DAVID BOWIE: (ON PHIL MAY, 1964, against his telephone no. entry in Bowie’s phone book) “Is God!” VAN (the man)
MORRISON. (July 1995) “The Pretty Things”? - one of the greatest “R&B” bands of all time - real wild.”
BOB DYLAN: “BOB DYLAN” “the sweet “Pretty Things” are…….” (Tombstone Blues)
DAVE GILMOUR - “PINK FLOYD” “The Pretty Things” always made The Stones look tame, and the time has definitely come for their renaissance.
GARY BROOKER - “PROCOL HARUM” “The Pretties” were great on stage - always far more rebellious than “The Stones” You could like “The Stones” but if you were a real rebel, it was always “The Pretties.”
MICK JAGGER - “ROLLING STONES” “always loved their version of “Cry To Me” — can’t wait for an evening with the new box set.” (Mick Jagger - July 1995)
JOEY RAMONE - “THE RAMONES’ (UPON MEETING “THE PRETTIES”) “Shit, like, I’ve always wanted to meet Phil May - “The Pretty Things’ were the biggest influence on us. Like, right at the start, when there were The Beatles, & The Stones, & stuff, we would hear about “The Pretty Things” & just pick up the odd record, but they were so wild....... they invented garage bands.” (backstage ® The Town & Country 1989 - The Ramones meet The Pretties).
THE LATE GREAT JOHN PEEL - THE GRANDFATHER OF ALL SERIOUS RADIO DEEJAYS “The Beatles” were cute, “The Stones” were students, but “The Pretty Things” were plain frightening, & much better at psychedelia than “The Stones.......”
PHIL MAY - LEAD SINGER WITH “THE PRETTIES” IN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE SUNDAY TIMES -12TH JULY 1964. “who are you calling a queerie?” (Sunday Times 12.07.64).
GLEN MATLOCK - “SEX PISTOLS” (first impression of “The Pretty Things”) “Pretty Things” - pretty seminal - (July 20th 1995).
SID VICIOUS & NANCY (& NANCY’S PARENTS - summer 1977) Nancy’s Parents - “who are those terrible looking people sitting by the pool?” Sid (eventually) - “Oh them, I think that’s “The Pretty Things” Nancy’s Parents - “Oh God, they look even worse than you” (summer 1977).
MICK FARREN - JOURNALIST, MUSICIAN, “UNDERGROUND” TORCH BEARER, NOVELIST, L.A. RACONTEUR, & LUNATIC “The Pretty Things” -------—---- the mighty mutant fashion fusion of art school anarchy, & Kings Road “R&B” (Mick Farren 26 July 1995).
SCREAMING LORD SUTCH: 60’s ROCK & ROLL ICON, OBSCURE POLITICAL FIGURE, & VETERAN OF 1000 UNSUCCESSFUL BY-ELECTIONS “They had everything it took to overtake “The Stones”, but in those days “all publicity is good publicity” didn’t apply because - though they were years ahead of their time image wise (The Sex Pistols of their day) - it was all too much for the general public in the early sixties. The Stones just about walked the line; The Pretty Things went way over it. This was a time, remember, when simply getting married could ruin a pop star’s career. The man in the street couldn’t imagine any of the Pretty Things even being married - except to each other...
DENNIS D’ELL - LEAD SINGER WITH “THE HONEYCOMBS’ & APPEARED ON VARIOUS RECORDINGS WITH OTHER “NAMES” & WAS RECORDED BY JOE MEEK. “When we appeared on Sunday Night at The London Palladium in 1965, we borrowed Viv prince from “The Pretty Things” so that Honey Langtree, our usual drummer, could go centre stage & sing a duet - “That’s the Way” - with me. Viv had a massive reputation as a raver, so after the rehearsal that afternoon, he was locked in the dressing room until it was time to go on - in case he went on a binge, & didn’t show, or else went berserk on camera in front of an audience of millions. The next day one of the tabloids ran a feature headlined “Who was the other Honeycombs girl?” because of Viv’s long hair.
JIM McCARTY - EX YARDBIRDS DRUMMER, WRITER OF MANY 60’s HITS, WORKED WITH CLAPTON/BECK/PAGE/ETC. “In the winter of 1992 I was approached by a major US “R&B” producer to work with Phil (May) & Dick (Taylor) of “The Pretties” on a seminal US “R&B” recording of old standards with various US musicians, in a famous old “black music” Chicago studio, where we would breathe the same air as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, & all the Chess heroes Along with Richard flute (ex Canned Heat) & a string of “New Chicago” blues legends, we cut a lot of Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry (the usual stuff), & a monster version of Aretha’s “Chain of Fools”.
Phil sang really well, & I have always been constantly amazed at how underrated Dick has been as a guitar player.
It was a great trip, & while we were there, we also managed a few Chicago club dates, every one of them packed out, despite the sub zero temperatures, & constant blizzards!”
KIM FOWLEY - 60’s RECORDING ARTIST, L.A. GADABOUT, CLUB OWNER, MENTOR OF FAMOUS GTO’s “Viv Prince was God.”
DON CRAINE: LEADER OF 60’s “R&B” ICONS “THE DOWNLINERS SECT” “A few years ago we managed to team up with Phil May & Dick Taylor for a few cuts on an album we were all guesting on - Dick turned out one effortless riff after another, & Phil - arriving like a 50’s screen Idol - blazed into incredible vocals, putting most songs down in just one take. Pretty they weren’t - brilliant they were, & still are.”
BRUCE BRAND - LEADER OF “THEE HEADCOATS” & MAINSTAY OF THE BURGEONING “NEW MOD” REVIVAL. “of my three guitar heroes - Link Wray, Jet Harris, & Dick Taylor - Dick was the only one to grab my lapels & pogo to his own support act. Besides, anyone with the good taste to appear in a Norman Wisdom film - “What’s Good for the Goose” (1969) - has to have a bit of savvy!
JOHN STEPHEN - THE “KING OF CARNABY STREET” MILLIONAIRE FASHION RETAILER IN THE 1960’s, HUGELY INFLUENTIAL TEEN MOGUL “Phil my boy, We’ll hope to see you white-jeaned & at your lovely best for the photographers who pounce on you. Have sent an invite to Brian (nb. Jones). And Mr. Baldry is likely to be in attendance to chat up the local talent.” (2nd Jan 1965).
CREATION RECORDS - SELF STYLED “INDIE” DARLINGS, & UNTIL LAST MONTH THE LABEL WHO WERE SIGNING THE NEW “PRETTY THINGS”ANTHOLOGY “No, no - I just don’t want to do this, it’s already too difficult. Our current roster are far less trouble than you, & I don’t need to be involved with people who are more difficult to deal with than “Oasis” & “Primal Scream -especially when this is supposed to be a catalogue item” (James Kyllo - legal head – Creation / Revola after one meeting & a phone call with Mark St. John about “The Pretty Things” late May 1995).
BRYAN MORRISON - “PRETTY THINGS” FIRST MANAGER/AGENT! PUBLISHER (1964-1969) STILL “PRETTIES” PUBLISHER & CURRENTLY PUBLISHES/ADVISES “PINK FLOYD” / GEORGE MICHAEL / “THE JAM” / ETC. “after ‘Rosalyn’ but before ‘Don’t Bring Me Down” we were actively looking for a strong single. It had always been my contention that the first of the real “long haired/bad boy” bands to get a no.l hit would last & I wanted it to be “The Pretties”. Donovan had inadvertently turned me on to the Dylan track ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ just before it was released, & so I charged in to get first refusal on the track for the band. Right then “The Pretty Things” were hotter than a pistol in the States, & they gave me a four-week run on getting the song covered & out. Everything looked great, & I knew we had our no.1 Only the band wouldn’t do it!
I persuaded, pleaded, begged, & bribed, but no way Jose. They didn’t want it at any price. Finally after five weeks of pleading I had to give it up, & a few weeks later “The Byrds” crashed the charts everywhere with their version. “The Stones” picked up that elusive no.1 that we wanted, & the band never had another big single It was the one time that I would have been far happier to have been wrong - but it was so typical of them, no-one could ever control that lot” (Bryan Morrison 18.07.95).
TONY CALDER/ANDREW OLDHAM - STONES MANAGEMENT TEAM (1964/1967) OWNERS/FOUNDERS OF THE IMMEDIATE LABEL. MAJOR INDUSTRY MAFIA!! “The new “Pretty Things” compilation is a great package, it really should be on the New Immediate! The trouble is they are looked after by an insane guy called Mark St.John and he drives us crazy. But not half as crazy as we were back in the 60’s. “The Pretties” had a record happening, & we wouldn’t let them onto the same Ready Steady Go show as “The Stones” - they were serious competition then. So they got bumped and the record stuffed. I recall that we did that to them about a year later as well. Sorry boys, we probably owe you an apology. They were good but what they needed at that time was good management, which “The Stones” had, but they hadn’t. Still, it’s a great package (Tony Calder 19.07.95).
PETER GRANT – MANAGER, LED ZEPPELIN FOR THEIR ENTIRE CAREER - INVENTED MODERN ROCK AS AN INDUSTRY “The first time I met “The Pretty Things” was in 1963 when I was tour manager for Chuck Berry, & he played The Club Noreik in London & The Pretties came to see him. After the show Phil & a couple of the guys came backstage for a chat. I had seen them play a few gigs & had been most impressed - I was even more so now meeting them & seeing their attitude as to their careers whilst still being the original rock rebels. I gave them my thoughts. The next day Bryan Morrison phoned to say I had tried to steal his act - soon put him straight on that one! Some ten or eleven years later Jimmy (Page) & I were discussing the kind of bands we would like to have on our new label - Swansong Records, & he suggested “The Pretty Things” which I though was great. He said, I think they are free. A few days later Phil & the guys arrived at my office in The Kings Road saying they were free, & would love to be on Swansong. I was most flattered when they asked me to manage them as well. Very hard to wear two hats at once, but as the band were real pro’s I jumped at the request & worked it out….. the rest is history. Mark St.John. seems to be doing a nice job with their new anthology box. Long overdue”(Peter Grant July 25 1995).
DOUG SMITH - UNCROWNED KING OF THE LATE 60’S HIPPY GRUNGE SCENE, MANAGER (AT VARIOUS TIMES) OF MOTORHEAD, HAWKWIIND, THE DAMNED, MICK FARREN, TED NUGENT, CREDIT TO THE NATION, & CHUMBAWUMBA “I thought my one year with “The Damned” was bad but that was a holiday compared to one month with “The Pretty Things” - (Doug Smith July 1995).
BRIAN LANE - LABEL BOSS OF “FRAGILE RECORDS” MANAGER OF - YES/ASIA/FISH/IT BITES/RICK WAKEMAN/BUGGLES/DALEY THOMPSON/ETC. ENTREPENEUR & EX-PLUGGER FOR MIKI MOST! “I knew that there were only two ways I could get membership of The Royal Berkshire Polo club - signing “The Pretty Things” or going to bed with a member of The Royal Family - Lady Di. wasn’t available, so I’m stuck with the worst behaved band in the world still, at least they meet my signing criteria, which states that no artist on the label may be younger than the managing director!” - (Brian Lane 21.06.95)
n.b. Bryan Morrison (Pretties publisher & ex-manager) is the owner of The Royal Berkshire Polo Club.
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