Skip to content
Skip to main site content Ian Hunter Logo

Horse’s Mouth

January 28, 2023

Horse’s Mouth (Issue #241, January 2023)

The Horse’s Mouth
Jan 11, 2023

Jeff Beck – right up there at the top of the heap. R.I.P.

This may come as a complete shock to the media, but I couldn’t care less about Harry ‘n’ Meaghan ‘n’ Charles and ‘Mamas’ and ‘Papas’. They may be nice – they may not be nice. Who cares? I don’t know them – but I’d like some news in ‘newspapers’.

Felt bad about Pele. Saw him score a hat trick for the NY Cosmos – two of them ‘bananas’ (U-turns almost!) – and he just laughed – brilliant!!! That’s a gentleman.

Matt Nojonen recommends Dylan’s ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’. “He writes some surprising things; odd scenes that capture the carnival aspect of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I read somewhere he’s into Coronation Street. It’s those hotel rooms – they get yah.

David Britz: “Just finished reading volume 2 biography – fabulous read! Are we getting both parts of ‘Defiance’ in 2023?” Depends on if we make some deadlines.

Graham Payne: “My brother Les Payne – gigged on the Friday; gigged on the Saturday – gone on the Sunday. A true rocker to the end.” That’s the way to do it! R.I.P. Les.

John Romano: “What do you remember about playing on the solo album by Mick Jones (Foreigner) in 1989 – ‘Just Wanna Hold’. Sounds more like you than Mick.” Mick had this cassette he got from Mick Jagger in Jamaica (I think this is true), and Jagger’s skatting over the riff. Mick had them add a load of stuff to it to make it into a song he felt fitted him. All I did was get rid of all the extra stuff and pull it back to basics. Mick’s a very nice man; sorry to hear about his health problems.

Keith Hollinshed: “Do you think Mott would have had a higher profile if concerts in ’74 (and maybe 2009) had been videotaped?” Maybe – who knows. We were never managed properly, and we didn’t care – just wanted to play. Does video capture live? Now and again possibly.

Martin: “Hi from Cleveland. Saw original lineup of MTH at Public Hall, then hanging out in Swingos – so fantastic. My 22 year old daughter and friends love Mott. Thanks for your songs.”

Sam: “The Mott ’74 tour with Ariel Bender and Morgan Fisher – will there be a full concert release?” You’re talking Mott – I can’t see it.

Boiler Up: For some reason the song ‘Stuck in Indianapolis’ by the Bottle Rockets reminds me of you. Ever heard it?” Never hear it but I have been stuck in Indianapolis.

Norrie Ralston: I was watching a documentary about Mick Ronson and you said you were downstairs making a cup of tea at his house when he passed. Did that inspire ‘Michael Picasso’? No.

MiataDriver: How many guitars do you own? I dunno, I’ve got them scattered about, but I’m not a collector. Pete Watts was and hand hundreds of them. Ralpher had quite a few. Ronno only had about half a dozen.

Wade: You’re all saying Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. So thank you for that and the same to you. “Looking forward to new tunes.” I believe it’s January 20th for the first single, ‘Bed of Roses’.

Wysocki: (1) “No, ‘Central Park ‘n’ West’ isn’t seventies, but great song. One other thing Hoople ‘Ready for Love’ version way better, and ‘Sweet Jane’ my top 5 for you leaves Lou Reed in dust. (But he wrote it!) Anyway – done ranting – hoping to catch a show next year.” (2) I truly believe the 70’s was the best era for music. Yourself, Bob and the Who – my all time favs.” Humbled.

Patrick Beirne: “Do you believe you would make it if you were starting out today?” I believe corporations took all the fun out of it back in the 80’s, so I don’t know if I’d be as awed as I was when I started back then. I can smell a corporate act a mile away; it amazes me how many people can’t.

Luke: “You ever consider a small acoustic type room in smaller venues or is that it for touring now? I saw you in Liverpool on your last tour and Mott in London on the last two where Brian May got up with you guys. Both times were brilliant and I bumped into Mick Jones of the Clash at that gig.” Yeah, Mick and others were there and we had a good old chat after the show. As far as touring goes, I’m looking at different angles.

Fergus: “Have you met Jon Anderson?” Yes. “When?” A long time ago. “Where?” Met him at the Marquee and then we went to the Speakeasy.

Martin Reynolds: “Love your solo stuff. What’s better, arenas or smaller venues?” For me, smaller venues by miles.

Chris Riches: “One of my old school chums, Simon Lyons, has recently had a novel published whose main theme is two young lads trying to get to the 1971 Weeley Festival to see their musical heroes, Mott the Hoople. You want a copy?” Sure, send a copy to me c/o P.O. Box 245, Bridgewater, CT 06752.

Kent Moore: ” ‘I Can Feel’ has always been one of my favourites. I just listened to it tonight and was reminded of how great a bass player Overend was. His bass lines add so much to the song.” Pete was and is highly rated among bass players – and he was a pretty good lead guitarist as well – but you can’t argue with Ralpher!

Dru: “Mick Ralphs improving is the best news I’ve heard all day!”

Rick Paul: “Have you watched any of the ‘reaction’ videos of your tunes on U-tube? This movement seems to have resurrected some songs like ‘In the Air Tonight’ and ‘Roundabout’ to become hits decades after their release. What do you think about this movement?” Fine with me. “How about ‘Death May be Your Santa Claus’ for a Christmas live stream?” I’ve seen a couple. It’s fun that people would take the time and it seems to be picking up as a hobby in theses claustrophobic times.

Malcolm Lay: “Of all the band’s that Mott toured with in the 70’s – who were the most outrageous bands after the shows at parties?” Joe Walsh (oh, yes); Aerosmith (learning); Wishbone Ash (no); and who were the nicest guys to tour with?” Queen and all of the above – and many others. The only ‘difficult’ band we toured with were the Kinks, and that was the older brother thing that often goes awry. Probably the nicest were Queen – we got on like a house on fire.

Doug: “I always love the insight that you share – including your views on politics. In case some neanderthal complains – pay no attention and keep passing along your target thoughts.” OK.

Jih: “What kind of car do you drive?” I drive a Mini Cooper. For long distances Trudi prefers Mercs – she drives a lot more than me. Never been a car man – as long as it gets me there in one piece. “How tall are you?” 5’10 ½ ” – getting smaller by the day.

James Ovard: “The BIG question is….will you play live again? We all hope so, I’m sure you hope so too. But if you don’t….don’t feel bad….you’ve given us so much joy for so many years and you’re still writing and recording, so there’s still some gas in the tank.” What a lovely email; much appreciated! Blush.

Stonefly: “I thought your comment about an audience wanting to be led is spot on.” I was a Jerry Lee Lewis fan and on stage he was arrogance personified. Jagger owns the stage; Steve Tyler owns the stage. Then you go back to John Lennon; Howlin Wolfe – all these guys owned the stage. It’s either in you or it isn’t. Ego!!! p.s. I worked with Chris Stainton on Alien Boy – amazing pianist.

Rick Graves is going to see Alejandro with the Rant Band in Austin.

Dan Sebald: “Tennessee’s personalized license plate has a Gibson electric Spanish 335 in basic sunburst and reads, ‘The State of American Music.’ As the song says, all of the good ones are taken: CHUCK, BERRY, KING, ROY, JERRY (not guitarist, but hey), CHET, EMYLU, DUANE, BETTS, BTLS, BYRDS WHO, KEEF, MARTY, MCFLY, ERIC, GRAM, GLAM, SWEET (Andy Scott, red ES-335+ Bigsby vibrato), BOWIE, REED (Transformer photo shoot used an ES335), ZAPPA and last but not least, MOTT (All the Way From Memphis qualifies). Still available: JIMI (surprisingly, but Hendrix played Fender Strat), CLASH (zip in all categories, just to be a punk), RONNO (looks good in print, can’t recall him ever using a semi-hollow body, if the plate were a Les Paul then hands down winner), EB84 (most deserving, but the Everlys played full acoustic country jumbo Gibsons) and HOWE (ES-175, but it is Sunburst). By the way, Gibson has a nice page on Mick:

Greg Becker: (1)”When you went into the studio to do the ‘Brain Capers’ album, did the band ask Guy to come back to produce it since the band self-produced the previous ‘Wildlife’ album – or did he ask the band if he could come back into the mix?” The band asked him back. (2) “The album, ‘Mott’, was self-produced, but was a much more superb sounding album compared to ‘Wildlife’. Was that due to experience, more band co-operation, or did you personally have to make more decisions regarding the production?” Probably due to Bill Price, the brilliant engineer, more than anything else. We’d done the ‘Dudes’ album and we learned a lot from that. I remember me and Mick went at it one night. I’d had a few and he was clearly frustrated by the way things were going. All the usual stuff that happens when you’re trying your hardest. Anyway! It turned out good.

Barry Sokolowski: “I mentioned this in the past, but now I found the whole 45 minute concert video remastered. Van Morrison with Mick and Dr. John. (Wow- this is new to me!) Nice one, Barry.

Jeffrey: Cheers, Jeffrey.

John Dalton: “What was your initial reaction when you first heard the Velvet Underground?” (Not good.) “Did they influence you in any way” (Not at all.) Did your view them as being in a different neck of the woods?” (Yup.)

Robbin Snow: “In your song ‘Life’ you sing a very Marc Bolanish lyric about dying is like ‘Water off a duck’s back’. Did you know Marc Bolan?” I knew him to say hello to – that was about it. I’d no idea ‘Life’ was Bolanesque! Opinions.

Tony S.: “Watching a ‘biopic’ about the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten’s character mentions Mott as an influence. Any run ins with them back then? Or thoughts about the band?” John Lydon tapped me on the shoulder on a flight to the UK once – I turned round ‘n’ his face was quite close. The guy sitting next to me swapped seats and John and I had a good old chat for at least a couple of hours before I pissed him off about something and we sulked the rest of the way to Heathrow. I’ve done Steve Jones’ show – most enjoyable. They’re both intelligent, funny people. Under all the B.S. I’ve met loads of people considered to be a little ‘over the top’ and they’ve always seemed really nice to me.

Donovan: “When I first saw you with Mott at Liverpool Stadium, you were playing the Thomas ‘Cross’ guitar. What guitars did you play in the band before that?” Don’t remember – we had little money, so I probably used one of Ralpher’s Les Paul Juniors.

Shug Laverty: “I read on one of the Facebook pages that Leslie West apparently decided to join Mott back in the day, but Buff and Pete were having none of it!” (Well, their thing was the guy had to be British – we were an ‘English’ band – so that kinda narrowed the field. We were due back in the States for the next half of the tour and had TWO WEEKS to find a replacement and rehearse the show. Luther was on Island Records and he was a big mate of Mick’s – we all knew him – he was up for it and that was it. The great Ariel Bender was different – totally different – and we became different. Luther just walked right into this totally off the wall character and was a lot of fun!)

Gary and Gretchen Walden: “Just wondered what inspires you to come up with a song. As a songwriter, I find inspiration by coming up with a title, sometimes it’s people I meet, other times it’s political, sometimes reworking a cliché. What inspires you the most?” All of the above plus bullshit ‘n’ things.

Josh Beeson: “What’s your favourite Mott album? They all stay with me for different reasons. “What is your favourite album with Mick Ronson?” The first one.

Tom Willis: “What’s your favourite Champagne?” Lansons.

Bob Taylor: “From ’74 on – thanks – you made a difference to me.” Cheers, my man!

Russell Taylor: “I too suffer from tinnitus; I have good and bad days. Have you found anything that helps? Anything from meds to diet? I can’t find a correlation of anything I try to the good days, maybe just luck to still have any.” First off – forget all the drivel on the internet. It’s total B.S. Go to a good audiologist and get hearing aids that help to lower the frequencies you’re hearing. Everybody’s different. You get used to it – I’m in my 4th year.

Don Snaith: “Why don’t you play the South? I live in Baton Rouge and you owe me a show. Play New Orleans.” I love New Orleans, but a promoter needs to come up with the required amount!

Ian Stanley: ” ‘All of the Good Ones Are Taken” is such an infectious song.” Well, it would have been, but I never got the correct groove until Andy York got involved with me and the Norwegian Orchestra in Oslo. I woke up with the song – but forgot the groove. Taught me to get off my arse and get the groove down. You think you’ll remember it, but sometimes you don’t.

John Campbell: “A lot of bands supported you, but di you ever support other bands on the way up?” Sure. Free used to beat our asses; King Crimson; Ten Year After, The Kinks; the Faces; Jethro Tull; Mountain; Traffic; etc. etc.

Ricardo Havengar: “Have you ever met Scott Walker?” No.

Brad Anderson: “October 1976, on a camping trip, me and Dave show up like foxes in a hen house. I pick up a guitar and play ‘I Wish I Was Your Mother’. The most desirable women on my planet and they swooned on every word. I’m pretty sure you’re going to heaven because of what you did for me that night!” Hope so!

David P Riske: “When you write a song, do you write parts for all your bandmates, or do you writ melody and chorus only and have them do their parts? I would think drummer does his thing, but bass and lead guitar, I’m not sure. Do you write all chord changes for bass, for example?” You’re basically talking arranging. Ronno was a great arranger as is Andy York. Andy is a drummer and a bass player as well as being a great guitarist – so he sees the whole picture. I’m more the ‘drama guy. I like excitement; 1-10.

Mark F: “Have you and Trudi ever gone to a Broadway play?” We saw Glenda Jackson on Broadway in ‘MacBeth’; we’ve seen Lily Tomlin and the magnificent Gilda Radnor – among the more memorable.

Tom Doeing is going to Austin. Hopes to have ‘Defiance – part 1″ by then. (Actually, it’s now April 21ST). Will there possibly be a Part III? Or would you go with another title?” Who knows – to early to think about that.

Craig Nevitt: “You don’t smile much, Ian, are you just not a smiley kinda man or are you more so away from the music business?” Dunno. Trudi says I should smile more in pictures. I’m no good at it. I like Ross Halfin taking my picture – HE can make me laugh.

Mike: I think this is for management – I’ll pass it along.

Tim: “What kind of Horse’s Mouth questions do you prefer – your music career? Music in general? Fan comments on your shows and songs? Goofy interest in your personal life?” First three are ok.

Tripp: “With the upcoming release of your new record is there a sense of excitement for you to it’s release and getting it to the fans? For me – a long time listener and fan, I look forward to new music like waiting for Christmas.” Well – what with one thing and another – this one has taken a long while to come into being. Hope you all think it was worth the wait. It’s been kinda frustrating, but we’re near the goal posts – just gotta kick it in. I’m over the moon about it, but like I said – it’s been a while.

Lee Jay: We will pass this onto management.

Tony S: What’s up?

Bryan Paterson: April 21st.

Terry: “If you were to record a covers album, which songs would ya record?” I don’t see the point. They did them much better than I could ever do them – that’s why I like them so much.

Danny G calls me ‘Sir’ Ian Hunter – an honor not soon to come my way, but Brian May!!! Congratulations Sir Brian!!

James Ball: The title track is ‘Defiance’. It’s released on April 21st on Sun Records. The first single -‘Bed of Roses’ – is released on January 20th. Thanks for liking the other stuff.

Ron Harris: Ron comes to us from Australia and slowly compiled a collection. Welcome aboard, Ron.

Geoff Olson calls me the Bard of Oswestry!! Hardly – I was only there three months!! Prefers me doing ‘Nightingale’ to a load of illustrious people – it’s a beautiful song (my Mum’s favourite).

Andy C: “Did you enjoy playing the Picturedrome in Holmfirth, England. My wife and I saw you three times and they were fantastic gigs. Do you think you might ever get over to see us again?” A bit of a schlepp to get there – but it’s worth it – great gig.

Steve Horne: No UK tour plans at the moment.

Hunter Tremayne: “I knew the Ship pub very well circa 1976-8. I recall it had two entrances, so if you were standing at the bar, and someone entered you weren’t fond of, you could be out of there in two seconds!” Puts me in mind of the Black Lion in Northampton (The Great Escape).

Habiba: “What is an experience or special moment you would like to relive if you were given the chance?” There’s been a fair few – possibly, listening to ‘Dudes’ the very first time.

Steve Karmazin: “You’ve commented a few times that once you get the first line of a lyric, that seems to…and I’m paraphrasing, open the door for the rest of the words to come. Why is that?” It just puts you on the path. Titles are good too; gives you the overall idea. They are actually the easiest bits – it can be harder putting the rest of it together. You’ve got to visit every room in the house.

Brian McCarty: “Why can’t I look like Elvis, and have your hair, or sing like either of you? There is no God.” Look – I didn’t say this – Brian did. C’mon!

Stonefly: Right – Roger Hodgson – Greg Lake (great bloke) – Sheila E – Howard Jones – and the man himself (Ringo Starr) – and me.

And so, that’s it.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Enjoy the music!

The Horse’s Mouth

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