Horse’s Mouth (Issue #174, June 2016)

The Horse’s Mouth
June 4, 2016

OK – albums done. It’s called ‘Fingers Crossed.’ Rather spiffy – even if I say so myself.

Jim Kleinheksel says he is my biggest fan and his son is my second biggest. He asks if he can ask questions not necessarily to do with me, but related to the music business? Well you can, but I’m no expert.

Paul Palladino is coming to the Winery June 25th and asks if sets will vary from one week to the next?’ Somewhat.

S.M.F. (har -har): ‘Any LA shows planned this year?’ Frank’s still working on it.

Joannie Volpe: ‘I love Mick Jones and the album he produced for you. It has one of my favourite songs on it – ‘Central Park ‘n’ West.’ Is he the musical genius he appears to be? What was it like working with him (especially at the time of Sandanista – when the Clash were so prolific). We had a good time with Mick and Topper on that record. Mick and I were pretty disenchanted at the time. Actually – if I’m truthful – bored. We got Mick Jones in for ‘Theater of the Absurd’ and he sort of took over. It suited us at the time. Actually, ‘Central Park’ was a poem I had and Mick Jones came in one day with some chords on a bit of paper and that’s how the song came about. Mick had a limitless imagination sound wise. If he liked the sound of a radiator – it was on the record. Enjoyed that.

Ziff is looking forward to Sellersville.

Roy Nirschel: ‘Back at the Winery to see you in June. I’m 64 so – the inevitable question – why are you still rocking and creative? Is there a secret to that, dumb luck or?’ I thought I’d be a goner by 50, so I guess it’s dumb luck – the wife probably played a large part. I was a bit of an athlete too in my younger years – that doesn’t do any harm. Oh – and I wasn’t a heavy drug user period. Boring, but true.

Ed ONeill: ‘Just found your performance with Todd Rundgren and Mick of ‘Eight Days A Week’ – fantastic. Who’s idea?’ Mine. I loved Alma Cogan’s version of it and we worked off that.

Patrick: Prince supposedly has thousands of hours of unreleased material in the vault. Do you have much in your personal vault waiting to see the light of day? Can we expect years of songs after you call it quits?’ Unreleased material is usually unreleased for a reason. Having said that – there’s always the stray gems that don’t particularly fit at a given time and slip through the cracks. Proper Records are putting out a 30 cd box set in September – that about cleans me out of any hidden ‘gems’.

Otto Greenleaf: ‘Did you collaborate with some of the members of ‘Shooting Star’ on ‘Great Expectations’ from the movie ‘Up the Creek’?’ I went to LA to record it and I’ve forgotten who played on it. Maybe.

John Von Reine: ‘I never thanked you for ‘Dirty Laundry’. I remember when I first bought it I thought who’s depriving me of Ian’s vocals on some of these tracks, but it later opened up to me a whole world of musicians that followed in your wake. Darrell Bath, The Boys, Honest John Plain, Hollywood Brats, The Crybabys and a host of others who are not household names here in the States. It was like finding a room in your house that never existed. Thanks again.’ You’re very welcome.

Ed: ‘MTH went through a few changes after Mick and Verden left. Did you think the band could survive or was it just a matter of time before it would run its course – as history has shown?’ At the time I was gung-ho, but bands are strange things – the chemistry worked better with the original band. It’s a shame it never worked out for a longer spell, but 6 years is about the average lifespan for combined creativity. It starts to get a little routine.

Dave Drew: As you can see – I’m a little busy at the moment.

Eric D: ‘Will you play the ‘Infinity’ in Norfolk or Stage 1 in Fairfield this time around?’ Dunno – up to my agent, Frank Riley – waiting for the dates.

John Dalton: ‘Where do you stand in regard to Brexit. Is the concept of European Union sustainable?’ Well, I left Britain in ’75 so I’m hardly an expert on the matter. I was against joining in the first place. When the USA was evolving – people came here from all over the world to escape various hassles. They wanted to get together and assimilate. Europe has been fighting each other for thousands of years. My thinking was that it would be great for British MPs because they could now pass the buck onto Brussels. So anyway – went in and now they’re thinking of getting out – or at least Boris and Co are. I kinda like Boris; Churchillian aspects to the lad. Not too sure it’s time to untangle. As I said, I’m no expert. Difficult, especially the immigration aspect – I leave that one to the learned.

Wayne in Vancouver: ‘When I heard the name of Johnny Depp’s new movie ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ I just had to check the titles on ‘The Hoople’. Funny.

Ian Mack: ‘In times of loss – what words – if any – occur to you? What’s the best way to deal with it?’ Well – you can do yourself in or you can scrub up and get on with it. Either way – you cannot alter the result.

Mark F; Dunno – sounds like Buff.

Jeffrey: On the mend then.

Mike Costanzo: ‘You’ve been outed in yet another book! In Dave Stewart’s ‘Sweet Dreams are Made of This’ the former Eurythmic cites you for naming his first band. Apparently you made up a group sitting around the office of Island Music smoking a huge joint (circa ’71). The joints potency impressed you and you called it a ‘Lung Dancer’. Stewart liked it and promptly named his band, ‘Longdancer’.

Don B: ‘Will Pencil in My Pocket’ ever see the light of day again?’ When did I do that? I remember the title – but that’s it.

Ralph Berg: Noted.

Ed Foster: ‘Any plans for South Australia – Adelaide? You would be really welcome.’ We’ll see, we’ll see.

Kelly McClain: ‘Please come back to Portland, Oregon or somewhere about or even anywhere on the West Coast. Thank you.’ Working on it.

Tim: ‘MTH is name checked often – perhaps most famously in the REM track, ‘Man on the Moon’. Michael Stipe has been public about how much he and his band mates loved Mott. What do you think of REM overall?’ True believers. That’s why they liked MTH. Most people didn’t get that. There’s an innocence.

Bob Boyle: ‘How long does it actually take before you’re able to go into the studio control room and be able to mix sections of your album, parts of songs, that you feel need your own interpretation instead of a hired engineer? I feel this is a most important subject to address especially for a new recording artist reading your column. It takes incredible balls to tell a seasoned engineer he’s got the wrong mix on a song and you can do it a little better.’ I remember way back in Mott’s infancy we were booked into the BBC to do four tracks for one of their Saturday morning shows. We walked in and the engineer had a daily newspaper spread over the controls. We asked him which songs he wanted us to do and he said ‘the four shortest ones.’ Engineers are not producers – you tell them what to do. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy who ‘gets it’ – then it’s plain sailing. I’ve worked with the best – and they all ‘get it’. If the engineer is playing you up – don’t argue – walk – go somewhere else. On the other hand – you may be lousy!

Mike Sodl: ‘I recently listened to the song ‘Salvation’. What a beautiful, classic piece of music – complete with the chill inducing backing chorus (an old staple of yours which I can never get enough of). Have the Rant Band ever played it?’ ‘Salvation’ is one of those aforementioned ‘gems’ that did slip between the cracks. It’s on the Box Set which Proper are finishing up now.

Rikki Flynn: ‘Seen MTH in the 70’s and Ian’s solo work since. Just wanted to say his music has helped me through some sad times and always inspires me. It’s been a pleasure to share the last 40 odd years with this music – long may it continue. Thanks again – be boppin’ in Glasgow in November.’ We Jocks have got to stick together!!

Bruce: ‘I like that list esp. ‘Silver Needles’. MAX KC 78 – he was so f-ed up (and an a-hole Neon Leon – scamming everyone/everything) Did anyone here see John Belushi sit in on drums for the Blitz – fundraiser CB – ? wacked the cymbal’s but nothing else (Sonic —-think Chrome woke up cause it was so bad) – enough – thank you IH for ‘everything’ – keep on.’

Bruce C.B.: ‘Come back to Helsinki, Hudson – OK? Whenever – I’ll be there.’ I liked that place.

Alexis R. Hinders: ‘Second generation MTH fan. MY Dad played guitar and bass in blues, country and rock bands and gave me a copy of ‘The Hoople’ when I was 17. He thought I’d like ‘Marionette’ – he was right! I traveled from Iowa to London to see the reunion shows in 2009. It was really a magical night. I was really glad you played’ The Journey’. That song helped me through some dark times. I just want you to know that your music and lyrics have touched a number of peoples lives – certainly mine and my Dad’s!’ That’s nice.

John Frawley: What other regular ‘gigs’ do the other Rant band members have when not playing in the ‘Rant Band’? DiBrizzi play with Dion, Holley’s fully booked for albums most of the time. Paul works with Motown acts. Mastro never stops helping artists. Boschie works with Garland Jeffries – and all of them have various projects apart from these. Such is the lot of a professional musician in the New York area. I like to think something special happens when we all become the ‘Rant Band’. It’s ben a source of great enjoyment to me over the years.

Dominic Magnolo: Sorry for your loss – 44’s too young.

Richard Mills: ‘In her book ‘Lick Me’ Cherry Vanilla mentions you played bass at Trude Hellers when the band Mick Ronson helped recruit suddenly split. Tom Morrongiello got some good musicians in at a moments notice. What were the circumstances as you remember them?’ Tommy called me in the morning and we played that night. Hadn’t got a clue what I was doing. AND everybody sat at my table and told me how lovely I was and how wonderful I was and then I got a bill for $400 at the end of the night!!! That’s what you get for doing somebody a favor!!

Cecile is coming all the way from ‘the Florida swamps’ to the Winery on the 18th. Wants us to play ‘Picasso’ How can I do all these slow songs at one gig?

Todd’s wife Kitty: ‘My husband is a huge fan of yours, and you inspired a lot of his guitar playing and song writing. He’s been very ill after having a stroke, but your music has made him smile again. I wonder if you could give him a shout out. I know it would make him very happy.’ TOOOOOOOOOODDDDD – get better!!!! IH

Bart: ‘Does Mrs. Hunter travel with you on tour and what kind of food is your favorite?’ Trudi is very much involved in touring – in fact nobody rings me anymore – everybody rings her. I just get up and sing. My taste in food has changed over the years. I like stuff now I hated when I was young. I actually like salads!! Still got to have a grill up once a week; still working class!

Neil McCormack: ‘On MTH live (London side) what are the ‘Prat. Don’t let him do it again…’ comments about. I know it was a long time ago, but it’s always intrigued me.’ Dunno.

John H. ‘Any chance of ‘Central Park and ‘American Spy’ being included in the set list for June 11th?’ Errr – no – but they do get played one of the nights. Sorry!

Dave Carlton: ‘West Coast?’ As I said – we’re workin’ on it.

Francis L: ‘Did you ever picture that savage miscreant Donald Trump singin’ ‘When I’m President’? Stuff of nightmares.’ Give people ‘Reality’ shows for a decade and they think they’re real. ‘What’s with the outro on ‘Dudes’?’ David said the back end was boring – so I just jammed on it. Later he would do it, so I stopped doing it!

Bong Waterspilles: 1) How’s the new album?’ ( FAB! ) 2) ‘Is that a wig?’ (not yet!) 3) ‘California?’ (working on it.)

Paul wants Toronto and we are working on it.

Martyn Sheard: ‘Do hope you get royalties from the BBC. Homes Under The Hammer played ‘Fatally Flawed’ while looking over a house with a large crack in the wall. Think you have a fan that does the background music. See you in Holmfirth.’ Nice to know humour still abounds at the Beeb!

Michael Wolf: ‘Obviously, the Rant Band are very tight, but is there ever a gig where somebody is just not on the same page? Is it hard to cover?’ Not really – if anybody needs covering for – it’s me. I don’t use a teleprompter and I can forget lyrics. I pop off to Bermuda once in a while! James usually gest me back on course.

George Carnell: ‘Do you remember me from Bearsville Studio?’ No, but that’s not your fault. My memory stinks. Enjoy Sellersville.

Peter Jordan: ‘Does new one end on an up?’ Yup.

Pat: ‘Saw Justin Hayward at the Winery. Good show – voice still strong, but I wish he’d played electric. Great guitar player – not enough Moodies songs for me. I used to feel the same at your show, but I feel the opposite now. Ever hang with the Moody Blues?’ Nope.

Bernadine Bogdanovs-Naggs: ‘My husband is a long time fan. However, he has a very large collection so I only heard, ‘When I’m President’ a few days ago. Couldn’t get the song out of my head. I’m a big Bernie supporter so I created a video of your song. I made certain to credit you on the video but Facebook took it down because I don’t have your permission. I’m not in the business of making money it was made with the sole purpose of helping Bernie. I’m asking now for permission so I can submit it to Facebook.’ I like Bernie, and it’s nice you took the trouble – so it’s ok with me, but at this point….

Jeffrey’s teeth fixed!!

JC Finn: ‘Do you know, or have you worked with any of the guys from both Bon Jovi and REO?’ Not that I can recall. ‘Worthing looking good in the sunshine – any regrets on leaving?’ I never really lived in Worthing. We had a place there for the summers, but we were living in New York. I really enjoyed it for a while.

Robert Sharpe: ‘Thanks for returning to Sellersville.’ Thanks for having us.

Jim Mcconnell: ‘Any chance of Prince Tribute in November. Rant Band would enjoy ‘Purple Rain’.’ Better left to the master.

Tripp Pair: ‘Atlanta has a new City Winery. Will it be part of your plan?’ Too early to say.

Frank DiGiacomo: ”Junkman’ on the 18th?’ God you people want a slow show that night!!

Andy Baker: Happy Birthday

Nick: H.B.

John Frawley H.B.

Pasquale: H.B.

Shinobu Kokubun: ‘In Japan – 77 is called KIJU – it means joyful age.’

Steve Parsons: H.B.

Ken Grady: H.B.

I should say thanks to all the people who’ve wished me a Happy Birthday on all the various social media site. Much appreciated.

John and Dede Caswell: H.B.

Tom CcGarry: ‘How’s the ears holding up?’ Not so good. The lesser of a million evils.

Colin Thayer: ‘Did you record the new album in Pawling again?’ Nope. HOBO Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey. So glad I did.

Liz K: H.B.

Shari Lee: H. B.

Bob Barnes: ‘I see Chris Wright and Jeremy Lascelles have bought Chrysalis back from Warner Music (excellent idea). Any chance you get your albums back or do something with them?’ Too early to say. We’ll have to look into it.

Bob Mackintosh: ‘Check out The Mighty Stef – the album being ‘Year of the Horse’. Best thing I’ve heard in years.’

Tall Paul: ‘Really enjoyed your chat with Chris Carter. Big fan of the station and can’t figure out why your later stuff isn’t played.’ Because it’s not promoted, plugged, pushed, requested, or shoved down peoples throats – it’s just there if you want to find it.

Rob Stronach: ‘Are you coming to Australia?’ The short answer is I don’t know. There’s a movement afoot. We’ll see.

Michelle Pearce: H.B.

Constance: H.B.

Fred Petterson and Family: H.B.

Austin: H.B.

Michael Maccarrone: Make a note of this one, Michael.

Bob Muir: H.B.

Brian Feeney: H.B. Come to Charleston!

Donald Mease: H.B. (Wyoming public radio just played ‘Memphis’)

Irina: H.B.

Keith Nickless: H.B. I was talking to a friend of mine who’s convinced MTH opened for Kiss. I thought it was the other way round.’ Which version of Mott?

Steve Baratta: ‘H.B. Still hoping for Virginia.’

That’s it for now. Remember questions – not monologues!

All the best!
IH
The Horse’s Mouth


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