A stunning multi-media show with a powerful rock band, string quartet, film & live storytelling, that chronicles the life of Mick Ronson - the Spider from Hull.
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 John Cambridge, Keith Cheesman, as well as musicians Bobby Joyce, Kristian Eastwood, Rachael Jarvis and John Bentley (Squeeze). 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.
It 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 and a further invitation to complete a two-week stint at Hull Truck Theatre in April 2019 has now been accepted.
We are in the process of developing the show for a wider audience in order to satisfy both the huge international following of David Bowie and Mick himself, and the demand for this kind of exciting live experience. Rave reviews of every sell-out performance so far have furnished us with the confidence and appetite to seek every way possible to take it to as many different venues and audiences as we can reach.
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. Ronson 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, Ronson 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. Ronson 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.
Ronson 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 Ronson 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 Ronson, intent upon recruiting him for a new David Bowie backing band called The Hype. He found Ronson 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, Ronson was reluctant, but eventually agreed to accompany Cambridge to a meeting with Bowie. Two days later, on 5 February, Ronson 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, Ronson released three solo albums. His solo debut Slaughter on 10th Avenue, featured a version of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender", as well as Ronson's most famous solo track, "Only After Dark". Between this and the 1975 follow-up, Ronson 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.