Het is vandaag al vijftien jaar geleden dat Mick Tucker, de drummer van The Sweet, op 54-jarige leeftijd aan leukemie is overleden. Bassist Steve Priest zegt van hem: “He was the most underrated drummer that ever came out of England… He was the powerhouse of the band. He was technically marvelous. His timing was impeccable, but he had a lot of soul as well and he really felt what he was playing.” Nu zou je kunnen zeggen: nou ja, bassist en drummer, dat horen twee handen op één buik te zijn, maar ik heb deze bewering toch al bevestigd gehoord op de BBC… (*)

Michael Thomas Tucker was born in North West London. As a boy, his first interest was drawing art. By fourteen he had changed his interest to the drums, influenced by Sandy Nelson, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. Tucker’s father Hubert offered him a drum kit but only if he would take drumming seriously. Hubert Tucker encouraged his son, even getting him his first gig, sitting in for Brian Bennett of legendary British beat group the Shadows at a local club.
A self-taught drummer, Tucker excelled, and by age eighteen he was playing in the band Wainwright’s Gentlemen. When Tucker was fired in January 1968 for being “too flamboyant”, singer Brian Connolly said “I am leaving as well.” The two looked for new band-mates, and the band Sweetshop was soon formed, later to become The Sweet.
According to Steve Priest’s 1994 autobiography, Are You Ready, Steve? (being the opening line of the hit single Ballroom Blitz), Tucker didn’t hesitate to offer his feedback while recording. This incited songwriter/producer Mike Chapman to exclaim: “We don’t fucking need you anyway, Mick!” Die houding zal er uiteindelijk voor zorgen dat de samenwerking met Chinn & Chapman in 1974 werd verbroken.
Daarna scoorde The Sweet met het zelfgeschreven nummer Fox on the Run begin 1975 een grote hit, gevolgd door Ballroom Blitz. Daarna werd het stiller rond de groep en werden ze enigszins voorbijgestreefd door de Punk- en New-Wave-rage. Een laatste internationale hit was Love is like Oxygen begin 1978. In 1997 Tucker had a bone marrow transplant from his brother to combat his leukemia, but it only lasted for five years. He was married twice: to Pauline until her death in 1979, and to Janet until his death. Janet and his 22-year-old daughter, Ayston, from his first marriage to Pauline, were at his bedside when he died. He seemed to have been a decent guy in a world where decency is a word that doesn’t immediately spring to one’s mind…

(*) Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos remembered: “His style reminded me of an early Keith Moon.” Another Tucker fan is Jack Irons (drummer with  The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam).

Een gedachte over “Mick Tucker (1947-2002)

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