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Mike Silver was the first solo act signed to Elton’s Rocket Records. The folk singer shared his thoughts about the old days and future plans with ej.w.

ej.w: How did Elton hear about you?

MSDel Newman, who was a producer, got my demo and gave it to Elton. Actually, Elton liked that better than Troubadour, my album, which followed!

ej.w: Did you get to meet any of your label mates?

MS: I met Kiki Dee and the Hudson Brothers at the 1973 launch party in Los Angeles, on Universal‘s western set [there was also a launch party in the UK].

ej.wRocket Records sent you on your first American tour. You didn’t think it a good idea: why?

MS: I was too young and wasn’t ready. And they wanted me to wear more flamboyant clothing than I was comfortable in.

Steve Brown was a Rocket Records co-founder, and his brother, Pete, served as roadie. He wasn’t ready either, as he was just 18.

I was in America for six weeks. I did a couple of nights with the Grass Roots, and once supported Ashford & Simpson, but my songs didn’t go over well. I think that with Elton’s success–and that of other partners at Rocket Records like Bernie Taupin, John Reid, and Gus Dudgeon–people assumed everything they did would be successful.

ej.w: Many years later, concerts were cancelled because of Covid. So artists found ways to cope, primarily through online collaborations. Elton even came out with an album, The Lockdown Sessions. How about you?

MS: I stayed home. My wife took care of me, and I took care of her.

ej.w: You’ve been doing a number of UK gigs, and have a benefit at Matthews Hall in Exeter for the Alzheimer’s Society and local group for seniors, Estuary League of Friends, on the 27th of April. Are other performers lined up, and what else is in the works?

MS: My son-in-law, David Clements, along with his partner Phoebe Jane, will perform. And I am looking to travel–might do shows in Canada in New Zealand.

I’d just like to add that it’s not all sour grapes: I think Elton is an incredible talent, and I would not be where I am without Rocket Records.

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