Horse’s Mouth (Issue #168, Nov 2015)

The Horse’s Mouth
November 7, 2015

What a gorgeous autumn! I’m usually working in the fall, so it’s the first time in a while we’ve been home.

Jeffrey just brought his wife, Kathy, home from hospital with a new knee. Join the club.

Our Wullie: My new album should be out by next summer. It’s not my fault, difficult to find a window where everybody’s free to do it. Andy York and Pete Moshe are extremely busy. Usually it works out; this time it’s taking longer. The material is pretty much done. The Proper Box Set will be coming out next spring – you’ll need a car with a large capacity cd player! ‘Salvation’ was ‘prized’ from me for the Box Set – so it wasn’t on the last one after all!

Tim: 1)’How do you figure Roxy Music’s incredibly underrated reputation in the U.S.?’ I wouldn’t be an authority on this, but perhaps they’re a tad too English? 2) Sorry, but I don’t listen that much. 3) Yes, listened to ‘Tempest’ a lot on the road. Tim loved the Winery in June.

Charlie Lohr: ‘Thank you for your magnificent talent.’ Blush. ‘Me and my sons have seen 10 shows – can’t wait for more. Favourites – ‘American Spy,’ ‘Dead Man Walking,’ ‘Teachers,’ ‘It Aint Easy When You Fall.’ Come to North Carolina so I don’t have to drive so far.’ Were trying to expand in the U.S. We’ll see.

Mac: ‘I’ve seen Darrell Bath a couple of times in the Vibrators in the last year. Love his playing live. Did you tour with him on ‘Dirty Laundry’ and ‘Artful Dodger’ – and how was he to work with?’ Darrell’s a rocker through and through. Lovely turn of phrase to boot.

Rick Graves: ‘I’ve noticed over the years you’ve used a good variety of guitars. Do you have a guitar that is your favourite?’ Acoustically I use Martins and Gibsons – electrically, mainly Gibsons. The best sounding guitar in recent years, however, is the one Joe Elliott gave me for my 70th. It’s much too heavy a sound for clubs, however, so it doesn’t get to go out that much.

Lynne Huff: ‘Cool site – did you know Mickey Finn or Marc Bolan? Do you ever play in California?’ I met Marc Bolan a few times back in the day. We play California now and again.

Bill Allison: ‘Greetings, Ian and the Rant Band – any plans for Los Angeles? Keep rockin’ – you’re a great artist yo.’ Busy correcting vernacular.

Richie Cornacchi: ‘On CD’s – who picks the order?’ That’s usually down to me, but I do consult with everybody. It’s like a live show – you try to make it flow. It can, from time to time, become a problem. If I had my time again, I would take ‘Still Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll’ off RANT. Big mistake – especially on the U.S. version. Shouldn’t have listened to bad advice. I don’t feel any different to when I was younger. Songs either come or they don’t. When they don’t come anymore – that’s it!

Bjorn Svange: ‘Great show at Sverresborg Trondheim.’ I always love playing in Trondheim – great audience.

Steve Meyer: ‘Just been back and listened to ‘President’ after a while and also read the reviews on Amazon again (including mine). Just amazed to see 58 reviews for such an old fart. Do you ever read Amazon reviews – yes or no?’ No. ‘I’m pleased to have shaken yours and Mick’s hand after a gig at Cambridge UK having blagged my way back stage post gig thanks to Tracie.’ That’s a way to do it.

Ian Mack: ‘What 20th century decade do you consider produced the best music?’ I don’t see how you can compare jazz with blues – rock with pop – there’s been a lot of changes – swing era – one thing I can tell you – it stinks now. ‘What do you think of classical music?’ I’m not qualified in this area. There’s stuff that I like, but there’s boring stuff – draughtsman stuff. These people mostly relied on ‘patrons’. ‘How would you describe the music of the 21st century?’ Gimme a break.

Jeffrey: ‘October 9th – Happy 75th John Lennon.’

Chris: ‘Do you ever come to the West Cost?’ Yup.

Danny G: Sorry about your Mom. R.I.P.

Edward Shirley: ‘I’ve just seen a photo of Trudi. Can you get me some of what she’s having?’ She’s older than me but looks 20 years younger.’ Flannel will get you nowhere.

Trent Keeling: ‘Next U.S. run tell Frank Riley to look at the Limelight in Peoria, IL.’ You’ve got it.

Tom McGarry: ‘Never too old even at 60 to learn that I need to form my own opinion on things rather than rely on others. Never got around to buying ‘Dirty Laundry’ because I’d read a couple of ropey reviews. Listened to it on Spotify and immediately bought it. All those wasted years when I could have been enjoying it as part of my otherwise extensive IH collection. What an effing idiot. Looking forward to your new release.’

Todd Kirby: ‘As a long time fan, your coming to Nashville last year was a dream come true. I thought you’d be dropping by more often. A year later and no mention of Nashville. Has there been talk of your returning?’ No idea – bin doing other stuff. I’m not due to tour in the U.S. until the fall of 2016. I’m sure we’ll see you then.

Kerin Bottom: ‘It’s easy to se how many artist have been influenced by you. I’m such a fan. I named my only son after you. What are some of your influences?’ Leon Russell, Bob Dylan and Levon Helm.

Bradley Brown: ‘Your band did a terrific how at the Queen World Café Live in Wilmington, DE in 2013. Acoustically and music selection wise – it was near perfect. Any possibility of a return engagement?’ Wait till the new CD comes out – then we’ll be back in touring mode.

Rob Sheehan: ‘Caught you and the Rant Band with J. Geils in Portland and Providence. Wish the sets were longer. ‘Ozzy stop doing that – no don’t let him do it again’ during ‘Angeline’. What was Ozzy doing?’ Haven’t the faintest idea.

Benge Wallgren: ‘You actually did ‘God Take 1′ live in Stockholm at Gino 89/90. Fantastic song and the best lyric ever on the subject. How did you get to producing Generation X? Love the album.’ I was pursued by Chrysalis, and, as I wanted my own deal with Chrysalis – I agreed to do the production for them.

Randall: ‘All the Way From Memphis’ and ‘Ballad of Mott’ are required readings here in Cape Breton. You should come and play a gig if you’re up to it. We will gladly negotiate a price for your show. We are in Canada, by the way.’ You need to talk to my agent, Frank Riley at High Road Touring.

Chris: ‘Any chance for a gig in the U.S. before your 2016 shows? Saw the show in Sellersville with Karyn Kuhl. Great double feature. Do it again.’

John Caswell: ‘I was reminiscing (because that’s what old people do) and I remembered when you and Mick toured with Todd Rundgren and played the Beacon in Boston (1980). You were supporting John Anderson for President. I was there. Would you ever do that again, and if so, who would you pick?’ Supporting John Anderson was Todd’s thing – he asked us along for the ride and it was great fun playing with him. Who would I tour for now? My business!!!

George Saadi: Sounds like something Campbell Devine might like a copy of!!

Johan: ‘Scandinavia?’ When the time is right.

Terry: ‘To repeat one from above – do you have any particularly good memories of producing Generation X?’ Der.

Iain Moss: ‘New album in the near future?’ As above.

John Dalton: ‘Anybody in your inner circle been diligent in photographing you and your band mates throughout your career? Could be a book in it?’ There’s plenty of stuff, but it’s not something I think about.

Ed: ‘Been a fan since 1970. Have seen you over 20 times. Flew to Detroit for your show and the wife agreed your voice was in top form. You really looked as though you were enjoying yourself. What a treat to see two bands as good as you and J. Geils. Best show we’ve seen in years. Here’s a vote for a repeat.’ I really did enjoy it. That’s not normally the case, but Peter Wolf made it enjoyable.

Ronnie P: What comes first the music or the words?’ Usually the music – or a title. A title’s good because it gives you an idea to expand around. I write on anything – piano is probably the easiest because it comes with chords and bass lines. Favourite instrument to play?’ I liked playing kinda backward rhythms on electric against a groove Mick Ralphs would set in Mott. I do it now in the Rant Band as well, but it’s not so noticeable as I’m on acoustic playing against two electrics. Love groove.

Ken Russell: ‘Are you coming back to the Sage? Great concert last time out.’ We’ll see.

Mike Pecucci: ‘Did the waitress really give you coffee free on Central Park ‘n’ West?’ Yup. ‘Waddya think of NYC these days – miss the sleaze?’ Income city.

Vyf Iskeliunas: You should perform at Cape Cod Melody Tent Hyannis, MA. It is not huge and is run by a non-profit organization. Sister venue is South Shore Music Circus. Most acts play both. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and not far from CT and close to our store: Cervi Vintage in Dennis….check out web page.’ Another one for Frank.

Bertie McSpadden: ‘Where do you display your gold records?’ On the wall downstairs. ‘What’s your most prized possession musical/non-musical.’ Don’t have any prize possessions.

Dale Haskell: ‘Any chance of Albany, NY area? We need you here! You’re an endless inspiration, one of the greatest rockers of all time.’ Well that’s laying it on a bit thick!

Ian Mack: ‘What in the current world gives you the most sense of optimism and what the most pessimism?’ Brains and decency give me optimism – stupidity gives me pessimism. ‘Would you have answered differently when you were 20?’ Of course!!

Marty G: ‘Snubbed again – 2016 Hall of Fame nominations have been announce with no mention of MTH or yourself. Does it bother you as much as it does me and many others – if at all?’ Why would you let something like this bother you? I don’t socialize or schmooze and I don’t kiss ass. Enough said.

Paul: I’ll try!

Pat Cox: ‘Any particular memories about Brian May from 1974? Not really. I would talk to Fred – probably because we were both ‘front men’. It was later on when a relationship with Brian and Roger developed. Lovely people – all of them.

Chris Hetherington wants us to do Austin City Limits he enjoyed it a lot.

Jane in Austin: ‘Hi ian – you probably know this but when I was rereading the biography of Keith Moon written by Tony Fletcher there was a very flattering mention of you on page 432. ‘But Mott the Hoople had songwriting talent, a fantastic vocalist (oh God!) a tight line up with a sense of purpose and direction.’ Keep on keepin’ on. You’re the best – Jane.’

Mike Considine: ‘Any chance of working with Todd again?’ Dunno; we’re both busy.

Jerome Preisler: ‘ ‘Don’t Let Go’ – such a beautiful, powerful song – can’t listen to it without fogging up.’

McClenaghan: ‘What decade gave you the most professional satisfaction?’ The 80’s gave me the least.

Carsten: ‘Do you have any plans for Europe?’ I’m getting these records out first. ‘Any chance of more MTH gigs?’ I wouldn’t bank on it. ‘Are you still following Hereford United?’ No, that’s Stan’s old team. I’m Shrewsbury Tow, Northampton Cobblers.

Keith Hollinshead – re: Marks ‘n’ Sparks rumour – true.

Randy Jones: ‘Hello Ian – my name is Randy Jones. Imagine a mid 1970’s concert called ‘Shirley’s Acres’ in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and a local band called ‘Silk’ plays three MTH cover songs before a crowd of 5,000 plus rockers – ‘Violence’ – ‘Ready For Love’ – and ‘One of the Boys’. Of all those songs ‘Boys’ was the one we saved for the end and always brought everyone to their feet. We performed an extended version with a triple guitar attack that blew the crowd away every time! MTH were a unique phenomenon in my neck of the wood – the East West Virginia panhandle. Although Mott never got any radio time – your songs were extremely popular and referred to as the #1 underground band (Bowie and Reed running close seconds). Your songs travelled word of mouth from night club to night club via cover bands throughout West Virginia in those years. There was something indescribable when we performed your songs live and captured that unique sound. The signature power chording effect with Watts booming that signature bass timbre was a thing to experience when we performed live and loud. The effect forced people to their feet like some form of power of suggestion. You had no way of knowing, I suppose, but there were a lot of local rock bands from Musicians Local Union 770 in the tri-state area (Maryland, PA and West Virginia) doing covers of your songs in those years. It always did my soul good when someone in the crowd shouted ‘Play some Mott the Hoople.’ Your songs were fun to play. We were the only band doing ‘Violence’ and it was fun to perform every time! I often thought ‘If only Ian and the Boys saw their songs being played here in this remote hollow of the Appalachian Mountains and they saw the reaction!’ I’m 58 now and ‘One of the Boys’ is still my personal favourite. It was simple – full of heart- and the chord progression rocked. So just a message to say thank you for the sound!! My struggling and unknown band called ‘Silk’ never saw fame, but we had one hell of a blast playing your songs! Cheers – fellow Rockers!’

Jock trick: ‘Gigs..wot..No Scotland gigs on the horizon?’ It’s writing/recording time – the important bit in between.

Ron Capko: ‘Jersey shore – or I’ll just hop in the car to Philly or NYC and have another great night – jeez!’ That’s the spirit!!

Chris Hetherington: ‘Following up – the Killer may have taken ill – the show at BB King’s is listed as postponed on JLL website. I wasn’t going to risk it – he cancelled when we were in Memphis. I think he’s hurting.

Mark: ‘Seattle loves you as does Portland – so please come and see us!! We’ll do our best.

Zak Mabie: You should speak to Frank Riley at High Road Touring.

Bill P.: Great video of Iggy Pop talking about the music business on U -Tube.

Barry Whaites: ‘Butlins – after all of these years!!’ That’s where I started and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Bob Perodeau: ‘Saw James Mastro playing with Edward Rogers opening for Dave Davies at the Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ.’ Yes, James has been doing some dates with Edward.

Matthew Nobile: Fooled a roomful of Dylan fanatics by playing them MTH’s first album and telling them it was rare Bob! ‘Mott the Hoople and your solo efforts are up there for me with Zep and The Who. Glad to see you are still at it and hope to see you in the near future in Ohio.’

Kevin Carlini: ‘Would love you to play at State College PA.’

Ian Mack: ‘Do you remember the day you pulled the plug on MTH? How long did you think it over? Did you talk to anyone about it? Did you ever regret it?’ That was a slow burn. After Ronno joined it was a down hill – and to my mind – stupid. Together we could have risen above anything, but it went the other way. Too much agro – it put me in hospital. My nervous system was playing me up. I probably talked about it with Mick and obviously Trudi – it was a big deal. There was a lot of pressure against me, but life is a question of alternative and leaving was mine. I’ve never regretted it for a second. It was school for us all. We learned – and had a great time learning. As you probably know, we got back together a couple of times and it was hilariously great fun, but that was then – and this is now.

Bob Venafra: ‘Will you ever do a reunion tour in the U.S.?’ I would have to say no.

Otto Greenleaf says October 21st was Buffin’s birthday. Happy Birthday, mate!

Arnold Mann: ‘Looking forward to seeing you and the Rant Band again. How come you’re not doing more dates?’ Writing.

Gary: I’ve been following your musical art since early Mott years. I need to know the secret so I don’t get more pissed off….how is it that you don’t age? I’m getting old as crap and you look great! What’s the secret? Sorcery, caffeine, alien intervention, passion for what you do? Just a hint would be cool. Seriously, your music is passionate and just as strong as always. Thanks for all the output. I spent a third of my life doing things I didn’t want to do – like most people. I hated the jobs I did and the bosses who towered over me! So I opted for the long shot – which came off. I’m lucky and I know it. I got to live my passion for most of my existence and it makes life a lot easier. Plus you have to run around a track like a hamster everyday and not dine on the amount of food you’d like to imbibe. You get used to it.

Kieran: ‘Any memories of the Atlanta Pop Festival?’ The limo met us at the airport – big sign on it – Mott the What?

Colin Powell: Going to Minehead for three days. Hope you survive!

Rich Michi: That happened in Pete Watts parent’s house; nothing to do with Resurrection Mary.

I’m done. Back to the basement.

IH
The Horse’s Mouth


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