Ian Hunter

ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM SOUNDS, December 4, 1971

A very good article with this artist who represents the blue-collar, working-class more than most. This one you should enjoy.

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Mott the Hoople`s staggeringly successful live gigs has been a source of constant amazement to commentators, who have invariably been less than enthusiastic about their music. The wild scenes which occur wherever they play come in for more comment than does their music. Lead singer and piano player Ian Hunter particularly has had his fair share of criticism from people at a loss to understand his hold over audiences. Here he describes how Mott the Hoople really works and throws some light on the reasons for their fanatical following.

(No journalist credited – Blog ed.)

Where have you been on your present tour?

We`ve stuck to the North mostly. It`s an area we`ve been to, but very infrequently. It was very gratifying, especially Glasgow, places like that where we haven`t been much. It was a good buzz, it was really nice.

Where do you come from yourself?

I was born in Oswestry, Shropshire, but I lived in Northampton before I came to London. I first came down to London in late `66 or early `67. This guy called Miller Anderson lived in the next street and we were wandering around looking for work.

Was the idea for you both to get together in a band?

Yeah, we were together, you know. I used to play bass then, I didn`t play piano. We did various little gigs and got conned by various little agencies that wanted to sign you for 10 years, purely to sell you when you caught the eye of some more reputable agency.

How long did you stay together, then?

About a year. We worked in this factory together, called Friars Brothers, in Archway, and we hated every minute of it. It was dismal, I had this flat for two pounds ten a week, so you can imagine what it was like.

Were you trying to make it as musicians then?

Oh, yeah, we`d run to the phone every dinner-time, we used to get half an hour off. It was a coin-box, so it was always full and you never got any dinner, waiting to find out if this single we`d done six months previously was going to be released in Japan or not, you know… then Miller got offered the job with Keef and asked me what I was going to do – `cos we`d decided to stick together – at first I said, “Well don`t” and then I said, “Well do”. I didn`t know where I was at the time. I was completely at a loss. I didn`t want to hold him back because I thought he was really good, you know. We were very loyal to each other at the time, but he was married, he needed bread, so he went. Then I got a song-writing contract with Francis, Day and Hunter. It was a bit of a fluke, I got on 15 pound a week wages. They had done this song with a 26-piece orchestra -unfortunately for them they hadn`t asked me to sign a contract until they`d done it. By this time they`d spent God knows how much on the session, and I was working in this factory, so I turned round and said: “I don`t want to sign anything unless you give me some money”. It was really funny, I asked for three months at 15 quid a week and if they liked me, an option of another three months. I regarded it as a summer holiday. They kept me on for about a year. They thought my stuff was good, you know, but they didn`t know what to do with it. Then I got the chance with Mott.

HUSTLER

How did Mott come together? Did you meet Guy Stevens and he introduced you to the rest of the band or what?

No, Mott`s got a guitarist called Mick Ralphs, he`s a born hustler – not so much now, he`s pretty perplexed now, but he was at the time – and he hustled for the original group, which was a group called the Silence, from Hereford. He kept on going to see Guy – Jim Capaldi had put the word in, you know – but one or two things were wrong, which eventually got ironed out, and the four of them signed to Island, and they were looking for a piano player and a singer. They auditioned all these people, and didn`t get anybody they wanted, but the guy that ran the studio where they`d been auditioning knew me from me doing demos. He rang me up and I went down there afterwards – `cos I would never have had the guts to go myself, because I didn`t really play piano, C, F and G, that was about it, and I`d never sung before. It caught me at the right moment, though. I`m normally very insecure but that particular night I had nothing to lose, so I stormed down there, launched into an aggressive rendering of “Rolling Stone”, and that was that. I remember Verden, the organist, knew about half the chords, it was very strange, the guitarist looked just like the bass player, I couldn`t work it out. Guy Stevens was there – I didn`t know him then either – there was this outrageous freak hopping about. It was all very strange to me. Anyway, we met the following morning and he gave me the job.

What did you think of Mott when you first met them?

Not much, actually, it was really weird. I spent half the time thinking I was dragging the whole show along and the other half of the time I spent running after them trying to catch them up, it was a really weird sort of thing. They were country lads, you know, and there was this country-city thing. I`m city-inclined – I was brought up in the country till I was about 11, but I`m city-inclined and there was this difference in view.

Were they very much a local beat-group at the time?

Yeah, they`d been working for a little agency in Swansea, and the guy had told them, “You must do Beatles numbers or you won`t get gigs.” They were Buffalo Springfield fanatics and it just wasn`t working out for them in Swansea. We`ve been back to Swansea with Mott the Hoople and I still don`t think it really works out for them!

MADNESS

What sort of thing were you reckoning on doing when you first got together?

Originally it was a quiet group. We played all our own stuff… we had this weird sort of madness. We`ve always been schizoid, we like slow, quiet stuff, then there`s that bit of madness that you`ve got to get out, like a kind of orgasm, you don`t feel you`ve done your best unless you come off feeling knackered. Pretty much the same as we are now, but very untogether, very raw – pretty poor.
I remember the first gig we did was with Free, in Sunderland, which was like Beatlemania for them at the time, and the second was with King Crimson, and we felt like jacking after the first two gigs, but Graham, Free`s roadie, had told us it was like that for Free before, when they used to support Spooky Tooth, so not to worry. This last tour we did Graham was with Paul Rodgers, you know, he`s Peace`s roadie now, and he said we`d got it now exactly like Free had it then. I`ve always been a fan of Paul Rodgers, I think he`s perhaps the best singer in Britain at the moment, he`s got two sympathetic people with him… they`re really nice guys.

Why did you decide to do mainly a northern circuit this time round?

We`ve always been a London band – you know, anywhere north of Barnet we didn`t know what was going on. It`s not really fair. Periodically we get these letters coming in saying: “Why isn`t the band playing here, why isn`t the band playing there”, so we try to play there. We`ve done intermittent gigs in the north but not a big tour. It`s really sad, you know – I remember one of your guys did a review of a gig we did at Sheffield. Now only about eleven hundred came in at Sheffield, and he said: “Where were the missing hundreds? But when we go to Sheffield, there was about four hundred police outside, trying to hold out the people who were out of work. It was verging on riots outside the place. We were escorted into the gig – now you can imagine any head within 10 miles of there wasn`t going to go into that gig and the average kid just hasn`t got two halfpennies to rub together. It`s really bad, you know.

RIP-OFFS

Coming back to August 1969, your first song with Mott was a Dylan number. A lot was talked at the time of “Blonde on Blonde” influence. Would you acknowledge this influence?

At the time I couldn`t sing a note – it was only using my vocals to get the words across, like a lot of people do. It was just coming out that way. I didn`t have the “Blonde on Blonde” album then – I didn`t have any albums, I couldn`t afford them. I`ve since acquired the album, and I can see the parallels but they are parallels, inasmuch as the Byrds were a parallel. It`s funny how some groups seem to be called direct rip-offs, but the other groups are regarded as valid parallels. In America we were regarded as parallel. There seemed to be this thing that Dylan had gone off from “Blonde on Blonde” one way, but we had mainly come from “Blonde on Blonde” and gone another way. But in England it was passed off as a bunch of blokes trying to be like Dylan. I mean, Dylan`s a genius, he changed the world, he made music into a culture. He gave the whole rock and roll syndrome validity. I should imagine he`s an influence on nearly everybody.

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What was Guy Stevens` part in launching Mott the Hoople?

It`s weird, you know, he loves Mott the Hoople and Mott the Hoople have always loved him. He was in love with the image of Mott the Hoople, as he imagined it then. It was his image – Mott was him. He could never get it out, he`s not a musician. The first two albums were exactly how he felt at the time. There was the case of a track on “Mad Shadows” called “My Mind`s Gone”. It was really weird, `cos there was no lyric, I just looked at him and kind of sang it, but it was something that came out of his head, not mine, like a transmission thing. He was very, very forceful. Any credit that Mott got at that time was solely due to Guy Stevens. He was always a Stones` fan and a Dylan fan, and he wanted a group that was a cross between the two. That was what he was after, and we tried our best to live up to it, but we were untogether, looking back at it now. We thought we were God`s gift to groups then – always have done and still do, that`s why you don`t split up. See, Guy has an amazing head, but he doesn`t have an outlet for it. It`s all intangible, his end-product, so it`s very frustrating for him. It must come through somebody else. Mott was his transmitter, if you like. But then something else started to happen. We were getting a bit fed-up one gig because we weren`t getting the reaction we wanted, at the time when Island were getting really worried, it didn`t look like we were going to do anything, and we did a number from the first album called “You Really Got Me” and people started to jump about in the most amazing way. It amazed us. And the Overend our bass player started moving about a bit – at that time we would all stand in a row and I would sit all the way through – and then it got to “Rock `n` Roll Queen” and all of a sudden we started leaping.

This was after the first album had been released?

Oh yeah, `cos we never did a gig before the album, in fact if we`d done gigs before we did the album we`d never have done it! I remember doing the Speakeasy, and the whole Island record company was there, we died the most abysmal death. I`m sure everybody wanted to get rid of us. It`s to Island`s credit that they`ve always been amazing to us. Perhaps they`ve been a bit too good to us, spoiled us. Guy held the whole thing together – quite honestly, I never saw any hope for us. Mind you, we were all totally insecure. Perhaps that`s why the band is the way it is, we`re still insecure now.

PERFORMANCE

How do you mean, insecure?

We`ve never felt any degree of permanence since we started, and we still don`t. I mean, it`s a funny game, rock music people are fickle. You can just disappear in three months, and we don`t want that to happen. It could go either way, so you have this hungry thing, this sort of insecure feeling with Mott. Perhaps that`s why we let off so much on stage. The whole group feels temporary, and always has – as a group though, not as individuals.

When was it that you first noticed this big reaction at your gigs?

I think it was at Letchworth Youth Club, actually! It was the first time we ever got encores, you know. They went spare, and we couldn`t believe it. Then the following night, we did the same again. It was all over one weekend, it just suddenly happened. It became more like a performance, before we`d just been sitting there and laying numbers on people.

Did you realise that getting up and moving around would be so effective?

Well, I had that in me anyway. The only reason I hadn`t moved from the word go was because I felt a bit of a twit, you know. To move round the stage you can look so silly, and I didn`t want to look silly, so we took it easy. Like every night we`d come off and ask Stan – that`s the guy that organises us – “Were we overdoing it? Was it too much?” and eventually we got to know what we could do and couldn`t do on stage.

Is this what put you on to the sort of music on “Mad Shadows”?

Well, we had this degree of madness, you know, it`s still there now, on the new album. It`s a really weird band. I`ve been an advocate of the slow music, mainly because I write it, from the very beginning, and I think we`ve done some really good slow numbers – I think that Mick and myself have written some really reasonable numbers – but somehow, when we get on stage, it`s like a minor explosion, every time, you know, we just can`t help it.

Who mostly comes to see you these days?

I think we are really a working man`s band. When we started off, colleges liked us, but as we got more flamboyant, this was replaced by club audiences and then concert audiences, and they were getting younger. Now I would say our main audience is between 15 and 19. We haven`t got a T. Rex audience. This is generally thought to be so, but we don`t get thousands of screaming birds, you know? I mean we get pulled off the stage now and then, but it`s not a teenybopper thing, it`s more of a working man`s hero type thing.

Do you think you`ve angled your music to this new audience?

No, I don`t think so. Obviously you keep in certain numbers which you know will get a particularly good reaction, but that`s an immediate reaction. But there`s two reactions – the immediate one and the one on the following day, and the day after. That`s what keeps you going as a group. You can get a great reaction one night, but a guy will only book you back for the same money. There`s no follow-up.

Do you think that people are still getting good value for money when they go to rock concerts, or are they getting charged too much?

Not in general, though some promoters charge far too much for far too little. But you`re going to get that anywhere. Where there is quick money, and a lot of money, to be made, and the rock business is a large industry, you`ll get the second-hand car dealers, but it`s very temporary and very foolish, because it never works. The only people who are still running successful dances are the people who have been very honest.

Do you ever see a return to small clubs where the band is not necessarily the most important part of the evening?

The dreaded wallpaper music? I`d hate that. I want people to come and see us, I mean, that`s murder, I`ve done  it before, years ago, in Germany, that whole bit, where people come in – Whisky A Go Go kind of scene – ageing Italians with their 15-year-old birds. I never liked that, nobody wants that back. I think it`s one of the most amazing things that happened, when people actually started listening.

POSITIVE

When you`re on stage, do you get a feeling of real power over them?

Yeah, it`s a great feeling. I`ve always felt that, and providing you use it in a good way, there`s no harm. I think audiences do need leading – they`re scared to get up and do what they want to do because the people around them know them. They`re scared to appear freakish in any way. If you lead them they`ll come en bloc, let loose their inhibitions and it`s great to see that happening. Then that turns you on and you let yourself go. It`s a question of you turning them on and them turning you on in turn. That`s the general way it works on a gig.

Do you see it as releasing energy?

Well, everybody has pent-up emotions, either you kick someone in the teeth, smoke yourself silly, or you get it out some other way… I think we do have some level of responsibility to the people that come to see us. I don`t think Mott gigs are unhealthy gigs. The reactions we get must come from healthy people. We don`t get that sort of lying-on-the-ground, eyes-rolling reaction, we get a positive thing. This was the silly thing about America: they had a huge drug problem which they really believed was due to heavy rock, but it wasn`t at all. With heavy rock, you`ve got to be there, you can`t be on a different plane, you have to be there with them. So I think our reactions are healthy, and in that way I think we do a bit of good. It`s coincidental, it`s not meant that way, but it does seem to work that way.

There are other bands with strong allegiance like yourselves, Edgar Broughton, for example, who uses his popularity as a political platform. Do you ever think of trying to angle this popularity more?

No, because everybody`s level of awareness is different. You shouldn`t confuse your own level of awareness with that of a kid in Sheffield or Newcastle. You might be laying something on them in the heat of the moment that they`ll believe in the cold of the following morning. I would prefer to keep my political beliefs to myself. I sing rock and roll. I don`t criticise Edgar Broughton for doing it, but ours is a different thing altogether. I think that what you say between songs should be appertaining to what you`re doing at the time. Sometimes I`ve got a bit of a grouse – usually I just say the first thing that comes into my head on stage, and you get that off your chest, but I wouldn`t get up on any political format. It causes trouble.

You have a rather evil image on stage – with the shades and the masks and so on. Do you think it might be this that your audiences like, and if so do you find this at all worrying?

Probably so, yeah, but while they`re there get it out. But they usually walk out the door shattered, see? They`ve had an experience. They`re not going to hit anybody, they`re too knackered. They`ve got it off, that was Mott the Hoople, that was a rock group, that`s all there is to it. For instance, we have never had a punch-up at a concert, ever. If it comes over as violence, that`s what we mean at the time, but nobody would really believe it. We feel like what we are on stage, larger than life, compared with what we usually are. I feel a completely different person on stage, extremely confident – confident to the point of over-confidence. Offstage I don`t feel confident at all.

How does it come about that although you`d like to play quiet numbers, on stage you always end up playing the fast, heavy ones?

This has been the subject of endless discussion between the band and the people we`re responsible to. It`s just always been schizoid, ever since the word go. Sometimes I go through moods when I like just to play quietly – my dearest wish is to play a proper piano on stage rather than an electric, which I don`t play nearly so well. There are times when I`d like to play quietly all the way through and get a respectful reaction, but when I think about it I don`t know whether I could really do that and feel I`d done it – I always seem to have to feel not only emotionally finished but physically finished as well, it`s really strange, and the whole group are the same.

LIEUTENANTS

Verden Allen has been quoted as saying: “We don`t want to be classed just as a rock band, just playing the heavy fast things”. You`d agree with that, then?

Yeah, when we did the Albert Hall, the first five numbers of that show were all slow, but all the reviews reviewed the audience, rather than the music. Well perhaps they were being very nice and didn`t like the five numbers, but that`s what normally happens. But our tribe, our following, will always listen to the slow numbers, they`ll come up afterwards and talk about them…

… but the other night at the Rainbow, when you announced “The Journey” you said: “You`re going to hate this but we`re going to do a slow one…” Why did you say that, because the audience didn`t hate it at all?

Well, perhaps I`m paranoid about the whole thing. It could well be, it`s something we`ve had to live with for a long time. When I`m talking like that, our following usually know what I`m talking about. They know I`m not talking to them, they know that I`m talking to the fringe, people who didn`t really want to come in but thought they`d drop in. Really I`m talking to them. The kids who follow us follow us everywhere, they know us back to front. With the main following – we call them the lieutenants, you know, they`re the ones that are nearest to us and come with us nearly everywhere we go – they`re like part of the group, they come in and get changed in the dressing room like we do.

Like cheerleaders?

Yes, but they`re doing it because they get a buzz out of it, they`re not actually cheerleaders because they get out front and get into it. There`s about thirty or forty that you`ll find anywhere, then we`ve got little divisions, like in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, where they`ll travel to a gig maybe in Middlesbrough… it`s great because when you go to a gig there are always these few people there. You know you`re going to make somebody happy that way.

Do you foresee yourselves continuing to play to audiences like that? Is there going to be a time when you`re going to have to cool out on the live gigs and get more down on record?

We`d like to do both. We`ll always be a gigging band, though. If we haven`t gigged for three or four days, Mick`s up the office panicking, he doesn`t know what to do with himself, and Buff doesn`t know what to do with himself. We can`t stand not working. It`s come about in recent months that we haven`t been able to work so much, because we usually have clauses saying we can`t play in the area for six weeks before or after. We can`t work so much, which is the thing I really miss about being a club band, `cos we used to work seven days a week, used to love it. I would like to see us go like the Who eventually, been together a long, long time, they gig, they`re happy.

In general, why do you think some bands get this fanatical following?

I don`t know, you know? I just don`t know.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Deep Purple, Rikki Farr, Bob Dylan, Nicky Hopkins, Bunk Johnson, Country Joe and the Fish, Steve Marriott, Frank Zappa, Roy Harper, Emitt Rhodes, Charlie Wills, Melanie.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, JULY 17, 1976

Having a re-think here. As some of you know I will always print articles with the 5 most read bands/artists on this blog. Today these artists are in an all-time perspective: Ritchie Blackmore (Rainbow), Deep Purple, Lemmy (Hawkwind), Steve Howe and Ian Hunter.
This is part of the reason for the article printed today.
To shake things up and make it easier for other artists to be featured I will change this list from now on to be the 5 most read artist/bands in the last year, counting from whatever date that I post something. I hope this will inspire you to share articles with your favourite artists.
And the ones leading the pack right now are: David Bowie, Lemmy, Paul Kossoff (Free), Pink Floyd and Marc Bolan.

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Hunter opts out of suicide plan…

Removing his shades to reveal those innermost thoughts, our man discourses on America`s problems and some of his own.

By Charles Shaar Murray

“I`m not into committin` suicide for rock and roll. I`ve thought about it on numerous occasions, but I figured, `Well, no, man…`”
Ian Hunter, upper facial sector fearlessly bared to the elements, whatever elements may be lurking in a hotel room at three in the morning (This means that he had his shades off – Ed), is simultaneously demonstrating the elegance of his sprawling technique and his skill at the noble and arcane craft of speaking coherently with a minimum of blood in his alcohol stream.
“`…if you`re going to be a miserable bastard, you might as well be a miserable bastard in relative comfort`.”
These days, Our Mister `Untah may be a bit too old and a bit too rich to maintain his membership in the International Punko Society, but when the majestically snotty head waiter barring the door of the hotel restaurant refuses to admit your genial reporter, his celebrated subject and their respective lovely wives on account of Ian is wearing a singlet and jeans, it would seem that age and money do absolutely nothing to bridge some of them old `60s gaps.
And to think that Ian once recorded Sonny Bono`s “Laugh At Me”, a song written after El Bonola got tossed out of a dumb L.A. nosheteria because of his unpruned follicles.
Talk about ironies! Talk about twist endings!
Anyway, we get served someplace else, talk about this and that, get ferociously pissed and return to the hotel to discuss the other thing; said other thing being I.H.`s nifty thought-provoking new album`s worth of toons, “All American Alien Boy.”
Those of you who haven`t yet obtained a copy thereof please rectify said omission instantaneously or sooner; you can finish this when you get back and you`ll find it a lot clearer.

“AAAB” is a living-in-America as opposed to being-a-tourist-in-America album, and like the album, Hunter`s conversation reflects his alternating delight, confusion and horror at his adopted home (“If you took all the ladies out of Bath and York and put `em in San Francisco you`d have the most magnificent place in the world, but it`s full of weirdos”).
He`ll rap on about American politics (which subject had previously aroused in him the most profound absence of interest) with, I`m afraid, more energy and lucidity than sophistication, and then toss a hand-grenade at the departing back of the topic by pointing out, “I tried to keep it light because what does a kid who lives in Warrington care about American politics?
“Everything`s different over there. The garages, the supermarkets, even the milk. They put poison in the bacon…”
I yawned. To this day I`ll swear it was the wine.
“Stop yawning when I`m talking!” responds Mr. `Untah, and proceeds to recount an occasion when your friend and mine Lester Bangs stitched him up by waiting until the assembled company “had got completely spaced and then all of a sudden out of the blue he asked, `What do you care about the poor people?` Oh, Christ. I knew exactly how that was gonna come out in print…”
Truth to tell, I`d contemplated no particular verbal ambush or journalistic mugging – but Ian had set himself up so nice. “Well, what do you care about the poor people?”
“That`s personal. I mean, if you`ve been to St. Louis and you`ve seen Martin Luther King Boulevarde in February and you`ve got any feelings at all… it`s weird, man, seeing people in light summer coats when it`s 20 below, standing around in doorways.

“They try and go into the shops where it`s warm, and they get kicked out. The dogs shiver in their sleep. I was on Martin Luther King Boulevarde just after they`d cleared part of it; they`d just put a lot of black people into a new complex, but they weren`t allowed to take their dogs and there were a lot of wild dogs hangin` about.
“It was real ironic that this was on Martin Luther King Boulevarde, which was supposed to be a tribute to him, but it was derelict. The dogs were sleeping in the gutters and shaking from the cold. What do you do with that?
“I couldn`t even write a song about it. That`s bursting into tears time because you feel like a prat that it ain`t happenin` to you, and you feel that you should go out there and give `em ten grand, but I didn`t. I`m remarkably stupid on that level, because I don`t really react until two days later. Believe me, I`m genuine about this: I really suffer for that.
“But not half as much as the people who have to live it. I mean, I live all right. If we genuinely cared for everybody who didn`t have nothin` we`d be dead within a week from the sheer agony of that carin`. It`s a weird world; very primitive, very middle ages. The word `modern` is obscene.”
I recalled talking to Bowie after his Trans-Siberian jaunt three years ago, and D.B. saying that 75 per cent of Russia`s population were still living in the 13th century.
“Well, that just about sums David Bowie up. He`s a remarkably stupid person when he`s talking on an international level, because he don`t know anythin` about anythin`.”
But he loves talking in those terms.
“I know, but he just talks through `is arse. It`s just that the word `modern` is so weird. I`ve always found that the height of pretention – `modern`. When I was workin` on demolition in Northampton, we were renovatin` a place which had been a newspaper office, and we found papers from 1812. It was just like today`s paper. They had H.P.: it was like 13 quid for a Welsh dresser and a table and four chairs and it was like two quid down, two bob a month. The prices were different, but the write-ups were exactly the same.

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“They burn witches now just like they burned witches then. That`s why I observe more than participate. I ain`t got much truck with people, really…
“That`s why I`m more resigned; that`s why I can`t summon up, perhaps, the energy that Bowie would have. I could be wrong, I could be terribly wrong, but I just don`t think it`s all worth bothering about except to see that I`m all right, that I get through. I haven`t got suicidal tendencies or anything; it`s just that it`s absurd, so enjoy yourself in your own little way, `cos the crusaders of the `60s… oh, God, you oughta see `em. They`re all writin` books now. It`s pathetic!
“All the revolutionaries sayin` `Oh, we didn`t mean it. Actually we did attempt to incite a riot.` Rolling Stone was founded on the fact that they didn`t…”
Ian Hunter tells himself and others that he`s not concerned midway through a rap wherein mention of any of his recent songs leads into discussion of matters political, social, religious, economic or ethical.
He writes an album three-quarters devoted to such topics (“On the last album most of the lyrics were invented. I hate writing like that; I much prefer to have a headful of lyrics which just come out.”), is an avatar of defiant punkhood, and makes an album with only two hard-rock tracks on it, will declare himself unimpressed by the Feelgoods and The Ramones but enthuse about Sailor.

He will declare himself shocked and surprised when critics cite Dylan references when discussing “AAAB,” an album so redolent of the Zim`s mannerisms that the comparison has arisen spontaneously from every single person to whom I`ve played it; who keeps his bread (but definitely not his head) well down under them floorboards; who will self-consciously short-circuit an idea out of sheer self-deprecation even when it`s more than worth following up and then almost instantaneously become criminally self-indulgent with something that`s little more than the conceptual equivalent of a leaky bucket.
He will take himself seriously when he should be taking the piss, and bring himself down when he should keep on keepin` on.
Still, Ian Hunter has purpose, passion and perception; he has enough sophistication to know when not to be sophisticated; and he controls his ego rather than vice versa. Plus he has a conscience and a sense of humour.
After all, he ain`t committing suicide for rock and roll. Which is just as well at a time when (as Ritchie Blackmore once said) “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Stuart Sutcliffe, The Flamin` Groovies, The Ramones, The Who, Eric Clapton, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Jefferson Starship, Weather Report, Roxy Music, The Crusaders.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM New Musical Express, May 15, 1976

Here we go again with yet another Ian Hunter article. Why do you like Hunter so much, you may ask? The answer is that I don`t especially like him more than others on this blog. As some of you know, I promise to post all articles I find of the 5 most visited bands/artists of my blog. And those artists are right now: Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple, Lemmy, Ian Hunter and Steve Howe.
If you want the same treatment for your favourite artist, you need to get people to click on the articles with them in it. That`s all!

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IAN HUNTER: All American Alien Boy (CBS)

By Charles Shaar Murray

There exists a subtle difference between a tax exile and an expatriate.
It has more to do with the way that someone carries themselves than the reasons that sent him away. Rod Stewart is a tax exile, pure and simple, whereas John Lennon is an expatriate. Stewart sounds to have lost touch with his background without having established any real temporary root system; artistically as well as politically and geographically, he is in limbo.
On the other hand, Lennon determined from the outset that if he was gonna live in America he was sho `nuff gonna righteously live there and involve himself as fully in American cultural, social and political life as anybody else on his block; without denying his Englishness he was simultaneously going to do his damnedest to be a good American.
It ain`t for nothing that Ian Hunter shouts out “Look out Lennon here I come – land ahoy-hoy-hoy!” as he bawls himself hoarse on his way into the first chorus of the title song of “All American Alien Boy”. The slightly pretentious title proves itself nothing more than a direct summing-up of Hunter`s stance as resident rather than tourist, a stance which enables him to transcend the superficiality of the out-of-the-limo-window-I-saw generally written by jetstream Anglos buzzing through to deliver boogie to the natives, while utilising his distance from England to recollect emotion in tranquility – or vice versa.

If Lennon is one of the spectres who stalk the landscape of this album, the other Ghost Of Rockanroll Past who`s right in there rattling his chains is Bob Dylan. On the strength of this album it may well be appropriate to nominate Hunter for a second term as This Year`s New Dylan. He`s deliberately cast much of the album in a “Blonde On Blonde” mould, utilising the master`s devices with a knowing pointedness, manipulating the associations, implications and resonances of the instrumentation and the inflections of his own expertly Zimmer Twins vocals for specific effect.
The only occasions when his grip falters is where, despite his mastery of Lennon and Dylan`s use of boisterous humour, he fails to infuse into his mixture the sly irony of his models: the irony that enables Dylan to use the device of saying “The moral of this storreeee” in “Frankie Lee And Judas Priest” and not sound heavy-handed, whereas Hunter flubs the trick in “Restless Youth”, a musically exciting but lyrically suspect sympathy-for-the gunsel song in Maestro`s “Joey” tradition (it even refers to “Little Italy”, f` Chrissakes!).
So, picking up on New York like any starstruck English Dylan freak would, and maybe seeing Dylan`s adoption of his erstwhile pal and partner Mick (“I aren`t a session man”) Ronson as vaguely symbolic, Hunter has ditched the last vestiges of Mott-style rock and roll in favour of his deliberate, conscious, yes-I-know-my-rights-and-am-of-sound-mind-and-body-and-do-knowingly-willingly-that-which-I-am-about-to-do Dylan act.

The album`s opening cut “Letter To Britannia From The Union Jack” is to-and-about Britain, and uses the rather strained metaphor heralded in the title to sound a slightly discordant note of national pride and please-get-it-together-England.
It`s the first of a fairly small cluster of moments on the album where Hunter seems unable to find language that will match the power of his attempted statement and thereby debases his theme while uncomfortable emphasis is thrown on his linguistic fumbling.
On the title cut, however, he`s in roaring form. Gerry Weems` blasting Ronsonesque lead guitar cuts in right on the heels of “Union Jack”`s fade, underscored by Jaco Pastorius` bass, Aynsley Dunbar`s stomping drums, accompanied by Hunter`s own monolithic piano chording, before the inimitable David Sanborn (formerly of the Butterfield Blues Band and “Young Americans” – period Bowie) blasts a path for a bellowingly self-assured Hunter sneering like some Dylan/Jagger fusion.
It`s a fine song, though in its opening stages the solos by Pastorius, Sanborn and Weems that interrupt the verses irritate despite their excellence, and Hunter has a fine old time machine-gunning tortuously rhymed lyrics and racing the band to the changes. His Dylanisms seem endearingly cheeky rather than offensively derivative:
“Don`t get slugged get mugged get bugged or they`ll sling you in the jug. Sweep you under some rug, give you some drug, pull out the plug and then..
I mean, howcum Bruce Springsteen didn`t write that?

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From getting hilariously confused with brash Americana and TV commercials, he drifts back to his distant youth and gets misty-eyed about the callous teendream who rejected the young Hunter in “Irene Wilde”. “A Barker Street Bus Station non-affair” is how he characterises it, proving that he still has his background together.
“Restless Youth”, which ends the side, is by far the heaviest rocker on the album. Chris Stainton comes off keyboards  for his one crack at bass, and he clearly hasn`t forgotten how to crank a Fender bass up to the bonecrunching impact level of his playing on Cocker`s “With A Little Help From My Friends”.
“Rape” proves again that Hunter has a lot to learn from Dylan about writing political songs (and let`s just leave “Mozambique” right out of this, okay? I never liked the damn song in the first place anyway), “You Nearly Did Me In” has a gorgeous chorus (with backing vocals by Freddie and Roger of Queen, gang!) and a nice drift to it.
Hunter unleashes his killer punch in “Apathy 83”, which demonstrates that his ability to slice rock and roll right down the middle is completely undimmed. He also pulls off his most inspired Dylan reference of a heavily Dylan-soaked album with “Was it General Sheridan who said that the only good good man is a dead good man? It was not me, babe!” delivered in the most ringingly triumphant Bobby-the-Zee tones imaginable. He clinches with:
“Nostalgia is starting to focus too late, intelligence is starting too itch.
And there ain`t no rock and roll no more, just the music of the rich.
`N it`s apathy for the devil, apathy for the devil, apathy for the devil.
Apathy`s at fever piiiiiiiiiiitch!”

His final song, “God”, is stone Dylan with Stainton laying down an organ part so Kooperish that if you woke Al up in the middle of the night and played it to him he`d probably think it was him. Hunter`s God opens up the dialogue with “I`m gonna kick your ass, `cuz all you ever do is ask, ask, ask” and ends with “Behave yourself, see you around!” which is probably pretty much how God would talk if Ian Hunter was writing his scripts.
“All American Alien Boy” is a difficult and fairly uncompromising album; it`s uncomfortably personal, occasionally crude and self-indulgent, and it`s by no means an unqualified success. However, it`s also hugely revealing both about the subjects it discusses and the man who made it, and one which has by no means diminished my admiration of Ian Hunter.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Ramones, Genesis, Erich Von Daniken, Eric Carmen, Elton John, Nils Lofgren, Stanley Clarke.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Mick Ronson (Ian Hunter, Mott The Hoople, David Bowie) FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

When you look at the people Mr. Ronson played with in his life, you have to be a little impressed. In many ways I feel that he is not given the credit that he deserves when you look at all the big name musicians that wanted to play with him. When people speak of great guitarists he is seldom mentioned, but he definitely had something that attracted so many others to his services. He had the talent, but he may have lacked the drive to be as good as his talent permitted. As this interview may give an indication of.

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The RONSON you give will always remind him of you

or more likely he`ll smash it. Read how Dylan`s old buddy breaks his guitars… then blows out his amp… then blows out his fuzz box. He does not, however, blow out his baked beans.

By Neet O`Noser

The rumours started circulating around Saturday evening, passed on secretively by several Hollywood groupies and a handful of “in” people.
By Sunday the circle of confidants had expanded to include the press and by Monday everybody knew except those too old to care or the too young to know. That evening at Channel 4 in Burbank (shooting home of the television show Midnight Special) Mick Ronson, Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Albert Lee, Bo Diddley, Mark Steiner, Barry Goldberg and Roger McGuinn would be teaming up for a super jam to be filmed and televised at a later date.
The audial possibilities alone seemed staggering, and though that evening`s taping never made the legendary mark it was still… uh… interesting.
Backstage, Mick Ronson raced around looking for a cup of coffee. Dressed in ill-fitting Levis (they were too short; evidently he does not realise this look went out in the 50`s and that floor-level fit is now the cat`s meow), white tennis shoes and T-shirt, he presented the perfect antithesis of the Bowie/Mott/Hunter days when silk scarves and high shoes made up his tout ensemble.
It all fits in with his current pre-occupation with Bob Dylan and the American Way in general.
For the ex-Spider, the Rolling Thunder Revue has been like a breath of new life; his most recent work with Ian Hunter was disastrous and the call from Dylan was as welcome as a message from the Messiah.

Mick has finally landed the coffee, and with face made-up for the taping, chats about the Dylan episode.
“It`s so fresh, it`s just like I`ve started playing again. It`s like I`ve got to learn how to play again… it`s that kind of feelin`. And it`s real refreshin`. But I don`t want to put aside the things I`ve done because they`re valuable.”
Ronson is ushered on to the stage along with the rest of the band and immediately Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice break into a breakneck version of the Beck, Bogert and Appice tune, “Lady.”
Bogert, as usual, is monstrous on bass and Mick – anxious to join in – quickly switches on the Fender amplifier and turns up the volume.
A loud hissing is followed by piercing squeals. Perplexed and nonplussed, he quietly requests another amp. This one works fine and after wringing one searing note from the rented Les Paul (both of his other guitars are broken) Ronno stomps on the fuzz box.
Crackling and spitting sounds emerge.
With a smile illuminating his powdered features, he requests another fuzz.
Finally both amp and fuzz are working and joining in with the other musicians – who by this time are all playing – he delivers some effective if not too creative riffs.
In fact, it is this pre-jam jam which will be the highlight of the evening.
The rest of the show is made up of “Not Fade Away”, “Hey Bo Diddley,” and another number, and though the overall sound is nothing to write home about the simple majesty of the affair is intriguing.

The next day, back at the hotel, Ronson is excited about last evening`s play and the whole American attitude towards music. He is in the midst of a scrambled eggs, bacon and hashed browns breakfast, and in between mouthfuls carries on the conversation.
He`s talking about his rejuvenation (he`s 29), which he apparently began in June of 1974 when he visited New York and met up with Bobby Neuwirth.
“I just started hanging around with Bobby, and he told me about the tour, I thought he was jokin`, because I didn`t know Dylan, and when Bobby talked about the tour he made it sound so loose. I thought, `This can`t be right what I`m hearin`. Maybe a bit of it`s right but it`s not just like that.` But yet it was that`s exactly how it was.”
Mick gags on a mouthful of bacon and takes a stiff drink of milk. He`ll anxious to go out shopping for records and guitars (“It`s the first time in years I`ve wanted to go out and buy guitars”) and decides to hit Tower Records first.
The reaction in the store is typical; ladies flit around like moths in flame territory and guys look on enviously. Several ask for autographs and Ronson obliges.
Then it`s outside and back into his silver Rolls Royce at the Tropicana (he leaves the guitar-searching for later) his thoughts run back to Bowie.
Despite rumours to the contrary, that association was a positive one and his enthusiasm when questioned about possible reunions with D.B. leaves little doubt that these feelings were heartfelt.
“Sure, I`d love to play with David again. I mean, I really like him. He`s really clever. He writes a lot of good songs. He can write a lot of good songs.

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“I mean, I like the guy. Even though I have said… it`s been quoted something like, `Well, if I ever see him I`m going to give him a kick up the ass.` I don`t literally mean I`m going to beat his brains out. I want to sort of get near him as a friend and not in battle.
“I mean to go in with that kind of approach but only to gain some instant respect, so that some kind of friendship can be locked in again.
“I haven`t seen him for a long time; I don`t ring him and he doesn`t ring me and I don`t know where he is and he doesn`t know where I am. I think that`s a shame because I respect him and I like his music.”
Ronson felt fulfilled in Bowie`s band as a guitarist but towards the end of his stay was becoming more interested in other endeavours, such as producing and arranging. He only started writing with his first solo album, “Slaughter on 10th Avenue,” and never had any inclination to do so with Bowie.
Not only has playing with the Rolling Thunder Revue opened him up to the guitar again but his taste for writing has been whetted. Not that he`s sat down with Dylan and taken lessons (“You don`t trade licks with him… he just plays songs”) but he has put pen to paper in recent days.
“I was never interested in writing when I was with Bowie. They were all David`s songs. And I do enjoy playing other people`s songs. I never wrote any songs at all until my first solo album.
“I got incredibly lazy; I wouldn`t sit down and think about a song, I`d rather sit down and get drunk, or I`d much rather sit down and play with women.

“I`m not into reading or poetry… so I never wrote. I think I`ve read two books in my whole life. Tom Sawyer was one and I can`t even remember the other. So I never had a way with words. I guess I said it musically. But I now want to express myself lyrically too, and I have written a couple of things. I`m singing more too, but only in the bathtub.
“I mean I was happy in David`s band as a guitar player but I never used to really play that much guitar when I was with him. I`d never sit around and play. I`d only play it when we were recording or I was on stage.
“And sometimes in the studio I`d say, `Oh, I don`t want to play guitar yet; and I`d put it away somewhere – because it started becoming secondary to other things that I wanted to do in the studio… production, arranging.
“I used to have to force myself to take it out – which was real strange for a guitar player to do.
“David was real good, real clever. He comes up with some real bright ideas. We used to work really good together for a time. I wanted to see him on the tour.
“But I couldn`t get any tickets.”
Ronson`s metamorphosis since leaving Bowie has been swift. Gone are the sequined fineries and the reluctance to play, and in their place are Levi regalia and an enthusiasm for the strings.
So long as it`s fun Ronson will continue. But don`t get me wrong – he`s no gung ho character.
“See that guitar there?” he asks, pointing to the rented Les Paul. “It`ll stay in its case until I go into the studio with Roger (McGuinn) tonight. I still don`t practise.”

Jams like the one which took place last night have become a frequent occurrence for Ronson, and that`s how his chops are kept up.
He is sure people will see his work with Dylan as a strange coupling, but isn`t worried about it.
“It doesn`t matter what people think as long as I`m enjoying myself. Some people are gonna like it and some people aren`t. Some people will think, `Why`s he playing that hillbilly shit? Why doesn`t he get back to what he was doing?` But I`m still playing some pretty hard rockin` things same as before – but with these different musicians.
“I`m having a good time. All the people on the Dylan tour were really good people… people who could be with each other all day and all night. It`s just like I used to hang out with Bowie… we used to have fun. We all hung around together because it was good for an up-and-coming band to be seen together.”
Mick Ronson at 29 is really just a beginner. After starving in London and Paris years ago, he now charters Rolls Royces and hangs out with Bob Dylan. But he`s still the same person – playing “Blowing In The Wind” through small amps and “Ziggy Stardust” through massive Marshalls.
“I`m just learnin` like everybody else. I could work harder but then I`m just basically lazy.”

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Another ad probably not allowed these days. Only in videos.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rolling Stones, British Country Music Festival, Abba, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, April 5, 1975

People sometimes forget that Mr. Ian Hunter Patterson has reached the grand old age of 76 this year. He seems so youthful in the way he presents himself, so it is easy to forget that he is older and wiser than most people you know. We hope to have him around for a long time as Hunter continues to tour extensively across Europe and North America.
In March 1975 Hunter joined forces with Mick Ronson, and released his first solo album in april after recording sessions at AIR Studios in London. A great album that also features the much-covered song “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, originally written by Hunter alone.
Check it out, if you for some strange reason have missed this great song.

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AARGH!

That was our Lay-out Man`s reaction when he discovered that Charles Shaar Murray had written his Runter-Honson interview in a slightly eccentric manner. Pennie Smith (who still thinks Ronson is an electric shaver) took very normal pictures.

Haul ass, Ronson. It`s exactly four steps from where the band coach is parked to the stage door of Newcastle City Hall and there`s a mean wind blowing, but even before one scuffed green shoe – which goes great with the black suit with the gold piping and the green T-shirt – hits ground zero, the chicks are there with the autograph books out. “Over here, Mick! Hey, over here, Mick!”
Ronson`s ready for them, and as his hand goes out to pick up the first pen, Ian Hunter in massive leather coat, has slipped around the cluster of girls and is almost home free before one spots him – “and can I have your autograph too?” He signs the book like he`s clocking in for work. Thank you, Masked Man.
Freeze it. Voice-over: “He`s got an incredible fan following, and he looks after `em. Mott was always a guys` band, and now all of a sudden I`m with Mick and there`s chicks camping out outside his door. I think it`s great for me and `im, because it adds an extra element. Mick`s a great-looking guy and he doesn`t ignore his fans. He talks to `em, he`s forever writing letters to `em, and I was never particularly into that. He`s been going on at me to talk to `em.
“See, I left Mott and so most of the Mott fans didn`t like me, made me the bad guy. Mick`s got his fans, but I`m in a kind of limbo and all I`ve got`s my music, and I`m so hot on the music that I don`t really care. But at the same time I see what happens when the chicks are all screaming for him and I think that we need that. Because it`s something that Mott never had…”

Unfreeze. The assembled company straggle into the hall and commence sound-checking. Bad Co`s album plays through the P.A.
For some unearthly reason there`s 75 loose volts of best quality high-grade electricity floating around Hunter`s vocal mike. Apart from that, Ronson`s sustain pedal has gone on the blink, which is quite a problem as it`s a special one whipped up by someone Pete Townshend knows and it`s not the kind of thing you can schlep into your local Newcastle music shop and have fixed while-U-wait.
The building is icy cold. On the stage, Blue Weaver is checking out his various keyboards. The reason that it`s Weaver up there and not Pete Arnesen is that Arnesen is currently recuperating from an operation, and so Weaver, who played organ on Mott`s last American tour, was flown in at a few days` notice to take over. Principally an organist, he`s not used to playing the pounding rock and roll piano that Hunter and Ronson require, and so his nails are battered and broken.
On a podium in the centre of the stage behind a massive double drum kit is Dennis Elliott, who looks to be about nineteen and is whomping his way around his drums while Hunter and Ronson stand about three-quarters of the way back relaying instructions through the talkback mike on the mixing desk.

Last up is Jeff Appleby, bass player and charter member of the Hull Mafia. He looks startlingly like Ronson with his bleached hair and peaky features. The three of them run through “Truth The Whole Truth Nuthin` But The Truth” before Hunter wanders up on the stage to join them. It`s what you call your cooperative sound check, with Hunter and Ronson checking their sidemen`s sound together and then each of them doing the others. Hunter slams through some power chords, and Ronson instructs him to use the middle pick-up switch position before the two swap places.
Unlike the roadies, who`ve been vaulting on and off the stage as if they were in training for some weird kind of Roadie Olympics, Hunter climbs onto part of support group Jet`s Fender piano as one of the stages in his descent. Unfortunately it starts to topple, and if it hadn`t been for a roadie who happened to be standing in the way at the time, Hunter and the piano would`ve taken quite a nasty little spill across the front couple of rows of Newcastle City Hall.
Ronson takes the stage, clambers into his guitar and rambles around a few riffs, testing out his pedals and gadgets. For a second he hits the riff from “Once Bitten Twice Shy.”

Cut to Hunter playing the same riff at the start of the evening`s show. The hall is around three-quarters full and for the past five minutes there`s been a steady chant of “Ron-son! Ron-son!” Eventually the band stalk on, the sidemen in black and Hunter and Ronson in white outfits which glow sickeningly under the ultra violet lights at the side of the stage. Ronno`s suit is emblazened with painted eyes, as if in some kind of compensation for Hunter`s invisible peepers. A spotlight hits Hunter`s guitar as he bounces the Chuck Berry riff around for a few bars, and then he moves to the mike with that flat “`Allo” and the band hit the groove and the lights come up and, and…
The sound is hideous. All you can hear is Hunter`s guitar and vocal and Elliott`s drums, though occasionally a bit of lead guitar and piano shine fitfully through the fog. It gradually cleans itself up as the show progresses, with Hunter and Ronson scrupulously sharing the vocals, trading off one for one and two for two. Curiously, for the first half of the set, Ronson`s performances seem better received than Hunter`s, though it must be borne in mind that Hunter was performing songs from an album which nobody in the audience had at that time heard, whereas Ronson was drawing on his two solo albums – and I`d bet cash money that at least half of the population of that hall had one or the other.
He seemed infinitely more confident sharing the stage with Hunter than he had performing those same songs last year on his own tour, though the audiences were approximately the same size. Had Hunter traded in his huge Mott audiences for the appreciably smaller Ronson public?

Make no mistake about it, a solidly Ronson audience it was. Monsoon could stand in shadow at the back of the stage by his amp while Hunter was in the spotlight singing, suddenly raise his hand and have the hall explode to order.
Hunter`s time finally came during “Boy”, probably the solo album`s major song. Strumming away at a totally inaudible acoustic guitar, he aimed his shades at the gallery and sang his goddam heart out against the band`s rising storm and got his first ovation of the evening. The Ronson audience had become a Hunter-Ronson audience.
Freeze it. Voice-over: “Ronno`s fans were probably wondering what this great lumbering lumberjack from the outback was doing with `im, and the strident Mott fans were asking me why that bleedin` pansy was playing guitar with me…”
Unfreeze. By the time the band got into an uproariously ramshackle version of Uncle Lou`s “White Light White Heat”, the teenagers are down the front grabbing at Ronson`s lissome young bod. Memo to Monsoon-san: learn the words son. Singing the first verse six times is definitely a no-no. The high point of the number is a totally crazed guitar duel where the rhythm section drop out and Ronson`s rat-in-a-trap lead comes up against Hunter`s chordal volley. The first kamikazes of the evening scale the stage, and one guy gets slung right off, flying gracefully back into the throng. Hands reach out for Ronson`s foot, only a few inches back from the lip of the stage.

Freeze the kid in mid-air a few seconds before he lands. Voice-over: “Pete Watts was the ace at accidentally leaving a leg over the edge of the stage. I can`t be bothered with it; I never could, but Mick`s an arch-exponent of it. He knows how to handle those people. He digs it, he gets off on it. He really wants `em to grab his leg because he feels that that`s what they really want to do. He was upset because it got a bit `eavy down the front there…”
Unfreeze. Blue Weaver starts playing intro from the title song of “Play Don`t Worry.” Ronson steps forward, but instead of starting to sing he raises his hand for silence and says, “I`d just like to ask the security men to be a bit less heavy if they can. They just wanna come down the front, they ain`t doin` any harm.” Hunter breaks in: “And remember that if you break any seats I`m payin` for half of them and he`s paying for the other half.” Laughter and applause. Hunter may not be much into dangling his leg off stages, but he`s a past master at relating to audiences. Everybody relaxes as Ronson sets into the song.
Lower sound-level. Voice over: “I was really in a bad way while I was doing that album. I was feeling really depressed and I didn`t want to `phone anybody or see anybody or talk to anybody…” Hunter: “Tell him how many Mandies you were doing.” Long pause. Very long pause. “I went through two bottles of fifty in a month. The words of that song were sort of to myself, really…”
Fade up on lyric of chorus: “Play, don`t worry/play don`t be scared, don`t you think about them, start your dreaming again of tomorrow…”

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Right now Ronson ain`t worried. He`s in his element. The band`s roaring behind him like some great raging beast, his guitar`s bucking and screaming like he`s tearing it to pieces and it`s trying to get away, his face is contorted into a triumphant snarl, girls are grabbing for his feet and trying to get up on to the stage, Ian Hunter`s stalking around the stage beating his own  guitar halfway to death and egging the band on before returning to his side and, inches away, howling at him to goad him past the edge, probably rasping, “C`mon ya bastid c`mon ya bastid, play you swine rip it out”…something like that as the song crashes to a halt and Mick Ronson looks most unlike a man with a confidence problem.
Voice-over: “You go back to the `Mad Shadows` album and listen to `No Wheels To Ride`. I was working on Ralpher then and he was playing incredible stuff. I really like to push guitarists over the edge. Ronson`s a bit better that way; he really likes me to goad him on. I goaded him on in `Truth` and I was a little worried in case I pushed him too far, because when a guitarist is playing a solo it`s like a lyric, and you mustn`t push `em too far because it`s very personal to `em…”
“Truth”, which is Ronson`s guitar showpiece on the album, doesn`t really happen at Newcastle. Maybe it`s the sound, maybe it`s the duff sustain pedal, but he just strains and strains and hardly anything comes out. Occasionally a squeal, sometimes a whine, maybe here and there a dazzling lick which blows everybody`s mind and then long tortuous pauses before Hunter comes back into the vocal. Voice-over: “Oh, in Glasgow he played this great enormous solo which went on for about twenty minutes, and we just rode along with it. I forgot half the words because I was listening.”

During “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” Ronson`s playing suffers badly because he`s in acute danger of losing his guitar throughout most of the song.
Somehow he keeps playing even with a girl or two hanging on to him, but it`s difficult to keep your solo together with someone wrenching on your arm. Eventually, Hunter leads into the medley of Mott hits which climaxes the set; “Roll Away The Stone” first slowed down and then, as per record, “The golden Age Of Rock And Roll” and “All The Way From Memphis”. Cut to strobe-speed selection of stills of various Mott line-ups, settling finally on film of Mott performing the same songs.
Voice-over: “I can remember in Paris on the last tour with Mott, there was something up with me. I was really feeling rotten. We did the Olympia and we went down a riot and we came off and Tony De Fries was in the wings and he came up to me-you see, Tony`s a very good friend of mine – and he was concerned and he said to me, `That was great – but what are you gonna do?`
“Now, Bob Hirschman was one of my managers at that time and I was going to dinner with him and Tony said, `Come to dinner with me`, and said that I couldn`t because my manager was there. And all the way through that dinner I remembered Tony saying, `What are you gonna do?` I couldn`t understand what he was saying, but I couldn`t get those words out of my head. In the end it wound up around two o`clock in the morning at Tony`s hotel, and he and Ronson were sitting there waiting for me. Ronson`s been in the band a month and had already talked to Tony at great lengths about it. Tony knew I`d be round there. I said, `We played great, what do you mean “what am I gonna do?”` and he said, `It`s over.`

“Mick knew. Mick had sussed it, because he`d been in Mott a month, and he said, `I think you must get out and do your own album`. I never had enough confidence to think that I could just get out and do it and that annoys me intensely. Bowie had said to me in `72 that I had to lead Mott and take them over and I already thought that, but I needed a second person to say it to me. So there we were again. I was totally mixed up, I didn`t know what I wanted to do, and he said, `You got to do your own album`. I was already thinking that.
“I thought that he was trying to get out of Mott as soon as he got in, and he said, `No, I don`t wanna get out; I wanna do your album with you.` And I was thinking, `This is it, this is all over. Then I went to the States because I hadn`t signed the final papers for the house and I realised that I could no more go back than fly. I could go and play with Hawkwind, I could go and play with Ducks DeLuxe, but I couldn`t have gone back to Mott. I hated it so much that I was willing to drop the English tour, because if I`d done it I`d`ve freaked. It would`ve been really embarrassing. Mick was saying, `I`ll do the English tour if you want, but you really shouldn`t be doing it.`
“I`d been trying to drop hints to Pete and Buff, but they didn`t pick up on them. See, I love Pete. If he rings me up tomorrow and asks for me, I`ll be there. Buff – long pause – is a funny guy. I can`t knock him, but he gets very mixed up, and he was upsetting me a lot, but he couldn`t help it. I`d stood it for so long and I couldn`t take it no more. He`s no kind of bastard, but he gets real nervous and he gets me at it and I get twice as bad as him. Pete was taking everything very easy and relaxing and thinking that it would all go on forever, and I kept on hinting to him and saying, `Don`t rely on me.`

“I think they thought I was there for life. I shouldn`t be too romantic about it…I think they were taking me for granted. When Mick Ralphs left he kept saying to me, `You must keep it going, you must keep it going.` It was a guilt thing because he felt that he`d left us in the shit, and I know now how he was feeling. They`re in an awkward position, because Bad Company`s doing good, me and Ronson`s on the road and it must be really frustrating for them…”
Off to a conflagration of applause and a renewed barrage of stomping and howls for “Ron-son! Ron-son!” intermingled with the odd shout of “`Untah!” They wait for just the right length of time before returning and cartwheel into “All The Young Dudes”, for which things really break loose.
Before coming out for the encore, Hunter has donned an absurd white top hat with a long plume which waves as he takes a gulp of air and launches into the first line. Weirdly, the song seems to recall the glittering MainMan empire of 1972, when, in addition to Bowie, Lou Reed, Mott and Iggy Pop had joined up. Superimpose the famous still of Bowie, Reed and Pop and pan onto Tony DeFries in the background.
“Tony got the feeling that he could do it all the time, and he tried Mott the same way; trying to get Mott a mystique. Mott were known, Mott were the kids next door. We were a street-corner band, but we went along with it because the guy had the gift at the time. I still love Tony and Tony`s friends are few and far between these days, but I still love him and I think anyone with any integrity should love him too, because he tries to do something. He made a lot of mistakes and he crapped on a lot of people, and when Tony DeFries drops a bollock it`s a big one…”

Pan back onto Iggy, almost as an afterthought. Voice-over: “I think Iggy`s the most overrated rock star ever. Iggy has all the attributes of stardom except that he doesn`t deliver on any level. I`m a mate of his and he`s a mate of mine, but Iggy does not deliver on any level. He`s the all-time should-have-but-didn`t, and it`s because he`s just not quite good enough. Dave`ll tell you different, but it`s not happening and it never will with him. Everybody`s working for Iggy, everybody thinks Iggy should be a big star, but he`ll never be a big star as long as he`s got a hole in his ass. It`s not the laziness either – if Iggy worked 24 hours a day he still wouldn`t do it. Alice Cooper made it on Iggy. He sat and watched and decided to take it to extremes…”
Somebody mumbles about how Bowie drew a lot on Iggy as well. “David is a piece of transparent paper, but he has a lovely way of transferring things and putting them out as…don`t let`s talk about Dave.”
“Dudes” ends, followed by a ramshackle version of “The Girl Can`t Help It”. As the band leave the stage, slow pan through the audience finally focussing on The Critic. He turns his head to the camera and remarks, “There is much about this band that needs working on. They still haven`t gotten their sound right and they`re still not quite used to each other yet, but if nothing goes wrong they should be doing some tremendous things before long. Ronson, in particular, is clearly benefitting from his surroundings and Hunter really seems to enjoy being a sideman now and then. Like their album, their concert performances deliver just enough to suggest that they`ve hardly started yet in terms of what they can produce…” The camera pulls away as he keeps talking and his voice is drown-by the sound of a hallful of people looking for their coats.
Fast flashback to pre-gig dressing room. Hunter finds the piano, and is informed that the scratches on it were inflicted by Alan Price when he opened a bottle of beer on it during a scene from “Don`t Look Back”. Hunter instantly pounds through his audition piece, the song that he played when he was after the job with Mott The Hoople those many years ago. It`s “Like A Rolling Stone”.

Cut to hotel, post-gig. It`s beginning to get early again, and Mick Ronson is up and drunk. Even after a successful gig, about the only way that he can wind down is to climb into a battle of wine and pull the cork in after him. At half-past four on a chilly Newcastle morning, he`s sprawled in a sofa near the hotel entrance and for long periods of time it seems like he`s passed out. Voice-over: “Mick gets a little funny when he`s pissed… Mick wonders why he`s one of the Top Ten guitarists in any poll in the world and he`s got no money. He was doing gold albums on wages, and maybe he thought at the time that if he cut up they`d just use someone else, which of course wouldn`t have been the case. Mick really thought that he could never leave Dave, that nobody else would want him. He`s crazy – there would`ve been a queue a mile long…”
But at half-past four Mick Ronson is facing his own private demon. Flanked by his girlfriend/assistant Sue Fussey and Big Dave from Sturico, he relentlessly refills and refills his wine glass in spite of their efforts to get him upstairs. Eventually The Critic, who is in fairly poor shape himself, ambles over. “They`re trying to get me to go upstairs,” says Ronson from the depths of the sofa.
The Critic thinks it over. “D`you want to go?” he says at length. Ronson looks up at him in horror. “You`re not trying to get rid of me as well, are you?” And the demon is firmly on his back. At this point in time nothing can convince him that he`s really liked and wanted, despite the affection and concern that everybody around him shows towards him, despite the audience reaction and the last couple of groupies still waiting for a chance to talk to him (Aw shucks.-Ed.)
He struggles to his feet and something clicks into place inside him. Clearly and distinctly, he enunciates, “Everybody thinks I`m a nutcase because I blow all me money. But I`m not. I`m not. They`re the nut-cases.” Then Dave and Suzi led him off to the stairs.
Freeze. Roll end titles.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ace, Keith Emerson, Slapp Happy & Henry Cow, Alvin Lee, “New California Rock”, “Country Special”, Gloria Gaynor, Swamp Dogg, Michigan Flyers, Leonard Cohen, Tom Paxton, George Melly, John Helliwell.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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