Skip to content
Skip to main site content Ian Hunter Logo

Horse’s Mouth

September 5, 2023

Horse’s Mouth (Issue #248, August 2023)

August 2023 Horse’s Mouth


Janey Todd: Hi Ian, It’s great to “hear” you talk again . I very rarely allow myself the luxury. I have a new ebook coming out on Amazon and I mention you as one of three musicians that I have a Big Crushing crush on. It’s actually only you and Bruce, but since the book is a dream journal and I had a dream about him, I had to throw Bob Dylan in too. I do have a crush on him, but only when I see him.

So, I’m wondering if it’s OK with you that I mention your name in Sheboygen? Thanks for your time.



IH: Course it is. (It should be noted that I am, in fact, taller than these other two).


Bob Kleb: Ian, Defiance 1 has been permanently on my player it’s a morning rush to get going and a nightly play to chill. I moved to s.W. Florida coast 3 1/2 yrs ago I came across a really deep article about jaco Pastorius out of Miami Dade area ( Lauderdale) was aware of his work with you on the everlasting incredible AAAB after reading was unaware of his many issues him being from Ft.Lauderdale the article was from a solidified source even till his final demise outside a local bar there and dying from his head injuries, I was really taken back being aware of his issues I know Ian his contributions to that recording was unforgettable. Do you have a comment in reference to his relationship with you. Also read today a phenomenal article on Mick Ronson was unaware of his beautiful guitar (as many) in middle of Mellencamps ” jack and Diane ” and that you guys were working on follow up record after Y iorta any chance of any of that music seeing the light of day?. Thx again Ian for your time.

IH: Well, I kinda knew Jaco before all the trouble started.  He was 21 and had a big innocent ego. He told filthy jokes and practiced 8 hours a day – his logic being if you practiced 8 hours a day for three years – you would then be the best bass player in the world. Which he probably was! I think his ego caught up with him when he mixed with a new array of options as his reputation grew. He wasn’t the same guy when I met him later on. It’s a sad story – especially for his family.


Matt Parish: The MOTT album cover is one of the most iconic covers in rock history.

Always mused why Mick was cut off when there was more than enough room to include him fully if the shot was just centered.

I guess doing that would remove its iconicity?

( Iconicity is actually a very cool word with a ton of song lyrical potential.)

What is an example of iconicity?

Making a motion in front of your lips as if you were turning a key to lock them as a way of indicating to someone not to speak is iconicity. Patting an empty chair to indicate to someone that the seat is available for them to sit in is an example of iconicity.

IH:  “Inconicity” – show off!! 


Scott: Lost my mind the other day and bought an outfit that Overend wore from his estate. Feels kind of weird……what do you think?

IH: I think it’s great. Brings back great memories – enjoy!


Steve Greenhalf:

hi Ian – from a ’69 Aylesbury Grammar School Mott fan….. do you know if it’s possible to get hold of a copy of “You Rocked We Rolled” anywhere ? Dead ends on t’internet !

IH:  Haven’t a clue.


Greg Becker: Just received the vinyl version that was just released of “Dirty Laundry”! The album is an unknown gem as far as I’m concerned. The songs and musicianship are top notch. Have you gone back and listened to it recently and was this the only time that you recorded at Abbey Road studios? One last question, do you keep in touch with any of the other musicians that played on the album?

IH: Haven’t heard it in a fair few years now. Always loved ‘Never Trust a Blonde’ (typical Darryl) and ‘Scars’. Haven’t seen those chaps in a long time.


John: Be honest–In your opinion songs/bands that you really can’t stand.

At your age (ha ha) you can say what you really think…..

IH: 96%


Dave Hancox: Hello. I love your descriptive speculation of Picasso’s creative process where you said:

Little angels directing my hands

They won’t let me choose from the colors I use

They want violence and black like Cezanne

It is almost like the picture painted itself. Does that, perhaps only at times, describe what you experience when you are writing? Do the words almost appear on the page by themselves – ie. the song writes itself – it goes in whatever direction it takes you, etc? Or, is the songwriting process much more laborious than this? Perhaps it is both?



IH: It varies. Actually, ‘Guernica’ came pretty quickly, I believe.  I was on a roll at the time. It can be laborious; it’s laborious at the moment. Got to thank everybody who took part in that song.


James “Tripp” Pair: Have a lot of time on my hands with the SAG/WGA Strike going on and saw a Live Show with Ronno ,you and the band! Was blown away with Ronno’s performance of “Sweet Dreams”! The Patsy Cline song. Was this Ronno’s idea to do ? Or was it a collaboration between you two? Also do you have any friends that are affected by the ongoing strike? The AMPTP is really trying to change the business in a horrible way. That’s all!

IH: Mick was scary. ‘Sweet Dreams’ was his idea – it developed over the years – adding bits and pieces. Originally, I’d go off when he played it, but eventually I found a piano part that he liked. Gave me the chills. Some of it went beyond – he was definitely in Beck land on this one.


BillC: This note is long overdue but I have been living life. Defiance has been my traveling companion

In three oountries and 7 states. I hope to make it 10 by end of summer . Thumbs up, job well done.

I was in Scotland ( this day edinburg) and told my wife I want to find a dive bar filled with locals. At some point she said “That one”. She guessed well. As I order my second beer the guy next to me says “another American with no taste buds” I immediately throw up the time out signal to the bartender and said “ Its yours damn country , you tell me what to order”. At this point the bartender is smiling but she had a look of fear in her eyes. I let him pick my beer and we jawboned a little more having a good time. Inside I am laughing because… this is what I was there for. So who do you think makes better beer?? Castles are nice but we spent most of our time around isle of Skye and Cairngorms-just beautiful

I will say its weird not having a Rant band adventure to watch you flog the new album. You really owe us nothing I just say it to acknowledge they became part of the Ian Hunter experience.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Finally the heat wave broke for at least a week anyway.

(my retired friend says there are only 3 days in the week, yesterday, today , and tomorrow)
IH: Actually, I’ve just done a track with the Rant Band. It’s a Jesse Malin song for his new album that’s in the works and coming out soon. Sounds great!!


Mark Burlingham:

Hi Ian was just wondering if you was coming to England at anytime I last see you at the Brook in Southampton what a brilliant gig

IH: Cheers.


Mick Gray:

Ian- Hope you are well! LOVE THE NEW RECOD! This is a personal question… did you ever receive the CD I sent you of an interview I did with you and Mick Ronson in 1988 in San Jose, California?

This was one of the BIG honors of my life …sitting and talking with you two!

You MIGHT remember me taking to to the gig in my green and white 1957 Ford Fordor!

Mick Gray

IH: Mick – my memory is crap!  Sorry.


Bill Mc

My two favorite albums this year are of course Defiance Pt1. and Lucinda Williams new Stories From a Rock and Roll Heart. I’m so excited to hear she will be on Defiance Pt.2 with you.

Any interesting stories how you met up. It it a duet together or backing vocals?? Can’t wait!

IH: I played the Nashville Winery with the Rant Band and Lucinda came with her husband, Tom.  Both were lovely. Read her book – it’s great. One is a duet and the other backing – we haven’t got round to mixing yet.


Wallis Morales

Hi Ian, I’ve been a fan for many years. I love the fact that you’re still creating amazing music! Any chance we will see you touring in Southern California again?

Thanks for all the joy you’ve brought into my life! Wallie

IH: We’ll see.


Jon wheeler

Ian, in all your kilometers and years on the road, what meal reminds you most of home?

IH: A good grill up!


Pete S

Just watched (again) the rendition of ‘Dudes’ at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert at Wembley with Mick, Queen & David – a version that I believe is one of the best and never tire of watching

Do you have any special memories of the concert and that performance

Thank you for the consistent quality of your music output over the years – so under appreciated in the wider music world

IH: Well, it was a big deal! 76,000 at the stadium and 2 billion TV viewers. We sat in the Queens Box and watched the first half. I remember they applauded ‘Dudes’ at the rehearsals (chills, again). Elton John was lovely; it was a pretty special day out.  Elizabeth Taylor was hanging out etc. etc.!! I’ll save the rest for later…


Dave Arrasmith

I know that all of us fans would love to see you in concert one more time but if you can’t come see us how about you have a concert in your town and we can all come to you.Maybe call it Hunterfest.What do you think?

IH:Well, that’s very nice of you, but I don’t want you lot plodding over our manicured lawns!! Just give it time.


Sam McQuaid

Hey Ian, still loving defiance 1 especially I hate hate! I’ve been listening to some of the older stuff and was wondering was there ever a remix of overnight angels that you know of? All the best and looking forward to part II!

IH: It couldn’t be remixed – the tape was transparent.


Michael Wolf:

Hey Ian! Been a while since I’ve bothered you, been busy with retirement and moving. Loved Defiance! Anxiously awaiting Part 2. And thanks for the “autograph “. Quite the stunning lineup of fellow musicians! Hoping the next will be just as good, if not better. So when something like this finally gets finished and released, is there a huge burden off your back? Do you just sit back for a little bit and feel like this was a huge accomplishment? I would think it’s right onto the next project also. Appreciate all you do and for communicating with your fans through The Mouth. Wishing you health and happiness, and an occasional good glass of wine! Thanks man!

IH: Thanks, Michael. I tend to take things as they come; we’ve never planned. Things just happen and that’s the way I like it. I don’t know what happens next – ideas are being bandied about. It’s more fun this way.


Pat Beirne: Hi Ian

I love all your stuff but have a particular soft spot for the Man Overboard album. Do you go into the studio with fully formed songs or do they take shape while being recorded.

IH: I’ve done it all ways. I like to have them done going in for financial reasons these days. Nobody’s throwing money about like the old days. I have a rather large basement, so the Rant Band would come up and rehearse the songs so less time was spent in the actual studio. My first solo album with Ronno was written in the studio.  lLke I said – I’ve done it all ways.


Mike Costanzo: Ian, Was wondering whether you’ve ever been invited back to any of your old schools or other haunts to speak or perform? Some folks do after they’ve made it (whatever ‘it’ is). Also, have you ever been given any honorary diploma’s , keys to the city, etc? And finally, when re-visiting your old U.K. stomping grounds, do you find yourself walking around the old schoolyard? I’ve never been nostalgic for my school years, but it’s something I find myself doing, can’t really explain why. All I know is it always makes me feel good in an odd sort of way. (There’s a song in there somewhere….)

Hope the summer heat was good to you.

-Mike C.

IH: Mott ’74 got a Milwaukee diploma! I have a couple of keys to the City of Cleveland.  I went to 6 schools – been back to one of them (which was crap!).


Jeffrey Leek: Hello Ian, I was a young lad in the early 70’s, & I don’t think I can describe how much the Glam Rock movement meant to me. Mott The Hoople was my favorite band. To me, your version of

“All The Young Dudes” was the anthem of that movement. At the time, did you & the guys in the band feel that way about it, & if so, do you feel that way about it now? Thanks for all the great music.

IH: Oh, yeah. We knew the song was special – still is.


peter mcmahon: just watched a Parkinson show on YouTube with billy Connelly he said he done a tour with Ian hunter is that right and when was it all the best Peter

IH: Well, he didn’t actually! I think he did Carnegie Hall in New York and went down great. Then he was supposed to come to LA and do a week opening for me and Ronno (the Hunter/Ronson Band). We were really looking forward to it. I turn up the first night late – thinking we’ll see him all week – plenty of time to get to know the great man.  He was gone!! The LA audience couldn’t understand a word he was saying – so they just kept on talking amongst themselves. Billy went off and was persuaded to come back on again – but they still ignored him!! So Billy figured this was going to mess with his confidence for his upcoming tour of Canada where he was headlining big shows. Off he went! One of my heroes! We both grew up sleeping in ‘room beds’. It wasn’t his fault – they just didn’t get the accent.


Robert Allen: Hi Ian, I think your latest album, Defiance Part 1, is one of your best. Of course, I also love The Rant Band and the records they’ve made with you. My artistic nom de plume is DownTown Mystic and I record with your Rant Band rhythm section–Steve Holley and Paul Page. Did you know that you and I are the only 2 artists to have recorded with both the E Street Band rhythm section, Max & Garry and the Rand Band rhythm section, Steve & Paul?? What would you consider the difference between the 2 rhythm sections?

IH: Never had a problem with either. Right?



hi Ian, just a short msg.great album defiance pt1 ,although us Aussies Down under never had the opportunity to have you come to our shores to gig we are glad for all your musicxx . Before I go were you sitting on the drums for Ellen’s MTV second single it pop up on telly last month?Take care you and family .Scott down under cheers

IH: Nah – I think that might have been Hilly Michaels.


Dan Hartmann:

How did my namesake, bassist Dan Hartman, end up playing on Speechless? Was Mark Clarke unavailable that day, or was the groove more suited to Hartman? Also, One of the Boys originated from Can’t Get Enough. Couldn’t you say that Can’t Get Enough originated from No Wheels to Ride? You sang, “Can’t get enough, can’t get enough, I can’t get enough of your love.”

IH: Can’t remember what happened on ‘Speechless’. I believe ‘One of the Boys’ was BEFORE ‘Can’t Get Enough’ actually. As to ‘No Wheels’ ‘can’t get enough’ – it’s a common enough expression.


Scott: David Werner said that he always had trouble getting paid for songs that he helped write and produce such as the Copley song that he wrote. Did you ever have that problem and what did you do about it?

IH: Everyone has this problem.


Steve Merchant: Hi Ian – I went to the Priory Grammar School too. One neame – CWEPeckett or QUEP the headmaster. I can’t imagine problems at home then facing that bastard too!! Haha. My uncle Bob had the Benbow for a while, he probably served you at some point. Love from Shrews – just take it! :-))

IH: Yeah, Queppie – mild mannered chap with an inclination for Humanities. Thanks for the caning! Never went in the Bendow. My pub days started in Northampton.


David Morgan: How do you and Andy decide which key a song should be in or is it in your mind when you compose the song.

IH: Exactly – the key’s in my mind. He may change the speed slightly, but he’s never asked me to change key.


MO: I got reminiscing today about the number of friends I have made by meeting people at your gigs , enabled by the old Ian Hunter message board and later by Facebook and the like. I have made close friendships with people I have met, from Murcia to Preston, and several stops in between. A couple of them even got married. I just want to say the impact you have made is not just about the music it is about the great network of fans I have met who do so much for each other ! But you know that. If we get any more live gigs it would be tremendous, but to be fair as fans we have been luckier than most artist’s fans both in terms of your durability and how absolutely totally bloody approachable you and other band members are. It has been a great ride with you, and I hope it is not yet over. Thanks Ian.

IH: Well, thanks, Mo – we appreciate it.


Per Hellmers: Hi Ian! I’m just reading your book ‘Diary of…’ and wondering if you still daily writing diary’s? Really good book btw.

IH: Nah – that was just a one off. Campbell Devine has taken over!!


Francis L: Sir Ian, “Wouldn’t it be great if we ran out of hate”

Awesome …best song ever for these times. Knew you would do it!

1) That you on piano?

2) Did you read Chrissie Hynde’s interview in the Guardian UK?

Thank you,

Amb Franklin

IH: Yeah – I thought that one might even take off. No radio these days (or very little). Yeah, that’s me on piano. I got Dennis to double the lick. No, I didn’t read Chrissie’s interview – I’m Stateside.


Alan Butler: Hi Ian – I was the promoter of your 2 shows in Worthen (Shropshire) in 2004 & 2005 – great memories! Loving the new album, and especially “Guernica”; coincidentally I was there a couple of months ago, and confess until then I didn’t know much about what happened there – shocking! Coming at it from the angle of the artist is fascinating, it’s beautifully written, and it’s a total “earworm” for me now…. haven’t got a question really, just wanted to say Hi, & thanks for all the music……

IH: Thanks, Alan. Have you seen ‘Chasing Mallory’?  They’re great.


Jonathan Bailey: Hi Ian. Both me and my brother are huge fans first seeing you and Mott in Bristol in the 1970’s. We’ve seen many shows over the years. One question my brother keeps asking me about is that opening guitar sound on Alice from the Hoople album. Is that a bass guitar through an effect pedal or a guitar ? Can you remember what the effect was and how it came about? I thought I would try and get the answer from the Horse’s Mouth!

IH: Pete’s bass guitar.


Dru: Is Guy Stevens The Godfather of Punk?

PS: thanks for steering me to Dennis Elliot , great drummer

Dru: Quick follow up: did Guy have any musical or technical ability to speak of?

PS: thanks for turning me on to Mickey Curry, great drummer

IH: No, Gene Vincent (but he’s right up there!). Yes, Dennis Elliott is a great drummer.  Guy had no musical or technical ability – he just had a sense.


Mike Lopez: Hi Ian,

I followed your career for years and wondered what led you to record Doug Sahm’s At The Crossroad? Mott’s version is a fantastic version. Did you listen to Doug’s music or ever meet him?

Thank You.

Mike (from San Antonio,Tx home of Dough Sahm)

IH: Guy suggested the song. Mick Ronson and I got up with Doug Sahm in NYC later on. Hell of a nice guy!


Donald Mease: I pulled Shrunken Heads off the shelf and gave it another listen and really grooved on the banjo on ‘I am what I hated when I was young’.

Great song.

Maybe you can revisit the groove on a tune for Part Two?

All our best,

Andy, Opie and Goober


How’s Part Two coming?


In the wee hours, back in the day, I used to jam ‘You’re never alone …’ into the dashboard to hear ‘ When the Daylight Comes’ on my way from one town to the next.

I’ll miss you when I’m gone.

IH: That’s Andy on the banjo.  Part II is slowly coming along.


Tim Hewtson: Sorry, this is a follow up question because the refrain has never made any sense to me, although I love the song.

‘Shallow Crystals’ – “Be cool, be cool, be cool.”

Is what your mum really said, “Calm down, Ian, calm down”?

If so, it’s a great switch – basically, ” Cool it!” to, “Be cool!”

In any author you love, you have to become obsessed by reading the runes.

And why have you written three songs about your dad and only one about your mum, who obviously pissed you off just as much?

Sorry, again, these questions are really intrusive, but I’d love to hear the answer from my guru who is just guruing there (Loudon Wainwright III).

IH: ‘Cool’ isn’t cool anymore!  3 -1  I’ll have to think about that. Kinda like Man City/Chelsea.


Terry: Oh Man-Honaloochie Boogie is timeless!



IH: It’s ok.


Michael Walsh:

Ian: Did you read new bio on Leon Russell? If so, did you enjoy it? I am loving it and learning so much about him, and you are mentioned several times!

IH: Wow – mentioned in Leon’s book. That’s probably because I thought so much of him. I’ll have to get it.


James “Tripp” Pair:

The year was 1980 and you played Rockpalast with Mick and your band. When the band played ” I Wish IWas Your Mother”. You played a 12 string guitar. Red with a white pick guard, Do you remember this guitar and what happened to it? I wonder if you get attached to some of the instrumentss you play through the years or are they just toools of the trade? I push Camera Dolly’s for a living and the Golly’s are all differant. I play them as they’re delivered to me!

IH: I’ve got a 12 string, but it’s not red.


Tom McGarry: Have any musicians been in touch and say they wish you had asked them to be involved in Defiance 1 and 2?

IH: That would be telling…..


James Rawnsley:

I love the track “I Feel Free” on Mad Shadows but there’s a Squeek in the background all the way through. What’s causing it?


IH: There’s a squeak running through the whole album. It’s Buff’s foot pedal. When he found out he went apoplectic, but it was too late to change anything.


Tony: Hello Ian, I was watching Live at Darryl’s House[Hall & Oates ] on Axis TV. At that moment I thought ,wouldn’t it be a great idea to release a live CD recording titled “Live At Ian’s House” . Get some of the Rant boys together, and get some guest musicians like Joe Walsh to stop by and record some of your catalog with no audience and only band chatter.

IH: I don’t want all these ruffians cluttering up the place!


Phil Taylor: Ian – Thank you; my 6 week old grandson was fighting sleep until I played it him The Golden Age Of Rock n Roll! I envy him; he’s going to listen to do much great music with me!

IH: Poor little bugger! Play him a ballad!


Bob Kleb: Hey Ian wanted your thoughts on Jaco Pastorius contributions to AAAB recording which is one of my favorite in your great collection I recently read an article about him since I moved to Florida it was in a local paper it was very informative of his up and down career with a disappointing ending…. also I didn’t realize Micks guitar break in John Cougers early release after going back to listen to it I definitely hear his guitar feel amazing things you discover. As always wishing you the very best going forward Mr.Hunter and so enjoying Defiance 1 awaiting #2. Thx Ian

IH: You live and learn.


Ian Sharp: When I was at school, our music teacher occasionally allowed us to bring an album in to play to the class (usually so she could rubbish rock music and try to get us into Beethoven).

A mate and I bought in ‘Mott’. She did her usual put-downs, except for ‘Hymn for the Dudes’. She praised that track because “it achieved what it set out to do” (50 years later I still remember her words). So, what inspired you to write a rock hymn? It is a magnificent track!

Looking forward to Defiance Pt 2 – Pt 1 is a triumph (an appreciation of Pt 1 will be in my newsletter ‘LP’ very soon –

All the best,


IH: Haven’t a clue.


John and Elaine Barnes: Hi hope you’re well, please can you tell us are you going to be doing any tour dates in England any time soon 😊

IH: Verdict is out at the moment.


Ooour wullie:  Hello, how is it all going? Still loving Deliance part 1 and looking forward to part 2, any room for a kazoo solo lol. Can’t wait to see the list of guests, if it half as impressive as part 1 it will be the 2nd most impressive cast ever.

Any news on the live front??

Dying to see you front the ranters again health permitting. Either side of the pond I’ll be there


IH: Cheers Wullie!!


Mike: Hello Mr H. Your lyrics are always a cut above. Have you ever thought about a lyric book with your comments about the related songs? I love Roy Harper and he put out a beautiful book of lyrics and stories which fair made me happy.

Speaking of Roy H. Have you ever had any contact over the years? “Just” Roy with a guitar at gigs in small venues never failed to deliver. I do think that an Ian Hunter acoustic tour would have the same resonance with your fans. Just make sure we all bring a box of tissues as you’ll have us all weeping like babies! Whaddya think??

Thank you again for everything. It’s all your fault that I met Mick Jones at a comic mart recently and all I did was talk about you and stupidly didn’t ask him anything about his brilliant work!

All the best


IH: My only Roy Harper story is being forced to smoke shoe polish in Europe. He’d got conned – and we all had to suffer!!


Roy: Wouldn’t be great if we ran out of hate???

IH: Dislike would be infinitely preferable.


So there’s two me’s. This is the other one…..


Keep ‘em coming…



The Horse’s Mouth