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Horse’s Mouth

November 24, 2021

Horse's Mouth (Issue #227, November 2021)

Horse’s Mouth
November 18, 2021

We might be a little late this month as our esteemed Webmaster, Justin Purington, is on his holidays. I’m starting it now anyway, November 5th – Guy Fawkes Day!!!

John Dalton: ‘Over the years, you have interacted with the media in various forms – any difference between the U.S. and the U.K.?’ Well, Americans might say, ‘you’re fantastic’, while the English would say, ‘you’re not bad’. Americans seem much more excitable; the English more placid – not only in music, but in general. My two cents.

Stefan Harary: We’ve not forgotten! The evening will come!

Matt Nojonen: ‘Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) finished a show while suffering an aortic aneurysm – so now he’s actually made of metal!’

Rick Graves: ‘Currently reading John Hiatt’s bio and pleasantly surprised to find out he supported you on the ‘Schizophrenic tour.’ Obviously I’ve hear of John – he’s great- but my memory is a blur.

MgDriver: ‘Any guess on the percentage of questions coming from people who are drunk/stones/just plain nuts?’ There’s been a couple of questions I’ve simply never been able to unravel, but generally speaking, I don’t get much of that clientele.

John Frawley: ‘How’s the new album coming along? 40 years since the Cobo in Detroit.’ The album’s coming along great.

Willy Devitt: I’ve seen Mick in London a couple of times.

Hoople: Have you officially changed your name? Nah.

Ivar Samset: ‘What’s the story behind ‘Dead Man Walkin’?’ It’s one of the songs that just came. It actually started by me hitting a wrong note on the piano. It’s a favorite of mine to play. When Mick Ralphs came on the ‘Taking the Mick’ tour, he thought it was much more involved than it actually is. Pretty simple when you get he hang off it. Had a great time(s) in Bergen. Pretty town.

‘Have you ever considered singing ‘Don’t Let Go’ (the song you wrote for Ellen Foley) on an album?’ I actually did it with an orchestra in Oslo on a live album/DVD called ‘Strings Attached’.

‘Why isn’t ‘Junkman’ on any of your studio albums and why were you chosen instead of Van Morrison?’ ‘Junkman’ was Genya Raven’s track and I got roped in because she’d been waiting for Van Morrison for so long she got fed up. Mick Ronson played on that track and he suggested I do it with her. Glad your girlfriend’s getting into it more!

Ant: ‘Are you tight with your kids?’ I’d cheerfully take a bullet for any one of them.

Malcolm Lay: ‘Johnnie Walker had a show exclusively about Glam Rock about a month ago. Can we assume Pete Watts was the fashion advisor to the band at that time, as well as having great costumes and ideas like spraying his hair chest?’ I sort of got into it a bit later – Buff was definitely into it – Mick wasn’t so keen and Phally just went along with it.

Steve Friedlander: ‘Get those ears better!!’ Working on it.

Christopher Clarke: ‘I’ve asked you before about making a Christmas album – because I can hear your amazing voice (?!) on many of my favorite Christmas songs. Do you have a favorite carol?’ I’ve always found Bing Crosby soothing on Christmas carols – I’m ok with anything he sang.

Thomas Crolly: ‘You’ve covered the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ – it was better than the Kinks; you covered Sonny Bono’s ‘Laugh At Me’- it was great; you covered Melanie’s ‘Lay Down’ and it was outstanding; even David Bowie’s best version of ‘Dudes’ is not as good as yours. You’ve covered Dylan’s ‘Is Your Love in Vain’ – I thought it better and Lou Reed’s live version of ‘Sweet Jane’ from Rock n Roll Animal is perfect and can’t be beat, but your live version is right up there. The American Pie intro to Golden Age is pretty cool… why not an album? Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re the best singer/songwriter on the planet.’  All the covers we did were flukes. I’ve never really been into doing other peoples stuff. My main asset is the ability to write songs, and that’s where the main buzz is for me.

Louis Paul: ‘Saw you with Mott and solo many times – thank you for the memories. ‘Never Alone’ is one of my favorite albums ever – to this day. Thank you so much for that.’ So let’s see if we can beat it!!

Stonefly: ‘I had to look into Chris Stainton’s status after you mentioned your duel. I grew up following him as part of Joe Cocker’s Band at Woodstock and being the main keyboard player on the Mad Dogs and Englishman tour. It wasn’t a duel! He laughed – he knew Leon was special. I’ve never used a Rhodes – most of my keyboard work is done on a Roland V5.

Carlo Mathews: ‘What makes a strong vocal melody in your estimation? Novelty (no) originality (yes), catchiness (mmmmm), simplicity (yes), complexity (if required), familiarity (maybe). Do you work on vocal melodies a lot when you write?’ Everybody’s got their own way of doing things. It’s down to quality control – what passes that invisible line in your mind. It’s kind of like comedians – they pick up on things we miss.

Joey M: ‘Ever get stopped from doing a cover?’ Once a song is recorded and it’s out there – anybody can cover it as long as an (automatic) mechanical license is obtained.

Edward Cook: ‘Do you ever play ‘Way With Words’ in concert?’ Can’t say we have, sorry. ‘ Are you releasing an album any time soon?’ We should be done by Christmas or soon afterward. It’s half done at the moment.

Michael Wolf: Sorry for your loss. Regarding your question, they covered a song of mine, ‘Every Step of the Way’.

John Fraser: ‘Do you still have the Maltese cross?’ No, the original was sold to a guy in Folkstone – it was crap. Joe Elliott had two custom ones made – one for him and one for me for my 70th birthday. They sound amazing!!!

Brad Anderson: ‘There’s a picture of you and Mick Ronson toasting each other with wine. To me it has always been the picture – more than any other – that captures Rock ‘n’ Roll stars. I think it was a poster on the inside of Creem Magazine.’ No idea, but we toasted regularly!

Tripp: ‘Realizing that writing and performing is probably enough for you. Was documenting your time or the bands years important to you or your management?’ Never gave it any thought at all. Buff was the documentarian – don’t know about the others. ‘Did Mott have a photographer like Mick Rock was to Bowie?’ Not really. Mick was David’s guy and we all knew Mick and he’s a great chap. Mott’s mate, Richard Weaver, a Hereford guy, did some shorts for our singles. Nowadays, I’m with the amazing Ross Halfin internationally. Dennis likes to take Rant band photos.

Dave Pilkington: First time I saw you was the ‘Overnight Angels’ tour – Manchester Free Trade Hall, I was 16 and have been hooked ever since. What’s your recollection of working with Earl Slick on the album and tour?’ Slicky was great to work with. I remember we were in a house fire in Canada – he was upstairs, I was downstairs. Slick was out of danger, but he still rushed round to the bak of the house to make sure the people downstairs got out. Sounds ‘light’ now, but it was pretty heavy at the time.

Kurt DeKemper: ‘Given that ‘Just Another Night’ was written about an unfortunate evening in Indianapolis, did you ever play another show there?’ Nope.

Jeffrey: Happy (belated) Birthday, mate.

David Shasha: I remember that!! Congrats on the book!!

Scott: Too early for all this.

Alan in Portlandia: You’ve just said it – an extraordinary ideas and concept guy. That’s who he was.

Jack: ‘ ‘Louie Louie’ by the Kingsmen – a song and a riff a generation of us guitar players grew up on. Heard it?’ (Yes.) ‘Played it?’ (No.) ‘Liked it?’ (Of course!!)

Phil Huband: Re: Billy Fury. It was the end of that era and the beginning of the dreaded prog rock! We’d do a prog rock club to a dull, uninterested audience, then go onto a working mens club later and there would be queues a mile long; girls were still screaming at this handsome man. We were only with him for a short while. He wasn’t keen on the guitar player and we didn’t have a replacement, so we were out. Lovely man – great performer. I went to his Mum and Dad’s house – the walls were covered in gold and silver records – he was huge in his time.

Dru: ‘Do you know why the lash wanted Guy Stevens?’ Because he produced Mott the Hoople.

Rick: Different neck of the woods.

Jim Patterson: ‘What are your thoughts on ‘cliches’ in songwriting?’ If it’s a cool cliche – it’s ok by me.

Steve Parsons: ‘Would you ever play the London Palladium?’ Love to. I grew up watching ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’. The Beatles! ‘Twist and Shout’ – maybe that was the song that broke them. No one had ever had a no. 1 EP before.

Barry: We shall see, Barry; we shall see.

Matt Nojonen: No, I haven’t heard it, but Shel was a total odd ball. I needed his phone number once for something and he said, ‘It’s in the phone book.’ And it was!

Philip Tremayne: ‘Who’s idea was ‘Motts’ circus tour? Max Wall? Circus acts?’ I don’t remember whose idea it was – maybe Guy’s? Or Island Records. I was up for it because I loved Max Wall. They sent me to Jersey to get him on board. Max was wonderfully talented, but suffered for it privately. We had a great time. He didn’t go down that well up North, but he slayed them in the south. Went on to have a pretty distinguished acting career afterwards (he’d been banned from the beeb!). I remember Trudi and I went to see him in a play in London and he was brilliant. Wound up in a bedsit in Blackheath.

Mike Pecucci: ‘Who’s your favorite comedian?’ Bill Burr.

Ken: ‘Can you tell me if Ian ever lived in Chappaqua, NY?’ Yes.

Danny G: writing away.

Dru: ‘Is the Horse’s Mouth shorter now than it use to be be because there’s less questions or because you’re 82?’ Well, there’s only so many questions one can be asked and I’m not visibly doing anything, so there isn’t much to talk about. How long have we been doin’ this now?

Hunter Tremayne: See now I’ve tried this twice and nothing happens. Thanks for the thought anyway – appreciated.

Ooour wullie: On the up and up!! Going to gigs again – excellent!!

Bill C: ‘Watching a special on Willie Nelson – did you know he made at least 81 albums? You are my musical hero, but I had no idea what a pussy you are – you need to step up your game before you retire!!’ Just you wait and see!!

Ed the Shrew: ‘Did you ever meet Tom Petty or Chuck Berry?’ Nope.

Carl: Cheers, Carl. I’ll check this out.

Robert Clayton: ‘The best thing you’ve ever written?’ Dunno. Are you familiar with Richard Hawley?’ He’s good.

Andy: ‘When you go out and don’t want to be recognized, do you not wear sunglasses as your disguise – does this work?’ I’m not that famous, so it doesn’t matter. I get the odd look, but tend to go out mid week when places are emptier and the traffic is lighter. No, the shades stay on – my eyes are weak.

John Boiselle: When New Orleans got flooded that became a regular exchange – might have seen it on TV.

Bob Boyle: No, I never saw this. It’s probably true; Slick doesn’t bullspit. It sounds pretty daft, but he was in the middle of something around that time.

Jeff: Put it like this – I’m way ahead of you!

Dru: ‘The thing I loved about Mick Ralphs guitar playing is that it’s always a song within a song – to make the song sound better.’ There’s two ways of looking at it. The first way is to wait till it’s your solo then rip it up, your style, 100 notes a second – sod the song – look at me doing this!!! OR the second way is to listen to the song – know what the lyrics about and figure out a way to make it sound better. I would pick the latter – millions wouldn’t.

Jeffrey says never quit the Horse’s Mouth. I know there’s ‘other ways’ but – hey – we’re the only ones doing it this way!

Kelly Kinney writes me a lovely note. The one trouble with HM is if you print too much of this stuff, people think you’re showing off. I do shove one in now and again though. Best to your son.

Tom: Beachland Ballroom.

Wade: No – she nicked my band.

Neil McCormack: ‘Do you ever sit down and raises your albums?’ No.

Doug from Ste. Gen: ‘Can’t ever remember seeing you with a wristwatch. Do you wear one?’ I’ve got a few. Don’t wear them much nowadays – no need.

Dave Grant: Cheers, Dave.

Dave Simmonds: The walls are covered!!

Matt Parish – Thanks, Matt

Dan Hartmann: You’re far too back for me, Dan

Jeffrey: Not now – but I will get around to it.

Michael Bavone: The pleasure’s all mine, Michael.

Hal says that my favourite album – ‘Overnight Angels’ is being remastered in vinyl on Candy Rock Records (he read it in Classic Rock). Oh, joy!!!

Charles Sweeney: on favourite guitars – past and present. Always liked Gibsons – preferably Juniors because they’re ballsy and don’t have too many knobs on them. Having said that – and I have said it numerous times – the Joe Elliott Maltese cross is the best guitar I’ve ever played!

Dean Prescott: ‘Did you and Ronno ever record a studio version of ‘Wings’? No – we never did; it was one of those unfortunate songs that got lost between albums. It’s a regret, I must admit. Actually most of the ideas for the guitar parts on ‘Wing’ were Robbie Alters. Pay Kilbride was 21 years old – what a player – and, of course, Steve Holley, just before he left for a 3 year stint with Joe Cocker. Good song, eh!!

Matt Shredder says his son Not (11) thinks I’m the coolest! (82).
So, Happy Birthday, Nat – you have good taste!! And thank you, Matt.

That’s it for now. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

The Horse’s Mouth

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