Horse’s Mouth (Issue #179, Nov/Dec 2016)

The Horse’s Mouth
December 10, 2016

Sorry about the delay – been busy.

Karen Bennett: I don’t know if we met, but give my regards to Mal.

Tall Paul: I use open G tuning on some songs (Once Bitten is one of them). We’re all a half step down.

Frank Carillo loves ‘Fingers Crossed’ Hey Frank – got it all off your chest yet?

Rikki Flynn: ‘In this X-Factor age – does Ian rank any of the younger songwriters?’ Never seen X Factor. It’s just a fancy Hughie Green show, isn’t it? Zombie TV.

Simon Brown: ‘Any plans to play in Paris?’ I’m writing this in December, and strangely enough, we may be doing Paris next year.

Danny G wanted ‘Picasso’ – and got it.

Rory Musil: ‘Fingers Crossed’ an anti-depressant!

Tom Flynn says we were extraordinary at Narrow Falls.

Tamara Guo: ‘ ‘Fingers Crossed’ brilliant.’ Ta.

Geoff: ‘What songs would you choose for Desert Island Discs?’ Probably reggae. We were in Barbados for Jesse and Karen’s wedding and reggae made a lot of sense.

Irina: ‘Your album’s delightful – you sound fantastic – the band – excellent; favourite track is ‘Morpheus’. Rock on xxx.’

Stuart Law loves ‘Fingers Crossed’.

Darlene Begorich wanted ‘Alice’ in Cleveland. Sorry, no room at the inn.

Ted Acker hopes ‘Long Time’ is not a sign off song.

Col Spikings: ‘Will Joe E. be in Holmfirth?’ Not this time.

Peter Jordan: ‘Did you ever consider ‘Guilty or Innocent – I am both am I not?’ I started doing that, but that DiBrizzi made me stick to the original script.

John O’Rourke changed his fantasy hockey team from the Flying Scotsmen to the Bow Street Runners. Jolly good!

Mike Lurvey: ‘Favourite song you’ve written?’ To busy writing the next one.

Jeffrey: ‘How’s the tour going?’ Fab!

Hal got off on the Winery show in New York.

Willie Ahnberg: We always like a little help on ‘Dudes’. Next time perhaps?

Randy McNeil: ‘As ‘Dandy’ was played, I couldn’t help thinking about the Lafayette Street just down the block – or thinking of Lou Reed just a few blocks away in the East Village – or when ‘Picasso’ was played – memories of seeing them at the Ritz.’ Nice.

Tom Crolly: ‘Why don’t’ you name your next tour ‘The mid-life crisis tour”?

John A: ‘Ian, you’re coming up to 60 years in the music business – how will you celebrate?’ 50 not 60. Clerical error.

John Cook: ‘Love the new album – come back to Bristol!’

Russ Adam: ‘What a beautiful, wonderful record – thank you.’

Jimbo3: I’m not good under pressure – I prefer my own speed.

Callmeafan3 asks me about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. I’m very happy for him. I’ve stayed in the Nobel Suite so he would have been very comfy. Bit of a schlepp but it’s up to him really.

Jeffrey: Actually ‘Dandy’s’ chord sequence is a slight variation on ‘a on a G string’. David used a slightly different variation on the verses of ‘Dudes’. ‘Irene Wilde’ is another variation. I guess it all comes from somewhere.

Oooer Wullie: ‘New record is fandabbydozzy – how do you keep up such high standards?’ Quality control. You don’t hear the other stuff!!

Liz K: You sound up! We’ll be in LA – don’t know about January – more like the spring. It’s not sorted as of yet.

Otto Greenleaf: (loves ‘Dandy’) ‘I read in today’s NY Times about a guy who’s a forensic musicologist – when two songs sound a lot alike he leaps into action. His name is Pete Oxendale. Was he on ‘Overnight Angels’ playing keyboards?’ Pete was on the album and in the touring band. A brilliant keyboardist and all round maniac. Now, of course, he’s posh!

Tom L: ‘Thanks for wonderful shows in NYC and Philly. A few years back, I asked for ‘Spy’ and you always said nah. Thought it was wonderful.’ Paulie’s a star!

Dan McClure: ‘No question – fabulous show at the Ark!’ We were happy to oblige!

Trude: ‘Back in the Mott days did you see yourself recording five decades later?’ I think we were too busy trying to get somewhere. The future never really came into it. I was positive I’d never make 50.

Arthur Tremlett and Hazel – get around.

Mark F: ‘Mr. Jones?’

Howard: ‘asks if I do meet and greets?’ Not really – but I’m OK if you happen to bump into me.

Brad Brown took his ex-wife to the Ardmore Music Hall and said ‘she was captivated’. Goodho.

Cath: ‘Who’s playing with you in Glasgow instead of the Rant Band?’ The Rant Band play on all my electric gigs. Maybe you’re thinking of the opening band? Sitting Pretty?

Daniel enjoyed the Ardmore, PA.

Jackie Rohana: Sounds like you had an eventful evening. We’ll repose the picture next time around.

Hank Gilman is enjoying ‘Diary of a Rock Star’. ‘If you manage to get it republished will you write a new introduction?’ Dunno. Johnny Depp says he’s written one.

Erica W: ‘My father introduced me to your music when I was a teenager. The first album I heard was ‘Schizophrenic’. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found out you were coming to the Newton Theater in New Jersey two days before my 29th birthday. Thank you for giving me an experience and birthday present I will not soon forget. The majority of music on the radio today is trash – void of any substance. It’s sad and unfortunate that its come to this point. ‘Fingers Crossed’ is amazing.’ Who needs award shows when you get letters like this.

J.C. ”Fingers Crossed’ is amazing.’

Bill Hammond: Great show in Cleveland.

Bill: Mark Bosch.

Joseph Zavilla: ‘ ‘Fingers Crossed’ – instant classic.’ Thanks.

Wang Dewtin: ‘What’s the most irritating thing fans do at concerts? For me it’s the idiots with their cell phones and the lights distracting me for the performance.’ Yup – it’s kinda like ‘periscopes up’ and off we go.

Word on the street: ‘Hope your tour is going well. Stones fans websites all tell me – a forum on iorr.com has a section for you and the Rant Band. You are getting much love ‘n’ great reviews there. Thought you should know. They are wise…they exhort IH to keep doing what you do – hope to see you in LA in 2017.’ Great – didn’t know that.

John Kessler: ‘Great show at the Beachland, and greatest version of ‘Cleveland Rocks’ ever performed!’

Gary S: ‘What’s your workout regime? How do you keep I shape?’ It’s all pretty logical, really. I’m half starved and I gerbalize. Not been to gyms or gone on diets. Find what suits you and stick to it.

Wade Stapp has the box set and the album and is a very happy camper.

Big Licks: ‘Hi Ian – I just seen a Buick Skylark sold in Vegas for $159,500. Does your 8 track still run? See you in Glasgow.’ I canny ken where I left it.

John Reh went to the Hamilton in D.C. and bought James Mastro a drink.

Rick Regier crossed the border into Ann Arbor – #1 u_uc_in’ rock!

John Frawley: ‘Ever met Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe?’ I’ve said hello to Nick, but that about it.

Jeff Pavlock thought Buffalo was fantastic!

Gene Metrick: ‘For 40 years, no matter how much the world makes me said – your songs always make me feel better!’ That’s what we’re here for – that’s our job.

Rick Graves: ‘Have you ever released a song where you’ve found better lines and then started singing them in a live performance?’ Sure I’ve done that – but not so much since DiBrizzi joined the band.

Kirk Loveland: ‘London, Ontario?’ It’s down to promoters.

Glenn: ‘Bell House was awesome.’

Matt Nojonen: ‘ ‘Morpheus’ is a fantastic song – you really reach into the imagination. Have to ask – are you a myth reader?’ It was Mick Ralphs (he’s on the mend, bless him) who said he’d been ‘deep in the arms of Morpheus’ after one of the reunion shows – and something clicked.

Darlene Begovich: ‘LOVED the Cleveland show except for the sloppy woman who kept yelling ‘Ships’ during Michael Picasso and hit you in the face with her bra.’

Lizzy: ‘Happy Birthday, Trudi! Hope Ian took you out to a fabulous place.’

Liz Krinsky: You rock girl!!

Rick Laskey: ‘The Cat’s Cradle – good place. Saw Warren Zevon a couple of times there. Did you ever meet him?’ Nah.

Rob Jones: ‘Spoke to Graham Parker after a gig and he was full of praise for you. Have you thought of covering each others songs?’ Graham and I get along great – as far as covering each others songs – we haven’t got that far yet.

Rob loved D.C. asks to make it annual.

Eric Dinse: ‘How do you write?’ piano – guitar? Lyrics first or last?’ All of the above – there’s no pattern – it’s random.

Brian Calingaert: I haven’t been to a show since you blew the roof off Motorco in Durham. Going to the Cats Cradle.’ Hope you enjoyed it.

John Dalton: ‘Just came across your version of ‘Love in Vain’ on U-tube. Gonna do anymore Dylan covers?’ My love of ‘Bob’ songs has long been documented. He’s amazing – but I’ve got stuff to write!!

Jim Huebner: ‘My copy of ‘Stranded in Reality’ just arrived – it’s even better than I’d hoped for! Please come back to Boston (we’re waiting for the Boston Winery to open).

Dave Newton: ‘Fingers Crossed’ – absolutely fantastic!’ Ta.

Phil Wood: ‘Looking forward to seeing you at Lemington and Shepherds Bush. ‘Fingers Crossed’ is great. Box set is wonderful. Proper Music have been first class, excellent personal service. How did you choose them? I’ve been very impressed. They’re a good fit for you.’ I think it was Trudi who found them and asked Mick Brown to give them a call. They’ve been great throughout – wish we’d found them years ago.

Chris White: ‘I have been to four concerts in the last year and brought different guests each time. None here familiar with your work, but became instant fans.’ Great!

James Zemba: ‘Box set is UNBELIEVABLE, ‘Fingers Crossed’ – AWESOME. Attended four shows in five days – INCREDIBLE!!! Ian and the Rant Band gracious as always.’ OK that enough of the whining.

Chris Greenley: 50% guitar 50 piano. Maybe a tad more on piano because you have the bass with your left hand. ‘Once Bitten’s I said before, is in open G. Nowadays, we’re a half a step down.

Paul Doucette: Re: the girl scream on ‘Irene Wilde’. Was it as loud in the room as it was on the record?’ Can’t remember. People still do it now and again just for fun.

Danny G enjoyed Cleveland.

Ashleigh Morrison: Sorry to hear about your Dad, Ashleigh. I’m only reading this now, so I guess I missed the mention in Glasgow. Condolences to you and your Mum xx

Greg Pils: Noted with thanks.

John Stieferma: I wasn’t able to owing to illness.

Michael Ratcliffe is listening to ‘Welcome to the Club’ for the first time. Is that Steve Martin doing the intro?’ Dunno.

Chris Hartman: Bravo – another set of great songs.

John Caswell: ‘Just received the box set – amazing. Some people are complaining about the price. I think it’s well worth it. I already have many of your cd’s but it’s good to have a new collection – plus all the outtakes and DVDs are an added plus.’

James Boyd: ‘Thank you for marvelous year of releases – first ‘Fingers Crossed’ and then ‘Stranded in Reality’. Listening to Bag of Tricks vol.3 as I type this and I’m in Hunter Heaven. Thank you!!’ Thank YOU.

Benett Zimmer: ‘How in the world do you look and sound so good?’ Well, the voice is better – probably because I gave up smoking; and the look – well it’s all hair ‘n’ shades.

Phil Grant: ‘Just got home from the Atlanta Winery. Absolutely amazing. Gotta be the best touring band with the best front man in the business. Bar none. Saw you here in Atlanta two years ago and this was even better.’ Thank you.

Mike Constanzo: ‘The wife and I enjoyed the show in Nashville last night. When you’re 77 years old and have the women dancing in the aisle you must be doing something right.’

Anne Murphy: I’m only reading this now (December). Northampton was great back in the day – loads of bands (the Black Lion being the main hub). I started at the White Hart in Northampton with the APEX. I don’t remember the Stringbeats but I do remember the name. You must give your Dad my regards and I hope you enjoyed Holmfirth as much as we did.

Steve Baratta: Happy Birthday, Trudi! Thanks for D.C. We had a tremendous time.

Darby Dreamer: ‘Love ‘Fingers Crossed’. ‘Pearl and Roy’ one of my faves from Mott – what’s it about?’ It was a political song – words speak for themselves.

Kevin Quinn very kindly explains to me what the lyrics for ‘Honnaloochie Boogie’ are all about. Actually, you make perfect sense and even if you don’t, I’m down with it.

Will Moore: ‘Love the new album; ‘Ghosts’ one of your best songs ever.

Kelli in California: We’re working on the West Coast/Japan leg for 2017 now. Watch the gig page.

Mccleanaghan: ‘Which is the dirtiest business – politics or the music business?’ It’s a tie. ‘What one political issue in the Presidential election made you most angry?’ Lack of issues.

Ian Mack: ‘What was your first public performance as a musician? What were you paid?’ It was in Tony Wardles harmonica band in Shrewsbury and probably around 1955. Never got paid.

Patrick: ‘Cleveland in the World Series – did you see an increase in royalties (you don’t at the time – it comes in much later). I’m a Cub fan and saw one of the Winery shows in Chicago – enjoyed the new stuff and emphasis on solo material.’

Dave Hancox: ‘Congrats on ‘Fingers Crossed’ – songs are brilliant. What is the reaction from the band when you start presenting them with the new songs. Are they blown away or do they think – yep – that’s Ian. Do they prefer ‘President’ which has more rockers/fast songs?’ It’s generally – yep – that’s Ian (I think). Andy York hears them first and once he’s given the go head everybody gets down to making them better. The great thing about the Rant band is they do a lot of homework. We’re 3/4’s done by the time we get together as a team. Keeps it fresh.

Tam: Sitting Pretty supported us on the UK tour and they did a great job. Still thinkin’ about the singer’s shirt.

Whalespoon: Had a great time at the Cats Cradle last Friday. I notice on the UK CD the final stanza of ‘Flowers’ is missing – was that intentional?’ Oh Jeez – we all missed this!! No, it’s not intentional – I cocked up!! Sorry.

Ecker: ‘Atlanta beyond amazing as is the CD. Rant Band killer. What key was your harmonica?’ F sharp.

Ray Mitten loved D.C. – come back soon.

Wayne G: We never recorded or demoed ‘Suffragette City’.

Tamara Guo: Wishes Trudi Happy Birthday and had a blast in Nashville.

John Stieferman: ‘What are those pills you’re poppin’ on stage?’ They aren’t pills they are throat lozenges called ‘Vocal Zones’. Been using them for years to keep the throat protected. They’re great. Why are they great? Because they work.

Bob Boyle: ‘Will you ever give any in depth interviews on how you, Bowie and Ronson were going to buy RCA in 1974. I’m very interested in the details and how the three of you ceased doing so because some of the RCA stockholders wouldn’t sell. In the new business climate it seems more interesting.’ Buying RCA was Tony Defries’ ambition – not ours. Tony would say we’ll be this gang that grows and grows and eventually we’ll buy big. Meanwhile we couldn’t afford the rent never mind RCA. Tony could hypnotize (part of a manager’s gig). It was only when you got home that you realized a pile of logicalities were heaped upon an illogical premise.

Charlie Lohr: ‘Just received the box set. Love it. Fantastic show in NC.’

Connie: ‘Any plans for the West Coast?’ Working on it.

Alan Grier: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen you and the Rant Band any better than last week. What a brilliant gig. Also, what a turn out – Glasgow never lets you down.

Gary Dedoussis: ‘ ‘Fingers’ is special; ‘Stranded’ is well worth it. City Winery – front and center – ‘American Spy’ with Paul on vocals blew me away. Best show yet – and I’ve seen plenty.

Dirk Verelst is enjoying the box set.

Mac: ‘I intentionally never bought ‘Fingers Crossed’ until I heard the new stuff in Glasgow as an experiment, and boy did it pay off. I was absolutely amazed by the new songs and I have to say, my fave songs of the night were from the new album. I got it right after the gig! ‘Ghosts’ one of the most commercial songs you’ve ever come up with. Absolutely brilliant night – you and the guys seemed genuinely happy at the end of the night.’ We were. We were going to Equis the following morning in Hamilton!!

Stuart Hyde: ‘Just in case Trump wins next week – I – and I’m sure the rest of Canada would welcome a man of your immense talent (blush cubed). The West Coast is beautiful – are you interested?’ Not yet.

Rich Michi: ‘Wonderful night at the Hamilton. Had to play FC a few times before it just hit me – loving it.’ That happens some times. It’s not good to review an album on one listen as is often justifiable the case with professional reviewers. A lot of my stuff takes time to grow.

Ian Martin: ‘Just back from seeing you in concert. Glasgow was awesome. ‘Dandy’ was amazing live. What a response from the audience. New album gets better and better.

Mike Costanzo: ‘Would you have taken ‘Strings Attached’ on the road had it been financially viable?’ At that time, yes – it was a great experience.

Gerry Casey: ‘Ireland? You have lots of loyal fans here.’ It’s down to the promoters.

Gary Hill: ‘Awesome gig in Leamington. Do you have any connection with Long Buckby in Northamptonshire? I have you living in Watson Road at one point.’ Dunno, I moved around a bit in those days and I was in Northampton for a few years.

Tom Semioli: ‘What prompted you to give the mike to my pal Paul Page in American Spy’?’ Well, he’s my pal too. ‘Who sews Bosch’s trousers to keep them snug?’ DiBrizzi.

Tom Arthur: ‘Will ‘All of the Good Ones Are Taken’ ever be released?’ Try the box set.

Lisa and Les Vineyard: Drove from Knoxville to the Cats Cradle and enjoyed.

Rich: ‘Was at DC and Cleveland. Cleveland seemed more into it.’ DC was seated – Cleveland standing.

Darren Wills: ‘Do you mean what you said in Holmfirth about coming back next year.’ Sure. Too soon for Holmfirth, but we will definitely want to keep ‘Fingers Crossed’ alive. They’ll be English dates in June as far as I know. We have the offers – it just has to be routed.

Andy Smith: No problem – we hear you.

Joe Storey: ‘Did you enjoy playing the Tivoli in Buckley last night? I loved it? Oh, yes – it was wonderful!!

Pasquale: ‘Fantastic show in Shepherds Bush – you and the Rand Band in fine form. Did you like the cake?’ Thanks – we devoured it!

Fred Petterson: ‘New CD and Big Box set fantastic! Looking forward to seeing you in Gothenburg and Stockholm next week.’ Fred and the mad hatters – the tribe seems to be getting bigger! And Fred – you are getting fitter too!

JC Finn: ‘I think ‘Man o War’ is a great song – can you remember the guitar tuning (probably open G). ‘Fingers Crossed’ great.

Al Johnson: ‘Ever consider a tour where each song is from a different album?’ You never know – it’s possible.

Caroline Kernan: So glad he’s got the all clear!!

Karen Benett: ‘Where do you get your energy?’ Honestly – it doesn’t take much. You guys make it easy.

Kirby Sharpe: ‘Vancouver?’ Like I always say – it’s down to the promoters.

Antony Williamson: Not bad – not bad at all.

Geoff S: ‘The spectre of Mott slain for good now you have such a great catalogue of work to choose from. Cardiff – probably the best I’ve seen you.’ I don’t want Mott to ever disappear, but that was then and this is now. Tramshed was a great venue by the way. Thanks to all.

Ian Mack: ‘Go on then – how do you feel about President Trump?’ It is what it is and we have to deal with it.

Kevin: Mick’s doing fine. It’ll take time, but he’s on the mend.

Ged Digby: ‘Did you ever play the Hare ‘n’ Hounds in Northampton?’ No, but I sure had some great times in there.

Phil Grant says you chaps may soon need my music more than ever!!

Chris Hludzik: Chris is a huge fan of ‘Man Overboard’ and doesn’t get why it’s not talked about more than others perhaps less deserving. He’s not the only one who feels this way, however I can only deal with what’s in front of me in any given circumstance at any given time. Obviously, I was in that mood at that time, and moods can change. In music opinions differ – you can be totally convinced of someone’s talent and the guy next to you doesn’t get it at all. I’m happy you like ‘Man Overboard’ but that’s it – why do a copy – that would be boring apart from anything else. Plus, the label was pretty crap.

Mike Wagner: ‘Wife got ‘Stranded’ for my 56th – best gift ever!

Paul Rivers: ‘Thanks for Shepherds Bush – come back soon.’

Scruffysteve on songwriting. I get you guys are trying to pick my brain, but I have no answers. It’s the old saying – if you knew how it worked everybody would be doing it.

Carlo Mathews: Keith seems to favor open tunings and he uses capos a lot these days. He likes stroking the groove that Charlie sets up. It’s not a loud sound – it’s more raw and thin and slinky. The groove is all important. Let the drummer do the work – just help it on its way. Steve Holley’s similar to Charlie in that he plays a little behind, and we push and shove along with him. Great fun.

Geoff Byrant: ‘Loved the UK got to four gigs. Band was fantastic – great set list. Hope this wasn’t your last.’

Lionel: ‘Went to Shepherds Bush last week and thought you were the best I’ve seen you. New record is terrific – can’t get ‘Dandy’ out of my head.’

Kirk: ‘Me and Mrs. Loved Holmfirth – ‘Fingers Crossed’ a great track and we do like the album. Hope you don’t mind us shouting – you’re our heroes and the ain’t many of them left.’ Shout on!

Jack Pells: So you’re the guy who got the Bush fired up!! I though you were a nut job at first, but I have to own up – you changed the evening – turned out great – one of my favourites. Nice one, Jack!

Graham Stark: I know a lot of you want to know how Pete is, but Pete’s a very private person and I have to go along with that.

A Vickers: ‘Bought the box set – does the Dominion show exist in its entirety? If so, will it ever be released?’ The simple answer is no one can find it.

Col Spikings: Awesome gig at Holmfirth. Daughters are now hooked – 7 year old grandson gone to be singing’Dandy’.’ Goodho!

Dave Griffiths MBE: ‘Ghosts’ is a single.’ That’s what I’m told.

Doug Moss: ‘When are the items in your store being updated?’ Soon.

Twmas: PA’s vary. We give promoters the specs of what’s needed and sometimes a promoter will try to short change and substitute to save a bit of dosh. Sometimes it’s just plain ignorance. It’s been pretty good lately, I have to say.

Mark: ‘Can we have the bits we don’t have in the box set?’ No. Proper have spent a fortune licensing from various record companies and putting the box set together over the past three years. They wanted to do the box set properly and at this stage I feel obligated to help. Put another way – if they hadn’t pushed and prodded all this unreleased stuff would have never seen the light of day – period. I’ve said many times – the past doesn’t interest me, but when you see people putting so much effort into you …

Scruffysteve: The business side of music does not and never has interested me. I’m not that chap you need. Good luck with it though!

Oooer Wullie: No problem! (and thanks for the bottle!!!)

Kel wants ‘Fingers Crossed’ down under.

Bart: ‘How do you feel when you perform ‘Picasso’ onstage?’ I’m OK with it. It can be tricky of Suzi, Lisa, Minnie or Maggie are in the audience, but apart from that – a lot of people relate to it.

Dave Crisfield: ‘What a great month it’s been.’

Ed the Shrew asks about ‘Girl From the Office’ – yes, it was inspired when I apprenticed at Rolls Royce in Shrewsbury. ‘Did the Sabrina Dancing Academy really exist?’ Yup.

Jim Mcconnell: ‘Brilliant album; brilliant gigs.’

Keith Hollingshed: ‘Did four of the English gigs – wish I’d done more.’

Lou Bambinga: ‘Near perfect at the Sage.’

Martin: ‘Love the new album – especially ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Bow Street Runners’. Holmfirth was magnificent – what do you and the band think of it?’ Holmfirth’s just one of those gigs that accidentally works perfectly sound wise. We always look forward to it – even if it is a bit of a schlepp. ‘Are you firmly in charge of the band or is it democratic?’ I like the feel of being one of the band, and I think we’re pretty democratic. It’s fun in the band – lots of different personalities – but do I get the final word – yes. ‘Can Bosch change the solo in a classic if he wants to?’ I don’t think he wants to, but I’m fine with it if it’s better.

Andy Cowin’s 11 year old was suitably impressed. ‘The set list and the pics given to him by James are now his most treasured possessions and he wants to increase his lessons from once a week to every day!’ That’s James for you – ever thoughtful.

Graham: Mark Riley played ‘Walkin’ With A Mountain’ on his show last week. He believes that the title refers to you supporting Mountain on tour – is that correct?’ Nah.

Stephen Kettell: ‘Buckley could have done with a good hovering!’

Daphne wants us in Florida.

Peter Mason enjoyed Shepherds Bush.

Alan Workman: ‘Saw three shows – fantastic – Shepherds Bush my 40th gig of yours. Any plans for the UK in 2017?’ Watch this site – they’re working on it now.

Ivo: ‘I went all the way from Prague to Stockholm to see you in concert! Amazing show at Nalen last night. Your voice gets better with age and the band sounds great! Most importantly, you are one of the few living legends who can afford to build a show on new songs without just play the classics. ‘Fingers Crossed’ is another great record.’ After Stockholm, James went on holiday to Prague with his wife, Meghan and two daughters. You may well have been on the same plane going back!

Danny G: ‘We tried ‘White House’ a couple of times, but it didn’t seem to fit into the rhythm of the set.

Jerry Lakeman and son enjoyed Manchester.

Tony Barber: ‘Re: Silverburst Les Paul Custom – what happened to the other one?’ No idea.

Graham Stark: ‘Rant Band on top form with the whole greater than the sum of the individuals. Brilliant.’

Georg French: ‘Almost 4 weeks listening and reading ‘Stranded in Reality’ and all I can say is – superb. Quite a benchmark when it comes to boxes like this. Did Irene Wilde ever respond?’ I heard she liked the song.

Scrots Mcgoats: I get 2 hours – there’s only so many songs I can play.

Mike Bunyard: ‘Is the Walrus Ringo Starr?’ Nope. ‘ ‘Fingers Crossed’ – a masterpiece.’ OK!

Julian Richards: Noted.

Keith Hollinshed: ‘Any chance you’d do an audiobook of ‘Diary’?’ We own ‘Diary’ and I’m not letting anybody take it on unless they can guarantee certain conditions. In return, they’ll probably want audio – and I’ll do it.

Nils: ‘Looking forward to Stockholm.’ Hope you enjoyed it.

Keith Smith: ‘Thank you for ‘Morpheus’.’

Dave Hines: ‘Your concert at the Infinity Hall in Hartford, CT was all we could have hoped for. You and the Rant band were spot on. What do you think of the venue?’ Great venue – great people.

Irina: Do you have a favourite Gene Wilder movie?’ The Producers.

David Taylor: I’ll mention this to Trudi again. Things have been a bit crazy round here recently.

Dyanne Klinko: ‘The song, ‘Bastard’ – which I really love – what came to mind when you wrote this song?’ It’s a love song.

Matt: ‘Back from successful surgery (goodho!!!). Liken the whole experience to an alien abduction. FC helped a lot.’

Tom Semioli: ‘I’m writing a story on Rant Band Bassist, Paul Page – has any other bassist attempted the solo in AAAB?’ I don’t think so.

Jim Kleinheksel and son enjoyed the Cleveland show.

Jason C: ‘Trouble’ is in ‘A’ but we tune a semi tone down.

JJ: ‘Everybody else is stale – repetitious – you continue to be relevant!’

Oeyvind Kristoffersen enjoyed the Drammen show a lot.

Bradley Brown: ‘Congrats on being selected by Rolling Stone magazine David Fricke as having the #9 rated reissue box set of the year – with ‘Stranded in Reality.’ Nice and overdue recognition for you and the band.’ Met David Fricke backstage somewhere – he’s good – he draws you out.

Saperstein: I think both Mick and Miller were doing it strictly for the money. They both got out the minute they realized it was stupid.

Gazatthebop: ‘Were any tracks from the 1978 session with John Cale listened to and considered for the box set?’ Don’t know.

Colin Thayer went to three shows. Excellent. Does Trudi attend every gig?’ If she’s fit – yes.

Ali: ‘Next time in Sweden?’ We are looking into 2017 – watch this space.

Iain D: ‘Thanks for the brilliant new album and the live shows. ‘Fingers Crossed’ is so good, and the band are totally on it.

Joe Marn: ‘Come back to Canada.’

Timo Luopa: ‘ ‘Fingers Crossed’ – great album; one of your all time best! Rant Band brilliant again. Please make a live DVD concert with them.’

So there it is – the deluxe edition – (and how much did this cost you?)!

We had a great time over the last few months. Family – friends – it was pretty full on – apart from the gigs! Great to see the upsurge in audiences in Europe and you all seemed to have had a great time.

So from James, Steve, Paul, Mark, Dennis, Trudi and me – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

P.S. I know I missed some – sorry.

P.P.S. Greg Lake – great guy – great musician – R.I.P.


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