# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Carlton Sandercock - Interview

  by Andrew Twambley

published: 30 / 8 / 2023

Carlton Sandercock - Interview


Andrew Twambley interviews Easy Action Records owner Carlton Sandercock about his Marc Bolan fandom and his 'Elemental Child' project.

I first started listening to Marc Bolan when i was about eleven. My brother had a few Tyrannosaurus Rex albums and I enjoyed them passively. At thirteen, I was drawn into the world of Bolan through my newfound love of the football game Subbuteo. I used to play at my mate's house and he had everything Bolan had done. Even when I transferred my glam rock affection to punk rock, Bolan remained etched in my heart. Several of the new artists that I liked, such as The Damned, loved Bolan (as did Bowie) so he was still cool. But as time has marched on, those who appreciated his genius started dying off. So it was amazing to bump into Bolan superfan, Carlton Sandercock. Carlton , who runs Easy Action Records, has been in the music business for years and has spent several of those bringing an album of Bolan covers to fruition. This has been done before, but not in the same way as Carlton's 'Elemental Child'. He has tracked down covers from predominantly lesser known artists, but it’s about the care that has gone into the work. These are artists whose interpretation of the song is far more important than their own egos. Speaking to Carlton, it was great to speak to someone who fully appreciates the genius of Bolan over and above the massive hits that he had. More people need to understand the magnificence of his art and how much he influenced so many artists and genres. PB: Now you have just put together ‘Elemental Child: The Words and Music of Marc Bolan’. Please tell me about the album itself and how the idea for it came together. CARLTON SANDERCOCK: The idea first came many years ago when I was in touch with Adam Franklin from Swervedriver after hearing their excellent version of ‘Chateau In Virginia Water’. That song inspired me to look for other ‘cool’ covers with the spark of an idea of doing an album. Up until then, I was aware of many covers by fans, etc. Some were okay, many were not. In fact, I wasn’t a great fan of Marc covers at all with the exception of Bauhaus’ ‘Telegram Sam’ and The Banshees’ ‘20th Century Boy’, as they were radically different. PB: I vividly recall a few years ago listening to ‘Angel Headed Hipster’ which was another Bolan compilation by different artists. How does ‘Elemental Child’ differ from that? CS – Ha! Radically, is what I’d say, with big fekkin’ bells on! It’s that album that stopped everything I was doing; I thought initially, "Someone else is doing this, there’s no point in me doing one as well." That is until I bought one and heard it. It’s 100% the American way of doing things and I am pleased that it did raise Marc’s profile in the US, but as an album I thought it was rubbish; style over content. Bono, who I know is a fan, couldn’t even get the words right. I so wanted more from Joan Jett than a very lacklustre run-through. There are a couple of good tracks on there: Gavin Friday and Marc Almond delivered, I felt, and one or two others. I wanted my album to be the European way of doing things. PB: I have listened carefully to both, and although ‘Hipster’ was, I thought, a fine album, I gained the impression that the songs were more about the individual artists’ egos than about Bolan himself. Was that something that you were keen to avoid? CS: Yes, I absolutely agree. As I said previously, it was style over content, and I really don’t think it was even a good album, let alone a great one. At no point did I ever have any egos to deal with. Everyone wanted to do it or had already done it out of their love for the song or Marc. You have Andy Ellison who is 77 and Mair and Mexican Dogs who are in their 20s. Artists from everywhere, including Russia (on the cd). I like that! PB: You took on a major project here. How did you choose the songs? I notice you didn't just go for the obvious bangers. CS: For me, finding Tarwater was a pivotal moment. I wanted to find more like that. Also the late Schwefel – a fellow German – was a fantastic find. I was also very fortunate to know of some musicians who either had recorded a Marc song or were happy to go away and do one: the likes of Chris Braide, Mair (whose ‘Cosmic Dancer’ I think is better than Nick Cave’s!), Andy Ellison andBoz Boorer, Kelly Reilly, Black Bombers, Automatic Shoes, Chris Connelly. We already had the Catherine Lambert track from her album Beltane. The band I went after the longest was Burn It To The Ground and their incredible version of ‘Children Of The Revolution’. They were a Swedish supergroup who only managed to record this one song before imploding, and what a legacy they left behind! Took me years to get that one. This was all about the song and what the artist had brought to the table. I thought Marc himself would’ve been pleased to see people doing something with the song rather than copy it – that was an important criterion. I must add I had help from fellow fans who would recommend things to me. PB: For me, three songs stand out: ’Beyond The Rising Sun’ by Sylvie Vartan, ‘Cosmic Dancer’ by Mair and ‘Soul of My Suit" by Chris Braide, none of whom I was aware of. How did you put all these artists together – had they already recorded the songs? CS: Sylvie Vartan was a French pop-star in the sixties, met Marc in London in 1965 and decided to cover his current single (which wasn’t a hit), so it is in fact the earliest Marc cover. Chris Braide had performed ‘Soul Of My Suit’ on a Marc Almond podcast and it was beautiful so I asked him if he’d record it for this, which he did (he has an entire album of Marc’s songs due out later). Mair is a uni girl who I’d heard via the late Brian Dunham (Gloria Jones’ ex-manager), who had done a demo of ‘Cosmic Dancer’ so I got in touch and she delivered a very haunting version which we used as the single, with film from the school integrated into the video. PB: I see the profits are going to The Marc Bolan School of Music and Film. What is that and why Sierra Leone? CS: Gloria Jones lives there most of the time and it seems to be almost single-handedly helping the children of the area in Makeni. A charity has been set up, the Light of Love Foundation, to raise funds to build the school. Late last year/early this year, we raised money to build a bore hole so the kids could get clean water. It’s nearly finished now and to be completely honest with you, it was achieved very quickly and simply. PB: When did you become a Bolan fan? Apart from this album, are you involved in any other project keeping the Bolan legacy alive? CS: I was ten when I saw ‘Hot Love’ on 'Top of the Pops'. That summer, when I was a grown up eleven, I saw ‘Get It On’, and from then on I was a fan. I bought up everything I could on Marc and T. Rex. My first LP was the MFP ‘Ride A White Swan’ compilation, which mainly had Tyrannosaurus Rex songs on it, so I was well-versed with ‘Strange Orchestra’ and ‘Stacey Grove’ as I was with ‘Telegram Sam’. I also run and co-own The Official Marc Bolan Merch Co with Gloria and her Light of Love Foundation (which funds the Marc Bolan School of Music and Film). I had a meeting with Gloria Jones in London on a cold January evening and we discussed ways of creating revenue for her school. I wasn’t any good at fundraising or crowdfunder type stuff, but said I could set up an official merchandise company, which I did. It’s been able to create tens of thousands of pounds for the Foundation. I also did the very first deluxe photo coffee table book 'MARC' in 2021. Two years before that, I was able to get the rights to reprint Marc’s 'Warlock of Love' book of poetry for a 50th Anniversary edition. We also issue rare Marc/T. Rex LPs and CDs, and 7” singles. PB: A few months ago, I spoke to Marc's former band mate Andy Ellison from John’s Children who couldn't stop eulogising about Marc’s genius. Do you find that a lot when you discuss Marc with other musicians? CS: I do. For example, I know three-quarters of The Damned well and they are united in their praise of Marc. When I did the MARC book, I was after quotes from people, and everyone was most positive about the legacy he left and his impact on British popular music. I’ve been working with Andy for the last two years and issued his biography last year. Even now, he still dips back and covers some of Marc’s songs. He has a brand new album coming soon too. PB: When I was about eleven, my older brother had a party one night while my parents were away, and who turned up but none other than Marc’s long time musical partner Mickey Finn. Apparently he was a mate of a mate. I wish I could recall more about it. I don’t think I should have been up and my brother was, for some reason, constantly trying to make me go to bed! CS: I met Mickey and Bill for the first time in our offices in Covent Garden in 1998, I think. Mickey didn’t look great then at all. Bill remains a friend still. PB: Do you remember where you were when you heard of Marc’s death? I was touring the country on my motorbike. I stopped for petrol in Hornchurch near London and saw the newspaper headlines. CS: Yes, I was in the kitchen of the family home in Devon. I was stunned. I think I went for a walk across the moors trying to take it in. PB: Before we wrap up, I must ask you about another of your favourite artists. If my information is correct, you are a big fan of Johnny Thunders. What did you find most appealing about him? I saw him at Eric's in Liverpool in May 1977. He lasted nineteen minutes before he collapsed and had to be carried off. CS: liked the New York Dolls and really loved the ‘So Alone’ album. Then in the early 80s, I met a guy called Trevor Jones who was a huge Dolls and Thunders fan. When we both moved to London, we met the guys from Jungle Records and got to see Johnny quite a lot. I seem to have become surrounded by friends who also loved Johnny, Chris Musto drummed for him, Nina Antonia wrote a book with him. Johnny was a conundrum, very funny and a lot more intelligent than many give him credit for, but at the same time, reckless when it came to his addiction. He wrote some great songs. and when he was on fire,he played like no one else. He liked T Rex too. PB: Thank you.

Band Links:-

Play in YouTube:-

Picture Gallery:-
Carlton Sandercock - Interview

Carlton Sandercock - Interview

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors