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Interview with Marcus T (from Timex Social Club)

[Conducted in September 2005]

This time we have an interview with Marcus T from Timex Social Club. TSC were part of the legendary 'Raising Hell' tour featuring the Beastie Boys, Timex Social Club, Whodini, LL Cool J and Run DMC. This groundbreaking tour sold out arenas across the United States marking hip hop as a relevant and powerful music genre.



Before their appearance at the Coachella Festival, the Beastie Boys were interviewed and mentioned you and the Raising Hell Tour. They obviously still remember you guys, what can you remember about them?

Marcus T (from Timex Social Club)
Marcus T (in the blue sweatshirt)

Hey that’s Great, I’m so glad I’m not the only one with tour memories. Well, thinking back to the Raising Hell Tour all I can remember is, 3 wild and crazy guys. We were both friends and tour buddies. As opening acts, our dressing rooms were always next to each other, so we saw a lot of them. We were also the brunt of some practical jokes that the Beasties (that’s what we called them) played on us.
I do remember one funny moment. One night after our set, we came back to our dressing room and it was flooded with water. The water was about 1 inch high and let’s just say that our shoes and socks were wet. We could hear them laughing in the next room and that’s when we knew they had done it. It was all fun back them.

What were thoughts back then on a bunch of white boys doing rap?

Hahaha, Man, you know what? The first Beastie Boys record I ever heard was “Cookie Puss”. That song was so outrageous, that I thought the Beasties were gonna be a novelty idea, by Def Jam. See, back then, Rap was so new, that every idea was great. Now, being that the world of Rap was dominated by black faces, seeing white rappers did startle ya a bit, but it was not really all that far fetched.
I do have to say that seeing them perform (on a nightly basis) changed my mind quickly.

Are you still in contact with anyone from the Raising Hell days?

Unfortunately, I am not in contact with any of the groups from the tour. I think that TSC, being the only west coast group on that tour, played a part in it. Getting the news that JMJ was killed floored me, because Jason was the first to embrace us when we arrived on the first date. He walked right up and introduced himself (like we did not know who he was). He took us in and made us feel welcome. After all, this was the RUN DMC tour. We were friends with all of the acts on that tour. We spent a lot of time together and I would love to see how folks are these days.

Three of the acts on the tour where on the Def Jam label, but Whodini and yourselves were not. How did you guys get the position on the tour?

Actually, RUN DMC was on Profile (records), Whodini was on Jive (records) and we were on Danya (records). If I am correct, RUSH ARTIST MANAGEMENT controlled all groups but us.

Ah of course - I keep thinking that Run DMC were on Def Jam with the whole brother thing, but you're right, they were on Profile in the States and London Records in the UK.

As far as us getting the position on that tour? One day our phone rang and it was the Norby Walters booking agency out of NYC. They simply asked if we wanted to open for RUN DMC on a few dates, of course we accepted. Next thing we know, Richard Walters flew out to California to meet with us to discuss the tour. Initially, we signed for about ˝ a month of tour dates. I guess they liked us, so the contract was extended until the end of the tour. As we toured our record Rumors gained in popularity and actually hit #1 the day of the Madison Square Garden (RIOT) Show. During that show, I think only TSC, The Beasties and LL Cool J were able to perform before the infamous RIOT broke out and the show was cancelled. Yeah, Raising Hell was the last Rap tour to play M.S.G. before Jay-Z did it for Fade To Black.

Most of the promotional photos of TSC have you all looking quite smart in suits. On stage did you dress the same way or were you sporting tracksuits and outfits similar to the other groups on the tour?

Hahahaha, you got me on this one. Guilty as charged. Q: Did those Beasties tell you about our wardrobe malfunctions? Man, that is still funny to me, to this very day. Yes! Our promo shots have us sporting gear that was waaaay different that what we rocked on stage on the Raising Hell tour. See what had happened was…
LOL, the first leg of the tour, we wore the preppy stuff. Since this was a Rap tour, we felt that we stood out too much and so we changed our show around and got all new gear. When we came back for the second leg of the tour, we looked more like a cross between TSC and Whodini and RUN DMC. The Beasties had their own look/image going, but we decided to take chances with ours and look more like a Rap act, than a R&B act. JMJ even told us that he was expecting us to look like Ready For The World.
What’s really funny is, by the time that the Raising Hell was over and we toured with New Edition (and others), we were sporting an all black ensemble: Black Leather jackets, black gloves, black slacks and shoes. Looking back, I guess we had done a “Brundle Fly” and evolved into the R&B equivalent of RUN DMC.

Initially contracted for 15 dates, the group was later asked to rejoin the tour. Were there any reservations or was it an easy decision to get back out there?

Are you kidding!? Hahahaha, we had absolutely, no and I mean no reservations at all! We got back out there. Our contract was renegotiated with Norby Walters….from the initial 3k to 5k. We also had to hire a replacement singer due to a contract dispute with our original band mate and lead singer: Mike Marshall, but after those two things were completed, we were back out there doing the rest of the RUN DMC dates until the end of the tour. It was a great experience and we had a blast!

Do you have any memorable dates from the tour?

Oh! Yes, I have several memorable dates from the tour. The Riot shows were the best…..they were off the chain! I could not believe that gangs would buy tickets for a concert and then fight each other while they were there.
I remember the Long Beach show. I remember that the riot broke out during Whodini’s set. One minute they were singing One Love, the next the lights came on and security is making announcements and a all out melee of fighting occurs within the audience. Maaaaan, I was not scared, but it was like watching a train wreck, I could not turn away.
Security is like running around telling us to “Get Backstage!” So now we are trapped backstage, but get this, we are trapped backstage for 2 hours with Vanessa Williams…Yes, a young Vanessa Williams in her prime. Wow, so life was not too bad if you know what I mean *wink*.
I also remember the Madison Square Garden show. Oh My God! – The roar of that crowd was deafening! Over 20,000 fans screaming? I do not remember who the MC was for that show, but when he announced us…..talk about stage fright and goose bumps. Hell, I think the Beasties were even humbled by that crowd as I can remember at least they were not playing tricks on us that night, LOL. I remember that our tour bus got broken into and our VCR, Microwave Oven and some VHS tapes were stolen. It was a silent few days until we got new equipment in our bus.

What about other memorable moments outside the concerts?

Yeah I got one, check this out. I cannot remember what show it was, but after the show was over and we were headed to the next town, RUN (Joseph), Jam Master J and a few Hollis Crew members like DJ Hurricane (Beasties DJ), road on our tour bus. Needless to say we had a blast, but check this out. So, Jam Master J says, “I’m hungry as shit!, who else is hungry?” Just about everyone said they were hungry.
So, we tell our driver to stop at the next McDonalds. So, he saw one a few minutes later and pulled our tour bus into the parking area. You know how BIG tour buses are right? Well, imagine one pulling into a McDonald’s parking lot filled with stars.
Well, the bus drew a lot of attention and of course some of the more attractive ladies were invited onto the bus. While all of this was going on, myself, JMJ, DJ Hurricane and a few other members of TSC left the bus and proceeded to walk into the McDonalds. When we walked in, all eyes were on us and the entire place was polarized. Everyone was in shock that “RUNDMC” was at the McDonald’s.
Now, here is the funny part, JMJ did not wait in line at all, he walked up to the front counter and started to order over $200 of food. “Yo, Yo my man, I need …..Blah Blah Blah…….” and flashing cash the whole time. Hahaha, I was trippin; standing right behind him the whole time. Talk about Livin’ Large!!?, we were.
Everyone in the place knew who he was and I guess this made it okay for us to hold that entire Mc Donald’s hostage. In other words, no one got their food until we got ours first. The order went something like this (Imaging JMJ ordering………):
10 Milk Shakes
20 Assorted drinks
30 Fries
15 Big Macs
15 Cheeseburgers
20 Quarter Pounders
20 Apple Pies
Needless to say that we were in there for like 30 minutes. And most of the staff helped carry our food to the bus. When we got back to the bus, the cops were there, trying to break up the crowd of kids that had gathered. We were signing autographs left and right. It was a lot of fun!!! And I was loving every minute of it. That’s one of the best memories I have of the tour and JMJ. Rest In Peace.

For those that don't know, can you give us the history of the Timex Social Club?

Sure, this will take a while, LOL…..naw…..I’ll give ya the short version, but for the full version, people can log on to our website at www.timexsocialcub.com
I formed the group while attending Berkeley High School .This was around 1983. We had about 5 members; we were just a group of friends on campus who hung out. Our first name was just Timex (without the Social Club). About 1984, Michael Marshall and I began writing songs. Rumors was written in the later part of 1983. We worked on songs including Rumors for the next 2 years until we had a full demo tape of material. In late 1985 we met producer Jay King, and entered the studio. We recorded Rumors and the rest is history. Like I said, this is just the short version; I do not wanna bore the readers

What happened with The Timex Social Club and The "Real" Timex Social Club?

Hahaha, wow, what a question. This is still funny to this very day. Okay let me think back and give it to ya in a nutshell. While on the Raining Hell Tour, our band had an internal contract dispute with our original lead singer (Michael Marshall). Russell Simmons had called our booking agent Norby Walters to ask if we wanted to finish the remaining dates on the tour. Of course we did, but we only had 3 of the 4 members that were ready to go. So, we hired a replacement singer and returned to the tour. I guess that our lead singer was strapped for cash and he hired a band and did some dates as, you guessed it The Real Timex Social Club. This was a brief period of time, like 2 months, because the 3 of us, Kevin, Alex and myself requested a release from our recording contract and left the label and the group, so really Michael won in the negotiations and The Real Timex Social Club thing was dropped and he kept the name and recorded the LP alone.

After all these years, your records are still selling. You just have to check eBay to see copies of the Rumours 12" selling every week. How does it feel to see something you wrote over 20 years ago still being sort after?

Man, it feels great! to be on Ebay and see it listed there, I just logged on and I see 45 auctions for Timex Social Club. LOL. Whew!!!! That’s not too shabby for a group that has not recorded in 20 years. I also did a search for Beastie Boys and they have about 780.
I often refer to Rumors as my first child. It’s great to see her alive and doing so well. People still love that song after all of these years and it’s funny because I guess we were geniuses for NOT having our photo on the cover. So, we all never really had to deal with the face recognition of the FAME associated with Rumors. I catch folks all of the time singing it and dancing to it at clubs, if they only knew I co-wrote it, they would seriously bug!
I have a funny story to tell ya. I walked into a strip club one night and the DJ started playing Rumors. I sat down and watched as the stripper stripped to my song, now that was off the chain! Hahaha

There have been a few cover versions of your songs. For a start, what do you think of covers in general? And secondly, what do you think of these particular versions?

Wow, I really need to go to the Guinness Book of World Records to see who holds the record. If you are talking about just the covers of: Rumors…then there are these that I know of:
Rumor Rap (Yeah, Yeah, That's It) – Recorded - 1986 - Vicious Rumor Club - Label: Sunnyview.
Roaches - Recorded – 1986 - Bobby Jimmy & The Critters.
Jealousy - Recorded -1986 - Club Nouveau.
Stop Hatin’ - Recorded -1997 - Master P.
Envious - Recorded -1988 - Club Nouveau.
Rumours - Awesome
No, I’m not saying that we should hold the record, but I’d like to know who holds the records for a song that has so many variations of it?

Are you still involved with music these days?

Ummm, naw I am not involved with music in the sense of writing and recording the way I used to be, back in the day. It’s funny because I actually have not written a song since around 1992. This is when the muse left me; so to speak. At my peak, I was knocking out like 2 a day. Well, on paper, lyrics. All of those did not make it to be completed or recorded, so there are plenty of unreleased TSC tracks in the vault.
What’s trippin’ me out is that my daughter is now interested in music and songwriting, so who knows, you might see her in a few years following in her dads footsteps. Hahahaha. Busting out with one of my old jams like Prince did for his pops on Purple Rain.

Any final words?

Yeah, I’d like to say thank for the interview and the interest in Timex Social Club after all of these years. I’d also like to send a SHOUT OUT! to my friends and tour buddies The Beastie Boys. Adam H, Adam (MCA) and Mike D. Great times guys!
I remember that crazy West Palm Beach show when RUN-DMC’s plane was late and we each had to fill time and ended up doing 45 minute sets? (How did we ever pull that off with one hit record????) LOL, too wild!
Thanks for the pranks and it’s always a joy to see ya perform and hear the new music, from License to Ill thru 5 Boroughs and movies like, Krush Groove, Tougher Than Leather and even Lost Angels.

 

 


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