Mickey Finn (musician)

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For other people of the same name, see Mickey Finn.
Mickey Finn
Mickey Finn T Rex.jpg
Finn performing with T. Rex (band) in the Musikhalle Hamburg, January 1972
Background information
Birth name Michael Norman Finn
Born (1947-06-03)3 June 1947
Thornton Heath, Surrey, England United Kingdom
Died 11 January 2003(2003-01-11) (aged 55)
Croydon, Surrey, UK
Genres Psych folk, glam rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Bongos, congas, drums, bass, vocals
Years active 1969–2003
Labels Fly Records/Reprise, EMI, Casablanca, Demon Music Group, Track
Associated acts T.Rex
Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
Mickey Finn's T. Rex
The Blow Monkeys
The Soup Dragons

Mickey Finn or occasionally Micky Finn (born Michael Norman Finn, 3 June 1947 – 11 January 2003)[1] was the percussionist and sideman to Marc Bolan in his band Tyrannosaurus Rex (on one album, A Beard of Stars), and later, the 1970s glam rock group, T.Rex. Often confused with other musicians by the same name, Michael Norman Finn (apart from T. Rex) only toured as a sideman in the 1960s with Hapshash and the Coloured Coat. After Bolan and T.Rex's demise, he worked as a session musician for The Blow Monkeys and The Soup Dragons.

Finn was born in Thornton Heath, Surrey, England. After he joined T.Rex in late 1969, it was rumoured that Bolan had hired Finn for his good looks, and because he admired his motorcycle, rather than for his musical ability. Finn was unable to recreate the complex rhythmical patterns of his predecessor, Steve Peregrin Took, and was effectively hired as much for a visual foil for Bolan as for his drumming. The BBC news commented on this, saying "Marc Bolan was supposed to have said of Finn: 'He can't sing... but he looks superb.'"[1]

Mickey Finn stated, on a Radio show in Denmark that he and Marc Bolan were appearing on as guest DJs, that his big influence in percussion was the prolific Master Henry Gibson from Curtis Mayfield's band. In the early 1970s, Finn's contribution as bongocero, backing vocalist, and, occasionally, bass guitarist, to Bolan's music was essential, because Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex started off as a duo and Marc needed a replacement for Steve Peregrin Took. Something of a character both on and off stage, Finn was often to be seen wearing a hat (including a green bowler), a trademark that was adopted by a significant proportion of T. Rex fans.

However, due to T. Rex's sound becoming more and more electric-influenced, and the presence of a 'proper' drummer, Bill Legend, Mickey's bongo playing became effectively obsolete, and he left the band after five years.[1]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Finn made a handful of guest appearances with the West London rock band, Checkpoint Charlie, fronted by Mick Lexington.

In 1991 he joined Croydon R'n'B band WD40, which had a fluid line-up based around his very old friend drummer Stewart Childs (the Interns) Harp & vocalist Colin Goody and Vocalist and guitarist Pete Robins. The band then added guitarists, percussion etc. as required but unfortunately Mickey was forced to retire after about 12 months due to failing health. A couple of live tracks survive from this line up, but are currently out of print. Mickey also joined the tribute band T.Rextasy for their '50th Birthday Marc Bolan Celebration' concert at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on 30 September 1997.

Finn returned to the mainstream music scene in 1997, fronting a new, controversial version of T. Rex, Mickey Finn's T. Rex, playing old T. Rex songs until his last days.

Death[edit]

Finn died from alcohol-related liver problems, in Croydon, Surrey, on 11 January 2003, aged 55. His manager, Barry Newby commented that it was likely that Finn's illness and death were due to liver and kidney problems but it was not confirmed at the time of the interview.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "T Rex band member dies". BBC news entertainment section. BBC news MMIII. 13 January 2003. Retrieved 14 November 2010.