A stunning multi-media show with a powerful rock band, string quartet, film & live storytelling, that chronicles the life of Mick Ronson.
It tells the story of local Hull musician Michael 'Mick' Ronson, who, from humble origins as a gardener in East Hull, went on to play a major role in producing some of the most iconic music of the twentieth century, both as a sideman lead guitarist in the band 'The Spiders from Mars' and as a producer and arranger for David Bowie, Lou Reed, Ian Hunter and countless others.
Video by Mark Richardson
The Turn and Face the Strange show team comprises some of Mick and David Bowie’s friends and family including Keith Cheesman, John Cambridge and John Bentley (Squeeze) as well as musicians Bobby Joyce, Kristian Eastwood, Rachael Jarvis. Their testimony and contributions add further strength and credibility to the show and provide an authentic insight into some of the ‘untold’ story of Mick’s career and life.
The Turn and Face the Strange show was originally conceived and written by Garry Burnett and Rupert Creed as a part of Hull City of Culture 2017 celebrations. The show is a ‘bio-gig’, a dynamic combination of live music, storytelling and multi-media projections and audio, comprising of first-hand accounts from people who knew and loved him and musicians who worked with him and revered him.
The show first played in August 2017 at The Freedom Centre in Hull, less than half a mile from where Mick and his parents rest, and sold out the whole run impressively quickly. An invitation to play a week-long run at the Hull Truck Theatre in February 2018 saw another sell-out success. The show then openend the Spiders From Mars stage at Humber Street Sesh in 2018, headlined the Made In Hull cruise 2019 and another hugely successful sell-out 2 week run at Hull Truck in April / May 2019. Due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic during early 2020, we were forced to cancel our 2020 run of shows, but have now re-scheduled them for March 2021. We can't wait to get back to Hull Truck Theatre once again to bring our brand new Special Edition show to everyone.
Michael Ronson was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer.
He achieved critical and commercial success working with David Bowie as one of the Spiders from Mars. He was a session musician who recorded with Bowie followed by several albums with Ian Hunter, also Morrissey, as well as a sideman in touring bands with Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.
He also recorded several solo albums, the most popular being Slaughter on 10th Avenue, which reached No. 9 on the UK Albums Chart. Mick played with various bands after his time with Bowie. He was named the 64th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003 and 41st in 2012 by the same magazine.
Besides Bowie and Hunter, Mick went on to work as a musician, songwriter and record producer with many other acts. He did not restrict his influence behind the recording desk to just established acts. His production work appears on albums by more obscure artists, such as Payolas, Phil Rambow and Los Illegals, The Mundanes and Italian band Moda. Mick produced The Visible Targets, a Seattle, Washington-based group, on their 1983 five track EP, "Autistic Savant". In 1985 he produced and played on the four song EP "Stillwell Avenue" with the NYC based band XDAVIS.
Mick died of liver cancer on 29 April 1993, aged 46. On 6 May, his funeral was held in a Mormon chapel in London, as he had been raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his memory, the Mick Ronson Memorial Stage was constructed in Queen's Gardens, Hull.
Michael Ronson was born in Kingston upon Hull in 1946. As a child he was trained classically to play piano, recorder, violin, and (later) the harmonium. He initially wanted to be a cellist, but moved to guitar upon discovering the music of Duane Eddy, whose sound on the bass notes of his guitar sounded to Mick similar to that of the cello. He joined his first band, The Mariners, in November 1963, when he was 17.
Early in 1970, John Cambridge came back to Hull in search of Mick, intent upon recruiting him for a new David Bowie backing band called The Hype. He found Mick marking out a rugby pitch, one of his duties as a Parks Department gardener for Hull City Council. Having failed in his earlier attempts in London, Mick was reluctant, but eventually agreed to accompany Cambridge to a meeting with Bowie. Two days later, on 5 February, Mick made his debut with Bowie on John Peel's national BBC Radio 1 show.
After leaving Bowie's entourage after the "Farewell Concert" in 1973, Mick released three solo albums. His solo debut Slaughter on 10th Avenue, featured a version of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender", as well as Mick's most famous solo track, "Only After Dark". Between this and the 1975 follow-up, Mick had a short-lived stint with Mott the Hoople.
The Turn & Face The Strange band comprises some of Mick's friends including Keith "Ched" Cheesman, John Cambridge and John Bentley alongside contemporary musicians Bobby Joyce, Kristian Eastwood and Rachael Jarvis.