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Dog days upon us. We fair-skinned types tend to stay in a lot during July and August. It's beautiful today, but the humidity is beginning to rear its ugly head and tomorrow promises to be awful. Nothin' but salads.
Karen recently converted. Got 'Once Bitten Twice Shy' - the start of a collection. Welcome aboard.
Alan: I think I was referring to the inconsistencies and lack of interest on the management end. 'What do I think of Noddy and Slade?' Noddy Holder has a great voice. He once told me that Mott the Hoople were responsible for Slade's formation. They saw us at Wolverhampton (Civic?). 'Why doesn't the web site advertise when a magazine (in this case - 'UNCUT') is including me in its issue?' Well, you do them, but I never quite know when the articles come out (this is a reference to July's issue of UNCUT).
Dave Tyndall is sick of asking me to come to Ireland. It's all done through agents and promoters, Dave. If there's a decent offer that ties in with an English tour we'll certainly look at it.
Richard agrees with my Pet Peeve; people annoying you in shops. I guess it must work - that's why they do it, but it drives me nuts. Another one is the 'suggestion box.' Jesse worked in one of these places for a couple of months and he said they sling them - don't even look at them.
James Ball: Again, it's between the promoters and Emma Banks (Helter Skelter), my UK agent. They make offers and we choose the ones that make sense routing wise and financially.
Doug McMillan: Is it safe to book for Stranglers [in October]? Yes, it is. Have a good time. No BBC film of Hunter/Ronson to my knowledge.
Michael B: Is Fred Heller sitting on any video footage or audio footage? (Fred was MTH's and IH's manager for a while.) I liked Fred. He was a whiz kid, but I think his tastes were more jazz than R + R. Fred was all money up front. Get the money; get the percentage etc. I doubt if he's got anything up his sleeve. Haven't seen him in decades.
Mr. G: I guess it's a bit late for that now, Walt. Sorry!
Kelly Wallace on Rainsong guitars: Do they hold up better in the heat and humidity? They seem to. Can they take a hit? Well = you don't hit them. Do they stay in tune? I left one of mine for months in its case = pulled it out and it was still in tune. They're great for tuning.
Kevin King: 'You keep forgetting Boston - why?' I'm not touring at the moment. When I do - Boston will be on the sheet.
Pat: 'Do you like Elvis Costello's music?' Some of it. 'Keith has a house in Connecticut as well. Says it reminds him of England.' True.
Rick Rivets: 'Is it true you wear shades for medical reasons?' I have weak eyes.
Mark Hughes: 'Happy Dad's Day'
Hope Campbell: 'Happy belated B'day.'
Dietmar Feldmann wants an autograph on a picture. Haven't got any at the moment.
Michael Flanagan: Dublin? I'd love to - we'll see.
Brent Coursey: Re: Jaco. I'm not sure, but I don't think so.
Shawn (San Diego) says 'Cleveland Rocks' is a catch phrase included in U.S. culture now.' Lovely!
Ray Waters: We'll see what we can do, Ray. It is a great little gig.
Andrew Field: I thought the article was pretty stupid, too. Tracie sent it to me. Ah, well.
Phillip: 'Were you in Le Mans (France) last weekend? Looked like you with a dodgy T-shirt and a minder.' That's what I do all day, Phillip. Wear dodgy T-shirts with my minder and watch cars going round in a circle.
Willie Fi Glasgi wants me to do an album of Scottish folk songs. Cover CDs are popular at the moment - how about doing one? Hang on 0 I've still got to sort out Shrunken Heads. Tracie's just had a great time in Glasgow.
Graham: 'Saw Alejandro Escovedo play a church in London recently, played with a string quartet and was absolutely stunning. For the encore, the 'band' unplugged and sat themselves in the Isle in the middle of the audience and played 'I Wish I Was Your Mother'. Words cannot express how good it was. Have you seen him play?' Alejandro's great. A true believer. I sang 'Mother' with him in Austin last year. I'm very happy for him.
Jeff Swachuck would like to purchase a new CD with 'Just Another Night' on it and would like suggestions. I know it's on 'The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothin' but the Truth' CD and DVD. This was on Secret Records and should be widely available. Mick Ralphs makes an appearance as well as other luminaries.
Ian Hollinghurst suggests we pile on the pounds to give the appearance of Shrunken Heads. Tempting! Does Stan know he's not a big Hereford supporter now?' Yes, he does. He can't believe it, but he's not bothered any more. Accrington (for some reason) still excites.
Scott Mallender: 'The Rant Band name should remain.' At the moment, I'm inclined to agree.
Jeffrey: Pulling dead frogs out of the pool. Actually, if you leave them in for 24 hours, you can fish 'em out still alive and they don't hop straight back in.
Michael Faley: Re: 'Strings Attached'. Why not 'Sea Diver'? I just felt it had already been done with strings before. 'Do 'Death of a Nation' live. It's in and out of the set. We do it here and there.
Al Trombetta: Good luck with quitting smoking. Well, I'm not off them, but I've cut right down.
Bill McCue: Did Ralpher sing on 'Sweet Jane' with me? Yup. I think I sang with myself on the hooks, but I think Mick was doing it too.
Janet Gawley: Jet Blued (great airline) to NYC for California for the Arthur Lee Benefit. Hope you had a good time.
Jamie Farley: Have no idea, Jamie. Sorry. [Jamie - No, it hasn't. - Ed.
Keith Smith: 'Keep he 'Rant Band'. It's a bloody good name.'
Lynne: What's Overend up to these days? He's gone into hiding. Nothing drastic - he's just cut himself off for a while.
Andy Baker - another vote for the 'Rant Band' over 'Shrunken Heads'. I am thinking along the same lines.
Andy Allison: 1) 'Any ambitions you still want to achieve?' Nope - not really. 2) 'Would you ever consider moving back to the UK?' I'm always considering everything. 3) 'I know the honour system is a load of old tripe, but would you consider being so honored?' It would all depend on what it was. 4) 'Would you consider writing with others?' I'm not too keen on co-writing - I'm too bossy for that. Want it all my own way.
Tom McGarry: 'Keep the Rant Band name. It's got the attitude that fits the guys and you.'
David Kiley: 'Local newspaper said you were 74!!' Where do you live, Dave!
Edward Shirley doesn't believe I should be doing normal things - 'You're a star for God's sake!' Tell that to the wife.
Pete: 'Shrunken Heads gets my vote.'
Andy Martin: 'Were you an engineer in early life (lathes, milling etc)? I read Miller Anderson shared the same occupation.' Me and Mill worked capstans on the Hornsey Road in North London for a year. I was good (no scrap); Mill was crap. It was hell, but it was fun looking back on it.
Andy Martin: 'Any memories of the Mayfair Newcastle?' Not really. I remember the Newcastle City hall gigs pretty well. Was the Mayfair the place they brought Alsatian dogs out onto the stage? Bloody stupid thing to do.
Mac: 'Ian, how are you - hope limbo doesn't last too long - over a year now in Iraq and still alive and well. Holiday in Germany soon. Gotta catch the finals. Place is getting better contrary to what people say. Thanks in large part to our English partners. Did you once do a video to Irene Wilde? If you did is it available? God bless - John.' And you wonder why I do the Horse's Mouth. There exists a video of 'We Gotta Get Out of Here,' 'Once Bitten' and 'Irene Wilde' (with Ellen Foley). These songs were done as a promo for the Chrysalis double live album (that puts it somewhere around '81 or '82). Sony were working on putting together a DVD of all MTH/IH promos last year - I'll ask Trudi to check on the progress. God bless, you, John.
Dennis: Another 'Salvation' fan. Actually, I've found a studio version of 'Salvation' recorded in the mid '90s and it's pretty good, so the saga of 'Salvation' is not over. The song is much better than I previously thought. Actually, I have two versions of it - an earlier version and then a second with a bunch of harmonicas on it. I don't even recall who's playing on it. I did it on ADATS at home, so it sounds pretty good. I believe Rick Tedesco assisted.
Kay: 'I love Ian - my favourite song is 'Angel of 8th Avenue.'
Bucks Burnett is all for 'Shrunken Heads' as a band name. 'Tell all those starving musicians out there to keep at it and make their art and make it better than the last time. Complaining about ones lack of success gets in the way of creativity. It's nice to make a living at it, but I believe primarily that music is here to soothe the soul and lift the heart. So, if we have a gift we should use it regardless of reward or lack of it. I realized, lately, my chances of luck are greater when my guitar is in my hands and not it its case. That's my opinion, free of charge - a savings of two cents.' I like this Horse's Mouth.
Alan: 'The Kempston MH fans need you to play Bedford or Kempston. It's been 36 years - pretty please - any chance?' I played there 36 years ago? Not exactly a residence then.
Joe Pic: 'I think 'The Rant Band' is a fine name. Your lyrics have a 'Rant' in them. Shrunken Heads is so generic. Sounds like a teenage garage band - kind of poofie.' (or even metal-ly, me thinks).
Mike Pecucci just read UNCUT. (I said Marc Bolan was a lightweight.) What I meant was Marc was more pop oriented. I didn't think his albums were strong. A past master at the old singles, though. Classic singles keep the name going. I don't know what the chords are in the second bridge of Saturday gigs. I use to know them (I wrote em!) but the band plays them now. I'll have to ask the chaps.
Daniel Halferty: 'How about 'Band - James Band'. Good that. Somebody should use it.
Gareth's vote is for 'The Rant Band'. 'Shrunken Heads' is a bit 80ish - Talking Heads etc. Well, this is true, but you haven't heard the contents of 'Shrunken Heads' yet. It might change your opinion of the term.
Steve Jeal: 'Is the new material out yet?' Nope. 'Is sheet music available?' I don't think they bother with that so much nowadays - unless you sell millions. Everybody I know just works it out from the CDs. Incidentally we - me and the Rant Band - always play a semi tone down from concert pitch. Detune your guitars down a half step and you'll find the songs pretty easy to follow. Am I gigging this year? No as far as I know. I'm planning for next spring. If anything crops up it will be on the web site.
Jackie: 'What a bummer - I thought I'd see you this year - HB and love to Andy.
Sandy McLean: 'Greetings from Glasgow - we go to the horse racing at Hamilton occasionally. What is the name of the restaurant you like in Hamilton? How on earth did you find it? And finally, recommend something on the menu.' The restaurant is Peter Equis and it's just off Peacock Cross in Hamilton. I lived in the tenements above it for five years when I was a bairn! It is and always has been the finest restaurant of its kind I've ever eaten in - and I've eaten in a few round the globe. I could cheerfully live in that place. Everything's great. You name it. There's certificates all over the walls for their ice cream. They've won countless awards. In the world of over priced mediocrity, Equis shines like a beacon from a better time. Go there - you will love it. (I'm tasting it now!)
John Pottage: 'Will Mott members ever do inside DVD interviews to make up for lack of MTH footage?' The short answer is I don't know. I don't think Pete would do it - he wants out and away from the business. Mick - I don't know but we'd have a good day out if we did. Luther would probably be up for it and maybe Buff. I don't know. I don't talk to them much - geography and all that. 'Was Angie Bowie responsible for Pete's silver hairspray?' No - Angie was responsible for a lot of stuff with the way David looked, but Pete did his hair his own way. Stan use to spray the stuff on.
Jeffrey's all for 'The Rant Band'. 'If it aint broke - don't fix it.' 'How vast is the garden?' Like everything else about Hunter Towers - overstated.
Brian Calingaert: It's a mask!
Marty G: 'Congrats on the Arthur Lee show. Looked, sounded magnificent. Glad you quit smoking (well) and you didn't gain weight (it was agony). Never realized how good James Mastro is. He was obviously leading the Ranters as they backed Nils and Robert Plant. When on stage, Plant mentioned going to see MTH in NYC. What really happened?' There was a bit of a fracas but neither Robert or I were involved. I must say the Rant Band excelled that night; I was proud of 'em. Robert was very gracious as was Nils.
Kenny Mac: It was Kris Needs. [Ed. Note: Needs Must, Virgin Books, 1999].
Jim D was sorely disappointed when MTH broke up. We were scheduled to play in Hollywood, Florida but the band finished.' Bought the reissues. 'MTH Live' and first IH outstanding. Hope to see you on stage soon.'
Colin Taylor: Does Steve Holley still play with Joe Cocker (nope). Have I ever performed with Joe? Don't think so. Maybe on a big bill years ago - but I don't think so.
Crazydan: It's more American - I don't know why - it just is.
Paul from Toronto: Not too keen on the sound of current 'Welcome to the Club' release. Edits very obvious - wait for reissue. Paul says Roy Wood and I would have been great together. I think at one point it would have been great.
Britfan: 'Have you ever played 'The Debt' live?' If we ever did, I don't remember it.
Callmeafan3: 'What's the worst song you've ever written?' I can't really say, but in the '80s I was writing forced songs rather than the songs coming from inside. It's very shallow and something I strive not to do. You know - pick a catchy title - write a catchy tune. Aim for the pop 20. If it's a natural song then I'm OK with it. If it's a forced song - it's no fun.
Stay tuned for Part 2 ...