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Horse’s Mouth

February 9, 2024

Horse’s Mouth (Issue #253, January 2024)

How’s it goin……..


Bill C: Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year .

I just found James Mastros “Right Words” Video . Good Song and nice contribution by you.

I had. large chunk of time off and spent down time trying to understand current events. It wa a game of Beating the Algorithm (good song name) .

You have to ask polar opposite questions to not go down a crazy rabbit hole on the internet . I told you that to tell you this

When I ask Alexa to play Ian Hunter it gives me AYTD or Cleveland Rocks. Songs I have heard of enough of. I like the B sides . When you ask Alexa to play

James Mastro it follows up with some of your lesser know music which I like .

Have a good year and beat the Algorithm

IH: I don’t know about Alexa, but U-tube – it’s all the big ones – state the obvious – just like radio.



Malcolm Lay: Throughout your career you have played with many good drummers…..Buffin ,Dennis Elliott, Ainsley Dunbar, Max Weinberg,Steve Holley,Eric Parker and many more but who was the easiest to work with and ultimately the best in your opinion….in the sudio and live.

 IH: All the drummers you’ve mentioned are great in their own way. The best ones for me are the ones who play for the song.



Matt Parish: Do you like Dick Cavett? Did you enjoy his shows when he was on?

I had interviewed Mr. Cavett over the phone a week prior to him starring as the narrator on Broadway for The Rocky Horror shows.

During part of the interview he told me that he had won a pummel horse championship back in college.

So, I gave him a blue and white “pummel horse champion” t-shirt that I had made up for him when we met back stage a few days later.

When I gave it to him he brilliantly responded with, “Thanks, Now my wife will have to believe me”.

LunaPic Edit

LOL…just thought I’d share and ask…thanks Ian!

IH:  He was OK – considered the coolest at the time.  He was a tad pretentious, but boy he had great guests.



Peter Jordan: I got ‘Rock and Roll Sweepstakes’ for Christmas and it’s brilliant! I went for volume one because I thought maybe the Cherry Red ‘All the Young Dudes’ book would have covered the Mott stuff but after this I’ll be getting volume 1 for sure!

Especially liked Morgan’s Moth Poet Hotel anagram and you saying covers that are too close to the original are a bit pointless in a discussion about Dylan.

I hope you’re version of Jesse Malin’s dead on passes that test because much as I love his work it isn’t one of my favourite tracks of his.

Can you think of many covers that are better than the original?

I’d nominate Kurt Cobain’s ‘Man who sold the world’ which gives me the chills and Def Leppard’s ‘Only after Dark’ but there aren’t that many!

Most of all thanks for being accessible (on your terms ….wouldn’t want it any other way!) and for keep on keeping on! 

IH: I like the Struts version of ‘Irene Wilde’. Had to be one take – so sincere (they called it ‘Somebody Someday).



Joe Bob: Ever heard a Taylor Swift song?

IH: I watched some of her live show. She’s kinda show bizzy. She’s got a teenage audience base – I’m of the older variety!! By all accounts she’s a great lady (great to her fans).



Martin: Hello Ian, Kiss N’ Make Up, who did the guitar solo? Land of a Thousand Lakes and Treasures / We’re all Free, when everything sucks. So excellent, big smile, thanks

IH: Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. I got the nicknames of every state in the U.S. down to three minutes plus – and nobody noticed!!!



Tim Hewtson: OK, continuing with Ian Hunter lost songs: ‘Avalanche.’

An absolute masterpiece delineating the difference between US sex and UK sex.

US sex: Get your kit off. We’ll do each other for ten minutes. I don’t know your name; you don’t know mine. Bye!

UK sex: I want to live with you forever. May I hug you? May I kiss you? Can we fumble for a bit, if you don’t mind?

I suppose Americans just cannot imagine how dumb Brits are when it comes to sex. And Brits don’t know how dumb they are, either, although #MeToo may have changed things around a bit on that one.

Still, a perfect song to capture all that and an absolute classic. In my Top Ten.

IH: I remember the title, but that’s about it!



Geoff Davey: Hi Ian,  As well as loving your own records, I always like listening to your contributions to others’. Hearing you on James Mastro’s new track ‘Right Words Wrong Song’ and seeing you on the video was a great bonus , and I’m looking forward to hearing you on other tracks when the album is released next month. All the best to you and the Rants for 2024.

 IH: Cheers, Geoff.



Donald Mease: Reading that you’re considering a horse’s mouth tour sparked a whirl of imagination.

As I suspect you’re busy penning a tune named, ‘horse’s mouth’, for your next record, kindly allow me to present an unsolicited moc-doc segment you can use in the video.

Ian is seated behind a table signing autographs. A fan leaves, satisfied, and the next person in line behind the red rope is allowed through.

Fan stands before Ian, announcing: Hi Ian, I’m Donald Mease.

Ian squints: You’re Donald Mease? Ian gets up: Stay right there, mate … I’ve got something special for you. Mease tugs at his collar, a self important Del Boy Trotter look about him as Ian rounds the table extending a hand as though to shake hands with Mease, but as Mease extends his own hand, Ian plants a fist of fives to his kisser.

Ian takes his seat, waving calmly, sweetly to a hot young thing, next in line, eyeing her as she approaches, stepping gingerly over Mease, sprawled on the floor: Hello, Darling.

(It’s a win-win, baby … I get to meet you, and you get to lay me out.)

I know an excellent local venue to do the filming with a proper stage where your band can be filmed doing the tune before for a receptive crowd … have your producer give me a shout.

IH: I’ll think about it.



Mike Flanagan: The new tinnitus therapy can be researched at I hope it works for you.

IH: Yeah, I saw that, Mike. The problem is I can’t use earbuds or headphones for any length of time or my head ‘feeds back’.



Anonymous: Hey Ian. Have you come across Paul carrack much over the years? What a voice that guy had, so underrated and an underrated musician, too.

IH: He’s one of those guys – amazing singer and player – modest – family oriented -and sells out!  Hats off!!



Michael Boyle: Hi Ian, Have you ever thought of re-working some songs from your back catalogue ? i ask this as you you have been quite critical of some your own work over the years ………….. Bob Dylan re-worked some of his back catalogue to great effect on SHADOW KINGDOM.

Hope you do a Q&A / acoustic tour as mooted, i saw Francis Rossi at the Stables Milton Keynes tunes and chat tour it really worked !

As a fun thing (for me) i have compiled my Top 20 Ian Hunter chart (solo) in no order of preference ………. they are all great !

Once Bitten Twice Shy

It Ain’t Easy When You Fall

Irene Wilde

All American Alien boy


Seeing Double


I Hate Hate

Bed Of Roses

Pavlov’s Dog

Angel (you sum up how i feel about my wife, i think we must both be lucky in meeting lovely ladies)

Way With Words (as above)


You Can’t Live in The Past (reminds me of my mum)


When The World Was Round

Shrunken Heads

Standing In My Light



What do think ? I have seen you live 27 times (solo) plus 3 times with Mott, a big fan, thank you for your thought provoking songs, pure class !

IH: I’m not like that. Once something’s done – it’s done. The only think that interests me is what comes next. That’s a lot of tracks you’ve got there! Thanks for hanging in.



Neil McCormack: Hi Ian, a bit of an anorak question, but do you happen to remember what make of drum kit Buffin played on The Hoople album?

If not, I wouldn’t be surprised so thanks anyway.

Can’t wait to hear Defiance PT 2.

IH: No idea.



Jackie S: “American Music”–Great song. The Beach Boys?

What is your opinion of current American music?

IH: I really don’t listen all that much so I’m not worthy of an opinion.



Dru: I read that the original studio demo of Movin’ On was done by Mott and produced by Muff Winwood and the first release of the song was by the band Hackensack who opened for Mott. Is that accurate?

IH:  A question for Morgan.



Rege K.: Ian, I went to a Jesse Malin concert at the Beachland Tavern a few years ago wearing an IH t-shirt. After the show we were talking with Jesse & he said he hoped you were recovering from tinnitus. I remember seeing a list of shows coming to Pittsburgh in the paper & they mentioned Jesse had opened for you so we went & have been fans ever since! Wishing the best for both you & Jesse. Rege K.

IH: Jesse’s on the road to recovery. We all wish him well – great lad.



Mike Palmer: As a fellow Oswestrian, what it is your fondest memory of the town and do you ever revisit it? Thanks

IH: I was born in Oswestry, but we left when I was a few months old due to WWII. We lived in various villages in and around Shrewsbury after the war. I’ve been back as we have family there.



Tim Hewtson: As I’m sure you know, there’s a new box set of Mick Ralph’s solo albums … which, I’m afraid, sent me over to Mick Ronson’s ‘Heaven and Hull,’ which I have always heard of as being a great album, and surely it is. There’s an amazing version of ‘Like a rolling stone,’ but every track is spectacular.

Which, in turn, reminded me of the Ronno documentary ‘Beside Bowie.’ At the end, some two-bit keyboardist (I think the one who got paid $800 a month while Ronno got paid $50 a month) played a sad-sack, Liberace-influenced tribute to Ronno, when one of the greatest personal tributes of all time, your ‘Michael Picasso’ was just sitting there. I couldn’t believe it.

Did you actually block ‘Michael Picasso’ ending up the documentary or did the documentary team just balloon the ball over the posts, missing quite the open goal?

IH: Both great artists in their own ways.  I didn’t block ‘Picasso’ – I would never do that. They never asked.



Grimelda: Love buckle, love fur. Missing boots…but it’s just dandy.

Thanks for you words, I like shades off. Like me.

IH: Ta.



Steven Bove: The Midnight Special with MOTT in 1973 (?) was exceptional. Any memories of it?

IH: Never liked doing TV – false.



Jim Zemba: Mr. Hunter, I will submit this idea…spring/ fall 2024 tour. SET 1: “Defiance,Pt. 1”. INTERMISSION. SET 2: “DEFIANCE, Pt.2”. ECSTATIC APPLAUSE, making a bed of roses at your feet. ENCORE: “Boy” ( only because it is my all time favorite song by anyone, and this was my idea!)…..there you go, have at it!

IH: Well – we got that sorted!!



John Joseph: I just wanted to let you know that the album “Welcome to the club ” was a staple for roadtrips. Friend had it on cassette. I ended up borrowing a album and recorded it. I have the album and cd. To this day it gets played. Alot. 1980 was when I got it. Thanks.

IH: One of the best live albums ever made – people still discovering it.  Sometimes it takes a while.



Thomas Greco: Just saw Mott on the American TV show the Midnight Special from 1973 (on their YouTube channel). I don’t believe that has been shown in decades. Any memories of that appearance? Were the other bands there at the same time (on the episode the New York Dolls are also guests and War are the hosts). Could that have been your first American TV appearance? If not, what was?

IH: As I’ve said – not a fan of television.



Michael Boyle: Hi Ian, sorry me again hope you don’t mind, for a fun idea i sent you my top 20 Ian Hunter solo songs recently along with my question on maybe a tunes and chat tour and had you thought of reworking some of your own material that you maybe think you could improve or change in hindsight ?

Enough waffle from me, on a recent walk i thought silly me ! i left out some great songs that should have been in the top 20, problem is i could not chuck any out (they are so good)

So here are another 10 to make my top 30.

Michael Picasso (live version)

23A Swan Hill

Something To Believe In

Don’t Let Go (strings attached version)

Twisted Steel

Cleveland Rocks

Fingers Crossed

Man Overboard

When I’m President


Hope you think i have good taste.

Perhaps other fans could vote in a poll ?

Thanks for your great music, it is a great mix of fun, passion sincerity and excitement.

Perhaps i should have made a Top 40 ……………………… ?

IH: (Part II) Yeah! I like all thee!



Les Cooper: I remember the first time I saw you was at the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle Upon Tyne 3 June 1977. I’m sure Trevor Bolder was on bass, I remember his long grey sideburns. Everyone says Trevor never played with you, can you confirm if I’m right or the memory is mistaken?

IH: Trevor never played on stage with us. He used to come backstage when I played Leeds. Lovely man.



Scott: Marc Bolan…..I assume you met him. What was you impression? I’ve just discovered his full catalog and I’m kind of impressed!!!

IH: Well, he had this silly flower power thing going for a while until Guy Stevens told him in no uncertain terms (I was there) to get back to Rock ‘n’ Roll…..which he did!!



Keith Storey: I just finished reading the book “The Big Beat: Alan Freed and the Early Years of Rock & Roll” by John Jackson. It was excellent. I am wondering if you listened to Freed’s show on radio luxembourg and if you did was he an influence on you at all or was it just the music that he was playing?

IH:Just the music.



Bob Knight: Hi Ian, just listening to Keep a knocking off Wildlife. I think that is the tune that turned me onto Mott, absolutely brilliant. I was 14ish, brother a couple of years older who bought the album. I know Mick called it ‘Mildlife’ but I love it the album. What’s your thoughts now, and would you consider doing that song live again, or was it of the time. I’ve seen you several times , and never heard it?

IH: Little Richard song – one of my three heroes! Wildlife was ‘mild’ as Mick put it, so we put ‘Keep a Knockin/” (live from Fairfield Hall, Croyden) on a pick me up’.  It’s easy enough to do



Dennis Cullen: Any live dates being planned. I’m a new fan and keen to come along. Bit of a slow learner at 58 years old so I have a lot of catching up to do! Ha!! 

IH: Working on it – but things have a way of turning up. Defiance II – “Fiction” out in the spring. Not long now.



Elizabeth Carbone Evangeliste: Will Mr Ian Hunter be performing anywhere in the United States this year? I must see and hear him live. I will travel anywhere in the US or the UK . If UK, need to get my ducks in a row with travel arrangements.

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions.

Fondest Regards, Elizabeth 😎🤘✌️

IH: No news on that front at the moment, but thanks for the interest.



Donald Mease: Have you considered cubbing with a member of SLADE, perhaps Jim Lea, on violin or bass, on our new record?

IH: Nah – geography!



Dave: What is your mood/emotions as you (hopefully) approach the release of Part 2? I think you would have been really amped up for Part 1 – new release for the time in years, completely different recording process, working with so many big names, etc., etc. Is the buzz you are feeling for Part 2 slightly diminished because it “closely” follows the release of Part 1, the process and using big names is kind of the same? I get the feeling from your comments over the years that the “same old, same old” doesn’t turn your crank. Is there an element of this with Part 2, or are you just as amped up as you were for Part 1? Blessings.

IH: Part II – “Fiction” is kinda denser, perhaps a tad more political, but yeah – we’ve been sitting on it for a while.  You’ll see.



John: All the art galleries and museums in the world have gathered together and decided you can have one thing – from any gallery or museum – to take home and keep, or do whatever you wish with. What piece of art, artifact, or object would you choose?

IH: I don’t need anything.



Matt Parish: Rest in Peace dear Melanie….helluva song writer and singer!

Whose idea was it to cover/include Melanie’s “Lay Down, Lay Down” for the Wildlife album.

MTH did a very proper job on this one.

Who did the backing vocals for this recording?

IH: I just loved the song so much. The band didn’t want to do it, but I nagged them into it! Backing vocals were Sue and Sunny – Island team mates.



John McMillan: Ian, we know you didn’t enjoy the TV shows you and Mott did. But what about the American ones? Just rewatched the midnight special

One, when war hosted and the dolls played to.

Memphis sounded great! And you all looked great. Was that played live?

IH: Probably.



Kevin L: Ian, Happy 2024! I also suffer from tinnitus, and my doctor is recommending “bimodal neurmodulation” which actually retrains the brand. I am in the process of acquiring the machine that does it from Lenire., with doctors script

Hoping it works, for both our sakes, will let you know, tinnitus is a bitch,

IH: Keep me posted.



Peter Jordan: I had to laugh when I looked at English League 1 table around Christmas and saw Shrewsbury were exactly where they were when you mentioned their ‘amazing consistency’ ( in blunter terms) in Diary of a Rock and Roll Star …50 years ago!

Since then they had a wobble but won 2-0 at Northampton to find themselves ……. back in 15th place!

My question? Given your links to both towns who would you have been supporting if you’d been there? 

IH: They won because they had a new manager – they then lost the next game –  so it follows that if they got a new manager every week – promotion!!! (Oh, and a few million.)



Dave: Hello. I’m sure this question has been asked, but I can’t recall seeing it. In any event, is there any chance of Ralphers showing up on Part 2?


IH: Nah, I wish, but Mick’s still not well enough.



Greg Becker: Hello, Mr. H! It seems that you (and sometimes with Ronson) were quite busy helping other bands and artists back in the late 70’s, such as David Werner, Ellen Foley, Tuff Darts and probably others that I’m not aware of or can’t remember. Was this because you had moved into the New York area and wanted to promote the power pop/punk scene going on there at the time or were you approached by musicians who may have considered you the “Godfather” of that kind of music because of your solo work & the Mott reputation? I just remember that when I was researching music coming out at the time, if I saw your name attached to the production, maybe playing a backing instrument or something else that you did, I would purchase the album due to the fact I was and still am a huge fan of yours! I know it’s been a long time but I thought you may remember some things that you did with musicians who never really made it big but still put out some fine music back then. Looking forward to Defiance Part 2 as Part 1 was most enjoyable! 

IH: New York WAS great aback then. Clubs all over the place and we mingled a bit. Hung out with lots of people known and unknown.  Good times.



Paul S Wilner: Hi Ian. I have been lucky enough to have first seen you with Mott in 1972 at Ford Auditorium in Detroit. I understand the difficulties the band went through and your unhappiness. Fast forward to MOTT 74 and you shined with happiness. So glad you had this opportunity to reconnect with old mates and have some plain old fun. Hoping you get to do it again. I’ll be there.

IH: I think that was the night I split my guitar on one of Buff’s cymbals – happy days! We all had our little spats!



Greg McNally: An email long past due. A thank you long past due.

Thank you for all the great songs. Thank you for all the great shows. Thank you for the all the great times with friends. Thank you for all the great times alone with the music. Thanks for the almost 50 years I’ve been listening to you. Thanks for the times I managed to meet you backstage. You were more than kind and generous and all a fan could hope for.

I’ll always remember the Saturday gigs.

Cheers, Greg

 IH: Cheers, mate.



JD: Hard to believe it has been almost 5 years since I was lucky to see the Class of ’74 show in Cleveland! I follow Morgan on his social channels, but what’s Luther uo to these days? Do you hear from him often?

IH: Luther’s fine. Got a lovely Christmas email from him.  Typical!!  Morgan’s on a track on Part II.



Pasquale: Hope that everything is going well there, just to let you know that I’m waiting for the spring with flowers, bees and Defiance #2. Could you let us know in time the news regarding tour? My daughter will marry in late June, so I will have serious problem if date coincide…

IH: Northing planned at the moment (unforeseen circumstances).



Dan Epstein: Hello, Ian – I only recently learned that Mick Ralphs played on the single version of “Roll Away the Stone,” while Ariel Bender played on the album version. Any reason for the re-recording? (FTR, I like the punchier guitar sound of the single, but prefer the overall mix of the album track.) Thanks!

IH: “Roll Away” could have been on the “Mott” album. The track was done – but we knew it was a hit – so we saved it for “The Hoople”.



Fred: Hello Ian, I just read that Tony Hicks of The Hollies attempted to get “Roll Away The Stone”. Could you offer any further info on that? This is interesting to me, as The Hollies and Mott The Hoople are tied as my favorite band. They both had something in common; both bands had a major personnel change at a crucial time; Mott with Mick Ralphs’ leaving and The Hollies with Allan Clarke leaving. I dug both changes. Sometimes a personnel change is exactly what is needed to make the band try that much harder, and be that much better. I think this was the case with both bands. Thanks for any embellishment you can add to that story. 

IH: The story I got from our publishing company was they heard the song and they wanted to do it. We kept it for ourselves, but they would have done a great job on it as they were an extremely good band.



Steven Carpenter: How about a tour of the U.S.

IH: We’ll see.



Mark F: Your former Columbia Label mate Billy Joel has had a 30yr run by playing greatest hits concerts, saying I have nothing new to play. He has just released a new single.

Have you heard it & if so what do you think of it?

IH: Haven’t heard it yet. Did a video with Mick Jones and Billy on Long Island on my 50th birthday. Really nice man; very down to earth.



Chris: Just want to say Bravo on everything. Also I had to take The Chrysalis Years (1979 – 1981) out of my CD player because You Stepped Into My Dreams played on a continuous loop in my head when I was trying to sleep. dang. 

IH: You people remind me of songs I’ve long forgotten…..



Barry G: Hi Ian! Do all the guest musicians and vocalists get compensated for appearing on both Defience CDs ? Or did they do it just out of respect and admiration for you? Saw you at the Keswick theatre with Mott 74. I heard you liked that venue,and we’d love to have you back! How’s the tinnitus coming along?

IH:  No – they just did them. Pretty overwhelming.



Gary Walden: Hi Ian! I have tinnitus like you. I was wondering what kind of therapy you use to help make it better to deal with.

IH: It’s called, “getting used to it”.



Nick Namaqui: Ian, On Mott’s ‘Pointing and Shouting’ album, there is an excellent song called ‘Career (No Such Thing As Rock ‘N’ Roll),’ that I discovered via Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz cover version.

It is attributed to Morgan Fisher, but it has your songwriting paw prints all over it.

Did you have an input to this song or was Morgan channeling the living?

IH:Nah – Morgan knows how to write. He was probably having a MTH moment.



Peter Jordan: I see Shrewsbury Town got a mention last time. I remember in Diary of a Rock n Roll star you mentioned there amazing consistency (with a few expletives …. for emphasis of course!)

I looked them up and found that they were 15th in League 1 pretty much where they were 50 years ago. Then they had a wobble followed by a surprise away win and guess what?

Back to 15th!

League restructures/ war/ pestilence nothing seems to move them in the pyramid system.

Can you think of any reason for this ….. laylines maybe?

Of course they moved grounds so maybe not!

IH: Money (or lack of)  footballs Rock ‘N’ Roll.



James Rawnsley: I’ve always said that there’s no such thing as bad music, just music you don’t like!

Always wondered if there was a song you regretted recording, and is there a song (by any artist) that you really don’t like.

IH: I don’t agree. A lot of ‘music’ stinks – including a few of mine.


Back to the stable


The Horse’s Mouth xxxxx