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Steve Took's happier without T. Rex


Disc and Music Echo 26th February 1972

ALTHOUGH only 22, Steve Took's life so far has been a series of diametrically opposed ups and downs. Three years ago when T. Rex consisted of him and Marc Bolan, Steve was getting 200 a night; nowadays he can just about keep body and soul together, has been down to round the six stone mark and now weighs eight. But he's happy and that's what counts.

He's just beginning to do gigs on his own round little clubs, because for the first time since he left T. Rex in 1969 he's found a manager that he trusts.

His old management troubles started after T. Rex's first tour of the States. He'd split unofficially before the tour, but had to go through with it, and when he got back he was presented with a bill for 2,000. From that day onwards he fought shy of managers.

Before he'd left T. Rex, Steve had been involved with jamming with the Pink Fairies, Pretty Things, Mick Farren, etc. He's very much part of the Notting Hill Gate scene still, at the very heart of the underground and it was this that really made him split from Marc.

"In no way was T. Rex doing my head any good; there was no vaguely hidden meaning. Basically T. Rex started off as an underground nice thing. We weren't hung up about the bread and gradually the business took over all I could see was money. I went to see Marc the other day at a gig in Boston and I just couldn't equate what he's doing now with what we were doing then I saw about ten hippies in the whole place. "But when we split I didn't see anyone, I just went away and got totally ripped on acid and drinking and gambling in no way could I relate to any of the commercial trips to do with the group."

When the Pink Fairies fell through, Steve tried to get a group called Shagrat together they did one gig. Now he feels freer on his own, singing his own songs, doing gigs and doing an album sometime in the future. Steve does as many benefits as he can because he thinks that is very important.

He also talks to his audience about political and environmental things because he thinks it is vital for them to know what bad things are happening round them. He thinks it is the duty of all groups who can command an audience to do this, and thinks Marc Bolan should.

"And I write love songs, really sweet ones; and I write about politics and drugs I've made a point of trying nearly everything peyote, mescalin, acid, smack, coke, speed etc. I spent two weeks in jail around the time "Deborah" was out for possessing two grains of hashish. Girls who have run away from home somehow find my flat and ask me to put them up. I send them round to BIT which was set up in the first place for people like that, and I took heroin a couple of times to see what it was like and warn young kids to keep off it."

He's not bitter about Marc's current success that he could have stayed in on.

"Some people make it by keeping their mouths shut and I couldn't, no way. I've made it and I've seen things, and I've seen kids queuing to see T. Rex at the Lyceum back in 1969, and they were charging 25s. to see us FAR too much money. And I couldn't keep my mouth shut about it and everything else, and look at me now.

"In some ways I can dig what Marc's doing now, that's what rock's all about, but I think Alice Cooper does it better."