The Horse’s Mouth
July 3, 2022
Earlier this month – family visiting!
James Mead: “HB You are an excellent musician – what’s your strongest instrument?” Well, I’m not really an excellent musician. I just use instruments as a vehicle for writing songs. I’m pretty good rhythmically on guitar or piano.
Bob Kleb: “HB” I think you’re gonna like this one.
Kevin Hillier: “‘Man Overboard’ always brings a lump to the throat. What was the inspiration for it?” Me, in my teens.
Dru: “Whether vinyl, CD or streaming I cannot get ‘All the Young Dudes’ album loud enough.” The mix was a tad thin.
Mike Costanzo: “What do you end up signing more of nowadays – LP’s or CD’s?” LP’s more popular.
Markus: “Are you friends with Brian Ferry?” No – I’m friendly with some of the band, but I don’t know Brian. We’ve said hello a couple of times, but that’s about it.
David: “Huge MTH fan – originally from South London – now in NY and live in Chappaqua. I read you lived in Chappaqua for a while. How as it for you?” We lived on Kipp Street for a while. It was near my then manager. Nice place.
Tom McGarry: “What do you think of Brian May’s cover of ‘Memphis’. Great! Bri’s a mate and he gets it. You don’t have to give permission for someone to cover a song.
Matt Giarrizzo: “Hope your ears are on the mend – it would be lovely to see you tread the boards again in California. Are you still in touch with the members of Mott?” Not so much – but we can easily talk when there’s something going on. We’re still good mates.” “What do you think of the Willard Manus novel?” It’s OK – great title!
Rutger: “Best memories of Sweden?” All good. How’s Matts doing these days? Love Sweden – and Norway (sorry!)
Seth Purrin: “‘All the Young Dudes’ is 50 years old.” And it never went away – did it!
Donald Mease: “How’s the new record coming?” The first of two new records is finished – mixed and mastered – and will be released – hopefully – by the end of the year. The artwork is done but I do like your suggestions. I’ll hang onto this.
“Happy Birthday, you rancid old git – love you – Donald.” A bit less of the ‘rancid’.
Charlie R just watched Danny Boyles excellent Pistols series on Disney +. Would you ever consider a similar Hunter/Mott film? Has anyone approached you?” There’s been talk.
Danny G: ‘What’s the single greatest time there’s ever been?” Now. “What makes you one of the best front men ever?” Cough.
Tom Acreman: Without getting into gushing – 1) “Of all the MTH songs you wrote, which do you consider your best/most fond of?” They are all my babies – I don’t like picking one or the others get jealous. 2) “Which song you didn’t write for MTH is your favourite?” ‘Thunderbuck Ram’ comes to mind. Mick Ralphs is a great writer – he simplifies. 3) ‘Thunderbuck Ram’ had such a great intro was it impromptu, or carefully planned?” It was planned. 4) “Did Overend only start writing after you left Mott?” No – not at all. When we started out, Mick and Pete were the writers. Pete’s social life was pretty hectic in those days, so eventually, he just said, “you do it.” So, I did. 5) The female backing thing was down to the songs. 6) I could never write a book on songwriting – it’s just too mysterious. You do have to work at it, but the seed comes from somewhere else – who knows.
Jon Antalvari wants the Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland – a favourite of ours.
Jim K: Re: ‘Cleveland Rocks’: I had no knowledge of the Drew Carey video – it just arrived!! Like I said earlier – no one has to ask your personal permission. Once it’s out there anybody can cover it as long as they credit you. When I saw it – I thought ‘this is great’. It was such a great video you knew they were going to use it for a while. I met Drew in LA. He said, ‘You wanna see the studio we do it in?” I said, yeah – the door was locked. Then we all went to lunch.
Randy Ross – thanks, Randy.
Dennis Romano: “We all missed you at the Winery, but your music lives on and Al and the boys did an amazing performance – priceless.” Goodho! They’re a great bunch and much thanks Alejandro!! Lovely man.
Greg Jones: Dunno.
Duncan McGregor: “I’m starting to worry we won’t see you in Glasgow again. I understand the difficulties but, come on son – one more time!! Workin’ on it.
Guy Portelli: Noted.
Gav Black: “I’m currently learning acoustic guitar. How did you start playing and any suggestions for an easier song to learn from your back catalogue?” Back then you started with C – F and G. F being the more difficult one. A lot of people start with A – D – E or D – G – A. There are no short cuts – you just play till your fingers bleed (at least I did). Then you progress to the odd minor – big step!! Try ‘Walkin’ with a Mountain’ – that’s pretty easy. All the stuff I’ve written in the last few years have been a semi-tone down, so go back further.
Gary: I was a crossword clue in the NY Times – many years ago!!
Rob Peck: The story goes that he shot a guy who was calling himself Little Walter down south when he was with Howlin’ Wolf. A bit of a lad – to say the least!
Scott on David Werner – I guess some guys get fed up with it. It can be lack of management – label interest – marketing – who knows. 2) Yes, we do!
Tom Thornton: “Any thoughts on playing piano on ‘Flamingo Road’ (David Johansen). I’ve always rated David – he’s ‘special’ – he has something unique. Don’t remember much about the session.
Matthew Lanzarotta: We supported the Kinks on a few occasions. Met Ray a few times – always cordial.
Steve A: re: Alex Harvey. Did the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow with Alex Harvey. I’m half-Scottish, so Alex ‘accepted’ me – met his whole family – good times (no tapes). Alex once recommended me for the Prime Minister’s job in the UK!!!
Jeffrey: “There are people who think you don’t write these responses.” And you know what we call these people, Jeffrey …
Fred Burkhardt: “Great to hear your voice on “Dirty Job” – keep rockin’.” Major fan of Mike Campbell.
Billy: Not me mate, sorry.
Joan and Bill: Cheers.
Lynne: Yes, we are in touch with Rick and Steff. I just played on one of his songs.
Kevin (Newcastle): Jagger’s a walkin’ example of keeping fit. Pretty amazing to see him still doing it on such a high level.” Eating’s a habit – get over it!!
Habiba: “Do you have a specific memory of YUI ORTA?” Yes – we thought it had a shot, but then the label sacked the boss – and we got lost in the resulting corporate reshuffling and confusion (along with a few other bands). When labels sack bosses – the whole team leaves – kinda like soccer managers. The new guy comes in and they’ve got different ideas and their own team. They want the credit for breaking artists they sign. It’s a real pain in the ass as it’s happened to me (and a lot of others) a couple of times.
Twmas: “Did Mott ever play Glastonbury?” No.
Patrick: I may be getting up there, but I don’t go that far back!
Bob Boyle: I remember Freddie Fingers Lee always had a bag full of piano hammers. Towards the end of his set, he’d pretend he was pulling the real ones out of the piano and throw them into the crowd. Some of the mafia pub owners in South London would actually come to the front of the stage and menace Fred. When they found out what he was really doing – it was drinks on the house all night.
Gary E. Walden: 1) Nice one – go for it! 2) “Ever thought of sequels to your songs?” Nah. 3) ‘What’s the biggest misconception about you that people would be surprised at?” (After thinking) – dunno.
Jon White: You generally do the podcasts, press, radio etc. around the release of an album. I will be doing this stuff when the record comes out.
Claire: Nothing of late, but more to relate.
John Dalton: “Does the movie ‘Almost Famous’ accurately depict the music scene back in the ’70’s? Elton John and Robert Plant are big fans.” Haven’t seen it.
Dru: “If you tour with a Mick Ronson hologram I’m gonna be pissed.” So am I.
Matt Nojonen: Songs come to me – or bits of songs come to me and then I’ve got to finish them off. So instruments don’t play that huge a part. Having said that, it is my firm belief that every instrument has one good song in it. Make of that what you will.
Joe asked me to give a shout out to his brother, Carl who introduced him to my music in 1981. Hey Carl – Joe appreciates you!! As do I.
Gary Dedoussis : “Attended the show Friday at the Winery. Those Ranters really killed it. Alejandro was great- new venue – beautiful. When I saw the piano and the bell my hopes went sky high (that was DiBrizzi). You were missed, but strangely present at the same time. Hope there’s one more tour in you. Be well.” I’m with you Gary. Thank you all for doing this -sorry I couldn’t be there. Sounds like it was a great night.
Mitch A NYC: “Really hope word got to you about your Birthday show at the Winery with Alejandro and the Rant Band. So much love in that room for you.”
Kevin (Belfast): Thanks, Kevin
Mark F: “Do you get recognized when you’re out around town?” I get odd looks from time to time. I’m not sure what they’re thinking.
Les Vineyard: “Do you tell the Rant Band what to play?” They don’t need me to tell them – they do their homework and come prepared. Not into over-rehearsing – keeps it fresher.
ML Heath: Favourite pawn shop would have to be the one in San Francisco where Mick and I found the 1st Maltese Cross. Can’t remember the name.
Glen MacLeod: “You are to me what Dylan is to you.” Aah thanks!!
Wharferat: “So much of your work can be seen as a comment on what’s happening around us now, as well as what has happened to us as individuals now, or in the past. Ray Davies wrote in a similar manner for the Kinks. What do you think of The Kinks work, & have you ever met/worked with Ray?” As I’ve said before, I’ve met Ray a couple of time. He’s kinda shy, but very nice. He’s written some amazing stuff. We’ve supported the Kinks on tour.
Paul Essery: “I live in Portsmouth, England. Are you still banned from Portsmouth Guildhall?” Probably!
Peter Jordan: “What would have happened without ATYD?” Never thought about it. Who knows. It’s easy to say ‘nothing’, but we were a pretty persistent lot and we did have a large following. However, I do think I learned I had to up the standard in order to stay in business – and hanging out with David and Mick was probably a defining period. Either way – it was Trudi ‘n’ me!!!
Michael Wolf: Just the normal things that people do – of course not being normal, I’m a bit of a pain in the ass, but we settled into a reluctant covid routine. Keep fit – keep writing – keep doing this – trying to see a few people. A lot safer – that’s for sure. As Mick Brown says, “It is what it is.”
Bob Childs: “Saw you in Vancouver (still remembers Ronno’s version of ‘Sweet Dreamer’) – any interesting stories about the Vancouver shows?” Too long ago.
Ian Hunter (honestly): “Why I became a Mott fan, bought Hocus Pocus, didn’t fancy it, took it back, bought the Mott album … the rest is history.”
Tony N: “Just a thought … ever given any thought about you and Graham Parker doing an acoustic storyteller tour? You two together would be great … just sayin.” Never thought of that; Graham’s an excellent chap – who knows.
Stuart Stuck: I remember playing the Cobo in Detroit with Ronno because in the afternoon at. The sound check we met a couple of basketball players. They were young and tall (both over 7 feet). We had a nice chat and then did the soundcheck. After soundcheck was over we went back to the dressing room and there was a pyramid of cocaine sitting on the counter!! Needless to say – we flushed it.
Phillip Tremayne: “Do you think that being accessible to your fan base has helped your longevity?” Dunno. The reason I do it is because I was a fan myself and I would have loved a chat with Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard or Chuck Berry. The powers that be control Facebook/Twitter – so I do this instead.
Sam: “Why the affinity for Les Paul Juniors?” Simplicity – tone – Leslie West – Mick Ralphs.
Brad Anderson: “You are truly one of the great lyricists in modern music. Were you encouraged by a teacher to compose poetry?” My English teacher at the Priory Grammar School for Boys in Shrewsbury, Shropshire took an instant dislike to me and the feeling was mutual. I was discouraged by everybody – that was the way it was then. Fortunately, I seem to work well with reverse psychology.
Janet Kaplan: Don’t be sad – it’s only a bit of fun.
And so ends another chapter of the Horse’s Mouth. Bye for now; enjoy the sun!
The Horse’s Mouth
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