Horse’s Mouth (Issue #157, Dec 2014)

Hi All

Like to start off by thanking Rick Steff for a memorable day at Sun Studios in Memphis. There was a small kit there and a double bass – plus Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Whole Lotta Shakin” original piano which Di Brizzi could not resist. As soon as Dennis was pounding away Paul picked up on the double bass. Steve played the kit with his fingers – a couple of guitars came down off the walls and the place was ROCKIN’!! That room is so perfect for original Rock ‘n’ Roll – so live and crisp.

Also, like to apologize to the Purington’s for dragging them to Mike and Frank’s pickers shop in Nashville. I’m a huge fan – best thing on lousy TV.

John Phillips: ‘Will ‘Central Park’ be in the set list at Mt. Tabor?’ No, it wasn’t.

Lou De Pace: ‘ ‘World Café gig was a great show at a great venue – come back.’ We’ll see.

Richard Boyle is happy we hit the south – especially, Charlotte.

Brian Calingaert: ‘Why ‘Keep a Knockin” on ‘Wildlife’? ‘Wildlife’ was kickback time after ‘Mad Shadows’. It was largely Mick Ralphs trying to get some sanity into the proceedings – and it worked to a degree. We had a few country songs and we put them down but we didn’t have enough for an album. We were playing to larger crowds and did a gig at the Fairfield Hall in Croyden. We tried to record the show, but chaos ensued – cables were trampled etc. and ‘Keep a Knockin” seemed to be the only thing that was salvageable. What would have been a live album was now out of the question, so I guess ‘Keep a Knockin’ got stuck on ‘Wildlife’ as a kind of p.s. – sorry about that.

Paul: ‘See you’re playing Norfolk, ‘Infinity Hall’. Will you play Hartford Infinity Hall in 2015?’ We had thought of that; let’s see what happens.

John McCarthy: ‘You making any appearances in Cleveland before the show?’ No time. We came in straight from Chicago the night before.

Diane: ‘Have you played Infinity before?’ Yup – old wood – absorbs sound – good sounding venue.

Jeffrey says he’ll send us an update on the weather in Japan!

Kevin: ‘When are the next UK dates?’ But we just left!

Brian Paris went to Nashville with friend, Ian Elliott (also English). ‘Is ‘Irene Wilde’ in the set list?’ I was = now and again.

Don Baker: ‘Is the live album doing well?’ So far – so good.

Dan Baker: ‘I saw that Tony Defries lost a major lawsuit against Capitol Records along with losing a fortune from an annuity scam. Do you think he’s broke?’ You never know with Defries – he’s a sticky chap.

Scott DeBord: ‘Was ‘Bastard’ about a customs officer? See you in Nashville.’ Nah.

Tim Edwards: ‘Still coming down from Charlotte!’

Rich B: ‘Great show in Charlotte. Couldn’t believe the energy of the entire band and Eric and Amy were great openers. You have a new fan – my wife.’ Thank you.

Seth Purvin: ‘Ian – just got back from Charlotte. The world was a better place before all these cell phones. All these photos and videos and all that crap – instead of being present and enjoying what’s right before their eyes they’d rather look at the show through a 3 inch screen.’ Agreed. Periscopes up!!

Brian Calingaert: ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for stopping in NC! So fantastic to see the show last night. Been a huge fan since the 80’s but hadn’t seen you perform except on ‘String’s Attached’. I was not prepared for you to hit Motorco and take the roof off. I see why you’re out there at 75. Hope I’m in that kind of shape at 55! I’ve got young kids so I rarely get out to shows – and never to a mid-week show. I’m so glad I went to yours. I think this will inspire me to get out more, but you set the bar high – really high. I’ve been to lots of shows, but the last one that even comes close is maybe the Violent Femmes in 1984. Please come back. I had no idea there were so many serious fans around here.’ Neither did we!

Alan Austin: ‘You and the band were great last night in Durham. Please come back soon.’

Tina: ‘Love the lyrics to ‘Life’. When you wrote them, did it hit you that they would work great at the end of the show, or did it just work out that way?’ I think it started out a strong piano melody and then I put words to it. Didn’t realize until later, it would be good at the end of a show. Still trying to dislodge ‘Dudes’.

Steve Baratta: Hope you enjoyed Cleveland, Steve. Glad you like the live CD.

Chris Wyness seems to think after we do Japan we should just hop on a plane to Australia and do a few gigs there. Easier said than organized. I know there is movement in that market but nothing concrete as of yet.

Dave Drew: ‘Please comment on ASAP and BMI shaking down bars for fees. Bands who play covers are not making any money to speak of, nor are the local bars that book them. We are struggling and play for drinks and tips. Do you get royalties from this?’ I’m with ASCAP and I don’t see a breakdown on what they collect .I don’t get where they’ll pursue a bar but not a major football franchise. Never been paid a dime from Cleveland franchises over the years. I’ve got my own problems with being double taxed by the FEU. It just seems like everybody’s squeezing everybody until in the end you give up. We spend so much time on pointless government idiocies that cost more to sort out than they are actually worth. Don’t get me started!!!

Rick Graves took pictures of the Nashville shows. ‘Both nights brilliant; Some of the best of your shows I’ve ever seen.’

Anne Diehi: ‘Do you remember playing Toledo Sports Arena in 1979 with John Mellencamp opening?’ My husband and three friends were there and are coming to Cleveland.’ Hope they enjoyed the show.

Craig Boelsen: ‘Great how in Charlotte. Comments in the crowd were your voice is so good (blush) – your energy and connection with the crowd is fantastic.’ Cheers.

Scott Moon: ‘Loved Charlotte. Was hoping to hear ‘ We Gotta Get Out of Here’ – do you still do it?’ Nah.

Rab: ‘Looks like the Accies have hit the big time.’ What a great way to be doing it too. Barca here we come!!

Bobby Balloch: ‘New convert!!! Granddaughter (2) loves ‘Foxy Foxy!’ I’ll take it.

Lisa Lee: ‘Come to Boston on your next tour! Why did you skip it this time around?’ Not a major fan of the Paradise – looking for an alternative venue.

Wayne Deacon: ‘Hello – very much enjoyed your shows in Atlanta and Nashville. Never thought you would dip this far south again for my wife and myself to see you. Thank you. I know at one point you were asked to join Uriah Heep, but I read recently you were asked to join the Doors when Jim Morison passed. Is that true. Seems like an odd pairing – just wondering what actually happened.’ Jeff Franklin (a big time agent with a big time agency) offered me both those gigs. I turned Heep down because I wasn’t keen on the content at the time and I turned the other down because you only have to look at Jim Morrison and know it would never have worked!!! Jeff was a nice guy, but extremely ‘edgy’ and I could never get use to that gun on his desk.

Laine Delbert: ‘Where did you get the leather suit you wore on the cover of Mott?’ I remember it was made especially for me by a tailor in New York – too hot for stage though. Don’t know what happened to it; we’ve moved a lot!

Steve Napier: Atlanta; what a show. Loved the intro – ‘Teachers’.’

Colin Morris: ‘I can’t believe it – you and I both live in NM!! (No we don’t – we’ve moved). ‘Grew up in Blackpool in the 60’s and 70’s and always loved your voice and poetry. Now I teach at a small college in Westchester. Been here for 30 years!!’ Well, we have moved, but if you ever see me around say hello.

Frank Visconti: Will you let my old friend and long time band mate, Bill Pisano, (very influenced by MTH) play guitar with you during ‘Sweet Jane’ at the Tabernacle in NJ ? It’s his 54th birthday. Happy Birthday, Bill. No, and now you know why.

Rick Graves: ‘Sunday afternoon so I haven’t been to the second Nashville show, but last night was brilliant! Not sure I’ve seen you and the Rant Band in better form. Thanks for talking to my wife, Betsy, after the show. The picture you took with us will be a treasure of ours and placed on the Wall of Fame at home. Looking forward to tonight!’

Lentz: ‘My wife and I really enjoyed the Hamilton. We were surprised tickets were still available. How was your experience? Come back ASAP! What is the secret to staying young?’ Well, the point of going down south to do these venues is to get things moving a bit in areas we haven’t been to in ages. Hoping it had the desired effect! I know we really enjoyed ourselves. As for me – I just can’t seem to grow up.

Danny G: ‘How’s it going?’ OK

Richard: ‘I gave you the Fillmore hand bill (Thanks) and the Jerry Lee Lewis CD. What do you think of the CD?’ Well, JLL was my starting off point, so thank you again. He still sounds great – even better for the slight rasp that’s entered his vocal chords. The arrogance is still everywhere – legendary arrogance!!! I’m not surprised by most of it, but ‘Promised Land’ – man that cooks!!! Even the mighty Chuck’s gotta smile at this amazing track! Pure majesty!!

Trevor Collins: ‘Do you want your guitar strap back that you gave me at the Music Hall in 1960?’ No thanks, I’ve got one.

Jonathan Best’s daughter, Charlotte wants ‘The Outsider’ the next time we visit Holmfirth. Who know. Remind me.

John Dalton: ‘What’s your view on U2’s collaboration with Apple i-Tunes?’ Don’t have one.

Ken: ‘Enjoyed Park West in Chicago from start to finish. Ay 70’s songs that you haven’t played live that you’d like to?’ I just let songs come into my head naturally – it its their time to be heard – they let me know. ‘World Was Round’ is nipping at me at the moment.

Dave Ramshaw: ‘What happened to the recording of the 2008 Dartford gig (Amy Speace opened)? From the audience’s stand point – it was amazing.’ We have some good stuff and it will eventually see the light of day now that we have Rant Records. Give us time; we’re a small operation.

Adrian Smith: I know the feeling well! Regards to the chaps.

Matt Nojonen: ‘Great show in St. Louis last night. Loved the playlist. Hoped to meet you, but no luck. Was going to give you a book, ‘Nobody’s Angel ‘(Thomas McGuane) – rock on!’ I’ll have a look for it, Matt. Thanks.

Virginia: ‘Last night in St. Louis at the Sheldon was amazing…..so good!! Just wanted to thank you for a great evening. I am still smiling.’

Doug in St. Louis: ‘Spectacular show in St Louis last night! Hope you felt the love and respect from the crowd. I was so wanting local resident Chuck Berry to join you!’ (Me too!) Steve Holly’s backed Chuck 7 times. Chuck actually recognizes him now!

John Caswell: ‘Just got back to Boston from the first Nashville show. Great show – great sound – much better than the Winery in NY. Never been to Nashville – – fun city. Still waiting for a show in Boston. I know you’re not happy with the Paradise, but there are other venues, and you have a lot of fans here. Preordered and received the live album. Excellent is the best way to describe it. I think it’s the best you’ve done yet’

Keith Marron: ‘Seen Rant on Long Island (twice) Norfolk, CT (twice) – I’ve been playin’ guitar for 50 years. Spent a great evening playing pool with Mick Ronson. I have a great respect for you and the Rant Band. Your writing is profound and still matters to many, many people. Please tell me why – when you come out to play – we all need to see your lead player down 3 beers on stage when the rest of you don’t seem to need to do that. It takes away from the performance – this is an honest opinion. Your lead guy needs to keep the beer out of sight – it’s not a good visual.’

Karen (NJ) ‘Not really a question dear Sir – just a note of appreciation for the most remarkable show last night at the Tabernacle. I’ve seen you and your different bands in your various incarnations over the years many times – last night was simply superb. Love you all!!

Kevin Studley: ‘At what age did you start wearing shades?’ I always wore shades because my eyes are albinoish weak. It turned full time with Mott.

John: ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Memphis show. FANTASTIC set! Had a great night. I doubt you saw the smiling faces but you made some old fans REALLY happy! I think the ‘cranky old piano player’ was Jerry Lee Lewis.

George Saddi: ‘Billy Idol mentions working with you in his bio. How did you like producing hi? Small World. Bill Aucoin was a dear friend before he passed – met Keith Forsey through Bill. Have a great Thanksgiving.’ Billy was young – not easy – he was still singing higher and there were constant tuning problems. Der (the guitarist) was really good, but Billy had a way to go. Keith Forsey figured it out – lower the voice!! Worked like a dream. That’s why Keith Forsey is a producer and I’m not!!!

Leon Laudenbach: Do Darryl’s House!

Tom Lamoreaux: ‘Heard you were less than satisfied with ‘Overnight Angels’ – why?’ I made some wrong choices; it happens.

John: ‘I see quite a few people want you in Australia. Why don’t you….’ Then John advises how to ‘get in’ to the Australian circuit. Listen – it’s a long way!! I’m an old man!! If it’s shoved in front of me – we’ll look at it, but I’m not actively seeking epic plane journeys!! It took five years of offers before I agreed to Japan – and that nearer!

Charlie Fox (20) is busily converting Brighton youngsters! Thanks, Charlie!

Margaret Finch: ‘Went to Manchester, Leamington and London. Sam, (my 11 year old) loved it. What was the inspiration for ‘Flowers’? Hope you do another acoustic tour.’ I guess people don’t know what to do after the various catastrophes that assail us in life – some self induced horrors that could have been avoided come to mind. So people lay flowers; it doesn’t change anything – it’s a traditional gesture – and they wither and fade. Somehow, I feel that flowers are not enough. Lessons should be learned instead of flowers laid. That’s it.

Eric M: ‘Long time fan – seeing you live in LA in January.’

Jim Patterson: I mess with lyrics all the time. The Newtown school incident changed a couple of lines in ‘Now is the Time’.

James Gray: ‘Short ‘n’ sweet – fan since ’85 – come to San Diego, thanks.’ San Juan Capistrano is as close as we get in January.

Virginia: ‘Ello – just been playing the new CD for a week straight – since the show in St. Louis – and I wanted to tell you it’s the best version of ‘Sweet Jane’ – ever. I keep playing it for everyone and they all think I’ve lost my mind.’ You probably have. All credit to James Mastro for his arrangement and to the Rant Band for widening it.

Brigitte and Dean (Canada): ‘Just wanted to thank you for Cleveland. I was right in front of you when you played guitar and had a great time. You rocked and gave a great show once again.’ No problem.

Mike and Theresa: ‘Saw Cleveland last night – wow – all in attendance rocked by you. Two questions 1) What is the significance of the silver bell on top of the piano? What happened to your previous roadie?’ The silver bell has no significance at all. It was put there (I suspect) to see if I would bite and I admit I’m starting to. It’s all a bit silly, really. Re: the road crew situation – CF was out somewhere doing somebody else so my old friend, Tommy Mo came with us instead. Tommy was part of Dylan’s crew for 14 years, so he’s pretty experienced and pulls his own personality into play.

Motnianhunter: ‘Will ‘Salvation’ be on the up and coming box set?’ No, they wanted it, but that’s for me. Hopefully I’ll know when to put it out, but not yet.

Matt Nojonen: ‘How do you pass the time on the road?’ I like looking out the window a bit. I have to say there’s a hell of a lot of tress around. No matter where we were – trees everywhere. Trudi and I got on the Bergen-Oslo train and I just saw that journey documented on PBS. Yeah, so many trees – so you read a book. Paulie, James and I are big readers. Bosch is usually eating something he’s nicked from last night’s dressing room. Lots of i-pads/i-phones and stuff going on. I’ve got a leather couch so I can stretch out if need be. Trudi and James have business to take care of. Then there’s the usual camaraderie. Dennis is a lot of fun. In fact, they all are in their different ways. They’re all distinctly different personalities, so it never gets boring. We get out and about in the cities. Paul, James and Dennis like to walk – I might go with them now and again. Well all eat together if we have a day off. It’s nice. I’d hate to be separate from the band; I like being a band member. I don’t play the ‘old’ card that often – only when it suits!

Jeff seems to think the Japanese weather is going to be like what it is here now. Not too bad.

Gene McGovern: ‘Listening to Robert Plant’s ‘Harms Swift Way’ – it reminds me of ‘River of Tears’.

Keith Nickless: ‘Did you ever work with Ian McLagan or Bobby Keys? If you did, what were they like as people?’ Bobby Keys came into a MTH session may moons ago, arrogant and totally out of it. When he couldn’t make the cut the band left me with him to try and salvage something. In the end, he said, ‘if you don’t use it don’t pay me.’ We didn’t use it, but he was paid. Aah – we were young. Ian McLagan I met when we did SXSW in Austin. I saw him playing in a club. He had a great band and was effortlessly great himself. We talked and he was all for doing something together, but we never did mainly because we both had our own bands and geography came into play as well. Bobby Keys did great stuff. We just caught him on an off day. Ian McLagan will always be missed – he was the real thing through and through.

Vinny C: ‘Just wanted to thank you for two tremendous shows at New Hope and Mount Tabor. I’m the guy you asked to hold your guitar while you removed your jacket at the Tabernacle. I have to say – apart from major life events like getting married and watching my songs being born – that was probably the coolest thing that ever happened to me . Great performances by you and the boys.’ I remember that!

Phil Grant loved Atlanta. Saw me with Ronno an MTH but thought this the best yet. ‘Both T-shirt and CD’s wonderful.’ Phil also goes on about Steve Holley ‘A truly remarkable gentleman. One of the best drummers I’ve ever heard any how.’

Tore Brynjulfsen: ‘Bergen was great – thanks for visiting us. Need something to look forward to. Will you come next year? I was thinking the year after (if I’m still in one piece).

Mark: ‘Will you tour the UK in 2015? I might take a year off to finish the next studio album. Who knows – that could easily change.

Johnny Dert: ‘I’ve seen every show in the Mid West and I will forever love your work. You are fabulous! (Blush squared) Highlights of past tour? When you wore my tie in my home town and delivered an epic performance at the Casino. A sweaty night in Cleveland this year – the band was so hot! ‘Resurrection Mary’ in Chicago several years back. Love President! Love the reissue of ‘Artful Dodger’ (bought five). Get M.C. to take a whack at ‘FBI’ for old times sake to honor a great man. My first trip to CA will be seeing you off to Japan. Thanks for writing the sound tract of my life.’ Well, you can’t say fairer than that can you.

Chris wants a surprise Christmas show in NY. Enjoyed the new CD.

Callmeafan: ‘To celebrate your return to the Roxy, how about doing ‘Welcome to the Club’? I know you will say ‘nah’, but just throwing it out there.’ OK, errrr mmmmmm nah!

James Tripp: ‘What determines the time between album releases’
In my case, nothing. I just mess about until I’ve got all the songs I like then I run them past Andy York and the band and we eventually find a window when everybody’s available – assuming everyone is ok with the songs. Tours delay albums because I can’t write when I’m touring. Writing is a lot like singing – it’s a muscle – I don’t just write automatically – it starts off pretty bad and improves over time. When the album is done you then have to decide how and when to release it – all very time consuming.

Constance Van Beek: ‘No questions from me – just kudos for the best Rant Band tour I’ve ever seen. 2014 was truly your year – blessed to see five gigs – each one a gem. Roll on 2015. Gonna Rant in CA!!

Steve Daniels enjoyed Nashville – as did we.

Dave Hancox wants me to rate myself. 1) Better than a lot of people think! 2) Not as good as a few people think!

Glad you all enjoyed Europe and the U.S. middle south bits. We had a ball, but it’s time for a break and Christmas. Trouble is, I can’t go mad because I’ve still got to get into my trousers in January! Happy Holidays to all and a Happy New Year too. Sorry if I missed you.

IH

The Horse’s Mouth


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