Ian Hunter

ARTICLE ABOUT Mott The Hoople FROM SOUNDS, April 13, 1974

I`m not especially fond of these articles where the journalist speak more to the reader than the artist, but when it is done in this style I can be very forgiving. A great for one for all the fans of Mott and Ian Hunter out there, including, but not restricted to, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.

IMG_2107

Mott find a formula

As Mott`s new album, `The Hoople`, hits gold in the States Ian Hunter talks to Martin Hayman and asks “how can you go too far?”

“I was sat in the dressing room before the gig, tuning up my guitar on the automatic tuning-up machine. I was there alone. Suddenly the door flies open and I hear `Look who`s preparing to face his public then`. It was `im – Mick Jagger, and David. I say `Well you`re not doing so bad yourself after ten years` – and so it went on – it was great. I`ve always admired him. He`s the guvnor controller, really, and that`s what I try to do.”
The scene is the Hammersmith Odeon, just before Christmas last year. Mick Jagger and David Bowie are paying a backstage visit to Mott the Hoople`s lead singer and popular hero Ian Hunter. The banter continues at a laugh-a-minute; later, during the performance, the two muckers stroll around the stage, unnoticed, watching Mott`s heavy, menacing act and marvelling at the way Ian himself has joined the ranks of controllers: the select few who can put an audience exactly where they want it.

MASTERY

During the quiet “Rose”, Ariel Bender fiddles with the stone in a bracelet he`s wearing (flash bastard). It looked as though he was looking at his watch. The same stylised London accent jeers from the sidelines: “You`ve still got forty minutes to go, you lazy sods.” Such was Mott the Hoople`s mastery that even when our two spectators make their way round to the front to catch a punter`s eye view, nobody noticed them… I know, I was right there in the front row. I had eyes only for the group on the stage. But David, silly fellow, blew it when he started pinching the girl`s bums…
Fuller of themselves than they`ve ever been perhaps, the band plays on and on… the safety curtain comes down… Morgan Fisher shoves his piano under it to prevent its descent… Hunter and Bender advance forwards over the catwalk into the very audience… V-signs are flashed and punches thrown… the bouncers put up a fierce last-ditch stand but the front-row kids, Mott`s long-time “Lieutenants”, swarm on to the stage… chaos. Rock and roll madness rampant.
It will surely go down as one of the historical gigs when the annals of rock and roll are finally compiled. At the final judgement, Mott will be tried in the balance and not found wanting. It was their coming-of-age, just as surely as “All The Young Dudes” was their arrival at the age of consent. For those who have never been to a Hoople gig and know them only through their quirky, eccentric and compelling singles their huge cult following can seem incomprehensible; and even their fans here would find it hard to take in the audiences which they now draw in the US of A. For their latest and looniest album “THe Hoople”, a week after its US release, has already gone gold. It`s a mighty long way…

GORGEOUS

And did you see Mott the Hoople on Top of the Pops last week? A mild sensation, to say the least. All those gorgeous chickies dancing away to “The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll”. A pretty contrast to the band`s act, the degutted emptiness of the mime, but so like the constant swirling, relentless motion of a live gig, a perpetual flux which has been their trademark since so early on, but now, oh so much more stylised and directed, from Pete leaning back on that huge, arrow shaped bass to Ian`s flamboyant wristy gestures round the microphone. But Ian doesn`t think that much of it as a single, thinks it a bit too throwaway.
Reviewers have thought of it as another rock and roll nostalgic disc; they`re wrong. It`s about the much trampled-on 96 dBa limit proposed by Leeds Council for rock concerts. It`s Mott the Hoople`s – specifically Ian`s – comeback at those who for supposedly well-meant reasons would wish to degut the music Mott has been fighting to make for five years. It comes straight off the streets, and out of the immediate concerns of rock fans. It`s like a speech, it`s a political weapon that can be wielded only by those with the power of control.
And it`s not nostalgic. “The last five years have been much more the Golden Age of Rock and Roll than anything that went before,” says Ian in Mott`s dressing-room at TOTP. He`s right you know: so maybe there were a lot of great records cut in – whenever your favourite period happens to be – but it`s as absurd as it`s snobbish to suggest that one period has the edge over another. There are more, and greater, rock artists now than ever before; and rock and roll belongs to everybody. It can`t admit to a caste system where the oldies have the goldies and the youngsters – such a shame! – get the post-Golden Age dross. Ian`s no youngster, himself; he`s seen them come and go. He`s not hung on keeping the rock and roll he knows to himself.

OBSERVATIONS

He does not keep much at all to himself. He writes out his views of life in his songs, and inevitably has become identified with his own observations: the public face is of one who`s tough, brusque, doesn`t suffer fools easily and who has an unshakeable faith in the commonsense and good nature of the working man and woman. But the more your life becomes public property, the more tenaciously one holds on to the remaining corner of privacy.
Trudi, his long-time American girlfriend whom he married recently, is wonderful at just pricking Ian`s ego enough: enough to make him laugh a little at himself, when he gets overburdened with the things he sees and feels compelled to make public; and a very real defence, too. One time at a reception or whatever in New York, where Mott are the biggest, a girl was making mouths at Ian across the room: Trudi urged her to go speak to Ian if that was what she wished. As she engaged Ian in some (presumably suggestive) conversation, Trudi saw a flush coming over Ian`s face; whether or not it was embarrasment or anger, who knows? But the slight but vividly attractive Trudi didn`t like it: more out of solicitude than jealousy, methinks, she launched a flying kick at the rear quarters of this appalling groupie. (It was left to the down-to-earth Stan Tippins finally to eject her from the room; hell hath no fury etc.).
But enough of these intimate insights – let`s hear what Ian, of all the rock and rollers I`ve met one of the most media-conscious, has to say about the group; with comments appended by such as drummer Buffin – also with his new wife (their reception was part of the festivities of the Hammersmith gig), and sorry, his name is now Dale Griffin; by Pete Watts, spraying silver glitter on his hair and talking about cars; and Bad Company`s Mick Ralphs, who they just can`t seem to keep away.

IMG_2110

Our interview started with the usual criticism of the critic; on balance Ian liked our verdict, but disputed that “The Hoople” went over the top: “How can you go too far?” he asked. The album, of course, was recorded at around the time of the recent General Election campaign. It gave Ian plenty of opportunity to reflect on the political charade which the people of this country had to put up with: “I was sitting there in front of the box, watching all these actors, bad actors – and it really got up my nose. I wasn`t trying to be heavy or anything it was just the things that I observed. There are fifty-two million people in Britain and at least thirty million of them talk pub politics. But I don`t want to be defensive about the album, `cos I`ve got no need to be. I don`t want this interview to be a downer – I would like it to be an upper, `cos that`s how we feel now.”
Pressing the point I suggest that the album could well be a downer, and that even if the lyrics were only his own personal observations, the energy released by the music, by the group`s dynamic and involving stage presentation would be channelled through the slogans of the song. It`s a point which I always bring up when questioning Ian: he`s astute at evading it. You can`t have sheer power politics, the control of the masses, without a strong moral purpose, in my view. You have to direct that power, use it responsibly. In the past I`ve felt that the release of energy is purely gratuitous, and an end in itself.
“I don`t see how you can go over the top,” contends Ian. “Either it`s good or it`s bad. I don`t see it, Mott ain`t too far. As I see it, Mott ain`t a vanguard – we`re a group. I do feel a sense of responsibility when I`m writing a lyric – I don`t go out for cheap gimmicks. I think music is candy-floss really; I firmly believe in what I write, though I`m not advocating it. It`s the truth to me. It`s like Gleason says: `You can trust the music but not the artist`.”

Ian is just talking about his words here. When it comes to the total effect, the complete impression of the words and the music and the indefinable presence, the character which comes across from the inanimate wax, it`s total conviction: “We wouldn`t spend a fortune if we didn`t want to get the sound and the lyrics across. I mean I could`ve sung all the words on an acoustic backtrack and the whole thing would`ve cost two and a half quid instead of sixteen thousand.”
This is the very substantial sort of money that it takes to record Mott now: a far cry indeed from the ramshackle, all-flying-everywhere sound on their first albums. The madness is still not far away though. An incident at Advision made them less than welcome there: suffice to say that damage was done, and restitution insisted upon. “When you spend twelve hours getting a drum sound for the back-tracks and when you go in the next night and find it`s different again it does you in,” suggested Ian.
The end product is eminently satisfactory though, and figures speak for themselves. It will stand them in good stead on their next US tour; by the time you read this they will already have started. It`s eight weeks at six gigs a week, some nights with two shows. It`s starting to look like more than success, like really big business really. The problems are very real. Ian cites as the biggest single one that of keeping his voice in good shape. “The only remedy for that is a lot of sleep, ten hours a night, and keeping your trap shut, not talking. It`s not much fun.”
Did he have any idea why the Americans had taken to Mott in such a big way? Ian cites the examples of Slade and T. Rex, both of whom were trying to break in America at the same time as Mott – with more confidence and less apparent success. “I think they fell in love with the fact that we were a bunch of losers. I think we approached it with more… we persuaded them to come to us.”

Enter Dale Griffin for a word or two. “Mick (Ralphs) has been saying some funny things about Ian in the papers. What he`s been saying… it wasn`t right. What it comes down to is that Pete and I have a big say in what goes on, and Ian does the writing. There never was any preference in what material was used. I don`t know why Mick should think Ian was omnipotent in the band. There seems to be a feeling that the group is controlled by Ian, but he comes to us with his material and we sort it out. The only time we did anything that we weren`t sure about was `Whizz Kids` and in the end it worked out OK. I`ve seen the way a lot of groups work and for democracy this one is really good.”
About a quarter-hour later Mick Ralphs breezed into the room – warmly greeted by the Herefordshire contingent. He comes over to Ian and asks what the problem is, he hasn`t seen the offending piece. “Well Mick, I don`t know whether it`s just me being paranoid…” I slide off, for such conversations are the private property of musicians. Later on, Ian and Mick are sitting at the dinner table together, swopping old stories.
Mott have been offered various production deals recently. It prompts Ian to define his view of what makes success: “It`s a simple formula. A group has to have a good song, they must be able to play it well, onstage, with visuals, and in the studio. That`s what I look for. It`s as simple as that. What`s happened is that groups over the years have disappeared up their own arses looking for something original. I`ve seen groups who couldn`t play a song and they`ve taken people in.
“It`s a simple formula but it took us four years to find it; it sounds easy but it`s very difficult. And it`s much harder now than it was for Mott the Hoople at the start. My advice to young groups is work on the songs, work on the visuals, and don`t get too frightened when you first step inside a studio.”
Finally, and something by the way of a confidence, Ian told me that he`d been offered a movie part. He`d read the script, and liked it. Evidently he`s torn between accepting it, with a new dimension of glory, and his suspicion of the film industry, where he would be a beginner, a greenhorn all over again in games which are if anything less manageable than those of the rock business. “Go on,” says Trudi, with a good-natured mocking laugh, “you will.” Ian denies it; but deep down you feel he wants to really. But it`s the drive to lead really; maybe he`ll make a politician one day.

IMG_2113

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: Elton John, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, Refugee, Queen, Uriah Heep, Sweet, The John Peel Column, Little Feat, Sparks, Strawbs, Ducks Deluxe, Alquin,  Dr. Feelgood, Jimmy DeWar.

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.

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.

IMG_1143

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.

IMG_1166

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.

IMG_1167

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.

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.

IMG_0789

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.

IMG_0790

“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.”

IMG_0791

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!

IMG_0627

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?

IMG_0631

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.

ian-hunter-all-american-alien-boy-ukcd2006front

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.

IMG_0591

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.

IMG_0594

“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.”

IMG_0593

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.