Cet article de Penny Valentine est paru dans l’hebdomadaire britannique Disc daté du 27 mars 1965. La journaliste a l’occasion de papoter avec Dick Taylor et un peu avec John Stax, les autres Pretty Things étant aux abonnés absents lors de sa visite. Phil May a appelé pour dire qu’il était à l’hôpital, mais Dick est certain que c’est un bobard et qu’il fait juste la grasse matinée…
The Pretty Things are probably the only big group around at the moment who can still make people stare at them in something like disgust. They think this is absolutely splendid and ignore everyone!
When I met them last Thursday, they were in fact doing just that—or at least John Stax was, as he headed up Charing Cross Road towards his manager’s office, his long curly hair blowing in the wind and lugging a guitar case along the wet pavement.
We trampled upstairs together into a room which housed Pretty Thing Dick Taylor—bearded and friendly—and their agent, Tony Howard, who looked more like a Pretty Thing than anyone.
As Tony talked over one-nighter arrangements with John and handed out money to their road manager, Dick talked to me about the group of which he is the “daddy”—the one he started after being with the Rolling Stones.
“Viv hasn’t arrived yet and Phil terrified our secretary this morning by phoning up and saying he was very ill in Hampstead Hospital. Actually, he has just overslept, I think!
“This thing about people staring at us is quite true. I know that Phil, especially, has been out at a club eating and the people at the next table have just sat and stared like zombies all night. He just ignores them. Well, what else can you do? We’re used to it now.
“We usually go out to places where other groups go and you’re accepted whatever you’re like. Although, I’m more apt to leave a date and go back home to sleep.”
Somebody came in and put on “Concrete And Clay.” The boys all went mad.
“That’s about the ninety-ninth time we’ve heard that record this week,” yelled John from among a pile of papers. “And it’s a fabulous song,” he said more quietly.
As the music blared out, I asked Dick whether he thought the group had changed much from the time they first started 18 months ago.
“I think so. For instance, I don’t twitch so much before we go on stage now,” he grinned. “When I started the group after being with The Stones, I thought: ‘We’re never going to make money. It’s impossible’—so there was genuine surprise when we did, at least as far as I was concerned. I didn’t feel that I’d mind if we weren’t tremendously successful either, but once we became professional it was more of a job of work to be taken seriously and do as much as we could.
“We find that audiences, although they change wherever you play—for instance, we can play at Wimbledon and get a great reaction and the next night we can play six miles away and get nothing—haven’t changed towards us since we started.
“The people who liked us originally still do and those that didn’t still don’t!”
Although their audiences might not have changed, The Pretty Things attitude to The Pretty Things certainly has!
“We tend to be less ‘cliquey’ than we were,” Dick explained. “That doesn’t sound the right word to use, but we are less close. We make more friends outside of one another now. When we first started out we stayed together and did things together a lot. I think there’s a natural tendency for that.
“Now we all have our own separate friends outside the business, as well as friends in other groups. I suppose The Animals and The Fairies are the people we mix with most.”
When I left, the boys had just started into an argument—about how many road managers they wanted where and when. At the door John looked out fiercely from under his black fringe: “About this business of sharing a flat. It’s fallen through. We need something the size of Bucky Palace, you see, and anyway at the moment we are seriously considering buying up Chester Street—where the group used to live before they were evicted—as a National monument!”