in conversation with Phil Singleton
The first thing I wanted to ask you about was your name. It's very unusual. I
wondered what its origin is?
Edward Tudor-Pole is my name. The Pole bit goes back hundreds of years, to the
Norman Conquest. I'm really Edward Pole but my great-grandfather did some genealogy
and worked out some connection with the royal house of Tudor, so he added Tudor
to the Pole. So it's a bit bogus really, you can blame my grandfather! Hence the
certainly not a name you come across very often.
the rarer something is, the more valuable it is.
on to The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, had you done anything in music prior to
I'd been in one band, called the Visitors. I'd just left drama school and the
punk thing was just erupting. I answered an advert in the Melody Maker, which
said "Wild front man wanted." I thought, that's me! I got the job, we
did a few gigs and got a few fans.
you make any records?
We did some demos, but the songs weren't very good. We could all play. I was just
the singer, I didn't do anything creative for them. We played at the Marquee and
got a review, which said the band are excellent apart from the bug-eyed cretin
on vocals! So they sacked me basically!
I was out in the cold feeling rather depressed! Bloody hell, surely I'm worth
being in the band?! One of the Visitors, Chris I think, phoned me up a few weeks
later saying the Sex Pistols are auditioning for a new singer, why don't you go
for it, Ed? If he hadn't phoned me up I wouldn't have known about it and wouldn't
have gone along. So I just went along to the audition for the Rock 'n' Roll Swindle.
the audition as it was portrayed in the film?
much. The Sex Pistols weren't there on the initial day. They whittled it down
to the final four or something, to do it the next day with the Pistols. The Pistols
were miming, with each of us doing (singing) a version of the Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
track, and they spliced it up. The audition is as seen in the film, but all cut
was intrigued as to when the lead vocals were recorded. Were they recorded the
were recorded live over the backing track that was already recorded. When we turned
up, they gave us all a cassette to listen to a recording of the song, Rock 'n'
Roll Swindle, with just Steve singing it. We had to learn it, we all had a sheet
with the words on it. They gave us an hour or two to swot up on it, before we
actually did it on stage.
auditioned you the day before? Julien Temple?
We had to do that. This was the first day, the opening gambit. I'd been at drama
school and the audition was in a theatre, therefore I went in through the stage
door. All the other lads piled in the front and they were sitting around in the
stalls waiting their turn. A man with a clipboard was saying "What's your
name, who's next?" So I went in at the stage door and found my way to the
stage and made a massive entrance! If you're on stage you've got the attention
of the entire theatre.
quite funny to think it was done in that fashion for a band like the Sex Pistols.
You've got a man stood there with a clipboard saying, "Who's next?"
It sounds quite bizarre!
can you suggest a better way? They just wanted to get through the dross as quickly
as possible, and the people they liked they got back the next day, about four
Temple once said when you came in, you did a strange routine with a cigarette
and a dance. His quote was; "He was serious, he was the one." Did you
feel they'd singled you out?
because I walked onto that stage and commanded the room, and said "Hello,
I'm Ten Tudor-Pole, are these the auditions for Hamlet?!" and they all laughed.
It's on your first entrance you're made. It's been the same ever since. At a gig
it's the same, you've got to get a relationship with the audience otherwise it
goes for nothing.
you did the film sequence on the second day with the Sex Pistols present, how
were they all getting along, was there an atmosphere? Steve and Paul were obviously
still friends and Sid was there as well.
fact, Sid was there on the first day. Sid was there, he came in with Nancy. It
was a long day, a lot of sitting around and dossing about in the stalls. A lot
of kids dressed just like Johnny Rotten who obviously hadn't got a hope. Sid came
in with Nancy and we were all thinking, "Fuck, that's Sid Vicious!"
Nancy was really loudly obnoxious and Sid's slumped in a stall seat. She got on
stage and did a mock striptease, got down to her bra and pants and said, "I'm
not taking any more off, the rest is reserved for Siddy boy." She wasn't
being amusing about it.
suddenly Sid turned round, he was near the front of the stalls, and a lot of us
were at the back. He turned around, he was obviously out of it, and said, "Why
don't you lot all fuck off?" One of the people sitting behind me who was
auditioning as well, said "Bollocks!" Sid lost his temper! "You
said bollocks to me!" He jumped out of his seat, came running up to the back
of the theatre and started punching the bloke. This bloke was trying to fend him
off as he was being hit by his hero! He was saying, "Sid man, cool it."
It soon settled down and they were sitting next to each other chatting.
interesting because this audition is pretty much the last time Steve, Paul and
Sid were together.
might have been actually, because then Sid went to America. That's right, it was
all over a few weeks later.
the end of the audition, who approached you to say they'd like to use you in the
McLaren. Julien Temple ran all the preliminary auditions, then Malcolm McLaren
saw the film footage. He liked some other guy, Nicky Love or something, I can't
remember what he was called. But Julien said, "No, believe you me, this Ten
Pole, he's the man." Then I met McLaren, he came round to my squat and said
hello. I want you to write a song called Who Killed
Bambi." Then he said he would be back later, he was quite a funny bloke.
co-credited as writing the song with Vivienne Westwood.
cos writing Who Killed Bambi was quite a long process. I wrote the song eventually.
McLaren kept coming back and saying, "I like that bit but I want that other
you wrote the lyrics?
wrote the lyrics but Vivienne improved upon some of the verse lyrics. She definitely
did, yes. Some of the lines in the verses are hers. I basically wrote it, in fact
it's a rip off of One Man Went To Mow, isn't it? McLaren said they wanted to film
me singing it, busking. So that's what I thought it was going to be, me and my
guitar, singing this song we were trying to write. Then he changed his mind and
said I should do it in the (cinema) foyer as an usher, and we'll record it with
a 45 piece orchestra!
Ed performs Who Killed Bambi in the Swindle foyer sequence)
must have been quite a big thing, to suddenly find yourself in a studio with a
45 piece orchestra!
the next thing that happened, I'd written a version of the song, then McLaren
came down with Bernie Rhodes who recorded it on his tape recorder, just me strumming
in the basement of my squat. I don't know which version it was, it wasn't exactly
the finished version. Then he said, "I want you to meet the arranger, Andrew
Pryce Jackman. He's a proper orchestral arranger, you can meet up with him and
he'll orchestrate it for the orchestra." I met Andrew Pryce Jackman years
later, he told me he never got paid!\
I met the arranger and he said, "You should definitely put an A in there",
I thought yeah, of course, thanks! So he improved it another step. Then he did
the orchestration for it, and the next thing was, "Right you're going to
sing it next Wednesday, come down at 6 o'clock." It was a big studio. Unfortunately,
I didn't realise the orchestra were going to record it earlier, because I missed
them. They'd had the 45 piece orchestra in and recorded it all. I turned up and
they said, "Listen to this!" I said, "Right!" and started
singing! Adrenalin you know!
vocal style is unique, isn't it?
but I wanted to sing it quite well. McLaren said, "No, go more over the top."
He kept spurring me on, we did loads of takes. Take after take. "More punk,
more wild!" What happened was, all the most ridiculous bits from all the
takes, he just saved them and put them all onto one track to make it sound as
extreme as it could. Some bits make me really wince! But I'm always singing it
live still, I just sing it differently.
studio did you record Who Killed Bambi in?
big studio somewhere in Wembley.
also recorded Rock Around The Clock.
that was recorded separately. That was recorded a week or two later.
and Paul were presumably on that track?
Steve came round to my squat and introduced himself, he was friendly, he was nice.
Again, I was just some kid from nowhere and suddenly had McLaren and Bernie Rhodes
coming down my squat, then Steve. Steve and I went out for an Indian meal. I was
pretty shy of these guys. Then I met Paul. They were very nice chaps, Steve and
Paul. Then we rehearsed as a band with a stand-in bass player called Andy Allen.
So who actually
played on Rock Around The Clock? Steve, Paul and Andy Allen?
Steve can't half play guitar. I was on cloud nine, I didn't know what had hit
me. It was great fun. I was glad I got sacked from that poxy other band!
funny how things work out.
is funny. When you look back it's all down to a Melody Maker advert, and one phone
call. I suppose if you go further than that, it's down to my dad knobbing my mum!
You probably have to go back to the Big Bang!
Rock Around The Clock, who did all the squeaks during the song?
bird who turned up, I can't remember the details.
yourself, Steve, Paul and Andy Allen in the studio together, was there ever talk
of any other songs that you might participate in?
I thought, "I want to contribute to this band. I can write songs." I
did write songs, I wouldn't call them punk. I wrote a song called What's In A
Word. That was written
for Steve and Paul, but I was a bit of a new boy, so I didn't want to start shoving
my own songs in the Sex Pistols' face on the second rehearsal! We had five rehearsals.
But I did show them the song, they said, "Oh yeah that's good" and then
we went on to something else.
there any suggestion of the Sex Pistols continuing at the time, and continuing
with you as the new singer?
As far as I was concerned I'd got the job. I was now the new singer of the Sex
Pistols. And then on the advert for Who Killed Bambi, which was rush released,
it said introducing Ten Pole Tudor. My reality then was that I was the new singer.
My heart was in my mouth. In a way I didn't want to be the second Johnny Rotten.
I thought I can't compete with Johnny Rotten, but I wasn't going to get off the
train, I was going to see where it led. It would obviously lead somewhere exciting.
When it all ended, part of me was relieved because then I could do my own band,
and be a band leader myself, which is what I'd always wanted to do.
far down the line did it go?
talk. But we had five rehearsals.
filmed the foyer sequence for the Rock 'N' Roll Swindle, that was an exciting
day. That was one day's work. It was in the Rainbow Theatre, they built the foyer
had Irene Handle there.
Irene Handle who called me Tadpole!
that an accident?!
no, I've been called Tadpole in the past! They think it's a lot easier than Tudor-Pole,
we'll call him Tadpole!
back are you proud of your contribution to the film and the band?
I suppose. I've never managed to live it down. But yeah, it was quite funny. It
was all crammed into a very short amount of time, four or five weeks, maybe a
six week period. Then Sid Vicious died. McLaren was ousted from control of Glitterbest
by a law suit because he'd been squandering all the boys' royalties making the
Rock 'n' Roll Swindle film, which eats up money. Strictly speaking he shouldn't
have spent their money, but McLaren always said you have to speculate to accumulate.
So on that technicality they stopped him having anything whatsoever to do with
the Sex Pistols, and then Sid died about a day later and the whole thing was finished.
When Sid died
everything stopped. Obviously people were in a state of shock, and that was the
end. But I got a bit of money out of the publishing company Warners, for Who Killed
Bambi. That was recorded very late, it was rushed onto the album. Then the Rock
'n' Roll Swindle album was released. McLaren said the album was coming out in
about two weeks, and by the way "I'm not calling you Ten Tudor-Pole I'm calling
you Ten Pole Tudor. I said "I'm not sure I like that really." He said
"That's too bad, you're printed on 10,000 copies!"
was his thinking behind that?
when I went along to the audition, they said "name?" I said my name
is Ten Tudor-Pole, I don't know why, it was just a brainstorm. So they started
calling me Ten! "You'll be next Ten!" I hated them calling me Ten. I
thought what did I call myself that silly name for? So they had me down as Ten
Tudor-Pole. Then McLaren saw that and thought, Ten Pole Tudor, that's better!
I didn't like any of the Ten business, but he said it was too late.
Silly Thing came out it was promoted as a double A-side with Who Killed Bambi.
wanted Rock Around The Clock / Who Killed Bambi double A-side, but Virgin said,
"Who is this fucking Ten Pole Tudor, we've never heard of him?" So they
put Silly Thing on the other side.
eventually put out the Rock Around The Clock / Who Killed Bambi double A-side,
when they tried to cash in on your later success.
they might have done, they were a bunch of cunts. They were pretty nasty. There
was a very nasty vibe about Virgin Records. I remember at the time, Vivienne Westwood
always referring to (Virgin boss) Richard Branson as Branston! There was no love
lost. But you know record companies, they are all the same.
remember back in 1980 in Smash Hits magazine, they printed your Top Ten favourite
that's a bunch of baloney. If you were asked for your favourite songs, you'd come
out with the first ten you could think of. The next week you'd be kicking yourself
for not having mentioned loads of others.
an impossible task, but looking back, the list made me smile because you put in
The Professionals' Just Another Dream.
"These boys are underrated." It showed there was still some affection
for Steve and Paul.
affection. I never fell out with them. Yeah, I love Steve. Paul, he's a top man.
Am I right
in thinking they got up on stage with you during some of your own shows?
happened was that Steve didn't know quite what to do with himself. He'd tried
The Professionals, but that wasn't exactly full-on. I'd got my band together,
and they used to come and do a number with us at these venues. No one had really
heard of us, but we were beginning to build up a following and Steve used to come
along, there wouldn't be that many people there, such as the Moonlight Club in
West Hampstead. He'd come on stage and play on a song or two. He'd often be quite
pissed. Once he got up one song too early and just sat on the amp until it was
finished, until his turn. He was supporting our band, when you've only got about
50 people coming along
would be quite something for the 50 that turned up.
you'd like to think. We all enjoyed it, it was all good fun. It wasn't like the
second coming or something, but as time goes on you look at past events and they
take on a pattern of glory and glamour which at the time, one's unaware of. It's
the reason I'm still going today.
back at this Top Ten, you also had Malcolm McLaren in there with You Need Hands.
You were quoted as saying, "This man deserves a knighthood for his services
to the country."
that how you regarded him, or still do?
I stand by that. He's an amazing man, a one-off buccaneering, maverick, mad crazed,
mad man. He's great.
you still enjoy his take on the Sex Pistols story, that he was the
can say what he likes, he's quite a man in his own right. He's very irreverent,
sending people up. There should be more people like him. People are too similar
on from your Pistols stint, a couple of years later you released Real Fun. That
was the first single with your own band, which was called Tenpole Tudor.
we thought, "What shall we call the band?" Might as well call it Tenpole
single had the song you wrote for the Pistols, What's In A Word, on the B-side.
it's not a bad record.
led to other things, 3 Bells In A Row was probably one of my favourite ones of
that is a good one.
of course, your big moment of fame, Swords Of A Thousand Men.
We made a stupid decision to follow it up by releasing that song Wunderbar, which
was really was always called Fall About. A much better title. Why I changed it
I don't know, I must have been mad. You know it as Wunderbar, I know it as Fall
About. It hasn't got all those beer swilling German connotations. That killed
us off when we released that. Everyone thought we were a fucking joke band. It
was completely just a pop song, it was catchy, but had nothing to do with Tenpole
go to the All Day Punk Festival (Wasted - December 04)?
I wasn't there.
were compering it, weren't you?
it was 12 hours, and I played some of my songs on my own. I also managed to form
a band backstage, we performed Swords Of A Thousand Men just before Sham 69. Sham
69 were just fantastic. Jimmy Pursey is the greatest showman of punk. Theatrically,
he's incredible. He's got to be seen to be believed. He doesn't look any different
at all, if not better.
saw you at the 100 Club 25th Anniversary Punk Festival a couple of years ago.
was my last gig with the band. Yeah, the one man format is a different thing,
it's something fresh and new, and dangerous.
if you pull it off, it's great. Very nerve wracking, lonely in the dressing room.
If there's a support band that's good, you can get them up at the end to play
Swords Of A Thousand Men. That works. Or just get the drummer up and do Who Killed
Bambi, that also works. I'm serious about this one man thing, definitely. It's
want to see how far I can take it. Just because it's one man doesn't mean to say
I'm not trying to rock it up. Some say, "Oh he's doing an acoustic set, he
can have a little slot in the acoustic tent at the festival." They don't
understand, I've gotta be on the main stage, I play the guitar and I play the
crowd. The bigger the crowd the better they play.
taking your show around the country?
that's what I've been doing. It's going well.
a lot. I've not had a record deal in twenty years, but we'll see. Not for the
want of trying.
the new material in the same vein as Swords?
it's rock and roll, with rhythm and melody. That's my only criteria. I play guitar
in a more rhythmic way, you don't need so many notes to get the beat across. If
the crowd are clapping and singing and we've got the harmony vocals going, it's
quite a big noise. It sounds like rock and roll. It's attempting that connection
with the audience.
you doing any more acting at the moment?
don't know, if someone offers me something. It's not something I think about because
there's nothing I can do about it. I play the guitar every day of my life, that's
what I work on. That's what I want on my grave stone, if they put on my gravestone,
"an actor", I'll fucking kill myself, if I wasn't dead already!
definitely looking forward with your live show...
I haven't got any CDs, but I'm working on that. Some say I'm mad to tour when
I'm not promoting something, but I say, "Don't be so cynical", I'm just
born to play and I want to get out there. I suppose I'm starting out all over
again. I've been going 13 months, just paying my dues
as McLaren said, I'm
a small fish in a big pond hoping I'll grow.
thanks Ed, and good luck with the one man show.
material ©2005 Phil
Singleton / www.sex-pistols.net
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Not to be reproduced without written permission.