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Horse’s Mouth

November 8, 2017

Horse’s Mouth (Issue #188, November 2017)

The Horse’s Mouth
November 3, 2017

Lot of traveling – sorry for the delay. Here goes.

Keith Hollinshed: A belated Happy Birthday to you.

Peter Thomas is moaning about the T-shirts – you’re the first!

Anthony Shultz: ‘Have you considered selling albums on this site?’ Not really.

‘Sony Bono’: ‘Thanks for the West Coast.’ No problem.

Aundrea: Thanks for posting, but my Russian ain’t that good.

Tom DeView: ‘Looking forward to the Coach House tonight. Bin a fan since birth! Any chance of a selfie?’ Dunno – was pretty hectic – did we?

Ted Bryan: ‘Great show at the Coach House last night. Quite a surprise adding Johnny Depp to the lineup. Thanks for signing my album. Did you enjoy it as much as the audience?’ Of course we did!

George Miller wants us in Florida.

Shinobu Kokubun: ‘Is Japan cancelled?’ Yup. He waited until we were on the West Coast and then he pulled it. We had the work permits and were ready to go. He said Japan was in a state of panic because of North Korea and the threat of war. Who knows.

Marty G on Pete Watts’ album, ‘He’s Real Gone’. I haven’t heard it recently, but Pete played it for me a while ago when we visited him – totally eccentric, as usual. He kept worrying if it was good enough (same with the book). He was loathe to release anything – a perfectionist in his own funny way. I think the record and the book are both great. Pity they’ll never see the real light of day.

Barry Humphreys: ‘On our hols in NYC (from New Brighton near Liverpool) at the Chelsea Flea Market we were stunned to find immaculate copies of ‘Mad Shadows’ and ‘Wildlife’. Obviously they came home with us. In Philadelphia (same trip) we found ‘The Hoople’ and ‘Welcome to the Club’. Thanks for the music Ian.’

Peter Jordan sees parallels between ‘Dudes/Mott/Hoople’ and Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory/Ziggy and Aladdin Sane’. First ones playfully optimistic; second ones the classic definitive; and the third pleasing, but a bit overblown. Differences – Bowie grabbed fame with both hands where MTH is full of references to the fickle nature of it and more honest. By the way, Mick Ronson was brilliant on Aladdin Sane – I know it’s a long time ago. What do you think?’ Well, they did come out in the same period, so some stuff would have been affecting us – obviously in different ways. I’m not big on analyzing.

John Dalton: ‘Are you a fan of Celtic music genre? Has such music impacted you over the years?’ I ‘like it but I don’t think it had an influence on me.

David Crisfield: ‘Sorry you didn’t get your gift of cheddar, cider and beer glass on your visit to Frome. Blame Paul.’ OK

Dave Grant thinks I should sign copies of the ‘Diary’ and sell it on the merch page when it comes out in the spring. We’ll see what my publishers have to say about that.

Clive and Karen Gazeley ask if I played in the Nags Head pub in Wollaston, Northants under the name ‘Hurricane Henry’… could have!

J. Scott: ‘Who gets to play you in the up and coming biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody?’ Dunno.

Timmy G: Hope you enjoyed the Fillmore.

Robert Clayton: ‘Thanks a million for the Box Set – it is AMAZING. Well worth every penny. Saw you in Asbury Park in May with my son – GREAT! Where’s Hasker Street? (Kensington, London). See you in Montclair – any chance of Havana this year?’ Glad we’re ticking all your boxes.

Richard Denham: Queen supported us one whole tour in the UK and half a tour in the U.S. (Brian was taken ill).

Keith Hollinshed: ‘I forgot to say you are the greatest. (ta!) Back in the UK next year? Any chance of doing something with Luther now he’s on the mend?’ I’ve talked to Luther recently – he’s still the Great Ariel Bender! And is recovering from a hip op.

Ian Stanley: ‘Overnight Angels’ was not a good time for me. I made some classic mistakes on that album. Never did find the hook to ‘Broadway’ – great verses.

Kent: ‘Come to America.’ I’m here.

Robin Dyer: ‘Long time fan – absolutely loved the San Francisco show. Took my son (23) to the show and his comment after the show was ‘It’s all about the music.’ Great show!!!’

Rory Leslie: ‘Doing an A level on music thru the year and could think of no one better to ask my chosen question. Where do you think the music industry is headed over the next couple of years?’ I’m actually the last person you should ask. I avoid the ‘music industry’ like the plague.

Geoff S: ‘ ‘Overnight Angels’ is one of my favourite albums – not rated by you and other. Why is that?’ I haven’t heard it in years but there’s a phoney element to it that sticks in the craw. Not my finest hour.

Laurent Moitrot – he’s French and he loves my music – makes him unique in France!

Big Rab: ‘Darrell Bath could haven your next Mick Ronson?’ Nah – Darrell’s yer next Keef.

Mike Costanzo: ‘My wife and I enjoy British TV comedies – ‘Keeping Up Appearances (groan) and ‘Two Old Guys’ (is that Scottish?’ and was wondering are you a viewer?’ Yup – love comedies.

Rory Musil: ‘Astonishingly great show last night in San Francisco! If there’s a better band on earth – I haven’t seen or heard them. Thank you for bringing light into this dim, old world.’ Appreciated.

Richard Flynn: It was a tip of the hat.

Otto Greenleaf says in Greg Lake’s recently released autobiography he mentions me kindly. I enjoyed Greg’s company a lot on that tour and am truly sad he’s left us.

Sally Ripple: ‘I asked you years ago if you’d ever write a book and you said no. I’m asking again – if you don’t write it – somebody else will. Who would you choose to write about you?’ Well, I think Campbell Devine’s writing some more about me.

Lynne: ‘You do know why the Japanese leg got cancelled, right? Stupid Kim Jong Un – big baby needs his arse handed to him. Catch you in Fairfield.’

jz: ‘Great set at the Coach House – one of your best. We met some really good people and had about the best time you can have. With such a deep catalog, how do you decide what to play?’ Well, usually 1/3 is classic – 1/3 is new – so all you are left with are a few slots for older solo albums. I have a really great band, so I’ll usually pick songs that showcase their strengths.

Tom Schuiteman: ‘Seen you three times – your gigs are fantastic. Please come to Fremont, MI to the Dogwood – great venue!’ That’s up to the promoter and my agent.

Kenny Mac: Yeah, the promoter said it was too soon. It’s fine. We’ll always do Glasgow. I have to go to Equi’s for ice cream!!

Nick Malcolm: Japan cancels – at least you have new song title ‘Threat of War’; ‘How’s Your House’ is pretty relevant as well!’

Richard A Johnson/Atlanta: ‘Ever pass on a song because it just didn’t sound like Ian Hunter?’ Sure. Poppy stuff – funky stuff – sometimes I think I get messages that aren’t meant for me.

Clod Hopper: ‘Great show at the Teragram in LA…even if Johnny Depp smoked a blunt without passing it to you (I was busy). Brought my 24 year old son, – he really enjoyed it. He plays bass – upright and electric (nice one) – good musician. I think you should come to LA every year – you still got it.’

Bonzaiaragato: ‘So sorry to see the promoter cancelled your Japanese tour. He lose face – oh well – hurry back to LA where you’re always welcome.

Woodie: ‘Any chance of NYC before Christmas?’ There’s a couple in NJ and CT.

David Riske: Yes – I guess that’s where the phrase comes from – thanks!

Dan Baker: ‘Was anybody ever prosecuted for the fire at Morin Heights? (No) Bad about Japan – are things that serious over there?’ I guess he was trying to be on the safe side; I really don’t know.

Dave O: Mick Ronson tribute petition – want to advertise it? [click here for the link]. Best of luck with this.

Trond Oien: ‘We are very much looking forward to raising the roof with you at Byscenan, Trondheim, Norway and hope to hear material from ‘Dirty Laundry’ and/or ‘Artful Dodger’. That said, I fully trust you to write your own set list to the benefit of all of us.’ Well, we did 23A!

Adam Hammond: Love the Box Set – especially track by track commentary. First line of ‘Drivin Sister’ – clerical error!!

Tony Maxwell: Was the expectation (by the Japanese promoter) then that your appearances themselves could potentially lead to nuclear war breaking out?’ Well – we’re not that bad.

Shawn from San Diego: ‘Thank you for the greatest concert at the Coach House. Great seats – band members meeting fans out front, band on fire – you were phenomenal. (blush)., and nice special guest to surprise us with. You’ve always been respectful when writing about other stars, but please – how did this amazing moment come about?’ Ross Halfin (great photographer and a mate of mine) hooked me up with him a while back. I asked him to sit in at the Teregram – we had fun, so asked him to pop down to the Coach House – and he did.

Ross Murdock is on about Ralpher’s solo at the back end of Memphis – too far back for me to remember but I’m pretty sure it was overdubbed. Mick would play the big chords first – overdub later.

Rolf Brunner wanted to give me some Ian/Mick photos in Switzerland – don’t think we met up. Sorry!

Mark Hughes: ‘San Francisco show phenomenal. (that’s the second phenomenal today!) Steve and Paul best rhythm section around – love the off the cuff improvisations. Thanks for 1 hour and 55 minutes of great music and musicianship!’

John Ellsworth: ‘What time frame was ‘Henry and the H-Bomb’ written and why didn’t it end up on an album?’ I must have written some of it sometime during the Mott period but I remember not being able to quite finish the lyric. Years later, Jeff Tweedy showed me the lyric as fully written, but I didn’t recognize it. Jeff swears it’s mine … anyway…

Kevin Baggott: ‘Now Japan’s off the table, book the Pacific Northwest. We all miss you and love you here. Don’t want any excuses.’ We probably would have gone up there had we known what was going to happen.

Jeffrey: ‘Sorry about Japan mate – maybe next time – enjoy Europe! ‘ Actually, I wasn’t overly keen owing to the travel involved, but Japanese fans are great and I’m sorry to have missed the opportunity to play for them again. That goes for the band too.

Joe S: Sod off squared!

Anthony Schultz: Never met Tom Petty; met a couple of guys in his band over the years – really nice and talented people. RIP.

Dennis: ‘Coach House – brilliant. Please hurry back to southern California!’

Ken Grady: We’ll see – we’ll see.

Kathrin: ‘We have waited 27 years – on Monday, finally, we had the honor to see you in Hamburg – Winterhude. Thank you very much for this great event! Thank you.

Danny G: Thanking me.

Mike Scerri: Poetic license!

Jeff: ‘Have a good time in Europe, mate.’ We did.

Graham Little: ‘How did you get involved with Spike Gray and the 100% Frankie Miller album?’ Spike asked me.

Mike Costanzo: While it’s true Mick Ronson had practically no ego on the surface – he wasn’t adverse to praise!! The main reason Mick didn’t want to front a band was because he couldn’t stand hearing his guitar through monitors. He always wanted to be near his amp.

Big Rab: ‘Come on big yin – ‘Man O War’ live – the band would kill it. Please!!!’ I’ll have a look.

Keith Nickless: How do you know Johnny Depp? He likes my stuff.

John Caswell: Hey John, I think it’s too late to change my current set list so if we don’t do it it’s only because of time factors. Certain members have other commitments between now and then. Hope you enjoy Boston.

Carlo Mathews: What was your biggest eureka moment when writing a song or a song part? Dunno – I’ve written so many now. I guess there’s been a few – usually after a dry spell – something comes outa left field and you smile to yourself – still got it.

Klaus: ‘How is the Rant Band line up! I think you mean who? Dennis Dibrizzi (keys), Steve Holley (drums), Paul Page (bass), James Mastro (guitar), Mark Bosch (guitar).

George Frech: Been in Bensheim yesterday night and it was stunning!!! Thank you so much. Can we please expect recordings of current tour?’ Dunno – my wife said there was some recording going on, but I don’t like to know about that stuff.

Steveabs: ‘Berlin was amazing. My young dudes – 18 and 19 – were so full of it – so simply – thank you. For me, ‘Wings’ was amazing and ‘Guiding Light’ was a wonderful bonding on my son’s 18th birthday. (Happy Birthday son!) The band was so tight – not sure what happened with the feedback, but it didn’t spoil it one bit!’ P.A. people in Berlin were annoying – the only bit of feedback we had the entire tour. I think they thought they were cool; always fatal.

Dan Hartman: ‘Saw the ‘Worry Dolls’ on U-tube with you singing on ‘Mother’. Watched some of their videos and found them to be talented songwriter/singers. Did they open for you in England (Yup). They were great as was Katey Spencer who opened for us on a couple of gigs. God it seems like years ago.

Sally: I have a request – please don’t die!’ So far, so good.

Marcuslim: Discographies state Ian wrote ‘Gilbert the Ghost’ for Gerry and the Pacemakers. Is there a recording of it anywhere?’ This takes me way back to when me and Miller Anderson were starting out. I may have written for Gerry – it’s another question entirely as to whether he wanted to do it!

Colin Thayer: ‘Would you please do me and many other members a favor and just say you will not tour Australia.’ Can’t do that – leave it open for now.

David: I use A flat; F sharp; D flat; harmonicas. The band play a semi tone down.

Bradley Brown: ‘How do you decide an opening act? James Mastro is our purveyor of taste.

Neil Holmes: ‘When you and Ronno were getting the band together for your first solo album, were Trevor Boulder and Woody considered?’ No.

Mike Scerri: Can’t find ‘Stranded in Reality’ box set anywhere. You wouldn’t happen to have an extra box laying around?’ Can’t afford it, mate.

Nicky S: ‘If ‘Man Overboard’ was a painting it would be hanging in the Louvre. Great album.’ How lovely – thank you for that.

James Zemba: ‘Thanks again Ian, the Rant Band and crew for yet another great tour. I was blessed to see 8 shows – special appreciation for the chestnuts on various shows, such as ‘Guiding Light’ and (OMG) ‘Wings’ – have heard that since ’89. Sounded as great now as it did then!’ Ta.

J. C. Finn: ‘Have you ever met the Status Quo guys? What did you think of their cover of ‘Once Bitten’? Ran into Rick Parfitt now and again. Lovely chaps. They don’t mess around – they did another one of my songs too. Might have been ‘Captain Void’. [it was ‘Speechless’ – Justin] Straight through it – no messing – and I think they would do this on purpose. Those guys deserve medals.

Steve Meyer enjoyed Switzerland (very nice club owner).

Colin Thayer: ‘Given a ticket would you go and see Springsteen on Broadway?’ It would have to be two tickets – the wife would never forgive me!

Colin Fern: The earliest song performed – probably, ‘The Moon Upstairs’ from Brain Capers.

Anthony Schultz: ‘Any Lou interactions?’ Yeah – I told him a joke that went wrong – he was not amused!

Tim Pickford: At the risk of sounding morbid, what is the future of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Got back from your Bilbao gig in the early hours this morning – on the one hand feeling very privileged to have experienced your music, but on the other feeling slightly sad that time inevitably moves on – that nobody is indispensable doesn’t always ring true and yes, we’ll always have the artists music to listen to, but when you hear it, feel it and see it live well, – I for one – hope you rock ‘n’ roll forever.’

Pasquale: Hi Pasquale (our one and only fan in Italy). Such a wonderful gig at Mezzago – you and the Ranters in fine form. Glad to be in the front row. This time only 1,200 km from home. Hope you got the cake (No!). and the honorary member card of Catanzaro Rock Museum, the only rock museum in Italy. They still want an Ian Hunter showcase in the near future.’

Bryan: Have you seen the movie ‘Beside Bowie’? If so, do you believe it portrayed Mick accurately? Thanks and keep rocking … you are a true legend.’ No, I haven’t seen it yet.

Tom Semioli: ‘What else do I love about ‘Stranded in Reality’? My pal, Paul Page has the most bass tracks!’ And, justifiably so!

Agumi: I don’t listen to music – I read books.

Georg Grill: ‘Any chance of hearing ‘American Music’ with the Rant Band?’ There’s always a chance.

Phil Monaghan: ‘Bowie writes a song on piano or acoustic and Mick Ronson turns that song into a rock classic on lead – should he get co-writing credit. It’s up to Bowie. Legally, Mick should not get a co-write, but he should get an arranger fee. As far as ‘Dandy’ is concerned you’re being silly.

Jan Peter Peeves: You know I left it in the van. We were all catching different flights to different places and it got left behind. Pete Mason, our driver, has it and I will collect it when next in the UK. Thank you so much for the time and energy – I know where to hang it! Regards to Andy and Dave.

Gudrun wants me to write a book.

Ralph Johnson is going to Montclair, NJ – do I play for fun? Rarely.

Glenn wishes ‘Michael Picasso’ was a staple in every set.- a wonderful tribute to a supreme talent!

Stephen K wants a musical!

Chris is going to Montclair. I can’t remember how Mick Ralphs got the intro line to ‘Dudes’. There was a lot going on at the time.

Glenn Wharton: On Jon Brewer – no comment.

Rick Graves is going to Boston. He’s never been before and would like suggestions for restaurants, hang outs? I’ve only been there gigging so I’m not the guy to ask. Classy town – historic.

David Shasha: Hi David, Already mentioned Pete’s epic and you’re absolutely right – nobody but Pete could have made this kind of album. Special.

Jeffrey: ‘Lots of gloomy stuff this weekend.’ Good ho!

Tom Skevin: Dunno, make yourself known at Montclair.

Steve Engyel: ‘Need some Canadian dates. What’s better than Canada in December?’ Santa!

Tony: ‘When did you leave Shrewsbury (my home town)?’ (Probably around ’55.) ‘Ever go back?’ (Yes – my son and grandchildren live there) – football team still unbeaten? (NO!) I still follow them. Used to stand at the tech end at the Old Gay Meadow in the mud when I was a kid. Knew Sammy Crooks (then manager) and his kids.

Breadzombie: Err, no.

Tom Natola: ‘Pearl ‘n’ Roy in Boston?’ Err, no.

Mark F: Saw a couple of set lists from Germany/Spain gig listing ‘Irene Wilde’. Did you actually play the entire song or was it just a tease?’ Both. I’d start it and see how I felt.

Anthony P: Reclusive is good.

Danny G: ‘Down the Road’ pretty good there.

Ofnir: ‘Did you or Mick play the opening guitar riff on Ellen Foley’s ‘Stupid Girl’ – there’s a tenner on this.’ I remember this one. We’d been out to eat somewhere and when we came back I just picked up Mick’s guitar (which was plugged into Mick’s amp) and let it all hang out. Mick yelled, ‘Keep on doing it’ and got behind the console. It just sounded right. It didn’t matter who did what – it just had to do the trick.

I know I missed some – there were a lot. Sorry ’bout that


The Horse’s Mouth xxx

P.S. American TV – with all the commercials – is officially unwatchable.

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