Interview
Rock & Rule (Part 2)
Canada Trust Company/Unearthed Films
Greg Duffell: Clive, do you remember that letter that the studio had got from Prince Rupert of Liechtenstein or something? Do you remember that?

Clive Smith: Mick [Jagger]'s agent.

Greg Duffell: Can you tell him that? That might be an interesting story.

Emru Townsend: Greg told me an abbreviated form [of the story].

Greg Duffell: You probably remember more of it than I do.

Clive Smith: We had obviously pursued a few different artists to do the music, one of which was—

John Halfpenny: Mok Swagger.

Clive Smith: Our friend Mick. Yeah, Mok Swagger. We had sent down a package with some drawings which looked remarkably like Mick. [laughter]

Not that different now. [laughter] I think I've mentioned that he looks like a cross between Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop.

Robin Budd: Yeah.

Clive Smith: So we got a legal letter back from Mick's lawyer saying if we were to proceed with this caricature of Mick we would be in hot water, basically.

Robin Budd: It was a harsh letter.

Clive Smith: It was a harsh letter. A very harsh letter.

Greg Duffell: "If you even dare do something..." It was very threatening.

Clive Smith: Right.

But you said "Mok Swagger." Was that his original—his full name?

Clive Smith: That's his full name.

It is his full name.

John Halfpenny: His Christian name. [laughter]

Anne Marie Bardwell: Right.

John Halfpenny: Anti-Christian name. [laughter]

I think that's much more accurate.

Clive Smith: Mr. Swagger. Lord Swagger.

Who else did you have in mind for musical acts when you were starting? Of course, Mick Jagger, and you actually ended up with Cheap Trick and Lou Reed, and...

Clive Smith: I went to see Pete Townshend, who's a friend of mine, very, very, very early on. And he wasn't into it because he wasn't into doing music for other people's projects, it's as simple as that. He's always had his own idea of what he wanted to do. David Bowie, I believe we approached.

Robin Budd: I remember you mentioning David Bowie.

Clive Smith: After that we decided to go in a completely different direction and break it up into—rather than ask one person to do the whole thing, just sort of break it up. We just looked at a number of different people out there who were available. The people who we end up working with—which I thought worked out really, really, really well, and indeed today a lot of these people are coming back up again for a second or a third breath, you know—they'd sort of peaked. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein had really peaked with Blondie, and were looking for interesting projects, and they really liked this. Cheap Trick were really easy. They loved it. They loved the project. Lou Reed was interested.

I was involved in a lot of the music production. I went to nearly all the sessions, working with Cheap Trick and working with Debbie Harry, because they were never in the studio at the same time. So I had to cart these two-inch tapes from one location to another. Cheap Trick would lay some tracks down [in Chicago], I'd take them to New York, and Debbie Harry would lay down tracks, then Trish Cullen, who did the score here in Toronto, would take those tracks and lay stuff on top of that. I mean, it was unbelievably complicated. If any software, any technology would have benefited us that was around today, that would be one of them. Digital sound recording would have been fabulous. Just putting all these different groups together and recording at different times was quite remarkable.

Anne Marie Bardwell: Everything was manual. Whether you were carrying the [tapes], everything. That's the whole thing. It was all hand-carved.
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