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Horse’s Mouth

March 15, 2015

Horse’s Mouth (Issue #160, Mar 2015)

Spring is springing up here at Hunter Towers. What a bloody winter! So glad I wasn’t Ranting. Here we go…..

Graham Spink: ‘Never mind the Elmo – play Massey Hall – saw MTH there when Queen were supposed to open, but Fred was sick.’ Aaah, those were the days. Massey might be a bit too large – I don’t draw like MTH.

Bill: ‘Found a Takamine acoustic from 1990 with inlay that spells ‘Ronno’ on it – do you remember Mick having such a beast?’ Don’t know about this.

David/Ian Dahl: ‘There’s a dedicated audiophile crowd very supportive of 5.1 releases or Blue-ray with 5.1 surround.’ I’ll mention this to Proper – we’ll see.

Sigurd Skogestad: ‘I read in a Norwegian Newspaper ‘Adresseavison’ that Ian is playing with Norwegian Rock Legend Age Aleksandersen in Trondheim on August 15th. Can you confirm?’ Yeah, Age has asked me to sit in with his band for a few songs. I’m looking forward to it.

Jeffrey: Keeping his mouth shut about the weather! I’ve had it up to the teeth with these idiots on TV telling me what the weather was like yesterday – moronic.

Rob: ‘Detroit!!’ We’re trying.

Rebecca Lellek listening to Avalanche for the first time. I’ve forgotten what it was about, but she says it’s given her husband the poetry for the expression of his feelings. Nice one.

Daryl Aikin: ‘April 13, 1974 – Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco. I have 3 minutes of super 8 in lovely condition.’ Noted.

Alan Hawthorne: ‘Hi Ian – I’ve been attracted to early 70’s music for almost as long as I’ve bought records – fan of MTH and IH. Sounds to me like you were trying to get away from psychedelic music with all the feedback and out there lyrics. Progressive hadn’t become a dirty word yet.’ In my humble opinion, there’s always been a large amount of the business. I didn’t like hippies – too far left and a bit on the grubby side. Lyrics were pretentious and stupid. I didn’t live in that world. I came out of the factories – the real world. We kind of swept a lot of the b..out of the way. I think a lot of people who didn’t really understand music were fooled by it – but millions have been fooled by all kinds of pseudo things. Lowest common denominator!

Ian Mack: ‘Who are your favourite session musicians and singers?’ I haven’t used ‘session’ people for years, so I’m a little out of touch. It would have been nice to have played with Levon Helm or Leon Russell back in the day. Mott used sax player Howie Casey – you didn’t have to tell him a thing. Kind of a weird question; there’s thousands of them out there.

Michael Baseman: ‘What ever happened to the Uris Marionettes?’ No idea; probably sitting in Roger Ruskin Spears attic. ‘Is Luther still playing shows featuring MTH tunes? Was this a rogue operation?’ Luther used to do ‘Mott’ shows – he would tell the promoter to bill it as Luther Grosvenor from MTH. However, promoters being promoters, stuck MTH on the posters – in their never ending quest to put bums in the seats. Least that’s what Luther says!

John Dalton: Regarding John Mellencamp’s PBS special and his take on the decline of the record industry. He’s asking me what my thoughts were on why this scenario took place. I always thought the industry was miles behind what was going on most of the time. It’s obviously more protracted now – there’s less hype – it can’t be controlled by a few (for the time being) and entrepreneurs are always going to be ‘entrepreneurial’. I was never a fan of the music industry – like politics – people within the industry spend a third of their time trying to get somebody elses job; a third of the time trying to keep their own job; and a third of the time actually doing something – and that would be hit and miss. There were some notable exceptions, but in the main – b.s. – oh – plus coke.

Dave Ramshaw : ‘Just read the February issue and saw Chris asking about the availability of older cd’s. About to move from the UK to Egypt and have to cut back on collection having all your stuff in UK and US versions – so if you can pass on contact info – I can help him out with what he’s looking for. Cheers and do you fancy a Sharm-el-Sheikh hotel tour?’

Craig: ‘Any instruments you’d like to play, but never got around to?’ My rhythm playing is fine, but I’d have loved to have been able to play lead guitar. I just cannot do it. I can hear it in my head, but my fingers refuse to cooperate.

Matt Parish: ‘Each time I play the 2010 Live CD I have a new favourite – hallmark of a great record.’ Ta.

John McMillan: ‘Amazon pricy on the book – new one is $95; used $31 – still trying to decide if you’re worth it. LOL’ Of course I am, but hold on – we are negotiating with another publisher to reprint.

Joe Bekanich: ‘Saw you and the band at the Infinity Hall. First time since the Agora in Hartford 40 years ago. Great show. Me and my wife now follow Christine Ohlman and enjoy dancing to the Beehive Queen (she’s for real – that one -IH). My question is – would you rather be the next U.S. President or 16 years old?’ God – neither!!

Gerry: ‘What are your memories of doing shows with the New York Dolls?’ They were for real. Perhaps they needed a little more time to hone their chops – I thought they were pushed a little too soon. They had a great front man – good songs. Arthur Kane worshipped Overend Watts. Whatever Pete did – Arthur copied. The Bowery was their stomping ground. They looked a little out of place (and a little cared) in the mid-west. Middle America weren’t ready for them yet. I like David; he reminds me of Fred – very strong personality.

Stan P: ‘I’d love to know more about the recording of AAAB. Why did you choose those musicians? Saw you in St. Louis btw – great show – didn’t disappoint!’ You know, I’ve pretty much forgotten how it all came together. I remember the Jaco bit, which is well documented. I remember Chris Stainton was staying at my house and I would talk a lot to Bobby Columby (drummer of Blood Sweat + Tears) who probably recommended some people. There was a jazz club called MCales on the upper west side of Manhattan, where we use to go and watch ‘Stuff’ (Gordon Edward’s band). That’s where I heard some of the guys like Cornel Dupree and David Sandborn. Trudi met ‘Queen’ on a flight from London to New York and invited them down to Electric Lady – the studio where we were recording.

Ian Mack: Was there ever a point where you seriously considered giving up all or part of the music business – recording – writing – performing?’ I think I did give it up (or it gave up on me) late 80’s/early 90’s. It got far too corporate. Labels kept switching Presidents. You’d sign with a guy that wanted you and six months later he was out – just in time for the release of the album – and the new guy doesn’t even know who you are. That happened to me three times – it happened to a lot of bands. President out – 165 bands on hold. I tried to like labels, but I couldn’t. I still can’t take the ‘mass’ end of the industry. It attracts too many idiots and money is God. Luckily, I seem to have found my way round these obstacles and myself and the Rant Band do ok. This is the way I like it – outside the industry – yet self sustaining. We do what we want – not what we’re told. The sales of the 2010 album are extremely encouraging – and this without any publicity or label support. So yes, there were times when I considered knocking it on the head, but this aint one of them!

Pasquale + Marisa (Italy): ‘Just to say Happy Valentines Day to Ian and Trudi from the wonderful Lucca (Tuscany).’ Thank You!

Aron: ‘Hi. By any chance do you know of anyone who has access to videos, stills and audio recordings of MTH concerts which took place on December 6 + 7, 1971 at the Circus Krone in Munich, Germany?’ No – anybody?

James Williams
I’m James Williams who sang in Martin Chambers first band ever. I was at school with Buffin and Pete. Hope you don’t mind me taking a liberty with your song ‘All the Way From Memphis’. I just knocked this one out one night in my attic in Holland. You might notice the lyrics are different. Anyway, it’s a fun parody between mates – oh year – I tried to film a tall Overend, but almost broke my neck trying to stand on my neighbors wife’s borrowed stilettos, so I ended up with a short Overend option on film. Rock ‘n’ Roll.’ I’ll have to have a look.

Neil Moffat: ‘I recently read you lived in Hamilton (Scotland) when you were younger. I saw you in Equi’s café in 2004 – is that what the connection is? Loved the Garage in Glasgow. It was sold out I think – had guys tapping us up for tickets on the way to the show. Been a while since that happened – can’t be a bad sign.’ I spent the second world war in the Equi’s tenement building. If you go round the back – at the other end of the building you can see a circular staircase outside. At the top of the staircase – the window on the left – was my Auntie Nettie’s kitchen. Eleven bob a week! No si bad. P.S. Both me and the Rant Band LOVE Equi’s. We never miss when we’re up there. Best ice cream and grill ups anywhere – and clean as a whistle. BTW – I’ve been going to Equi’s since 1942!

Bill Maxwell: To early to say. I do believe they’re going to town on it. Good label.

Yucca Flats: ‘How’s the new CD going? Can’t wait to hear new tunes.’ I’m in the process, as they say; nothing to be despondent about so far.

Daniel: Welcome back!

Matt Nojonen: I like the middle bit.

Bertie McSpadden: ‘If some kid today was listening to MTH’s Greatest Hits, what would he be missing from the band?’ Ralpher and Phally. It’s a great shame it ended like it did – they could have had ‘Once Bitten’.

Mcclenaghan: ‘OK, ‘Silver Needles’ was about Sid – are any of your other songs inspired by well known people?’ Probably, I expect most writers zero in on somebody now and again.

Ian Mack: ‘You sometimes refer to MTH as ‘oddities’ in their day. How did you feel when labeled part of the ‘glam’ genre.’ There was an element of pretentiousness in the air – we were sadly lacking in that department. As far as glam was concerned – I fully expected people to figure out what we were doing – perhaps I overestimated – again we come back to the masses.

Matt Hennig: Do I ever get together with the guys from MTH and just have a beer or wine? Well we got together in 2009 and 2013 and we had a ball – all I did was listen to Pete talk.

Danny G: Keep it up lad.

Kerri Fraser: ‘Thrilled to get Winery tickets for June. Missed last year (naughty girl).

Matt Nojonen: ‘Who was your favourite Star Trek character?’ Shock ‘n’ awe – never watched the show.

Andy Cowin: It’s been mentioned; we’ll see how it develops.

Jim K wants ‘Fatally Flawed’ and ‘Ta Shunka Witco’ at the Winery – plus a couple of new tunes. Steady on!

Matt Parish: ‘Have you ever released the poem, ‘The Floods Roll On’?’ I lost it; that’s all that happened. I lost it – young and stupid.

Matt Nojonen: ‘Great American Song book of your own?’ Just one problem.

Clyde Hartman: So – give him a bell and ask him. It’s OK with me!

Charlie Fox: Sorry to hear about your Dad. Glad the flag is still flying!

Joe S: You owe me $2.50. Next gig – $2.50.

Tommy McGarry: ‘ ‘now Is The Time’ immense live.’ I’m enjoying that one.

Kevin: ‘I heard you got your book back – Is it going to be re-released?’ We’ve had enquires from publishers and movie people, but nothing concrete as yet.

Colin Thayer: I was into baseball in those years I wasn’t into music, but I left baseball when I returned to music. Football has always been a must. We get all the games here – but I find myself losing interest in a lot of the games – it’s kind of like chess. Now and again you get an exciting game, but there seems to be so much at stake that the fun is going out of it. Is it just me?

Joe jo: ‘I wrote and bitched about missing out on tickets for your 75th – then you apologized. Got tickets for this year – very witty too ‘Spirit of ’76’ (James Mastro’s idea). Can’t wait for the Winery and Brooklyn.’ See you there.

Keith: ‘Just got through watching That Metal Show on VH1 Classic and MTH were in the top 5 English hard rock bands list – thanks to your buddy Joe Elliott who had you at number one. MTH kept alive on TV – very cool!!! I hope to see the great MTH over here just once.’ How nice of Joe, but I don’t think Rock ‘n’ Roll should be on TV – the sound and screen are too small!

Nigel Pattison: ‘Any plans for the UK this year? I was away last year. Cheers, Nigel.’ Writing mode this year. Probably be back next year if all goes well.

John: ‘Who actually came up with the ‘Dudes’ intro? I thought it was Ralpher, but heard the Bowie demo and it was Ronno.’ I always was given to believe it was Ralpher’s intro.

Victor Alexander: ‘Is there any place on the planet where I can purchase a new/used good copy of the VHS tape I.H. Rocks concert in NYC – September 1981? This has become an obsession.’ Anybody?

Todd: ‘Why no Detroit the last couple of times? Had to head to Cleveland your last time out. Hope to see you in Motown on your next tour.’ High Road Touring’s Frank Riley books my gigs. I go where the offers come in that make sense and work. There’s no conspiracy against Detroit; I’ve had some great times there and hope to again.

Joan + Bill: ‘Loved seeing you with MTH at the O2, Leamington Spa, Dartford and the Roxy. Will you be in the UK in 2015? God bless you, Trudi ‘n’ the Rant Band.’ We’re thinking more on 2016.

Carlo Mathews: ‘I heard you and Lou Reed crossed paths. What were your impressions of him and his music?’ I liked his music. ‘How are the demos coming along?’ If you mean the songs for the Proper Box Set – they already have them.

Chris: ‘Look forward to the 76th at the Winery. Did you ever consider writing with someone else? Did you and Mick try at the beginning of MTH or do you prefer the lone wolf approach?’ I like to get it so I’m happy with it. Then present it to the musicians. I’m not good at collaborating unless it’s somebody like Jeff Tweedy who has the knack of drawing people it. It’s not natural to me.

Jeffrey: ‘The temperatures are a changin’.’ Toooooo right!

Janey Todd: See JM.

Gary/UK: Todd Rundgren, Paul Butterfield, John Cale and Moi. I think Michael Shrieve (Santana) might have been on drums.

Ian Mack: ‘In your opinion, have any great songwriters emerged in this millennium?’ Well, they all seem to be nicking from people who came before. I’m not really the person to ask; I don’t keep up with what’s happening nowadays. So?!

David Pregler: ‘Any chance of the mid west this year?’ Nah – maybe next. Hang in – we’ll get there.

Ed Musiak: The concept is pretty simple – Irene Wilde was the most beautiful girl on the planet. The boy is a tongue-tied average looking misfit. She doesn’t even notice him and he would never approach her for fear of rejection. She’s his motivation. Irene Wilde didn’t know me then, but she knows me now.

John McGrath: Ireland has been a nearly was, but wasn’t on a couple of tours. Hope something gets worked out for 2016.

Matt Parish: He had me drive from Northampton down to Hadden Hall on some whim that escaped him by the time I arrived. He was just being silly – so I left.

Rick Goward: Sounds good to me.

Tom Gamble: ‘Where can I purchase ‘Rant’? We are sorting it out now and it should be available online from April 1st .

Margaret Finch talks about school funding for musical instruments stopping and asks, ‘Did you teach yourself?’ I went to the Priory Grammar School in Shropshire and I recall being given a well worn triangle to bash away on. All they had were triangles and recorders – and this was a grammar school. So – I was strumming away on an old guitar my Uncle Jack gave me (and only when my Dad was out – he hated it). The neck was like a bow and arrow and my fingers bled, but I had to do it. This is really the point I’m making – I had to do it. I don’t think an institution is a good place to learn music – but that’s because I’m self taught. Your son is a flautist – that is – he’s a musician; I am more of a writer. Your son is going to need a teacher if he’s serious about playing. You have to look around and find somebody who’s played – maybe in a band or orchestra. One on one is so much better than school. They are out there. My first guitar lessons were given to me by a car park attendant! I never relied on schools for anything – they shrink individuality. Best of luck.

Ta da!


The Horse’s Mouth

February 2015

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