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Horse’s Mouth

December 6, 2023

Horse’s Mouth (Issue #251, November 2023)

Ian Hunter | November 2023 | Horses Mouth


Tom McGarry: Was “Shades Off” always intended to be spoken over the closing of “It Ain’t Easy When You Fall” or did it start life as a separate song?

IH: It was a poem I wrote in the bus on the way up to Scotland with Mott.



Ian Edmundson: Hi Ian, I read that Cheap Trick are going to be on your next album. Glad to hear that they are involved. Can you tell us how that came about?

Do you have a rough date for the release of the next instalment and will it be on the Sun label again?

Keep on keeping on. Be well.


Ian from Bolton.

IH: I’ve known Tom, Robin and Rick over the years. WHAT A BAND! The real thing!



Barry Sokolowski:

Hey Ian, hope you are feeling great. I just read something strange online. It was about Mick Ronson. They were quoting you saying ” There is Mick Ronson before Dylan and Mick Ronson after Dylan. So I obviously thought of you to ask this question. It said that while he played every show with Dylan in 1975. In 1976 it said he stayed on the bus most of the time and only played a few shows. T-Bone Burnett said Dylan had a case of Lead-itis. That would be so sad if it were true. Have you heard of that happening? I saw another supposed quote from you. It said “Mick Ronson has played with many different types of musicians. And that he never had a bad word to say about any of them except Van Morrison”. Not sure if true but I can believe it. Enjoy the Holiday Season.

IH: Well, it’s generally known that Van’s a bit of a stickler.




You have an opinion on the new Stones album?

IH: Haven’t heard it all. I loved the gospel song – top of the line.



Ray Mitten:

Hey Ian! I attended a meet and greet with Max Weinberg recently and I asked him about playing with you and Ronno on Schizophrenic. He was highly complimentary , said you guys were a blast to work with and extremely talented, and pointed out Mick’s work as an arranger as particularly memorable. He also said that the E Streeters played with you guys at the Stone Pony at the albums release party. What mementoes do you have of working with the E Streeters and the Stone Pony gig?

IH: My memories are mainly of the Power Station. Bob Clearmountain was brilliant. He and Max had the drums sounding so good I had to take a tape to a mate’s house to make sure it wasn’t just sounding good in the studio. All the E-Streeters were great to play with.



James: I appreciate the radio concerns of All The Young Dudes thinness but The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust doesn’t sound thin and it was all over the radio

IH: Perhaps he learned from his mistake.



Fat: Did you ever “borrow” an onstage move from someone else?

How did you originally connect with Ellen Foley?

Beer drinker?

IH: 1) It never occurred to me about moving.  I just did what I did – whatever that was!

2) Steve Popovich wanted me to produce Ellen. I asked Ronno to do it with me as he was skint at the time! 3) Used to be in my teens and twenties. Makes you fat later on.



Peter Jordan: I was out walking in a small Staffordshire village and ended up by a stream just behind a Baldy bloke with a big dog and bandana. It was a grim grey day and it struck me as a great title for something creative.

The ‘Poem’ that resulted used the title as a metaphor for the parlous state of things over here. It ended up very much along the lines of ‘Brittania’ or ‘Shrunken Heads’ rather than the tempo of ‘Pearl and Roy’ or ‘Ripoff!’

How do you feel when people tell you that you sparked something for them and does it matter whether it’s good, bad or indifferent?

That village (Rolleston on Dove) was the ancestral home of the Mosleys whose emblem is a spread Eagle. There’s one on a tree with ‘Hunter’ beneath it. It’s quite striking and it’ll be up there long after us!

Maybe that’s how ‘Baldy Bloke’ turned out the way it did?

IH: Glad to have been of service!



Tom McGarry:

Saw you for the first time on your initial solo tour with Ronno in 1975 at the Glasgow Apollo/Greens Playhouse. First gig that I took my then girlfriend now wife to and we’re all still going strong. Loving Defiance.

What a job of work McCartney and Ringo have done on The Beatles “Now and Then”. Would you ever fancy doing a similar job on any tracks in the vault or live recordings that have been considered unusable to this point?

IH: I always liked ‘Wings’. Who knows. Prefer looking forward.



Hal: Hi Ian,

Still thoroughly enjoying Defiance Part 1!!

I have been a fan of the Struts for years, they have always reminded me of Mott. As I listened to their new release, I was THRILLED to hear their version of Irene Wilde, retitled though. You had hinted at something and I quickly scanned the album songs when it came out and saw no Irene Wilde, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Somebody Someday.

I am guessing they changed the title since Irene Wilde was personal to you, but maybe you could elaborate on the reasons and I was wondering if you had to give your OK to the title change?

Also I seem to remember their is some sort of relationship between you and the Struts, but I just can’t remember. I think something was mentioned a few years ago in a HM?

At any rate, looking forward to Defiance 2 next year. And maybe a tour?

Stay well!


IH: Luke sent me an email and like you, thought the title was too personal and wanted to generalize it. Great job.



Don Hadfield: It seems like 2023 is the year for “The Mature” artists making a Statement, Defiance Pt 1 was absolutely great, The Stones have the Number 1 album, Robin Trower has a great new album and the Hawkwind album sounds as good or better than the classic Hawkwind. It looks like 80 is the new 50. Any theory on why you guys are still kicking it hard and not kicking back on a beach somewhere?

IH: If you’re a songwriter – you’re a songwriter – that’s what you were made to do. I can’t imagine sitting on a beach.



Patti: Hi Ian! I’m a new fan who discovered your work after hearing The Struts do a rendition of your beautiful Irene Wilde, (Somebody Someday ) as the closing track on their new album! Do you have any thoughts to share about their choice of performing one of your songs?

IH: They’re a great band and have a great attitude. Luke would have made a great Freddie Mercury in the movie.  Welcome!



Dru: Favorite Stones record?

IH: Dunno I I don’t remember albums – I just remember songs.  I remember ‘Brown Sugar’ (now banned!!) Why did Keith come up with that chord riff. He came up with so many – Open G. tunings played a big part of their music. I got ‘Once Bitten’ on open G.



Tim McKenna: HI Ian, Do you remember where, when and who gave you your first Rock n Roll perm? Or was it DIY?

IH: Never had a perm in my life!




Steve: Hi Ian, cheers from Detroit!

Would you consider a Horse’s Mouth tour? Small venues, answering questions, maybe playing songs (on tape, vinyl, hard drive) from the latest records for the assembled?

It would be great to see you live again, and would be fun to hang out with like-minded fans as well.

Thanks, and happy holidays to you and yours!

IH: I’m working on it.



Donald Mease: The last time I saw Todd Rundgren was in Las Veas.

Hu son was playing infield for the ’51s”

I hope his son is doing well, in or out of the game.


On Ozzy Ozbourns’s ‘Under Cover’ record you’re listed in the credits for his rendition of ‘Dudes’.

What was that experience like?

IH: Fun. Ozzie’s a very likeable bloke. Sharon rang us up and asked me to sing background vocals on it. He was in LA – I did it in NY.



Michael Wolf: Hey Ian! Hope you’re ready for the winter weather! So when you did tour, how lengthy was your rider of amenities? A nice bottle (or two) of wine was there, I’m sure. Do the Ranters ask for anything exotic? When you get to Milwaukee, do you ever get a chance to visit any of the attractions nearby? Or is it in and out. It’s a great city and I know you’ve said they treat you well there. When on tour, is anyone allowed in for sound check? A couple fan type questions this time. Hope you’re doing well!

IH: I’ve always found Milwaukee very friendly. As far as the riders went, I always got two bottles of mid-range Champagne (Lansons being the favourite). They helped me with it….



Robert Sharpe:

In Drivin’ Sister, when one needs to get out of town on time, shouldn’t one be putting 5 litres (not gallons) in the petrol tank, or is that akin to translating “on the dole” to the Uris Theater audience?

IH: Dunno.


Richard Again: You’ve made no secret of your admiration for Bob Dylan. How did you feel when you learned that Mick had been invited on the Rolling Thunder Review? Jealousy? Envy? Happiness for Mick? Did you try to join the circus? If not, why not? If so, is there a story?

IH: IH: Well Mick rang me up and said, ‘Come down’.  I said I needed an invitation, but he said ‘It’s not like that – you just turn up.” I couldn’t do that.  Who knows.




Ed: I came across a video on YouTube of you performing “All the Young Dudes” during the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies. I went to the R & R Hall of Fame site and could not find it. What was that performance?

IH: That was the encore in 2019. I did it because Joe Elliott asked me.



Scott: Hey, thanks to the dude that shouted out the 50th anniversary of All The Young Dudes! Dropped off and ordered mine immediately. Any thoughts on The Beatles “Now and “Then”?

IH: They did a great job on this one, didn’t they. They’re genuine music lovers.



Mark: Hi Ian,

The 50th anniversary of my first gig is November 19th – Mott the Hoople with Queen supporting at Wolverhampton Civic. It opened my eyes to the power of rock and roll; I couldn’t sleep afterwards and it was a school night! I still get goosebumps thinking about it. Thanks for the memories.

IH: Y’know, Slade were in the front row that night – Noddy told me.



Lilah: What’s the main difference between rock’n’roll and other music genres in your opinion? Not musically, but more like the way it expresses, affects and connects to people’s feelings. Is it about the so-called rock’n’roll spirit, like rebellion? Or is it about the strength and genuineness of the feelings it conveys?

IH: After the II World War, Great Britain was ration books, boredom, schools were chaotic. Men came back from the war and wanted their jobs back and women were looking to keep out of the kitchen!! American movies were an escape, but they always ended ,and you were back on the dismal street and in factories. Grim (as Buff always said). Then came Fats Domino, Little Richard, Elvis, Jerry Lee- excitement – the spirit of excitement. We were alive after all!! It came out of Gospel and Boogie. Always be thankful to the pioneers. I can’t speak for other genres, but I suspect it’s pretty much the same – only different.



Sam Hallenbeck: I seem to recall reading in “Diary of a Rock and Roll Star” a while back that, while on tour, you and Mick Ralphs would hit up the local US pawn shops to search for Les Paul Juniors. Although I’ve never seen s shot of you playing one, I’m assuming Luther played one on “Mott Live” as he’s pictured on the cover with one and, as a result, I loved the tone so much I bought a ’56 and an ’09. Did the Les Paul Jr indeed play a big part in shaping Mott’s overall guitar tone and, if so, why? I also am curious as to what Mark Bosch is doing these days as I’ve found him to be an amazing lead guitarist every time I’ve seen him play with you and The Rant Band.

IH: Yeah, Mick Ralphs loved Leslie West. Leslie had the sound that Mick was aiming for- plus Leslie played simply. Mick loved that (I did too). I still have some Juniors. Boshies around – he’s on part 2.



Geoff: Hi Ian,

Amid all the usual enquiries regarding touring again & your response to wait & see, if the tinnitus does not allow for you to tour again would it be an idea to get the ranters ( or other guests) to perform a live gig/ session in local club/ bar to you that we could all subscribe to so we get the chance to see you perform again. Sure this would be a very popular option to your faithful fan base to further appreciate not only your fine back catalogue of work but defiance pt 1(& some of 2 maybe?) live once again. Just a thought , cheers Geoff

IH: Like I said, I’m working on it – and I am.



Rick Goward: Are you a fan of Shrewsbury Town FC ? If so when have you last attended a match ?

IH: Yes – 1955! (Actually, I saw them at Wembley with my eldest son, Steve, much more recently.)



Mark Whiteley: What was it like working with Mike Campbell? What was the inspiration behind Irene Wilde? I hope you keep working until they put you in a Pine box.

IH: Mike Campbell is a great – he improves everything he ever plays on. The inspiration behind ‘Irene Wilde’ was Irene Wilde.  Pine!! I think not!



Bob Leiser:

Birmingham, Oriole and Honaloochie

Fascinated by your use of locations to add context, meaning and atmosphere to your songs, I built a World Atlas of Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople song locations, showing places mentioned in songs over the years. It’s here:


There are a few I’m not sure about though:

1) Is the Birmingham in Road To Birmingham the one in Alabama, the one in England, or another? Given the content, I’m guessing Alabama, correct?

2) In AllThe Way To Memphis, your guitar rode the train to Oriole. There are a few towns of that name in the USA. Were you referring to any one in particular?

3) Someone has suggested that Honaloochie is a place. Is it?

IH: Actually, Oriole wasn’t a place – it just fit. Same with Honaloochie – it just fit. 



Quentin: I’m am looking for a job/work for white tail deer plotting/ tracking/ studying new genetics and helping hunters get the Buck of the life time. That has always been my dream ever since I got my first mcShore Buck!

IH: Keep looking.



Barry: Hey Ian, just came across a full concert recording you and Mick from 1975 in Boston. The 1st time I saw you guys together was in 81. I never knew about this tour. Sounds very interesting. Mick did some of his own songs and even some Bowie songs. I am including the link if you would like to check it out.

IH: I don’t go back, Barry. What’s done is done.




Hello. I am intrigued by what your range of emotions has been over the last couple of months. The excitement to finally get the CD released. The interviews. Reviewing the videos, FB page updates, etc. Reviews from critics, reviews and comments from fans, etc., etc. This is followed by (maybe) a lull where things settle down (although, hopefully, working on Part 2). What emotions do you experience through this process and what do you feel when the rush and excitement end?



IH: It’s nice to be back in the thick of things; keeps me occupied. I’m kinda used to the ups and downs – that’s life. I’ve been doing this a long time. I enjoy writing.



Peter Jordan

Ian, My question about Irene Wilde a few months back received an enigmatic (Bowiesque?) answer.

I was asking whether you’d still stand by the last verse about a “A little put down,” being good for the soul?

Don’t get me wrong I’m a Bowie fan but the reason you’re number one is the ‘honesty’ of your writing and the way it hits home for your audience!

I thought I’d try again with a bit of flattery!

Did you see or hear Ellen Foley’s version of Irene Wilde that I came across on YouTube?

She did a good job!

IH: Yeah, Ellen’s got her version of it too. Well good.



Alan in Portlandia

Ian, I read an interview where CW musician Marty Stuart says he owns one on Mick Ronson’s Esquires and says it’s the best sounding Esquire he has ever heard. Are there any guitars you have owned over the years that you could not make sound bad and always sounded good

IH: Actually, I’m very fond of my Rainsongs. They’re percussive and because they’re not wood they stay in tune. I’m not a lead player, so I’m not so picky. I remember Mick had an Esquire – nice to know it went to a good home.



Tom McGarry

Seasons greetings to you and all those close to you. Wondered if you had any thoughts on the just released Cat Power live album recreating Dylan’s 1966 concert at Royal Albert Hall ie acoustic first half and electric second. Same songs same running order and instrumentation. Shouldn’t work but somehow does and maybe sets a prescedent for others.

IH: Good idea – haven’t heard it.



Otto Greenleaf: Dear Ian:

Hello and hope you’re doing fine. Love the new songs. Especially “Pavlov’s Dog”. Myles Goodwyn ,

frontman of April Wine says in his biography “Just Between You & Me”( according to engineer Nick Blagona) you & Roy Thomas Baker accidentally burned down the first band house at LeStudio. True?



IH: I was in it, but I didn’t burn it.

A word of advice, if you’re ever in a fire – don’t think about anything – just GET OUT!!  



Stonefly: Hi Ian- thanks again for mentioning the Leon Russell biography- “Leon Russell (The Master of Space and Time)”. There was so much in that biography to take in regarding his life and times. It was interesting to learn how pivotal his left hand was to developing his style of playing. I thought that I knew quite a lot about the man having followed him sense the age of 12. However, I was continually amazed about the amount of influence that Leon had on the music and culture of this era. I kept my laptop next to me while reading this biography and searched out the many video archives and song references made by the author. It was a fun way to stay connected to that time period while reading this biography. I knew Leon had a recording studio in Oklahoma and that Tom Petty was a part of that scene. What surprised me was the number of recording studios (11+) that Leon started in his time and the number of people that he would employ and foster as a result of his relentless pursuit of leading edge technology and his desire to stay in control of his destiny. I was wondering if any theme stood out to you regarding Leon as a result of reading this biography?

Best Wishes,


IH: It was his piano playing. Like I’ve always said – ‘In the Ghetto’ (Delany & Bonny); ‘Watchin’ the River Flow” (Dylan).  Richard Tee was the only one that came close.



Scott: Scott Hi Ian, well it’s 12:12 am in Australia my wife is sleeping next to me we had good news today she has survived her cancer but your concert in sunny Oslo is been a beautiful watch for her my Becs words to you are magic/luving/raw Music with soul we had to play ships /all of the good ones and water low every day that was her treat and know she is home all is going off with defiance pt1 take care Merry Xmas to you and Trudie plus family forever a mortal fan me Scott,/Bec xxx

Down under

IH: Wow!! So happy for you both. That’s what’s great about doing this!  Have a great one!




Gary Walden: When you look back over your life and career, what do you want to be remembered for most?

IH: I really don’t know – songs?



Claire: Did you give The Struts permission to cover “Irene Wilde” and change the title to “Somebody Someday”? To me, what they did is utter sacrilege. ☹️

IH: No, they got hold of me and explained why they wanted to do it with a different title. I understood and think they did a great job with it. Truly – I’m OK with it.



Big Rab: Hi Ian, Just to let you know that Ronno was voted in at 109 in the top 250 guitarists of all time ( Rolling Stone)

Do you think that’s fair enough ?

All the best.


IH: Opinions – we’ve all got our opinion – ad nauseum!!



Dru: Dru: Defiance has flaws but songwriting ain’t one of them

IH: Opinions – opinions- we’ve all got them. Political, musical – whatever – opinions.


I regret writing that as I simply should have said the songwriting on Defiance is strong which comes as no surprise as you were zoned in observationally on The Horse’s Mouth 2020-2022


My apologies

IH: No need.



Barry Sokolowski: Hello Ian, hope you all well. I just watched a documentary on Ziggy. I always knew Mick was a big part of Bowie’s sound back then. But until seeing this show I never realized how much he contributed to Bowie back then. David was always gonna be a star but without Mick I don’t think there would have been a Ziggy. He sang with him on a lot of the songs. And according to the others in the band Mick did so much. Not just guitar, but arranging and playing keyboards. I would live to hear your opinion on the subject. Thank you.

IH: I’ve written this song for part 3 – It’s called ‘Opinions’.



Tom McGarry: Congrats on making number 44 on Mojo’s chart of best albums of 2023. How’s it selling?

IH: Dunno – haven’t asked (really)!



Matt Nojonen:

Dear Mr. Hunter,

Any opinion about the current state of rock music journalism, print and online?

IH:  I read somewhere that to have a hit nowadays, you write a song which lasts 1 minute – you then cut the song in half and speed it up!!!!!



Jeff: Hello Mr. Ian Hunter, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Is there any food(s) you miss in Great Britian that’s not available in the USA? And is Turkey common in G.B.? You have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for your great music throughout your career.

IH: Bacon. It’s here , but it’s vastly inferior.



JFazz: Can’t wait for Defiance Part 2 with Lucinda Williams Brian May Cheap Trick participating along with some musicians from Part 1. A previous question from the Horses Mouth mentioned some musicians have asked about being on Part 1 & 2 but weren’t. Could a Defiance Part 3 be in the works???

Love Mott The Hoople Mick Ronson & Ian Hunter. Thanks for Everything. Jon

IH: No idea at this time.



Peter Jordan: Someone mentioned the 1979 Hammersmith concerts. That was the only time I saw Mick Ronson live.

My recollection (I was well to the back of the house!) was that he moved very little and got extraordinary sound from his guitar with very little effort. It wasn’t at all flash and when there was a variation on a MTH or AAAB song it added something but was always in keeping with the original though.

Big contrast to some of the guitar hero stuff with Bowie! Was that a conscious policy, growing up or did you let him do whatever the mood took him?

IH: You said it – with David he was guitar hero.  With me – we were just two mates in a band. I never told him to do anything. I might have asked, but I never told. I don’t think David did either. He was too good for that.



Dave: Hello.

I am fascinated by the creative process. It obviously starts with how you write the song in the first place. This blows me away. The next step is similarly beyond my comprehension – ie. present the bare bones of the song to the band and they go from there. The mystery of this is magnified by how Defiance was put together – ie. send the shell to the musicians and they take it individually from there – put something together and send it back to you. Crazy stuff. My question is – would it be possible for you to post on YouTube or on your site, and couple of the bare-bones songs that you sent to Mike Campbell, Slash, Waddy, Ringo, etc.

Thanks. – Dave

IH: That’s totally possible. Not right now, but yes.



Hunter Tremayne: Dear Ian, very pleasant to have a greeting from you on Spotify for playing so many of your superb songs over the past year.

You may recall that a couple of months ago you were highly critical of a couple of lyrics I penned, saying better leave that sort of thing to me.

However, not discouraged, I have written a new couplet:

“My last name is Hunter / My first name is Ian / I love the rain / Unless it’s peein'”

I think you will agree that I have learned from the master, and feel free to use it in any forthcoming song!

My very best wishes to you and Trudi and all of your family this Christmas! Looking forward to Defiance 2!

IH: No improvement there – still waiting.



David Robinson: You’ve had many talented guitar players on your records. Who has influenced your approach to playing guitar the most and how?

IH: As a songwriter, I want someone who can add to or improve the given song–arranging ability – or they may even be songwriters themselves – so they get it. If someone goes up and down the keyboard a million miles an hour and plays something that has nothing to do with the song, and everything to do with his (or her) ego – then it’s a no-go!!!


Happy Christmas you lot!!


And a Part II Happy New Year!!



The Horse’s Mouth