Drumming ‘hero’ to celebrate bandmate Bolan’s life with gig

Paul Fenton at his Hanging Heaton home.
Paul Fenton at his Hanging Heaton home.
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Opening the show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of people with a solo drum routine is not a standard trip down memory lane.

For Hanging Heaton rocker Paul Fenton, it is one recollection from his days with flamenco rock outfit Carmen in the 1970s.

Hanging Heaton man Paul Fenton with T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan in the 1970s.

Hanging Heaton man Paul Fenton with T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan in the 1970s.

But during that decade Mr Fenton, now 70, also recorded with the mighty T.Rex on their Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow album, and played with the glam rockers on the Truck Off tour.

And next weekend, Mr Fenton will perform the group’s music at Warehouse 23 in Wakefield to commemorate the 40th anniversary year of his friend Marc Bolan’s death.

Legendary producer Tony Visconti – who had worked with Carmen – introduced Dewsbury-born Mr Fenton to Bolan in London in 1974.

He said: “Anything Tony Visconti suggested was good enough for Marc at the time so we became friends.

“He was quite a clever guy. He had this persona which almost went into a cameo role when he was with the press, but he was just a normal guy really.

“His generosity was unbelievable.”

Mr Fenton said one example is Bolan lending him an outfit for a big TV appearance.

“It was a cape that he used to wear. He wasn’t even bothered about wanting it back.”

Mr Fenton said that his highlight from this time was appearing with T. Rex during the Truck Off tour in 1974.

“The bands I worked with had always had good crowds. But the experience I had with Marc – every venue we went to, the average age would be 14 to 16-year-old kids. It was mayhem. Screaming from one end to the other.

“It was like being in The Beatles – I can imagine – in the early days.”

By the time Bolan’s tragic death in a car accident occurred in September 1977, Mr Fenton was back living in Crackenedge Lane, Dewsbury.

He now performs drums in T-Rex (The Music of Marc and Mickey). He will play the Smyth Street venue on Saturday. March 4.

The band also features guitarist Graham Oliver, who formed the heavy metal band Saxon in 1975.

Mr Fenton said: “It’s going to be an exciting night for us. We’re trying to make it as interesting as possible.

“We’ve done massive stadiums around the world, we’re used to the big game.”

His old friend Marcus Murray helped to organise the event along with Mr Fenton’s longtime colleague Barry Newby.

Mr Murray said: “Paul’s not really played in this area for 20 years. The last time was at the Frontier Club and you couldn’t get in for love nor money. He’s a bit of a hero around here.”

For tickets (£15), visit the venue’s website at www.warehouse23.co.uk