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Morning all. Bit late with this one as we've been busy the last few weeks. Tracie was over for a fortnight so we popped in and out of NYC etc. That and the finishing of the mixes, and mastering of the new record and time goes by. We've delivered the masters to Danny Goldberg so he'll take it from here on in and we'll see what develops.
Dave Hancox: Re: 'Standin' In My Light.' Interesting track - it was done at the Power Station (1) as they were building the studio. The workmen would all stop and watch when we did a take and we'd have to stop when the car lift was in use. I remember I took my pioneer stereo gear down there and we plugged a keyboard through it to get the back drop. It was tailor made for Ronno. Mick loved slow and simple e.g. Cline's 'Sweet Dreamer' (which he also developed into something special. It's boring playing the same songs the same way night after night so you have to find new bits here and there.
John Stieferman: 'Are you doing backing vocals on Ozzie's version of Dudes? (Yup.) Can you still hit the high notes?' I'm a semi-tone down now.
Andy Martin: 'During 'Overnight Angels' - the rented house you stayed in went up in smoke. Was anyone injured and what is your memory of Ernie the cop?' Nobody was injured, although the bass player and his lady had a very close call. I just remember Roy Thomas Baker - naked as the day he was born - trying to get into my 30' Fiorucci's. Not a pretty sight! No memories of Ernie the cop - sorry!
Curtis Mayfield: 'By now I'm figuring a few dozen people have told you that 'Memphis' was the lead in song on 'Life on Mars' (ABC, Thursdays) - shades of 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore'.'
Shawn Jones: 'Three MTH appearances in the last year ('Juno', a cover by Guitar Hero and' Life on Mars'). You may have a future in this business!
Rick Goward: Just tell him to get in touch with Brady Brock at Danny Goldberg's office. Thanks.
Blue Claw: 'Any chance of the Troc this fall?' Nope. Maybe next year.
Rick Graves: 'How often do you think of Ronno?' A lot.
Denise Lee: 'Who influenced your style of playing?' I always loved Richard Tee and Leon Russell as pianists and because I'm basically a rhythm player - probably Keith Richards on guitar.
Bill Adair: 'I've had 'Rant' and 'Shrunken Heads' for a month now - haven't been this excited about music in a long time.' Wait till you hear the new one.
Spacecake: 'As I'm getting older and weaker I find the group'[s today are manufactured. There's no real sound to these groups and they copy everyone else mainly from the 70's. What do you think?' Dunno, don't listen too much. When we were in the studio, Pete Moshe, played us a Nickelback track and it sounded like an electronic jigsaw puzzle - every piece in place. Not for me.
Bill McCue on 'Life on Mars'!
Bill C: ' 'Memphis' - did you know it was a great song when you wrote it?' Actually, it was a total pain. The track was done - the whole song was done for weeks and I could not for the life of me find a lyric for it. Eventually, it got finished and I remember saying to Dick Asher (head of CBS UK at that time), 'Don't put this out as a single.' He promised he wouldn't and the minute our backs were turned (U.S. tour) he put it out anyway. It went top ten so I couldn't complain. Shows you how much I know.
Walt Batansky: 'No question - saw a couple of lost photos from LA '72 at this site: www.gregpapazian.com and thought you might like to see them!! Thank you.
Phil: 'Play Wildwood, Missouri; great venue - all that play return!' Sounds great, but it's not up to me.
Clyde Hartman: 'So it's Obama and Biden at the helm - and not a moment too soon. Saw Leon Russell in concert - he's another great piano playing songwriter. Did you ever consider covering him? (songs for you?)' I've always thought Leon Russell to be amazing. I think Elton copped a bit off him. I tried to get Leon to produce me at one point but he was in the middle of a spot of bother with Denny Cordel so it was impossible. Is he back on piano? I thought he was just playing organ. Listen to 'In the Ghetto' on Bonny 'n' Delaney's first album; listen to 'Watching the River Flow' - amazing pianist. I was told he played on Everly Brothers and Sinatra records in the '50's.
David Crisfield: 'MTH 40th reunion rumors gathering momentum. Will it really happen? Will I be able to die a happy man? Go on and spill the beans.' Never spilt a bean in my life, David. I just had a look on the fridge door and I'm afraid it's no longer there. 'Finally, have you ever been to Crisfield (home of crabbing) in Maryland?' Yup - I went there and I got them (just joking!).
Ken Moore: 2008 - racing green. Love it.
Peter Holmes: 'So you can be on Hootenanny provided you do MTH stuff- and appear at Glastonbury - but only as part of MTH. Hmmmmm. You really are up against it when airing your solo work, aren't you?' In this business it's always something. Pretty stupid, but there it is.
Gary Sawruk: 'MTH reunion??? It's been 40 years?? Are we getting older or what. Looking forward to your new music. Think of yourself as fine wine. Better as we age!!'
Steve H. 'Was turning down 'Suffragette City' a brave thing to do?' Not at all. All the band agreed it wasn't for us. If we hadn't turned that one down, he might never have come back with 'Dudes' so in retrospect, I think we were right.
Ken: That's what happens when you play Leicester! Lovely.
Phil Huband: 'I assume your contract stipulates a maximum and minimum performance time? When it comes to encores - is that at your discretion - depending on audience response or do you do basically the same number of encores regardless of the crowd?' It's how you feel at the time. Sometimes you have to cut it short because of noise stipulations after a certain time of night. Sometimes they've got an all night disco coming immediately afterwards (Astoria, London). Sometimes you can go on as long as want - there's no hard and fast rules. Union halls are really difficult.
Tony Jones: 'Why would you block one of your biggest fans from My Space. Have I done something wrong?' Dunno - I'll look into it. Actually, I have a My Space because they tell me I should, I don't get involved with it personally. If you want to get to me - this is the forum. Hopefully, we'll get to Dallas next year.
Andy B: Glad they're having fun with it.
Jim Shea: 'Was set list a joint effort by all members of MTH? Yep.
Sandra McIntosh: So what does that make us? Cousins, cousins? There's no autobiography - Nettie was my autobiography! How nice; stay in touch.
Steveabs: Saw Jesse Malin in New York the other night. Seems fine. Paul Cuddeford is sitting in on Tracie's gigs at the moment and helping out on her new album which she's just started recording.
Mark F: 'Just wondering what kind (brand) of shades you're using lately.' It's not the make; it's the shape. Put 'em on and if you feel good in them - that's it.
Mikey: 'I heard a story that you were at the Dakota to meet John Lennon and before the meeting happened Yoko made you leave. Well, I actually heard that she threw you out. What a bitch.' I'm always wary of 'I heards'. That's the funniest thing I've heard today. C'mon, change your friends.
Joe Flynn: 'L.A.?' Next year.
Sarah-Ann Ferguson: 'My Dad wrote a comment saying that my Mum has started listening to your music and now I have too! I really enjoy it and look forward to listening some more. Mum and Dad saw you in Southampton and didn't take me so maybe I'll go next time. Sarah (13).' Hi Sarah - maybe they couldn't take you because sometimes they don't allow anyone under a certain age in clubs because of the liquor laws. Glad you like my stuff.
Timo Saarikivi - 'Listening to AAAB on CD. Still as good as it always was. Was Irene Wilde a real person? Yes, she was (is?).
Pat: 'I work at a club in NYC which had a benefit for Shrewsbury School. I asked a proper older woman who was hosting the event - if the school was actually in Shrewsbury and she replied, 'Yes - home of Brother Cadfael - to which I replied - and Ian Hunter - she said ah - yes - the writer - I replied - he's a rock 'n' roll….. before I could finish she cut me off (sounding like Mrs. Bucket). 'Oh, yes, I know who he is - then she turned and walked away - Irene?' Me and Charlie Darwin - no respect. Cadfael was kind of insipid. I tried watching it but it didn't quite do it for me.
Jim Wysocki: 'What comes first the lyrics or the music?' Most of the time the music comes first. Some of the time the lyrics some first and on the odd blessed occasion, they come together - and they're usually the best ones.
Shawn Jones: On 'Life on Mars'. Says we must have a fan on the show. Who knows - they're out there. Liam Neeson's new one uses 'Honaloochie Boogie' in it. Apparently they took 'Dudes' off 'Whacked' because they found out about 'Juno'.
Magnus Ihreskog: 'How does it feel to have written a brilliant song like, 'Roll Away the Stone'? Do you feel when it's done it's going to be something extra?' I knew it was special. The Hollies (who were big at the time) really wanted the song. I wrote it for the 'Mott' album, but the band said to hold it back for the next album in case we had no hits. Good idea!
Gerry Draper: 'Although I log onto the message board pretty much every day - it's been a long time since I had a word with you - just want to say you have one hell of a fan club there Mr. Hunter - and I'm damn proud to be part of it. A lot of great people in a lot of great places. Just to let you know, my son, Ian, has just turned 20 and is making me proud.' All right then.
Bullet Bob says Al Escovedo was playing in Nashville. 'Great show. All tunes penned by him then he came back for two encores, 'Mother' and 'Dudes'. His guitar player told me he plays a lot of your stuff. Any collaborations in the future?' Glad to see him doing so well and feeling well. We'll probably hook up at some point.
Chris: No surprises this year.
Tall Paul: 'Nick Lowe - outstanding. Just him and an acoustic. Have you worked with him?' He headlined a show in Sweden one night and I headlined the next evening and we had a chat.
Janey Todd: OK, so you're in - welcome back.
Matt Nojonen: 'Just bought the four disk live retrospective, 'In Performance 69-74'. The notes inside were very informative as were the demos, 'Ballad of Billy Joe', 'If Your Heart Lay With The Rebel' and 'It would Be A Pleasure.' These songs were vastly different from the Mott sound we know and love. What kind of process did the band follow when selecting material?' Usually Mick or I would come in with a raw song - Pete and Buff would say - this is for us - or no! If it was a go - we'd all try and finish it - or I'd help Mick or he'd help me. All very unselfish and democratic. As things progressed Mick and I started writing complete songs, as we were beginning to realize what we were. Phally came in with a few and Pete wrote, 'Born Late '58' if I remember correctly. 'How much influence did producers exert on decisions?' Guy Stevens was a tremendous influence on us. Not in a musical way as much as pumping us up and letting us fire. 'Wildlife' was pretty much self produced, as was 'Mott' and 'The Hoople'. Buff got the live one together. 'Did Mick Ralphs want to soften the band's sound or give it a country feel?' Mick was a big Steven Stills fan - Poco and all that West Coast music, but something happened when the band played - loud - aggressive + desperate - so we started to write to that. 'It also appears the band was victimized by bad management and disorganization that was bordering on chaos - little or no promotion. Do you think MTH could have climbed into the Stones/Zep money and popularity with better management?' While all of the above is true (and I was jealous as hell of Roxy and their management), I don't think we'd have got that far up. Who knows - and we never will.
Wullie: The only bit I'm printing is, 'The beers are on me.'
John G. Anderson: 'My mother and I met you after you played the Troc in Philly last winter. Ten years ago, as a lad of 10 I bought a record player at a yard sale, plus a collection of David Bowie records that my mother had. I remember looking through the box in the basement and finding this cover - a woman with different guys in her hair. I put it on - etc. etc.' Anyway John's got the lot now - solo stuff as well. Very happy with SH. Wait till you hear the new one!
Mick Mitchell: 'Ian, mate - sorry - got to ask - is there anything in the rumours of a MTH 40th reunion? You'd make a lot of people happy. Anyway, Shrewsbury have a Carlisle lad as a manager now - and it's freezing up here.' I saw them lose 3 - 1 in the cup - didn't look good at all - but their up there.
Stay tuned for Part 2 ...