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Horse’s Mouth

April 22, 2022

Horse's Mouth (Issue #232, April 2022)

The Horse’s Mouth
April 10, 2022

So even later … See I write the answers in long for and Trudi puts them on the computer. She’s down with a cold (not Covid) so she’s just starting to feel a bit better.

Sara: “April 20 marks 30 years since the phenomenal Freddie Mercury tribute. Was that your last time playing with Mick Ronson on stage?” It may well have been.

Steve: “Any connection with Acton?” Pete Watts lived there.

Matt Marish: Who knows – nothing to do with me.

Billc: I’m tryin’!

Steve Baratta likes what I did on Mick Campbell’s record. Yes, it was reciprocal. What a great player.

Craig Nevitt: “With Wizzard and Slade Christmas singles abounded in the 70’s, were you ever tempted to write a catchy Christmas song around that period? ” If a Christmas song came to me naturally, perhaps – but it hasn’t as of yet.

Lewis Patterson: “Ian, just curious, do you remember the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, AZ? It was a great venue for audience – the stage went round and round so there were no bad seats.” I do remember that place! It’s hard to sing a ballad with a stage moving, so we reached an agreement where they would stop the stage for slower songs and let it move for the faster ones. Really nice set up.
‘”Do you ever read unsolicited lyrics or just trash them?” This happens very seldomly – but I’ll always have a look and advise accordingly.

Phil Holms: “Hello, Sir! I saw a photograph and it looked like you guys (yourself / Bender / Watts / Griffin / Fisher & Weaver) were being interviewed by Geraldo Rivera – if and when in fact that happened – what was it for and is there footage available somewhere? I assume it as when you played the Uris.” It was indeed – Geraldo’s teeth are noticeably whiter these days. I imagine there might be footage somewhere with the networks – they were all there.

Bill Martino: “Ever meet the Mael Brothers? I’ve been a Sparks fan almost as long as Mott.” Maybe at an airport somewhere. I only remember vaguely.

MJ: Most encouraging – thanks!

Anders Lundquist: “When Todd Rundgren was interviewed for a podcast last year – he said he thinks you’re great and he’d like to collaborate with you. Would you be up for it? And do you think it would be compatible? Hope to see you in Stockholm.” Todd and I have toured before – many years ago and we got on great. It was kinda like the Beauty and the Beast!!! He’s brilliant and don’t worry – we ain’t done yet.

Jeffrey: Well done, Elizabeth!! Well done, Jeffrey!! And get well, Kathleen!!

Victor F Erwin: ” ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Sweepstakes Vol.2′ is such an enjoyable read. It made me visit my ‘Stranded in Reality’ boxed set as I progress through each chapter. Do you feel Campbell Devine’s book reflects your journey, or is there still more to be told?” There’s a lot more to be told – as you will eventually see.

Egil Hofsli: “Do you have any memories of your first concert in Trondheim?” Actually, I do remember the big, red round house – Studentersamfundet. Good fun. “Perhaps you’d already met Bjorn Nessjo or Torstein Flackne?” Do you still have memories of Trondheim?” Oh, yes. I did a couple of albums with Bjorn (one in Abbey Road and one in his studio in Trondheim). Great producer and so intelligent. Torstein was a great intelligent player too – and still is!!! I remember giving him a solo in ‘Waterlow’ (there had never been one before). Love both of these guys – and Kjetil Bjerkestrand – what a brilliant pianist and arranger. Can’t forget Sven and Per Lindvall!! Very fond memories of Norway. Hope I get back there someday.

Greg Becker: “I was listening to ‘Overnight Angels’ – what was Roy Thomas Baker like to work with?” Brilliant and hilarious and it was a lot of fun (apart from the fire). We both wanted to work with each other, but somehow it didn’t work out well. I don’t blame him at all – I blame myself. I’m glad I worked with him though – obviously if I had it to do again – the keys would have to be lower for a start!

Jeff Midnight: “Really enjoyed hearing you with Mike Campbell. I would like to record and release a cover of “All of the Good Ones Are Taken’ – all through the proper channels of course. Would this be ok?” Go for it – once a song is recorded anyone can request a mechanical license.

Dan Pelletier: Yeah – ‘Memphis’ would make sense.

Paul Kennett: “Now that the intriguing Mike Campbell cat is out of the bag, how long before we get to know more about the album, please? Good to hear your voice again on Mike’s track.” It’s about to be mixed and ‘business’ takes a while, but we’re getting there.

Charles Sweeney: ‘Why did MTH turn down ‘Suffragette City’?” Because it was okay, but it wasn’t great. ‘Dudes’ was.

Dan McDonnell: “Any chance of vinyl re-issues? Especially for those that were only ever available on cd? Not to mention the vinyl copy of ‘Artful Dodger’ for sale on line for $300!! Lots of folks paying big bucks for vinyl – and I’m one of them?” We’ll see about the re-issues. We are mastering the new record to include vinyl.

Gary E Walden: We’ve already got that ball rolling. Thanks, anyway and sorry about the ears.

Pat Beirne: “How austere was your childhood? Did living in a relatively remote place make you aspire to break away?” Not just one remote place – a few. It was chaos for everybody after the war. I didn’t really mind – I knew no different. My Dad was a cop – there was always food on the table. In Scotland everything went into the pot!! Shropshire was remote. It’s a lot better these days. It was austere – but it was austere for everybody – so it was okay. Then Jerry Lee Lewis came along and I exploded …

Scott Reppert: “What do you consider to be your most ‘underrated songs … one for Mott and one solo?” Well, I always thought ‘When the World Was Round’ was pretty good. Campbell says it got into the British charts but then it was never re-pressed and nobody could buy it. As far a Mott is concerned, I was disappointed when ‘Saturday Gigs’ didn’t do better; that was pretty much the end.

Tim McKenna: “Where would you like your bronze statue? Shrewsbury? London? NYC? Connecticut?” Dunno!

Steven Horne: “Can you see yourself touring again in the UK or has tinnitus put paid to that?” Well, Covid got in the way of figuring this one out. We wouldn’t have been out anyway and it’s still a trifle dodgy. I’ve just sung on two albums and the voice is still okay – looking positive. I definitely want to tour again and there’s guys out there doing it with what I’ve got. My son Steve’s got it too – and he’s flying all over. I’m optimistic.

Andy Allison: You’re welcome!

Terry: “Aside from keys and guitar, do you play any other instruments? If no, is there one you wish you could play? I wish I could play piano like Johnnie Johnson.” I’m basically a rhythm player – I love playing rhythm on piano – as well as guitar. I’m doing both on the next couple of albums. Can’t play lead on anything!! I play bass and a bit of harmonica now and again – not great, but ok.

Jim Frawley: “What’s the story behind playing a small random club?” Well, sometimes you’re going from ‘A’ to ‘B’; and there a little ‘C’ on the day off so – why not?

Alan Portlandia: The RMI was one of the first (loosely) piano sounding keyboards that you could transport and it didn’t cost too much. It was ok in between Mick and Phally, but on its own – it was a disaster. I used to throw it around a bit and that didn’t help much.

Rich Michi: “Keep it going till you can’t!” Right on – as they used to say!

Andreas Borchmann: 1. As it stands, hopefully, the scheduled release for the first album is November of this year. 2. Is the trio album with Andy York and Dave Roe still on the cards. Dunno – hope so.

Rick Graves: Another fan of Derek Trucks. That guy from Newcastle, Sam Fender – he’s the real deal too.

Rob: “Austin could use another SXSW show.” Me too.

Jeffrey: Congrats to all of you!!!

Jim Patterson: “We went to see the Dirty Knobs last night in Nashville and Mike Campbell talked about you singing and playing piano on one of the songs on his new album. He also said the that he was wearing was a gift from you. It was at a new place called Brooklyn Bowl. When you tour again, you might tell your agent about it. Nice venue. They really do have bowling lanes there.” My hats are too big – wouldn’t fit him!!

Bruce Bergmann: “How was Jaco to work with?” My time with him was great – he was 21 years old. Astonishing player.

Dru: “Were the J. Geils Band a great live band?” Sounded pretty great to me!

Joe D: “Do you prefer to write songs on guitar or piano?” Both, actually; guitar forces me to write simply – piano more diverse.

Brent Coursey: All that you’re saying is true. I don’t know where the cassette wound up. Wish I did!

Mike Flanagan asks, “Did you ever met Little Richard?” Nah – but I saw him live – and Sam Cook opened!!!!

Doug in Ste Gen, MO: “Parade Magazine, with a circulation of 35 million, listed the 13 most unforgettable songs of 1972. ‘Dudes’ made the list smartly. Ever think that you would be on such a list along with Helen Reddy and ‘I am Woman’?” I liked Helen Reddy. ‘Dudes’ came in at 165 in Rolling Stones’s top 500. It’s all down to opinion though – isn’t it. Something to do.

Alan Berden: “‘Man Overboard’ is one of my absolute favorites and would like to know if it was ever released on vinyl?” Not yet. I do like that song though – I’d like to keep that in the set.

Johnny Tuinals: “My first concert was MTH with the NY Dolls at the Felt Forum, then it was MTH on Broadway and the Ian Hunter at the Felt Forum and then My Father’s Place. All great shows and I am sure you remember a few of them?” I remember the Forum with MTH – that was when I first met Todd Rundgren. Broadway I obviously remember and My Father’s Place – we played there a few times – good audiences.

Mark F: “Did you ever run across Harry Nilsson back in the day?” Nah – but I heard he was a bit of a lad.

John Pottage: “Peter Gabriel in John Edginton’s Genesis reunion interview Part 1 on Youtube says, “circa 1970 the only other label we were interested in was Island, which was a stylish label. There was a group – Mott the Hoople – who were championing us with Island. We had a meeting with Guy Stevens who wanted us to change our name. His office was unfurnished – except for a phone.” My question is – were MTH fans of Genesis? Do you remember helping Geneses out?” All true. Plus, when Peter came to the States I told him which label to go for – and he did! (I wish I had.)

Robert Jones asks of which songs am I most proud? Usually, the ones I’m writing at the moment. It has to be this way.

Geoff Pearson: Yup – I like to slip something in now and again. There are bits and pieces on the new stuff – it’s fun.

Sly Fox: “Mick’s ‘Heaven or Hell’ – such a brilliant guitar player. Lifetime fan.

Magne Hamarstrom: “You have a great rep in Norway – ‘Dirty Laundry’ is called the ‘Trondheim Album’. Do you agree?” Most certainly!!! Love playing Drammen.

Ian Hunter (honestly!): “Glasgow loves you, hurry back.” I’ll try – Ian Hunter II.

Frank Allen: “Have you heard Rich Robinson’s version of ‘Sucker’ and ‘Death May Be Your Santa Claus’? Uncut Magazine have it as one of their best current tracks.” I have heard them and actually liked them better than the originals. They nailed them both.

Dru: “Heard ‘Ready for Love’ the other day. Had no idea Mick played piano on that track. Paul was the right man for that song. Very Free.” Amen.

Les Vineyard: “Do you ever turn down show offers because of the venue they want you to play?” It can happen – not often.

Tom Villemaire: Stay well, mate!

Philip Tremayne:” As an avid MTH fan – particularly in the Island era – I saw the band on numerous occasions throughout the UK. What kind of gigs worked best for the band?” The Lyceum in London was pretty good, Fairfield Halls in Croydon (and the Greyhound across the road that preceded it). Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle (in those days we always got lost in Manchester). Every gig was an adventure within the band itself – kinda like a carnival ride – that’s how I remember it. Up – down – all over the place.

Dru: “I didn’t know him, but the world seemed a better place with him in it. Taylor Hawkins – R.I.P.” I did – and it’s a tragedy – a total tragedy.

George Saadi: “Intentionally avoided watching the Oscars, but couldn’t avoid hearing the audio in the bar. When I heard the intro to ‘Dudes’ it put a big smile on my face. Were you surprised, or did you know it was coming?” 50 years later? The Oscars? Nah.

Simon Lyons: Still grounded!! Congrats on the book.

William Wallace: I think I did reply – got 15 million to spare!

Diane: “Listening to ‘Shrunken Heads’ today. What insightful lyrics and great music. Can’t wait for the next one!!” It’s coming!

Atom Ant: “Will I ever see you on stage again? If not, I will always have Croydon,” That was a crazy one.

Howard: No cure, but hearing aids improve it by cutting it down to size.

Patrick: Yes.

Ownen Kelley: Thanks, Owen – so happy to have been of service!

Dave: “You’re fondly remembered here in Northampton and very often appear on the Northampton Facebook pages. Have you ever written a song relating to your time in Northampton?” There’s a song called ‘Rain’ on Short Back ‘n’ Sides’ about my mates in Northampton. Most of them gone now, we are still in touch with Wiggy and Tina who have been over to stay with us. We exchange Christmas cards with Tony Perrett and Lyn. It was a great town to be in at that time; pubs were alive with bands and music. The ones I played are sadly gone.

Bill Brink: “Was ‘Just Another Night’ about a particular incident?” Indianapolis City jail.

Graeme Rintoul: “Ever thought of inviting Mick Jones (the Clash) to do a special gig appearance?” He was at the MTH ’74 Shepherds Bush gigs – big Jonsey smile!! If he ever – I’m up for it – lovely lad.

Will K: “How do you start writing a song. I get little motifs here and there, but I have trouble coming up with a catch melody.” It just comes into my head – usually when I’m waking up. The hard bit is getting out of bed and putting it down. Do you have any gear? Sometimes a beat can help – maybe a foot and a snare going off a keyboard. Mick Ralphs always said he listened to a song he loved, over and over, until it turned into something else. Ray Davies could only write on planes. I can’t write on the road. There are no rules – you just have to hang in (good advice from Bob Dylan).

John Hess: send a link.

Ooor Wullie: It’s on its way – kinda like the M1 !!

Alan Graham: “What do you think of Sleepy Joe Biden – most people think he’s an idiot in the UK. Kamala Harris could be worse. Personally, I miss the Donald.” Mummmmm. Trump/Putin … Is this really what you want?

Matt Lanzarotta: Two completely different styles in the band for two completely different reasons. No comparison.

Michael Howlett: Cheers, Michael.

Steven Carpenter: Will you tour in ’22? Don’t know if that’s possible – might be too soon.

John Dalton: “Ever meet Dion? Nope, but we share the same keyboard player. Dennis plays with Dion.

Bob Boyle: It’s becoming limitless – what you can do.

Jimmy F: It was Bryan and Eno who came in to listen when we started the Mott album – having had no luck with the producers we wanted. We were in Air II and they just said, “What do you want a producer for – this is fine.” And so it was!

Matt Nojonen: Lovely – such is poetic life!

David Sasha: Nah – I’ll leave that up to you.

Scott Bowers likes ‘Still the Same’. Nice one.

And on that happy note I shall bid you lot adieu …

The Horse’s Mouth

If you would like to hear it “straight from the Horse’s Mouth”, you can Ask your question here.