Man Who Sold The World to Hunky Dory, they are completely different, apart from one track, Queen Bitch (which everyone thinks is on Ziggy Stardust) which is very much Bowie’s first foray into glam.

MB: “I’ll tell you also who had the glam crunch, Hello. In abundance. It was this whole excessive riffing of Jean Genie and Blockbuster. What a coincidence, the same label released in the same week. A bit of a marketing thing going on there. Look at Desolation Boulevard by Sweet, look at Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC. Look at the American versions of the albums and they are the same sleeves and Desolation Boulevard has a track called AC/DC on it which Joan Jett had a massive hit with”.

“There are all these strange coincidences but I tell you where the melting pot was, Rodney Biggenheimer’s English Disco on Sunset Strip. He was a major K-rock DJ that brought all the glam rock bands over. Friend of the notorious Kim Fowley who did The Runaways, sort of post-glam based on the English singers”.

“He was a major part of it actually”.

NC: In terms of bringing it back to America?

MB: “Yes. There is a faction of people that say, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, all those, they put that in the glam idiom. I don’t. I wouldn’t put Loue Reed as glam. If we are talking about the make-up and the make-up only. I think you’re right, glam rock got a bit of a bad name because it was peppered with some bubblegum bands like Kenny”.

“Do you know what they were actually quite well produced those records”.

Glam Fact: On Crazy Horses, Donny Osmond’s voice had broken so the brothers recorded it. Donny played the opening wahhh on the organ!

NC: Funny, I was listening to Barry Blue, we turned it up in my wife’s car the other day and the production is unbelievable.

MB: “Yeh, of course, he wrote a lot of hits for people like I Eat Cannibals by Toto Coello, which I produced actually”.

“Norman Greenbaum, that’s where I reckon it started”.

NC: What happened to him and why did he never have another hit?

“Well, he had four hits. Spirit in The Sky with Fuzzbox, then he had Spirit in The Sky with Dr and The Medics, then he had it with Gareth Gates. It was number one three times, and then, of course, Fuzzbox were in the indie chart with it for 25 weeks. I’m a little bit biased because I have just remade it with them, a dub version. I could call it glam dub!”.

“Norman was an American singer-songwriter who just had one hit”.

NC: And that was proto-glam right?

MB: “I would absolutely say so”.

NC: Does anything else precede it in terms of ‘the’ sound? You could also say that Mick Ronson may have taken that ‘Ziggy’ guitar from that?

MB: “Absolutely, because it’s just that incessant riffing you know. Mick Ronson was my favourite of the Bowie era. It was the most exciting”.

“You were saying was that the first glam record which is a great question. David Bowie had Space Oddity in ’69 but it was dressed up as glam when it was re-released in 1975”.

NC: When it came out it wasn’t was it? Bowie was long-haired, big guitar. I suppose the only glam part was the lift-off played on a Stylophone.

MB: “When it was re-marketed, he was dressed in his glam attire, boots and everything”.

“We mustn’t forget that Roy Wood was a glam protagonist. Electric Light Orchestra were leaning a bit too much in that direction for Jeff Lynn’s liking. If you look at the costumes, and Roy Wood has been criticised a few times for going far too over the top with the costume side of glam and marginalising his potential audience, but I just think he had amazing humour, and he liked Arthur Brown!”.

“There are so many different factions. Glam rock was absolutely massive in Germany. British glam rock”.

NC: So who is the progenitor?

MB: “The protagonist? The first riff I can think of is Norman Greenbaum. It was 1970. Then the wonderful Bolan came along with Ride a White Swan”.

“Let me tell you a story, A quick story which is in the book”.

“Malcolm Hardy and Squeeze were attending Freddie Mercury’s birthday and they thought they would be invited into the party so allegedly they stole Freddie’s cake which was allegedly a big white chocolate swan. Now, allegedly, it got taken back to a certain band’s unit and they cracked it open and there was this fluffy stuff in there and they couldn’t call the police, they could do nothing. There was white chocolate in there, powdered white chocolate and we call that chapter ‘Hide a White Swan’”.

“It’s glam rock story, it could be myth, but Malcolm Hardy did write a book called ‘I stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake!”.

“We call it ‘Hide a White Swan’, it may have been mythologized, but we quite like the title.”

“What about Mud? Even though they were really cheesy, one of them was in The Hollies, the other one wrote loads of hits. Back to the theatricality of the music hall there he is, there’s the American connection. An Elvis impersonation, there’s theatrical music hall connection, a ventriloquist’s doll, now who could forget it, for good or for bad?”.

“The Thursday Top of The Pops thing. It was great because you’d wait for your favourite glam rock band to come on and do something to shock your Gran. Was it a fad? of course, it was a fad”.

NC: How long did it last?

MB: “Well, as I said it was trawled relentlessly across the pond. Then it continued in the states it just got heavier and sleazier”.

NC: Who was the best, who was most serious? I mean we had Slade, Bowie, Bolan, The Sweet; who was the best?

MB: “You know my favourite out of all of them was The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Look at the Harlequin character created by Zal Cleminson. That was completely glam”.

NC: Can we say, these were the serious ones, Slade, Sweet, Bowie? And then these were the guys who reinvented themselves? Alex Harvey, Alvin Stardust and Gary Glitter? Because they were old stagers who had performed under lots of different guises previously?

MB: “I suppose you could say that The Rubettes were old stagers because they were session players, but it’s their album isn’t it? Oh yes, the US crossover band like The Rubettes, Wizzard with the Phil Spector sound and Hello”.

NC: Then you had the fluff, Barry Blue, Kenny, Racey, so you could almost go 1, 2, 3, 4 different phases, then the US sold it back.  

MB: “Yes, Barry Blue, Kenny, Paper Lace, The Bay City Rollers, the biggest selling of all of course and dour set Midge Ure’s Slik. So we’ve got five there?”.

“We had those who were actors as well, like David Essex”.

NC: So we had those guys that started it, those who thought they had, the American influenced ones and those who jumped on the bandwagon.

“Wizzard was pure Spector, wasn’t it? There were very few female glam rockers apart from Suzi Quatro. I can think of another one, Clout, who had a hit with Substitute. Very few. Lyndsey De Paul did a cameo on Mott The Hoople’s All The Way From Memphis ‘There’s a rock and roll party on Saturday night, are you gonna be there, I’ve got my invite’ so she did that, whereas in time so old-time music hall, which had a rather androgynous theme going on. A lot more female stars. Male and female were playing Burlington Bertie, but a lot of drag, androgyny and glitter”.

NC: Time from Aladdin sane was very music hall with the honkytonk piano wasn’t it? And Drive in Saturday, pure doo-wop.

MB: “Name me a band that didn’t do a glam ballad at the end of a fucking album? From Rock and Roll Suicide, there was always the glam ballad”.

NC: What is your all-time favourite glam tracks?

MB: “Personality Crisis – New York Dolls, Teachers Pet by Mott The Hoople, Next by Alex Harvey (written by Jacques Brel), Spirit in The Sky – Norman Greenbaum, Rebel Rebel – David Bowie, Teenage Rampage by The Sweet”.

NC: For me, it would be Starman by Bowie, Ride a White Swan – T Rex, Rock n Roll Part 2 – Gary Glitter and maybe Virginia Plain by Roxy Music.

MB: “For me, the journey started in the East End. It travels into the 3 day week and the power cuts – ‘when the going gets tough, the Brits go glam’. Then it travels the ocean round about ’76 as it’s cooling off and is picked up by the likes of Twisted Sister and the Frankenstein, glam metal is born”.

“The producer Mike Chapman followed them out there and ended up producing things like The Knack and things like that and picked up Blondie while he was there, Heart of Glass era, becoming a bit of a head-hunter for Chrysalis records. He saved the Divinyls career with I Touch Myself as well”.

“The box set has been recorded by The Rubettes covering classic tracks from the era as well as re-recording their own hits from the day”.

“The Glam protagonists: Kim Fowley, Screaming Lord Sutch & Arthur Brown”.

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Essential Glam Listening with notes by Mike Bennett

GLAMNEZIA – The Rubettes ft John Mick & Steve

Steve Etherington and I wrote this in 25 minutes flat at the Marriott Bonvoy hotel in London. Steve was playing his guitar through a pig nosed amplifier and we got told off twice by a rather officious security chap as apparently we had woken up a French couple next-door who were on their honeymoon. Steve explained to the security guard that he forgot to turn his amp down because he had suffered a momentary surge of amnesia. This instantly gave us the title Glamnezia. It’s been compared to a certain 70’s glam hit but I can’t tell you if we were inspired by it because we had suddenly suffered a gargantuan glut of Glamnezia. And why not Queen had a Sheer Heart Attack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyJ9k4d7sRI 

Back to Drak – Vegan ‘Glampire’ film – exert from the soundtrack

Suzy VerseSteve Etherington and I have been involved in a trilogy of films one of which is Back To Drak they all join together. This particular track from the film starts in a cinematic way courtesy of Steve Bowden who is also heavily involved in the effects and the editing. The film was shot in California and is about vegan vampires who live in the vault underneath the oldest vinyl store in California. Lots of mad things happened whilst we were out there. There was a scene where glam rock vampires were having a crystal meth

https://twitter.com/suzyverse

session and the props manager brought in real crystal meth. One of the actresses who is now fired caused trouble within the cast and her antics are the inspiration behind this song. It’s a shame really because she was actually quite a nice person.

The Glam actress to be announced who now plays Daisy Pusher in vegan ‘Glampire’ movie produced by Mike Bennett, Steve Etherington & Terry Marsh and appears on GLAMNEZIA

Sugar Baby Love –  The Rubettes ft John Mick & Steve

Sugar Baby Love was a massive billboard hit and has recently recharted to top 10 in America. A great start to the campaign.

Mrs Pringle – The Rubettes ft John Mick & Steve

This is an interesting story. I was sat with the actress that we had to sack off from the movie soundtrack for Back To Drak and one of the directors asked me to write a song for his film First Time. I knocked it up on the guitar, sang it down the phone to The Rubettes, Steve added additional parts and we turned the track around fairly quickly. Apparently the director Phil Peel who asked us to do it for his film is making the video but we haven’t heard from him, perhaps he’s got Glamnezia.

 

Born To Be Alone – The Rubettes ft John Mick & Steve

Every Glam Rock album has to have a ballad. My lyrics are literally comprised of titles from famous Glam Rock songs. As I did it David Bowie cut-up style, Steve scored the music in a hotel in Munich.

 

Ugly Girl – Slade Produced by Kim Fowley Original Line Up Under Early Incarnation The N’Betweens 1966

the N Betweens - Slade

This track is Slade whilst still called The N’Betweens. I had freaky experiences with Kim Fowley whilst working at Trojan Records who had big connections with Slade. In fact, I co-produced 2 of his albums.

His early production of fledgeling Slade it’s certainly is not glam per-se but with the guitar riff that appears later on Glam classics such as Blockbuster and Jean Genie.

Of course, Fowley went on to work with American Glam artists such as Alice Cooper, Kiss and The Runaways.

Everything about him created insane situations. Whilst working with him for Creation and Trojan he once got in an argument with some skinheads in a London pub and they set a dog on him. He bent into the crouching position and freaked the dog out by growling. Unfortunately, the dog ran into the street and was knocked over by a black cab. Considering he was the guy that worked with John Lennon and the Oko Ono bad ‘Give Peace A Chance’ project, the irony did not elude me.

Breakout – Rendacium ft Steve Etherington (The Rubettes ft John Mick & Steve)

A cover of this is going on the Glamnezia live set apparently.

I was introduced to Rendacium by Deborah Allen Management LTD who knew I remixed The Sweet and was basically a Glam fanatic.

When I heard the band she had discovered I noted that they had a glimpse of quintessential English Glam but also heard the energy of American glam influence bands such as The New York Dolls. Personality Crisis springs to mind with immediate effect. I’ve always suffered from a personality crisis myself. So I simply had to work with them.

Personality Crisis – New York Dolls

This track shows the energy levels that the New York Dolls embraced as they sing a cheerful little tune about mental illness. In my opinion, they bridged the gap between Glam and punk and were plundered somewhat from the British Glam movement.

New York City – T Rex

At the start of the 70’s when Glam rock was a mere embryo, Bolan mania known as T Rextasy. His band had hit after hit including Hot Love to the maniacal Metal Guru which was loud, proud and replete with classic falsetto glam backing vocals. However, his career was to take a nosedive, talking of noses, no prizes for guessing what was going up his during this heady and hedonistic period. I actually loved some of the obscure material like the album Zinc Alloy and The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow. The lyrics were mental and the glorious Gloria Jones had joined the band adding keyboards and her amazing voice which really gave a new dimension to Bolan’s new sound. As far as I’m concerned his comeback single was New York City and my favourite track from his brilliant but at times sketchy career. The thing I love about it the most is that its about a woman walking through New York city with a frog in her hand – highly unlikely but hilarious. Enough said.

Turn It Down – Sweet

The SweetI thought it was important to show this video as it signalled the start of glam metal. Sweet along with Slade and Queen travelled the pond and inspired the genre which is Glam Metal. Twisted Sister, Wasp and Poison were kind of fun but as far as I’m concerned the arguably mundane Mötley Crüe lacked the irony and Kiss’ repertoire represented a cataclysmically crass cacophony of corporate Glam Metal. A great money spinner obviously but it doesn’t mean I have to personally like it. I did like American Glam inspired bands especially Cheap Trick who embraced the humour and came out with some really catchy songs.

The new breed of bands that use subtle Glam influences like Rendacium and Fat White Family are not in it for the money. It’s about British originality. Both of these bands have it in abundance – END OF STORY!

Anyway for embryonic Glam Metal also known as hair Metal click the link below and hear an iconic English band turning up the anti in the ever enveloping Glam Rock movement.

What’s Your Name – Chicory Tip

In the 70’s there was another side to Glam and Chicory Tip are a perfect example. I could have included their classic Son Of My Father but I thought it was more fun to put a slightly more obscure track in What’s Your Name.

 

This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us – Sparks

Sparks are amazing and although from American fit right in with the British Glam. Ironically The Rubettes kept them off the number 1 spot with Sugar Baby Love.

 

Dance With The Devil – Cozy Powell

This Glam-Drum-Stomp record is absolutely brilliant but in my opinion, but the worst fade out in Glam history. Perhaps producer Mickey Most was running out of budget.

Tiger Feet – Mud

On this track, Les Grey claims that he is in love with a woman who has the feet of a tiger. Highly unlikely – a sure-fire hit.

 

Giddy Up A Ding Dong – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Alex Harvey came from a theatrical background and this is the most Glam his band gets.

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Jean Genie has the same riff as Sweets – Blockbuster both released RCA on the same week. His hit The Laughing Gnome is not really Glam but it has music hall qualities and it’s rumoured that his late aunt was a glitter clad pearly queen so I’m putting it in for fun.

 

The Juicer – Sweet

This is Sweet in 1970 prior to the Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman years. The heavy sound came back later after the manufactured stuff.

Spirit In The Sky – Fuzzbox

FuzzboxIt was drawn to my attention that they were the first to cover Norman Greenbaum’s massive version of this pre-Glam track. I’ve done a dubbed version for their new album proving a good track can shapeshift into a different idiom.

 

 

48 Crash – Suzi Quatro

Allegedly shipped in from America and put in British Glam finishing school by Mickey Most.

Waterloo – ABBA

I’m putting in ABBA early because of this one track Waterloo.

Sick On You – Hollywood Brats

A lost Glam classic about vomiting on people. Tremendous theme.

 Games Up – Hello

The lead vocalist was more out of sync at miming that Bolan – worth checking.

Special Barbara Sobel at Barbara Sobel Promotions.

Mike Bennett is on FacebookTwitter & this is his Wikipedia.

Rubettes ft John, Mike & Steve Facebook

Article by Nigel Carr. More writing by Nigel on Louder Than War can be found in his Author’s archive. You can find Nigel on Twitter and Facebook and his own Website.

82 COMMENTS

  1. WOW! Ive checked out these new tracks by The Rubettes with John Mick & Steve and Steve Etherington sounds incredible! Vocally, in fact they all do! My favourite track here has to be Back To Drak because its creepy and mixes up different styles but then goes into crunchy glam.

    Fascinating information about the Glam Rock world and early Slade as well. I follow the band and I know that the album isn’t out for a while but I am glad they have put out a teaser which is the title track to cheer people up during these difficult times.

    Steve Etherington and Mike Bennett always work well together and have pulled it off once again! Cant wait to see them live, seen them support Sweet and Slade and it was LOUD – in a great way.

  2. Wow I love this article and the band Rendacium take Glam to a new level… Loving the track Glamnesia by The Rubettes and really love the John, Mick and Steve version as I’ve seen them live! Once this boxset is out I’m all over it!! Superb interview by the way!

  3. This is an awesome article and I love what Bennett and Etherington have done to update the Glam Rock sound. Ive found the connections Punk and Glam quite interesting with The New York Dolls. My dad introduced me to them, they look Glam and sound Punk.

  4. Just read this as I am Drak in the movie and its set in my vinyl store in California. I was pleased when Sugar Baby Love got reignited and I remember doing a scene when I had to prance about to Mrs Pringle with a bunch of vegan vampires from England – an experience il never forget.
    But more importantly Steve Priest from Sweet who made 3 massive albums out here – Desolation Boulevard being being the best died today in LA and was a godfather of Glam.

    MAY HE REST IN PEACE AND HIS MUSIC & INFLUENCE LIVE ON <3

  5. I love this article but even more so now after hearing the news about Steve Priest because my dad introduced me to the Sweet and one of my of my favourite tracks is California Nights, sang by Steve himself. I love the Motley Crue film and after being introduced to Sweet, I see the influence. The other tracks featured in the article are amazing including ABBA as I never would of thought of them as Glam Rock and even though they were before my time I am an ABBA die hard fan. And now I can see the coralation between Glam Rock and Waterloo. I believe Roy Wood involved in a version (having checked youtube) (not as good as ABBA) but after listening to this playlist Im definitely going to check out more Glam Rock tracks. Such a shame, wish I was born in this era. Reminds me of the Scissors Sisters

  6. This is such an interesting article especially the Kim Fowley Slade link as he produced my fav band The Runaways and the article also includes the teenie bopper stuff like Kenny who are obviously ripping off stuff like Beach Boys with them harmonies. All in all, great article and great to see the view point from a producer that has been involved in the industry for years, regardless of the genre, Ive learnt a lot about Glam Rock that I never thought about. Steve Etheringtons vocals are unreal, saw them live a few times and always leaves me with goosebumps. Sugar Baby Love on repeat all day – it ROCKS!.

  7. We’ve been working on the movie with the guys and we know how they were influenced by sweets so condolences to the family of legend Steve priest

  8. What a great article and I love the bit about Fowley and slide because he did that American Glam Basically he was an American version of The McLaren who snapped up the New York Dolls . Mike Bennett was involved with the fall and I’m sure it was a right Glam racket. They did have two drummers at one point

  9. As an American I am so sad to hear about Steve Priest’s passing. I discovered Sweet and T-Rex years ago and I am so pleased that they are included in this excellent feature. Such a clever musician and a great loss to the Glam community. Rest In Peace! Wonderful interview.

  10. I love that track Mrs Pringle congratulations to Etherington And Mike Bennett who usually does Punk so quite surprised about this

  11. My heart is shattered. I keep hoping this is a bad dream. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Priest family and his bandmates. I also pray for all the fans worldwide. We lost a legend today
    Rest well beautiful Steve you will always be in my heart

  12. What an iconic playlist it shows all the different areas and influences of glam rock. Ive worked with Bennett and Etherington for years and did a lot of file sharing with them. I tweaked around with Back To Drak and worked with them on some Glen Matlock material, The Fall (who did that glam track Spinetrack) and got involved with bits and pieces on the Glamnezia album the guys are doing. The best track by far is Glamnezia. Mrs Pringle is too popy but my little daughter dances around to it. Utterly creepy is Back To Drak bit fucked up but is for a horror film. Marlyn Mason sounds lightweight compared to it but after the intro it does go into pure Glam after a long section that could come off a David Green Slade album. John Richardson has made a cracking track called Vinyl. It isn’t on playlist but is my fav and tells the story of gramophones to mp3. Cant wait for this album, all the teasers tell a story. Saw the interview about the band making the album which is also super interesting. They are defo onto something here.
    The cover of Lady Starlight by Sweet is very fitting right now. What a ballad. Also released as a solo track by Andy Scott of Sweet, he must be grieving having lost another original member Steve Priest. Underated in England because of their ‘bubble gum’ tracks with Mike Chapman. Luckily Sweet had a no.1 hit in America with Fox on the run as it was title track on Guardians of The Galaxy 2, which my daughter also loves.

    Steve Priest RIP finished on a high note. Never to be forgotten. Legend.

  13. The glam rock movement was such an amazing phenomenon to have lived through and grown up to, and I feel so very lucky to have been alive at a time in history when it was all going strong. Heard the very sad news about Steve Priest yesterday and immediately thought of Mike Bennett, which is what brought me here. RIP Steve, you were the greatest glam rocker ever. X

  14. So saddened to hear of Steve Priest’s passing. The Sweet were a band that inspired and brought me joy. Unforgettable sound. Such swagger and panache. I will forever have their music in my soul. Dave

  15. This is an excellent article and I absolutely love Mike Bennett and Steve Etheringtons production work on the film soundtrack called Back to Drak. Must say when the song started it sounded something like Faust or something Mike Bennett would of done with the Fall.-Example Bonkers in Phoenix . It was a mWhich was the maddest song the fall ever did which was the maddest song the fall ever did

    This is very much stoner music but then suddenly it turns into heavy glam which i have to say is a bit derivative but i absolutely love it. Glamnezia is epic! Although lets face it theyve taken the idea from the Six Teens by the Sweet and just put a spin on it. Some great tracks on the article and i didn’t realise that Chicory Tip were so electronic. Passing themselves off as glam rock just by their dress code with Giorgio Moroder doing all the hard work seems a bit outrageous but maybe it was the prototype for Sigue Sigue Sputnik who definitely mixed the electronics up with the glam. A fascinating read and some great comments from both Nigel Carr and Mike Bennett

  16. I love Mike Bennett to work. I heard his stuff with Kim. Fowley on the trip of a lifetime album featuring Ronni size and teenage Fanclub and he really does know how to make a band sound original. I gather that he is working with Fat White Family as I Saw a post that should be very interesting. I like what he has done here with Steve Etherington who comes from a completely different space as he is a musical arranger for West End musicals and artists like Lulu so the combination seems to work here but on paper it certainly should not saw a post that should be very interesting. I like what he has done here with Steve Etherington who comes from a completely different space as he is a musical arranger for West End musicals and artists like Lulu so the combination seems to work here but on paper it certainly should not. Mrs Pringle is totally hilarious and sounds a bit like mid 70s Glam mixed up with shaggy 80s power pop . I like this particular version of the van and the best because I’ve seen them on A package tour with Slade and sweet and they all switch instruments . I know that Mick Clarke has played with everyone from Elton John to the Tremeloes and Steve himself plays with Modern Romance . John Richardson who founded The band does all kinds of eastern music and I saw a documentary with Mike and the boys talking about the making of this record And it was really interesting to hear John interact with Mike because they are both outside of the box people to put it politely. When this box set finally comes out it will be amazing because I haven’t heard a good Glam And it was really interesting to hear John interact with Mike because they are both outside of the box people to put it politely. When this box set finally comes out it will be amazing because I haven’t heard a good Glam record for aAnd this does seem promising although I have to say an unlikely duo of producers. Maybe that will add an extra spark let’s see. So far I like what I’ve heard and also I really found listening to Kim Fowley Producing an early version of Slade and hogging the vocals absolutely fascinating considering both Fowley went on to become an American Glam rock producer and Slade surely became one of the biggest Glam bands of all time. Not sure that I like the story about Kim Fowley killing the dog. I can believe it though, I’ve read about him before producing an early version of Slade and hogging the vocals absolutely fascinating considering both Fowley went on to become an American Glam rock producer and Slade surely became one of the biggest Glam bands of all time. Not sure that I like the story about Kim Fowley killing the dog. I can believe it though, I’ve read about him before. He seemed a bit nasty in that film the Runaways, who he Reduced brilliantly but was a bully . I did like That creepy track he did for Alice Cooper on welcome to my nightmare. Then of course he got into that kiss thing. It’s a really interesting article and to compare the two different styles of Glam. I prefer the English version although I have to admit I do love Alice Cooper , He appears on quite a lot of Glam albums because of schools out I suppose . Can’t believe that he worked with Donovan the hippy !

  17. Mike Bennett is currently working with my brothers Fat White Family And has put a Glam vibe on it. He still won’t let us hear the finished mixes because Reading this it all makes sense and a great article . His method of working is slightly back to front his method of working is slightly back to front, but if it works it works

  18. This is such an informative article because I didn’t realise they were that many sub styles of Glam rock. I love the American Glam metal kiss arm excellent. . I don’t mind a whole Rubettes. Mud and all that paperweight stuff but you can’t beat a bit of Wasp and quiet riot were amazing come on they did a brilliant Slade cover . The playlist is interesting though and it’s a great version of spirit in the sky by Fuzzbox I’ve never heard that before. But nothing wrong with a bit of Glam rock American style . Mötley Crüe made some magnificent records. It says how the English stole from the American jukeboxes so the Americans had the right to steal some of it back. At least you’ve got Fowley on there . Awesome producer.

  19. Thanks for supporting the track Nigel Carr both on here and loved it on the radio.

    Mike Bennett and I are working on Skype as we speak doing a heavy version of Chicory Tip. An idea that came from the label so it’s a kind of pandemic Mix.

    So thank God for Skype it’s the only way we can do it at the moment!

    The Box set will be out as soon as humanly possible. This album has been two years in the making, as we all work on so many other projects Steve Etherington of The Rubettes ft John Mick and Steve

  20. We are on the same label as the Rubettes featuring John Miick Steve

    When we did the Definitely Maybe tour with Oasis which spawned our hit album of 60s were 90s featuring a virtual Jimi Hendrix there was a lot of Glam being listened to by the likes of the Manchester bands and it’s great to see it creeping back . Our box set is also on hold for the same reasons. It’s a total pain. But we will get there in the end and I have worked with Mike and Steve before. Prolific and I quite like some of the new tracks they have done on here.

    Some more than others. Mrs Pringle is a nice touch . I would imagine the video was done by Steve Bowden , He has done ours and it looks like his style. I love his work

  21. Mike Bennett worked for me at Trojan and we even made a Kim Fowley album on one of our subsidiaries. Glad he’s made this record with Steve Etherington as we had Sweet on another imprint I would like to send my kind condolences to his family and close friends.

  22. This has been a great read. I like American and English Glam rock. I love the costumes and the nonsensical . Some fascinating information in there I had no idea that Donovan was on billion dollar baby is that is weird. I quite like the early Slade incarnation Glamnezia sounds like a great project I met Mike Bennett in California, he was hanging out with some dudes from LA Guns our American version of Glam. It was at a festival and it got a bit messy. But the drummer from L.A. Guns did fox on the run with Ace from kiss.but it was not the real deal I have to admit, although I do like our version of Glam. Kiss. Are really good but you have to see them live to understand that it is a bit of a deliberate joke and a play on the Marvel comics vibe Are really good but you have to see them live to understand that it is a bit of a deliberate joke and a play on the Marvel comics vibe . Some of the English Glam rock is cheesy actually. No offence to you Brits because you did have David Bowie and I see a really weird song on here called the laughing gnome. What the fuck is that all about ? Presumably drugs involved!

  23. Worked with both Mike and Stev and managed to get my way through a session with the Fall

    This interview was really good because it shows me a different side to Glam rock. It’s rather sad about Steve priest as he was a phenomenal bass player and it’s sad we lose another godfather of Glam

  24. A brilliant article quite a lot of American glam was good as well .Example The Tubes ,Alice Cooper and Poison ,who did a fucking great version
    of Little Willy by Sweet.Love the track Mrs Pringle.Mike Bennett and Steve Etherington.Not sure about all of it but some of it is good.
    Not sure about Back to Drak,it scared the shit out of my niece .I guess its for a horror film but I kind of get it .But I don’t think we should mock all American glam rockers, as it all started with the New york Dolls.

  25. What a marvellous interview! Mike is always such an interesting guy, and so passionate! And a truly wonderful playlist to accompany it. My teenage years began with Glam Rock and I have great memories of all the artists mentioned here. Such sad timing in many ways, with the tragic news of the death of Steve Priest, clearly a massive influence on Glamnezia! RIP Steve, one of the true greats. I have heard on the grapevine about the possibility of Mike and the Glamnezia team recording Teenage Rampage; I do hope that happens! Everything Mike gets involved in is worth hearing, and this is certainly no exception. Long live Glam; long live Glamnezia!! x

  26. It’s so sad about Steve Priest because without characters like that we would never of had the humour infiltrated the glam era. So pleased that his music is featured on this rather excellent article. Especially the juicer because that was when he founded the band and the heavily sound returned when they got to America with desolation boulevard

    A great article by Nigel Carr and mike bennett has an interesting angle on it

    So pleased that his music is featured on this rather excellent article. Especially the juicer because that was when he found in the band and the heaviest sound returned when they got to America with desolation boulevard. To think he was touring right to the end proves his dedication

  27. Completely engrossed from start to finish of this brilliant article ! it brings to life the real journey of Glam history with some fascinating comments from Mike and Nigel , along with the inspiration behind the making of ‘Glamnezia ‘

    Love what Mike Bennett and Steve Etherington have created on the film track ‘Back to Drak’ edgy darkness which transitions into a crazy Glam finale with The Rubettes ft John, Mick & Steve…pure madness , but works so well! (a formula Perhaps comparable to Mike’s great work with The Fall …)
    The quirky track Mrs Pringle is given substance and edge from Steve’s unique Bowie tinged vocals …never tire of his voice!
    The videos and graphics by the brilliant Steve Bowden are hypnotic and transfix me as always….perfect fit, love them!

    I’m now looking forward to working with Mike Bennett and my band ‘Lucigenic’ even more , having had this taster of an epic piece of work .

    I’m sure Steve Priest would have loved this….his amazing music and talent will Live on forever ❤️

  28. This is a really interesting article I’ve learnt so much about Glam rock which seem to proceed Punk but had a similar attitude in a strange way

    • Mike bennett probably doesn’t know they difference between punk rock and Glam . He’s too fucked up and eclectic

      Although his knowledge on Glam rock does seem to be quite involved in this article with Nigel Carr . I guess you can differentiate but I know he likes to mix it all up.

      He just mashed it and does not really give a damn whether it is credible or something like Aqua

      I’d say that he was a punk but he gets offended if you tell him that!

      He’s got his faults ,but he could pull off an original record and is very commercially minded when he wants to put his mind to it . The thing is he likes all that 10 minute track stuff with blips and stuff like Psychic TV so it’s hard to know where his heart is .

      I love the stuff he did with us though, he was quite dedicated to the commercial side, probably because he was being paid ! But I get that Professional Element so I’m not complaining and I love the Music that he did was Toyahand some of the Hazel O’Connor was quite good . Regarding glam rock article I always love stuff like Mud , But I am basically an actress who had a few hits and not a musical legend but , just do a lot of musicals now .

      Mike doesn’t like basically called a punk in the way that he works and I don’t know why he gets so pissed off with being told that. I didn’t like the Fall but I did like the stuff that Fuzzbox stuff I heard online and that was quite punk and I was really liking some of the Glam I heard on this track listing that you include on the featured . I had no idea that Kenny were Glam . Maybe we were but just didn’t know it .Anyway great entertaining journalism and I’m going to start listening to more Slade stuff like that.v I’ll put my Aretha Franklin albums away for a couple of weeks and check the stuff out

      • Point taken here Lacey I realise you know Mike well. He did a great job on your remixes of ‘I Eat Cannibals’ taking it back into the chart. Mike mixes punk with glam and probably anything else he can get his mitts on. I love the stuff he has done with the Polyfest bands like Glen Matlock and Fuzzbox and my band Cherry & Peesh.
        He’s quite tongue n cheek and you’ve known him for years anyways. Bet you he loves being called an old punk rocker but its probably a case of – he who protests too much or the boy who cried wolf haha.
        We loved playing Polyfest and hope to see you there again next year when this pandemic nightmare is over.
        The reason I like this article so much is that it features the New York Dolls – now is that punk rock or is it glam rock? I say its just good high energy music and good music crosses boundaries!
        God rest Steve Priest who combined camp with hard rock. Bands like that and Alice Cooper definitely influence punk.

  29. Mike Bennett is doing a great job of informing us of the origins of glam rock which has to be one of the best music eras ever and he is recreating it with exciting new collaberations. I was around to witness it back then but my kids want to know about this fabulous genre, thanks for keeping it going Mike we really appreciate it

  30. Steve and Mike worked with my Mum Diane Charlemagne (moby and Goldie’s vocalist) its great that they have done this glam album most of it sounds excellent but some are better than others but well worth listening to. great feature by Nigel Carr.

  31. Love this feature. Very sad news about Steve Priest. Some great stuff here from Nigel Carr and maverick producer Mike Bennett. Love the Back to Drak movie score and the early Slade feature.

  32. A few words by my bad self and a tribute towards glam rocker Steve Priest,(rest in noise mate) also the star responsible for certain vocals which developed with camp cameo’s for Ball room blitz and Blockbuster along with several other tracks and the irony is that Brian had lost his voice due to being kicked in the throat during a fight and Steve had to stand in, hence those memorable vocals and while I am at it a nod to Mike Bennett for some great glam rock stories,love the track by ‘Chicory Tit’ btw incidentally,I had no idea that Georgio Moroder was behind that classic! and he even produced that crazy glam band ‘Sparks’.
    May I also add that ‘GLAMNEZIA’ is something to behold, I am still in utter amazement of this very clever arrangement,although massively derivative, I also love listening to early Slade tracks from 1966, then called the N-betweens which followed by Ambrosia Slade. I gather they kept changing their name because of copyright issues allegedly involving Kim Fowley, (producer) and trying to use shaky paper, luckily Chas Chandler turned it around and Slade was born.On this subject of which I am passionate about as I manage my own NEO glam band of which I will share Nigel Carr’s brilliant feature. May I take this opportunity to express my condolences to Steves family. He made his mark in history and will never be forgotten. Etherington and Bennett have written an ace glam track here for the forth coming horror film ‘Bak to Drak’ btw Fuzzbox of who I have compered do the best cover of Spirit In The Sky, i have ever heard, when my band is ready it will be posted universally. May also add ‘I love that Kenny track! It’s as camp as fuckin’ Christmas !

  33. A few words by my bad self and a tribute towards glam rocker Steve Priest,(rest in noise mate) also the star responsible for certain vocals which developed with camp cameo’s for Ball room blitz and Blockbuster along with several other tracks and the irony is that Brian had lost his voice due to being kicked in the throat during a fight and Steve had to stand in, hence those memorable vocals and while I am at it a nod to Mike Bennett for some great glam rock stories,love the track by ‘Chicory Tit’ btw incidentally,I had no idea that Georgio Moroder was behind that classic! and he even produced that crazy glam band ‘Sparks’.
    May I also add that ‘GLAMNEZIA’ is something to behold, I am still in utter amazement of this very clever arrangement,although massively derivative, I also love listening to early Slade tracks from 1966, then called the N-betweens which followed by Ambrosia Slade. I gather they kept changing their name because of copyright issues allegedly involving Kim Fowley, (producer) and trying to use shaky paper, luckily Chas Chandler turned it around and Slade was born.On this subject of which I am passionate about as I manage my own NEO glam band of which I will share Nigel Carr’s brilliant feature. May I take this opportunity to express my condolences to Steves family. He made his mark in history and will never be forgotten. Etherington and Bennett have written an ace glam track here for the forth coming horror film ‘Bak to Drak’ btw Fuzzbox of who I have compered along with Roger Daltrey, Desmond Dekker, The Jam and endless other well known acts, but my proudest moment is that of hosting Polyfest for the past 6 years, do the best cover of Spirit In The Sky, i have ever heard, when my band is ready it will be posted universally. May also add I love that Kenny track! It’s as camp as fuckin’ Christmas !

  34. Amazing article! Brilliant bit of history and excellent new tracks coming! Some great new band to check out too

  35. Thank you so much for featuring our track on this article – Can’t believe we’re next to the New York Dolls!! We are only teenagers and it’s truly amazing to be learning from Nigel Carr’s post. Loving the retro sound, as we take influence from glam artists but like to think we have our own sound by mixing punk in with it.

  36. Steve Priest rest in peace, it was great knowing you. Fun piece, working with Mike Bennett right now on a new version of Wild Thing. Chris Allen, The Troggs

  37. The recent tragic loss of the brilliant Steve Priest , makes this article so poignant and perfectly highlights the wide spectrum of musical styles/talent of The Sweet , especially the early years … Love the heavier sound of ‘The Juicer’ never heard it before ,so glad I have now …!

    The natural banter between Mike and Nigel make this Interview a real pleasure to read , but the icing on the cake for me , has to be the footage of Sparks…what a unique sound/image …a rare treat, Thank You !

  38. As much as I love this article the lyrics on Turn It Down by Sweet promotes violence and one of them wore nazi uniforms. I remember my mother being very upset. Never liked this band, there was something seedy about them and Glam is suppose to be about fun.

    This is why I am pleased you’ve included Kenny and Mud. For me that is proper Glam and not cheap sleaze. I cant understand why you haven’t included Showaddywaddy but I do like the track from Hello because its cheerful. That horror film glam thing is also disturbing but generally its a good 70’s article. I do like the laughing gnome by Bowie and the Jean Genie because they are fun. Would of been nice to see a track by Racey who get unnecessarily criticised here by Bennett.

    Also you seem to have missed out Smokie, Darts and my all time favourite Queen. David Essex should really be on there – he was the best and didn’t promote violence.

  39. Totally diggin this especially the David Bowie back to back tracks showing how he was able to flip genres and I totally get the music hall reference. The Laughing Gnome sounds much better than I remembered it and on the Kim Fowley N’Betweens Slade track from 66 you can hear the riff from Jean Genie – totally mental track.

  40. I first came across Mike Bennett at Trojan Records when he was remixing Money in My Pocket by Dennis Brown. He was playing the mix loudly in a pub and got told off the landlord but completely ignored him and actually if I remember turned it up on this beatbox he had.

    He was asked to leave and did so as soon as he had finished playing the mix. I don’t think he went back to that pub again but he was so engrossed in the mix he turned it up because the landlords voice was interfering with the mix. Poor behaviour really but other people in the pub were tapping their feet. This was in the notorious Elgin in Ladbroke Grove. I was working as a tape op on another track with another producer but couldn’t help popping my head round because I love that track and Bennett was making percussive sounds by scratching a radiator hahaha it was quite fascinating to say the least!

    The mix came out good but Im surprised to see him doing glam rock here which is so different to the stuff I heard. Although glam isn’t really my thing Ive started googling some of these bands and I have to say it sounds better second time round! Cool feature and il be checking out more of this stuff for sure.

    • Yes Herold Ive worked with Mike. He hates using generic sounds that come off sound cards which is why he was probably using stuff in the room! He creates drum triggers by smashing glass or hitting a baking tray with a spoon and then adding it to a snare drum. Ive seen him do stuff like this a few times. He also does a lot of vocal effects on his tape recorder and flies it down through the microphone and tends to leave the feedback in. He told me he was not into using generic loops like the funky drummer as he would rather get it from the band and then loop it about. I worked on the Kim Fowley Trip Of A Lifetime with him and found it fascinating as an assistant so Ive had first hand experience of both Bennett and Fowley (lunatic). This glam rock stuff he has done with Steve Etherington is great fun and a lot more ‘poppy’ than I would have expected. I presume Bennett is using the same techniques judging by that horror track featured on here. I really enjoyed my trip through Glam here. Im going to start getting my Alice Cooper records out to see if I can find Donovan. This did not surprise me as much as you might think as he has worked with Happy Mondays and The Butthole Surfers. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Nigel Carr!

  41. So glad Steve Priest from Sweet is included here. I was a massive fan as a teenager. No-one was allowed to watch the TV in my family when Steve Priest due to his one liners. I loved him because he just didn’t care! I had posters and pictures of him all over my walls.

    Great quotes from producer Mike Bennett and Nigel Carr here. As for the sad demise of Steve Priest ‘we just haven’t got a clue what to do’.

  42. Sad about Steve Priest he was the entertaining one on Top Of The Pops. Next year when we do Polyfest I am going to suggest to Tony Gleed that we have a Glam Rock section where everyone can turn up dressed in their gear. Steve Etherington of the Rubettes played it last year and the Punk crowd went nuts. This new Glamnezia track sounds amazing so maybe they can be included in next years festival as a tribute to the great man. Love Steves vibe and even though The Vibrators were a punk band we all loved a bit of Glam. I will share this.

  43. I always loved the Rubettes but this new material has taken it to a new level. As an actress I would love to be part of Back To Drak which is a really good piece of soundtrack work. My favourite here has got to be Mrs Pringle, its so catch. Been a fan for years.

  44. Wow! As a Rubettes fan and glam rock in general its great to hear this new material. A very well put together history and as a DJ on WFM Ive had Mike Bennett on before and he really knows his stuff. The fact that you have put in amazing things that people wouldn’t know about the origins of Crazy Horses and Donovan singing on heavy duty Alice Cooper records is superb. Very well put together by Nigel Carr and I will be spinning some of this on my show.

  45. The original recording of Spirit in the Sky was one of our first. I have very fond memories of performing it on The Old Grey Whistle Test. This new reimagining is much more trippy/dubby by the fabulous Mike Bennett.

  46. Read the amazing artical by Nigel carr, love the crazy glam facts and the facts that you have included new bands on your play list, favourite tracks on your list are Alex Harvey,sparks,and rendacium,it’s great your supporting news band on the collection here,

  47. This article rocks! I have known Mike Bennett since my Factory Record days he was mainly working in London at Trojan and Receiver Records but when Factory 2 was formed he did send Kim Fowley down who produced the Space Monkeys using Bennetts engineer Warren Bassett.
    My favourite Fall album of all time is Cerebral Caustic produced by Mike Bennett I also liked his production The Light User Syndrome as well which has a glam rock track on it called Spinetrack where long term drummer Simon Wolstencroft pounds the drums like the legendary Sandy Nelson from Let There Be Drums. Im picking up here on your American connection in the Glamnezia feature.
    I always liked bits and pieces of the Rubettes, I love Steve Etheringtons vocals on Born To Be Alone he sounds like Bowie and I presume he’s done the excellent orchestration. That guy has worked with so many 70’s icons its unbelievable.
    Other tracks on here that I really like include Jean Genie by Bowie of course and Ive never heard the Alex Harvey glam stomper before, I love the way it stops and goes into Queen style harmonies. God knows what Giddy Up A Ding Dong means but I get the feeling that Harvey was having a sly dig at the nonsensical lyrics that appeared on most British glam records. Il definitely be sharing this.
    Thanks for putting up these tracks Nigel Carr & Mike Bennett! It would make a good compilation album!

  48. What a great trip back in time this is. Real songs with theatre thrown in. Steve Etheringtons arrangements are amazing on the Glamnezia ballads and I can spot Mike Bennetts sonics from a mile away. Never knew these two worked together as they come from completely different angles – surprisingly it works! Id like to send my wishes to Steve Priest and his family, friends and many fans. I can see how Glam influenced punk rock and that Kim Fowley character seemed to be all over both glam and punk. Great to hear Mike Bennetts point of views along with Nigel Carrs glam facts. Although this is nostalgic most of it stands the test of time! Glam-rags hahahaha. Great read!

  49. Although I like what’s said here, American Glam rules. Twisted sister and Motley Crue all had great musical talent and should not be dismissed out of hand – especially Twisted sister who were the ugly sisters to Bowie and Bolan. Alice Cooper is also not really featured on here and his tracks Schools out and Poison were pure GLAM. And schools out is on almost every glam rock compilation conceivable. Ive got his shit on 4 K-tel records and he is on most of the glam documentaries so definitely should of been featured on here a bit more. I do find the Slade version totally fascinating and have found that he did a complete album with Kim Fowley under the name N’Betweens and lets face it after several name changes they became best glam rock band of all time.
    So thanks for this playlist. Could of also done with Abit more Kiss on here. Fowley wrote a classic for their destroyer album which was covered by Nirvana so something he was doing was right

  50. Very nice production work and arrangements on the new tracks. Good to see the Glam era being revisited and much of interest to discuss about this under appreciated genre, judging from the diverse and enthusiastic comments this has started a conversation that people really want to have.
    Art Glam, Pop Glam, Metal Glam, Low Glam, High Glam, Opportunist Glam, Sham Glam, Ham Glam – where do your favourite artists fit in to this? Like Mike many of us who were young teenagers when the string of bands were producing these singles gems couldn’t wait for the TOTP performances and when we went to school the next day it was our first topic of conversation. Glam primed many of us for the next movement when it arrived Punk regardless of where we’d moved to musically in the interim. Glam was entertainment and theatrical and given Mike’s theatrical background (All Cloned Up, The Good Old Daze, Blockbusta anyone?) and his sincere love of Music Hall and Glam this is the perfect project for him with Steve. I’ve many opinions on all of the artists mentioned here and my own particular favourites would be Mott the Hoople ( some inaccuracies in the article here)
    and SAHB both of whose work I would take with me to my desert island.
    Oh and Bowie, Roxy, Bolan, Cockney Rebel etc. I’m looking forward to when this is available now! Nice work.

  51. Since reading what’s here I have found more Fowley Slade related stuff. A lot of people say that he was someone that would jump on the bandwagon but he seemed to be ahead of his time with this early model of Slade and he was right there at the beginning of punk and worked with high octane bands like The Dickies and Venus and the Razorblades which was far more innovative than the glam hair metal stuff. His track ‘Steven’ on the welcome to my nightmare album by Alice Cooper stands the test of time and shows that he was on the earry side of the genre as well as Kiss, The Runaways and Joan Jett where he was definitely cashing in on brit glam. Other great producers mentioned here are Mickey Most and Mike Chapman Id no idea that Tony Hatch had worked with David Bowie but I checked it out on the internet and Hatch talks about it and is self deprecating when he admits it did not quite work. Learning the link between psychedelic artist Donavon and Alice Cooper is a gem because Ive had Billion Dollar Babies for years and on re-listening to it is correct that he does the high pitch vocals but he also takes a few of the verses in his normal voice as well. He actually is duetting with Cooper. A weird and wonderful combination and a weird and wonderful walk down glamory lane. Excuse the shit joke haha

  52. Learning the link between psychedelic artist Donavon and Alice Cooper is a gem because Ive had Billion Dollar Babies for years and on re-listening to it is correct that he does the high pitch vocals but he also takes a few of the verses in his normal voice as well. He actually is duetting with Cooper. A weird and wonderful combination and a weird and wonderful walk down glamory lane. Excuse the shit joke haha

  53. Saddened by the passing of Steve Priest from the 70s glam rock band SWEET…
    I did a remix for him of Jean Genie (Bowie) and Blockbuster (Sweet) which was played on the Chris Evens show…
    I actually made mix for Namm Festival, Anaheim Stadium Calafornia..
    The mix was played to 150,000 people (the crowd went nuts) where Terry Marsh was doing a mash up section called Blurred Lines, that concentrated on similarities of certain tracks….
    These two tracks are virtually identical, with no change of key or bpm.
    I find it fascinating that the same label released the tracks on the same week – 2 great glam classics. Digging the feature
    Sleep well Steve..xx

  54. Hey great interview, I love Bennet’s enthusiasm, and it’s wonderful that these guys are getting together! It’s my era! So sad to hear about Steve Priest, a legend.
    Keep on making music guys!

  55. Oh God! Kim Fowley.
    I met him in London when he was doing stuff with Creation Records.
    Mike Bennett asked me to pick him up from the airport. If you remember me Mike, you still owe me the petrol money because KF certainly didn’t pay. He kept screaming and pushing me. I nearly crashed about 5 times. All I could see was his scary smile in the rear view mirror.
    He was wearing a yellow coat and purple trousers and some kind of garish makeup. This was in the late nineties and I think he was working on The BMX Bandits. I did like his song Ugly Girl Ft. Slade. Not everyone can have an ugly girl.
    So sad about Steve Priest. Sweet were massive over here in New Zealand and Australia. They had a number one hit with “Peppermint Twist”

  56. reading this it seems that glam rock comes from a wide church, from your bubblegum bands such as Mud and Kenny who I see are both featured here to the hard hitting stuff like Alsx Harvey and Slade. fascinating to see an early Slade incarnation here, I had no idea they went back that far, right the way through the monster hits they had in the 70s and early 80s, my favourite track was the Radio Wall of Soynd which obviously had the Phil Spectre influence. Spector was mentioned in your feature as being a muse to Roy Wood who, like Slade, come from the Midlands where a lot of glam and metal was born. I always found the Rubettes hit and miss, leaning a bit too much towards doowop, but this new material is amazing! Especially the title tube Glamnesia, Steve Etherington vocal is epic and the track reminds me of something, but I’m not sure what, I think it might be something from Mott the Hoople, it will come to me. Great words from Nigel Carr, there is something different from each track

  57. Martin Cooke

    The track they have paid homage to is The Six Teens by Sweet, Wendy.

    Always a big fan of Sweet. Love the album Water’s Edge where Steve Priest took lead vocals on much of it. It’s a sad loss.

    I noticed Louder Than War has got Rubettes featuring John, Mick and Steve here, and Fuzzbox.

    As I am working on both projects for the label, I am pleased to see they are featured and absolutely love Mike Bennett’s dub mix of Spirit in The Sky. In fact the whole album is amazing and very underground.

    Looking at the tracks on your feature, I love the track Turn it Down by Sweet, but I think that was for the American market.

    Have enjoyed working with both Fuzzbox and Steve Etherington, who is the conduit for the John, Mick and Steve line up. Great to be involved with both projects, and this is a fascinating read.

  58. Always a big fan of Sweet. Love the album Waters Edge where Steve Priest took lead vocals on a lot. It’s a sad loss.

    I noticed Louder Than War got Rubettes featuring John, Mick and Steve here, and Fuzzbox.

    As I am working on both projects for the label, I am pleased to see they are featured and absolutely love Mike Bennett’s dub mix of Spirit in The Sky. In fact the whole album is amazing and very underground.

    Looking at the tracks on your feature, I love the track Turn it Down by Sweet, but I think that was for the American market.

    Have enjoyed working with both Fuzzbox and Steve Etherington, who is the conduit for the John, Mick and Steve line up. Great to be involved with both projects, and this is a fascinating read.

  59. Bob Skeat (Wishbone Ash)

    Very sad Priest has passed … only good ole’ Andy Scott left now eh … wow …

    As Wishbone Ash, we performed a double bill with Steve Priest’s Sweet, and they were absolutely amazing. Mike Bennett produced three excellent Wishbone Ash albums for us, and we always enthused about Glam on breaks. Also I briefly played bass for Brian Connolly’s version of Sweet, another interesting character to say the least.

    • Woooo. Wishbone Ash and SWEET on the sane bill. Both big bands but odd billing. An evening of PROG GLAM. Could be onto something here – yet another sub genre. Both good groups. Mash it up, its great that this happened. Good marketing lets hope. Probably full of whorey old bearded rockers and star spangled GLAM heads haha

  60. ” I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Steve Priest, he was such an iconic figure in my 70s pop obsessed youth. I send heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, may he rest in eternal Glam Peace. Fab glam stuff on here, I’ve worked with Mike Bennett for years and played on the Polyfest version of Germfree Adolescent. I think i worked with Steve Etherington virtually. Some cool cuts on here.”

  61. I love this …lots of my favourite bands on here always listen to the Rubettes Mud and Slade although the 60s version on here sounds a bit druggy to me I really love the track Mrs Pringle

  62. How come there is no Mott the Hoople on here? Some great info and quite like that track Mrs Pringle but you need to feature some harder American glam especially Wasp Cinderella and Stryper they took that to aNew level for us in the American scene

  63. How come there is no Mott the Hoople on here? Some great info and quite like that track Mrs Pringle but you need to feature some harder American glam especially Wasp Cinderella and Stryper they took that to aNew level for us in the American scene
    RIP STEVE PRIEST

  64. As a follower of Louder Than War I’m so pleased that Nigel Carr has put together such comprehensive lowdown on a much underrated movement. Also as a big Alex Harvey Fan the track featured on here is not the best but defo the most glam but it sounds like a pisstake to me with Gary Glitter style drums and the big Queen breakdown at the end which comes straight off Oger Battle – Queen. Never heard that track before and its growing on me. Talking about Mud I remember Les Gray doing the panto thing on Mud’s corny Christmas hit and totally get the vaudeville reference. Producer Mike Chapman was definitely behind all that nonsense n lets face it, it was all nonsense. Really liked the track from Hello called Games Up they looked like women which I guess is your drag queen deal in this fucked up phase of the 70s. The Darkness did bring it back for a while until the lead singer went a-wall and started to tracks for the Eurovision song contest. Wonder what ever happened to him? haha

  65. This article is brill especially the early Slade embryo feature. Love raw Chicory Tip track and didn’t know Fuzzbox started the ball rolling. As a young person I only knew the Gareth Gates version which I now know is Bollywood glam haha

  66. Its always been argued that David Bowie or T-Rex were the first official Glam rockers but listening to the N’Betweens AKA Slade performing the rather brilliant Ugly Girl in 1966 surely puts forward the argument that they were the originals. Its defo gotGlsm element with that very noticeable riff and the producer Kim Fowley went on to do a lot of USA Glam. Also fascinating is the track The Juicer by Sweet which I noticed was in 1970. Infact Ive found a late 60’s version of it on an album they did with them on one side and a dodgy cabaret act called the Pipkins on the other who performed the naff track Gimme Dat Ding. I didn’t realise Alex Harvey made Glam records until I read this article but that nonsensical track Giddy Up a Ding Dong is about as glam as it gets. I would like to have seen a bit of Kiss on here as I love Jean Simmons as they were definitely up there with the rest of the list but what a great a great article!

  67. A fascinating and informative interview about the history and origins of Glam rock. So Glam rock was a direct result of the poverty-stricken years in Britain, and was born in and out of working class communities (much like punk was). And just as the pearly kings and queens did, the Glam gang used clothes, style and fashion to make their statements. I imagine they used their unique style to put two fingers up to the rigidly restrictive and banal society in which they lived; to the government; and also to the poverty that engulfed them – which I imagine was all consuming and relentless. Putting on your GLAM (glad) RAGS was a means of escapism then, for both the Glam rockers and the pearly kings and queens, just as it has been for many numerous subcultures over the years.

  68. Having read this article, and having heard the Bowie mashup by Dust Junkies between Jean Genie and Blockbuster (which btw I think is a brilliant show by Nigel Carr) I don’t know what the fuss is about in respect of which RCA artist stole the riff because its blatantly on the odd Kim Fowley early Slade incarnation on the playlist here. BTW I checked the N’Betweens out and I was fascinated to see pictures of them with the unpleasant but talented Fowley and it was post Slade skinhead period and Dave Hill was already sporting the dodgy glam Barnett and Noddy had the side burns. I credit Slade for Blockbuster & Jean Genie as cavalier as that may sound. And surely the debate on wether Bolan or Bowie were the first glam rockers. I put in the argument due to information put in it this article it was surely Slade, all be it Proto-glam. SO COME ON FEEL THE NOISE – SLADE ROOLZ!!! Fascinating facts on this article

  69. THE MELTING POT MAN!
    or just plain throw everything in the fucking CAULDREN and lets see what we get?
    either way your going to get something special with MB. The guy in my opinion is distinguished. A Creative Genius.
    whether you fuse glam & punk, glam & grunge or glam and blues. who cares!
    Even though glam is not my bag. (as you may or may not of gathered)
    Salford & MCRs Adopted son gave an indepth interview there in my opinion.
    His perception and views on glam rock is quite fascinating though, i will say that.
    it might have just opened up a door, who knows i might even give GLAMNEZIA a whirl! yeah why not…..
    LSP.

  70. Ha agreed. I work on video stuff for fuzzbox. Yeah they did the best version of Spirit In The Sky and the riff was Glam. I also like the track Glamnezia. Steve Etherington is a great axe man. I used to rush home from Primary school to watch ‘Marc’ on TV and I had bug my mum to put 50p in the back of the TV to get it to work.

  71. I think people are forgetting one thing. It’s all just pop music at the end of the day. Surely Wizard or at least the move with California man was the first wink towards Glam .You could not get more glam Then Wizard

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