Ian Hunter | December 2023 | Horses Mouth
Hi Ian, First of all, thanks for all the great music. My friend and I interviewed you in a hotel room here in Victoria, Canada back in ‘89. You were extremely gracious and we filled up a 90 minute tape with a lot of fun conversation. I was young and nervous but within minutes felt completely relaxed. Thank you for that! Anyway, my question (and pardon me if this has already been addressed): still playing the heck out of Defiance Pt. 1 and I was looking at the credits in the booklet again just now. Jeff Tweedy is listed as having played on the album but I don’t see his name in the credits for any individual song (unless it’s staring me in the face and I’m just not seeing it). Do you recall what tune/s he’s on? And I’m assuming it would be doing backing vocals and/or guitar?
IH: If you check the CD, Jeff’s playing guitars on the alternate version of ‘Hate’. Bonus track!!!
No question just a Thank you for all the years of great songs and memories. From the first time I saw the Dr. Pepper Festival in NYC in 1981, to listening to Mott the Hoople on vinyl and everything since. Can’t wait for Defiance Part 2. You are a great songwriter who is keeping the Rock n Roll dream alive. Keep on producing thought provoking lyrics and wonderful melodies. Merry Christmas & a Healthy, Happy New Year to you and yours. All the best in 2024.
IH: How nice – cheers, Fred.
John Nebergall: Hi Ian – Merry Christmas to you and yours. In addition to your solo work and Mott, I have the full set of Ronno’s releases. (As I write this I’m listening to “Leave My Heart Alone” off Slaughter). Through the whole catalog, great songs and great playing— the recording quality though is really uneven, often muddy. Either how Mick’s albums were recorded, engineered or mastered – it really seems to take away from his playing and the overall sound. I wonder if there’s any interest in maybe taking those tapes and applying modern engineering to tidy up the sound and re-releasing them. Such great material.
IH: Mick only bothered with his own material now and again – and some of it was great. It was probably financial in some situations.
Fred Jardin: I know some songwriters will get inspired by a book they’ve read or an article in the newspaper or even an old circus poster. When I think of your songs, most seem to come from personal experience, which is what drew me to Mott the Hoople and has kept me engaged all of these years. I’m curious, of the songs you’ve written are any influenced by a book, film or some other outside source?
IH: An idea for a song is like a comedian’s idea for a joke. Nobody else notices it, but he does.
Dan Hartmann: Schizophrenic was a great album that sold well. But just because an album is great does not it will sell well. How was Chrysalis different from other labels? What did they do to promote Schizophrenic?
IH: My management- Steve Popovich, Sam Lederman and Stan Schneider (Cleveland International) were a great team at one point. They signed Meatloaf and Ellen Foley to their Cleveland International label. Columbia Records (C.I.’s distributor) were satisfied when Meat’s record sold 185,000. Steve and company persisted, and we all know the rest of that story.
So it was not only Chrysalis (Chris Wright told me it was the best record they’d ever had up to that point) – it was Steve, Sam and Stan. Great combination and enthusiasm for the record. Probably would have done a lot more if payola wasn’t involved.
First off : A happy and healthy 2024 to you and yours. We all acquire stuff as life goes on, and I was wondering whether you have a storage locker somewhere stashed with memorabilia of your career? And if so, any chance of doing an Elton John someday and putting it all up on auction?
IH: Yeah, I’ve got some stuff, but I’m not commercially minded.
Hi Ian hope you and yours are well
I’m from hull and went to see a production in our theatre of Turn and face the strange
A 3 1/2 hours of the story of our great Michael Picasso
You featured quite a bit in the second half and I believe everyone in Hull as a new respect for your friendship with Mick
Have you heard of this production
IH: I wish I was geographically nearer. Looks like it was extremely well done. Regards to all involved.
As someone who has always hated the production on ‘Short Back ‘N’ Sides,’ I was excited to come across your ‘Long Odds & Outtakes’ album, where the production of the key songs on ‘Short Back ‘N’ Sides’ is so much better.
Which brings me to ‘Venus in the Bathtub,’ one of your greatest rockers – which you have claimed are the hardest songs for you to write. Why isn’t this song out there at all, never mind sitting alongside ‘All the Way from Memphis’ or ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll’? It’s a massive rocker and it seems to have got lost somewhere.
I’m sure you’ll say, “That’s just how it rolls,” but I’m still lost as to how it got lost.
Can my devoted Ian Hunter fans give it some love?
IH: It’s true – some songs get ‘lost’. ‘Wings’ is probably one of my better songs; it got lost – kinda like ‘The Loner’.
I was just informed that The guys in Shooting Star played on the song you did for the movie Up The Creek. How did this come about? I am a hugh fan of the band and was a friend of VanMcLain who died a few years ago.Such an underrated band.
IH: Arthur Baker rang me out of the blue. He was doing the sound track for this movie. The track was done and I just went in and sang on it. Didn’t know the band; thanks for telling me. Sorry about Van McLain R.I.P.
James Tripp Pair:
Did you ever meet Dick Clark or ever perform on The Dick Clark Show? If so or not do you have any memories on that period and need to perform on his show? Also, I’m having a photo exhibition at 503 Social Club on January 07.2024. Would love for you and Trudy to attend!
IH: Don’t recall.
Hi Ian. The French guy here. You probably do not fully realise the effect some of your songs have on people so here’s a true story. In March 2023 I have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The brain surgeon thinks it is not malignant but he asked that I’d had several brain MRIs just to be sure. You know how they do right ? Put noise cancelling headphones on your ears, inject some product in your arm and push you into a narrow tube and there you go with claustrophobia and noises that make techno music sound melodic. And what do I do to keep from panicking ? All through the intervention I sing to myself your song “Gotta Get Out Of Here”. Gotta get out of here right now. It seems to work as I have never hit the panic button yet. So thank you for that one and … the many other great songs you wrote. Next MRI will be in June. 😉
IH: Glad to be of service! Stay well!!
I was one of the fortunate few who was in the audience at Hammersmith on December 14 1973 when it all kicked off.
I still get goosebumps about it now. You and Bender just ducked under the safety curtain and the whole place was going crazy, were there any other gigs that ended in such chaos that made a huge impression on you?
I think my bruises from the bouncers at the gig finally faded the following March!
Merry Christmas to you and Trudy and all of your family.
PS number 4 in the Classic Rock Magazine albums of the year! Not bad for an old bloke from Oswestry 😀
IH: Lyceum – dogs on stage, Newcastle City Hall – hair ripped out – shades in pieces (that was just getting on the bus). Albert Hall – band banned. Good times – I’m remembering more. It was a bit made for a while, but we enjoyed every minute. Excitement is a wonderful feeling – but then it’s back to the drawing board.
Ian! Merry Christmas to you and yours, hope you have a good one and everyone stays safe. All the very best for the New Year as well – hopefully better than 2023!
IH: Cheers, Phil
Did you actually work on the soundtrack for the movie “Toys?” If so, what was the extent of your participation? With whom did you collaborate?
IH: Never heard of it.
Hi Ian, earlier this year I predicted that my 2 favourite albums of 2023 would be by your good self & Graham Parker.
I wasn’t wrong.
Merry Christmas to you & yours.
IH: Love Graham Parker. Great artist – good fun as a friend.
Can you give us some backstory on how you ended up onstage with Def Leppard at the rock hall induction?
IH: Joe asked me and I declined– but I felt bad because we’re mates. The H of F started ringing daily, and Joe rang again. I was in New Jersey rehearsing with MTH ’74 and crossing to Brooklyn in rush hour was ridiculous, so when they said get there by 10 pm (no soundcheck) I said OK. Long story short – my monitor was on a different system to the Leps. All I was getting was Rick’s reverb – no drums – just reverb. I had to time the reverb. (That why we do sound checks!!) You can see that I’m slighting behind in the first verse before I figured it out. What am I gonna do? Stop in front of 20,000 people!
I still wonder why they were so persistent – I’m not even in it!
Hello Ian I hope you are well. I just wondered if you remembered today 14 December 2023 is 50 years since the ‘infamous’ gig at Hammersmith Odeon. What a night.
Anyway we are still here so we must have survived it.
Howard, Epsom England
IH: T think that was the ‘curtain’ gig! Morgan saved the day!
Thanks for the great music and concerts all these years. To this day my favourite concert was November 3, 1973 in St. Louis at the American Theater. This is not just you or Mott, but all artists. Keep them coming!
Interesting to see the news about reissue of ATYD album!
By coincidence I came on to the site to ask a question about that very LP!
Did you have the other songs in reserve when the band split or did you get a writing spurt when Bowie came on board?
IH: We had the songs – he heard them and said they were fine. He just wanted us to do ‘Sweet Jane’ – so we did.
Hi Ian, Hope all are well.
With all the goings on in the world (none of it particularly good) is this inspiring you to put pen to paper or do you try to avoid confrontation themes in your tunes?
On a lighter note, what do you want for Christmas?
Seasons greetings to all your family and all IH fans everywhere.
IH: Well I tried to keep it optimistic on ‘Defiance Part I because of covid. I guess Part II is a little more ‘of this time’ shall we say. Pretty much got all I wanted for Christmas – a tinnitus cure would have been a bonus!!
I’ve just heard ‘Somebody Someday’ by The Struts and it took me back to my teenage years in the 1970s when every girl I liked never liked me. ‘Irene Wilde’ was my favourite track on AAAB, probably because it was the soundtrack to my disastrous love life, and whenever I listen to it, I’m back there, in those moments of heartbrteak and rejection. That’s the power of a great song; it can frame a time, a place and an emotion. And all these years later, I’m still listening to your music and it’s still the soundtrack to my life. So thank you for all the music and roll on Defiance Part 2!
IH: How nice. Cheers, Jon
Hi Ian & Trudi! We ”The Hatpeople” Family will wish you both a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year! Hope for a good 2024! We are looking forward to Defiance Part II and thank you so much for being there for Fred all this years since the early seventees and the first time he met you in Gothenburg 1977 (Overnight Angels tour) and all the times we have met you and Trudi after that!
Many hugs and kisses from Bitten & kids (Jenny, Oscar, Lisa & Josefine)
IH: Lots of love from Trudi and me!! Tell them!!!
Wishing a merry Christmas and a hoopletastic new year to all at Hunter Towers.
And, of course, looking forward to Defiance Part 2.
IH: Cheers, Mick
Wade: Happy Christmas to you and the Hunter Clan (biological and musical)! I’m curious to know that when Part II comes out, if there is going to be a package for sale with both parts and extra songs (maybe the demos). With all the stuff going on in this Great Big Stupid World, I’m glad I have something great to look forward to this year. Visions of Defiance II dancing in my head! All the best. Have a great Christmas!!!
IH: I believe this spring – it’s mixed and mastered!
Hi Ian, I have always heard that a big part of the British rock invasion came from Skiffle music and you were in the Apex Skiffle Group at one time. As a North American, we never heard the term. What is Skiffle? Who were the best Skiffle bands?
IH: Google Lonnie Donegan. The Apex actually won the National Skiffle Band of the year back in the 60’s – forerunner of Rock. American country with a beat – ‘Wabash Cannonball’ etc.
Ian, I heard Roll Away the Stone in the TV show Steeltown Murders the first episode. Did they ask your permission and what are your thoughts on them using the song in the episode? It seemed to help evoke the era.
IH: There is a process, but it starts with who controls the publishing.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Santa brought volume 2 of the biography which was clever of him because I thought volume 1 might be a rehash of the ATYD book Campbell Devine previously brought out?
I have to say it’s made my Christmas day!
No doubt it’ll prompt loads of questions ……. don’t want to hog the site and feel privileged you’ve answered so many of mine over the years!
There’s mention of four tracks being written for a second album before contractual (Mainnan/de Fries!) issues got in the way!
So Q1. What happened to them and did they reappear in some form later?
Q2. You’ve previously said that you and Mick Ronson got along better when not working together …… did you think that was the end when you told him you couldn’t work with him at that point? How did he react? …. I’m kind of assuming he was ‘big’ enough to keep the friendship going!
Ps. Will have to get volume 1 now!
IH: Cheer, Peter. Did I say that? We were like brothers. We had our spats now and again – whether playing together or not, but he was as close to me as any brother could be.
Dear Mr. Hunter, what is the best Christmas gift you have ever received?
Have you tried the tinnitus therapy that looks like a TENS Unit with a single lead placed on the tongue?
IH: Never heard of it Extrapolate!
Mr. Hunter: Thank- you for another spectacular year..54 year follower..”Defiance Pt. 1″ has hit 132 listens as of today…it may just hold me until part 2….thanks for being there, and all you do for the fans and traveller’s. Maybe ’24 will will be another traveller year…would cherish hearing this stellar album live!!!!
IH: Glad it’s keeping you occupied!
Hello Ian, Happy Holidays! Been a huge fan since buying Dudes when it was released, one of my first albums. I love all the Mott albums, but my favorite is Brain Capers. A fun, freewheeling, boisterous blast of great music.
What is your favorite Mott record and why? Cheers!
IH: They’re all your favourite albums when they’re finished. You always think that your latest is your best one – even if it isn’t! ‘Brain Capers’ was panic stricken – perhaps that’s why people liked it.
Happy new Year Ian(and Trudy and all)! Hope it’s joyous and prosperous for you! I know you’ve crossed paths with many artists over the years, and Iwonder if ever ran into any of the Monkees at one time or another? I was able to catch Mickey and Mike in Milwaukee just before Mike passed, and it was a great show! Stay well man!
IH: Never met them. Marc Clarke – a very fine Liverpool bass player who worked with me, also worked with them and they covered one of my songs.
Happy New Year Ian to you and the clan.Can I ask if there will be any saxophone on Defiance Part 2 – always liked it on the right Ian Hunter song.Can I also suggest that if you do a Q&A with an acoustic set in 2024 that you make it easier in a touring sense by just playing a few dates restricted to Bonnie Scotland.
IH: 1) James Mastro excels for 3 seconds. 2) That’s what we’re thinking, too.
Good day, Mr. Hunter! I know it has been a long time but the question entered my mind as I was listening to the 50th anniversary edition of “All The Young Dudes” that my wife graciosly gave me as a Xmas gift this year. I know that Bowie brought you chaps back together for the album but I was wondering what you planned to do after the band said “enough” before he supposedly came to the rescue? It’s been a long time but I hope you can remember! I also thought that your loving wife Trudi would have been a great strength and support for you during those times! I, too, have made career choices in my life (Non-musical) and my wife has always been a great asset and supporter of my decisions. I know it’s all a guessing game, but we all think of the “What if’s”! Keep up the great work and hope to see you soon in the Chicago area!
IH: We’d only split a couple of days when Pete rang me and told me about the Bowie interest. Never had time to even think. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Trudi – simple as that.
Did you get along well with Chris Blackwell?
IH: It was civil enough. I don’t think Chris understood us, but he understood Guy Stevens and he understood his girlfriend at that time – she liked us. Chris was more into Bob Marley and Steve Winwood – great ‘natural’ talents. We were the ‘freaks’.
Happy New Year to all at Hunter towers….lang may your lum reek
Hooe it’s a great 2024 and Hooe to see you playing and touring again
BTW I’m started learning guitar and gor a new fender for Xmas.
…look out boschy ha ha
IH: Are ye gangin doon the filums the nicht?
Hi mate, sorry I haven’t bothered you for a while! Just wanted to let you know that my alternative music site, Isolation, voted Defiance Part One as No.17 in our albums of the year list. The Review of the Year feature is here:
Have a great new year. Still hoping to see you and the 74 crew live again!
IH: Nice one, Adam – appreciated. It’s got legs. It’ll hang around for a while.
The Horse’s Mouth