Mickey Finn or occasionally Micky Finn
(born Michael Norman Finn)
3 June 1947, Thornton Heath, Surrey, England
(died 11 January 2003, Croydon, Surrey),
Mickey was the percussionist and sideman to Marc in his band Tyrannosaurus Rex (on one album, A Beard of Stars), and later, the 1970s 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.
After Mickey joined the band in late 1969, it was rumored that Bolan 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.”
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 bongocerro, 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.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mickey made a handful of guest appearances with the West London rock band, Checkpoint Charlie, fronted by Mick Lexington.
Mick 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.
Finn died from alcohol-related liver problems, 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