Ian Hunter

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 14, 1976

This is a really good article about Queen, but at the end of it there seems to be some “filler” when we get an update on what Ian Hunter and Bernie Taupin is doing. But all that is fine when the rest of this is so good.
Enjoy!

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`I conquered New York in a maroon velour bath robe`

Actually it took a little more than that – like a satin jump suit slit two feet below the navel and four impressive Queen shows at The Beacon Theatre. Here`s the full story.

By Lisa Robinson

Things seem different this time around for Queen. No one has to ask who they are, there are even girl fans standing outside the entrance of the posh Sherry Netherland hotel where the band have a penthouse suite.
High-powered publicity people are taking care of the press, and an expensive party in their honour follows the first of four sell-out shows at New York`s Beacon Theatre.
And yet, once again, when Freddie Mercury and I sit down to do an interview, we both have the `flu. Even John Reid, manager of Queen and Elton John, can`t do anything about that…
“But last year, with our previous management, I couldn`t even talk to you in person,” Mercury laughed. “This year, I can at least sit up, and talk face-to-face… So that`s the difference.”
He coughed, seated on a couch, dressed in pink Biba (circa 1973) pyjamas and a maroon velour bathrobe.
Brian May also seemed a bit under the weather – but was fully dressed in a black velvet suit, having done an interview previously in the hotel dining room.
“There`s just so much to take in in New York,” said Freddie, explaining his touch of the `flu. Pressing further, I ask how much they feel their new management has had to do with their continuing rise: “Absolutely nothing!” laughed Freddie, then adds, “he`ll kill me…”
“I think it`s very hard to pin down, really,” says Brian. “We feel better. Some of the things that have come about because of John Reid have helped us settle down and finish the album.”

“It`s a whole new outlook,” said Freddie, “and certainly the new management has helped a great deal. It`s given us a release, and opened up whole new areas of thinking. We`ve done things that we wanted to do for a long time.
“And it`s just shown in our music in a way, and in the way we`ve come up with this new album… and subsequently it`s led to better chart places and sales… Things trigger off…”
What about the rumours of Brian leaving the band? “Oh, that,” May shrugged. “No, that was really blown out of… that happened a year before, it was never a serious thing. I got friendly with Russell and Ron Mael, live quite near them and we sort of got on well, and we talked of doing something together at some point. That was really as far as it went.
“It was at a time when Queen weren`t doing very much and they probably thought that I wasn`t doing very much but in fact it was when I was recovering from being ill. It was no big deal, you know; it was just a friendly talk. There was never any danger of my leaving Queen.”
“The only reason he`d leave Queen is to become an astronomer,” Mercury added, “not to join another band. My god” – he sneers.

“It`d be silly,” said Brian, “because we`re so fortunate in having this combination… and especially at this point when we`re just beginning to find ourselves. It`s all rubbish about that…”
Mercury: “Especially when it`s just starting to be fun.”
What do you mean, starting to be fun?
“Well, you know… we`re riding on the crest of a wave, and things have finally opened up for us. The rewards are finally beginning to show in the sense that we`re now being respected as musicians, and our songs are hitting the right kind of people. And that`s very rewarding.”
I wondered if, with the astonishing success of the single, as well as a worldwide prominence, they felt “respectable” in a way that had previously eluded them.
“We`d always had confidence in what we were doing,” Freddie answered, “and little things – like the press – didn`t really get us down. If it`s a bad review I tear it up.”
Brian: “It always hurts. I mean, even if there`s an audience of ten thousand and there`s one guy saying `rubbish`, it hurts.”

Queen performed at the Beacon Theatre here – four shows with about 3000 audience each night. Why not a larger hall?
“Well, all the places we`re playing are small halls that work well with the act at the moment,” said Brian.
“Instead of doing one big show we`re doing four small shows,” said Freddie.
How would the visuals change if there was one big show?
Mercury: “I`d just have to project further – grins, hand poised on his chest, which brings me to… ahhhh… his nails.
What shade of black is that? Black is really hard. You have to be careful… it can rot your nails.
“I know. I used to use Biba, but now I use Miners… do you know them? Do they have that here?”
No. How many coats to get it that dark?
“Only one,” he said, “and it goes on really smooth. Reminds me, I have to do them for tonight…”
We look over a photo of the group on stage… Who did your blouse, Brian?
“Zandra… I`d used some other things, but went back to her this time. I`m really pleased.”
“What about you, Freddie, are you changing clothes mid-show this time?
“I change after every number now,” he cracks. “You`re coming to a fashion show, not a concert…
We touch on the length of time the single`s been number one in Britain.
Freddie: “Slim Whitman in 1955 was Number One for 11 weeks… couple of others that have been eight weeks, nine weeks, but we`ve reached that, which in this day and age, I think is rather nice.”

Brian: “Once it got up there, and really caught fire, it just sold more and more. We couldn`t believe that people were still going out there and buying it.”
Freddie: “It sold over a million and a quarter in Britain… just outrageous. Imagine all the grandmothers groovin` to it.
“I think our music is becoming even more versatile, so we can please a pretty wide range of people. And the people who have come to see us, even in the few concerts we`ve done at home, have spanned a wide age group.”
Talking about “Night At The Opera” (record not film) Freddie explains: “Every molecule on that album is us, just the four of us, every iota. No session men, not for strings, not for anything… and we don`t try to reproduce that onstage, we present the music in a different way for stage.
“Sometimes we think about performing with more musicians, or a set… but at the moment, there`s just so much going within the four of us, that it would be a shame to latch onto something else. Because we haven`t quite burnt up our energies doing what we want to do now.”
“Maybe at some stage,” says Brian, “but at the moment the stage act`s evolved in its own right. It`s separate from the album. The songs are the same, but the treatment is so different, and that`s just what we do onstage. But for the moment it is what it is, this is not the time to do it otherwise.”

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David Johansen (New York Dolls) and Freddie Mercury

I`ll say Queen`s management is classy. I arrive (with a mild flu in the midst of a snowstorm) at the Beacon Theatre and, predictably enough, find two people in my seats.
No ushers to be found anywhere, and the huge men guarding the doors refuse to help. In the midst of my plight – for I am blind as a bat unless I sit up front – manager John Reid comes to my rescue. He manages to con the 7` 4″ black man at the door (after various red tape and approval) to help me get to my seat, accompanies me down the aisle, stands there while everyone in the row is checked out, and at last manages to evict the two who have obviously trespassed.
So… sometime after “Flick Of The Wrist” and before “Killer Queen” I sit down. Well, I thought, no matter how the concert goes, John Reid gets a rave review for his performance.
“HE`S THE SEXIEST THING I EVER SAW!!”, shrieked Linda Stein sitting right in front of me. “Oh my god…” I whisper to my associate, look at his… errr… “Socks?”, he asks, not hearing me properly because of the volume.
The object of these observations was, of course, Freddie Mercury, who had the audience in the palm of his hand. Dressed in white satin, chest exposed… a flash of Flash Gordon at the wrists, he was all over the stage, down the ramp (very showbiz), at the piano, and his voice was in total control in a theatre that has had its share of sound problems.
The crowd was completely hysterical with every number; “Prophet” featured a digital delay system that was dramatically effective for Freddie`s voice… technology is wonderful when it doesn`t enslave you…
At the end of that number a cone-like silver object with flashing red lights was lowered to the stage over the drums as the band went off… and when they returned Freddie was dressed in… a black version of the satin jumpsuit, slit all the way down to there.
They went straight into “Stone Cold Crazy”. Girls were literally screaming all around.

It`s easy to see why Queen have made it here; they combine a sense of the theatrical (without the outrageous gimmicks) of the biggest American band – Kiss; have a legitimate hard rock appeal – like Aerosmith; and above all, have the added aura of being a Big British Band with the respectability of musical complexity.
While some critics here find Queen pretentious, I thought this was a stunning concert; they have a keen sense of showbiz humour that saves their songs from being too heavy, and what they do is so extreme that it defines its own terms, sort of a baroque stage show.
Meanwhile, it was freezing in the theatre. Freddie sat down at the piano for “Lap Of The Gods”, and it was time for the smoke machine… This year it worked. I`m not a big dry ice fan, but this stuff certainly is a crowd pleaser…
The lights were lavish and spectacular. The audience, who`d been on their feet for the last few numbers, went beserk for an encore…
Billie Jean King (yes, the tennis player) was standing in the back of the theatre wearing a maroon sweater and skirt and a backstage pass… (I can already see the photos… Billie Jean and Freddie… King and Queen…)
Freddie came back for the encore in the flowing white satin Zandra Rhodes top… and then “Big Spender” with the strip tease… no doubt about it, next time Queen`s here, they`ll be in Madison Square Garden if they choose to.
(I later found out that the band were annoyed because the flashpots didn`t go off: “It looks like the whole stage explodes,” Reid said, and Freddie laughed. “Every time you come and see us something goes wrong technically. Last year, the smoke machine, this year, the flashpots. Come and see us tomorrow night, it`ll be so much better…”)

At Le Pouilailler, an elegant restaurant near Lincoln centre, a magnificent buffet is set. Bottles of red and white wine are on the tables, and the bar is open and well-manned.
The party for Queen is being held in this welcome contrast to the blizzard raging outside; and everyone is here.
Bernie Taupin, Ian Hunter, Todd Rundgren, David Johansen, Ahmet Ertegun, David Nutter, John Reid, Clive Davis, Mel Posner, Steve Ross, (all the WEA brass), press – including Punk Magazine! – Paul Drew (important radio programmer who was recently slapped by Bette Midler when he told her he didn`t like her record…), Ron & Ellen Delsener – celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary, Renee Wexler, Connie Pappas, Billie Jean King, Frankie Rudge, Joe Armstrong, more, more, more.
Freddie, Roger and John arrived late, seemed tired. Brian didn`t come, he obviously was hit with a serious sore throat.
Freddie, after having a thousand photos taken (with Billie Jean King, etc. etc.) finally sits down, eats some food, throws some food at – I think – David Nutter who is wearing a Stevie Wonder backstage Madison Square Garden button on his lapel, chats with David Johansen.
We all talk about Bowie (“Send him my love,” Freddie instructed), Robert Plant (“I know he`s said nice things about me but you know, it`s really true – he always was my favourite singer,” said Fred), everyone called everyone darling and it was one of those very successful New York parties.

Ian Hunter talked about his new album: “It`s called `All American Alien Boy`, I think, and it`s amazing. I thought it would take two months to do and it only took 24 days, mixing and everything… Chris Stainton played on it with me, but he didn`t produce it. People think that, but I arranged it, wrote everything and produced it.
“I think it`s gonna surprise a lot of people, and I know that some people will think it`s a heap of shit because it`s very heavy. There are cuts on it called `Apathy`… `Religion`… no rock and roll. I had too many cuts for it so I eliminated the rock and roll ones… But I`m really writing well, and the musicians on it are incredible – David Sanborn, Cornell Dupree, this great guitarist from Reno who used to be with Edgar called Jerry Williams…
How`d you get them all together?
“Money.” He laughs.
As for missing England, Ian`s American wife Trudy says she misses it more than he does. “I had to come here to write,” claims Hunter. “I was just fresh out of words there; I needed to come some place where I would have new inspiration for lyrics.”

At another table Bernie Taupin talks of his solo album: “Oh, it`s really a good laugh,” Bernie smiled, “it`s like Bernie Taupin at the bar. The name? Well… I think it might be `Bernie And The Jets`… I`d really like to use that. And I do all these versions of other people`s songs – `Let It Be Me` with Phil Everly singing on it with me. It`s really corny, they`ll love it in England. And `Cryin Time`, Ringo sings on that with me.”
As the party ends, Freddie and I discuss a story that ran here about him. An amazing Hit Parader writer named Josephine Mori had written a piece on him that was, to put it mildly, euphoric.
Speaking of sphinxes… he was a Creature to me… a 70`s minotaur, half pop artist half Arabian Knight/Night (K or N optional with reader) – an impossible combination, like singles charts and scimitars, that somehow he could make work, the way he made another impossible combination the ether of Faerie and the heavy metal of rock music, somehow work. In a sense he was no more “real” to me than Scheherezade or the Big Bad Wolf… though in my fancy at least, he might well have been a bit of both.”
Hmmmmm… the Creature that Captured New York…

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. 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: Led Zeppelin, Tony Iommi, The Fania All-Stars, David Bowie, Sailor, Gay and Terry Woods.

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.

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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!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 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, January 25, 1975

Ian Hunter is one of those people that have been a very important figure in the history of rock, without ever being a “Superstar”. He has written a bunch of great songs and have a lot of fans among rock musicians. I think Joe Elliott of Def Leppard even wants to BE Ian Hunter.

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Ian Hunter is not as rich as we said he was

Midnite socio-economic revelations in N.Y.

By Richard & Lisa Robinson

As it happened, I was at the Kool & The Gang/Sly concert at Radio City Music Hall when Ian Hunter called.
So what happened? (I know you`re on the edge of your seat). The fellow-journalist and man who lives with me, Richard Robinson, (whose favourite rock artist is Noel Coward) saw the telephone light blinking as he was taking a nap, and -thorough pro that he is – he conducted the following conversation with Mr. Hunter by means of a tape hook-up.
This is how it went:
Is the record that you and Mick Ronson are currently making an extension of what you`ve both been doing with Mott?
Hunter: “It`s very difficult to talk about it…it`s just what`s coming out. It`s my writing and Mick`s arranging.
Are you happy with it?
I`m knocked out.

What about performing? We`ve heard that you will be doing solo dates…
Well, we`ll do it – we`ll be working in England in March and we`ll be working…maybe May, I think in the States. We`ve got a group, all unknowns. It didn`t take too long to get them together, we knew them vaguely. One was a former Rat (Ronson`s old Hull Group), another one was a jazz-influenced drummer, a really nice piano player…you know, like that.
Me and Mick wanted to use complete unknowns because they`re really keen, and they get a good chance, you know? They`re all working on the album. You know – when you put this together you have to take a lot of things into consideration: what the guy`s situation is, what his chick situation is, all those things – if he`s easygoing, if there`s no big problems with him… These are all very keen, very loyal.
Is there a big difference between the sound of this album and the things you`ve done before with Mott?
No, this album won`t be a ridiculous change from what I`ve done in the past. I wrote most of the stuff for Mott anyway, and this is my album. So it`ll be about seventy per cent the same. I mean, you can`t change overnight. To do that I`d have to lay off for about a year – which I didn`t want to do. It`s not going to be like an immediate new direction, that would be frantic, to do it for the sake of doing it. So you`ll find a bit of Mott, and a bit of Mick and a bit of me, know what I mean…

Are you enjoying working with Mick?
Well I knew what I could give him, and I knew what he could give me, and that`s exactly how it`s working. I can`t say more than that, because it`s a delicate sort of relationship – but we`re doing well, and it`s getting stronger all the time.
I mean, I really don`t want to say too much…because I don`t know how long it`ll go on. But I`ll tell you, we don`t get to sleep at night after the sessions, we`ve been so excited about what`s going on. I don`t know if it`s a great album or not, but we`re just sort of excited…(laughs).
What`s your reaction to the media reaction about the Mott split?
As a matter of fact the NME said something about a sum of money – which was rubbish. I could have sued over that actually. When I left Mott I hadn`t a clue as to what was going to happen, and I didn`t particularly care. You know, it`s just that when a thing`s over, it`s over. As a matter of fact there was a lot of pressure brought on me the other way around. I knew that I was going to be all right because as long as I can write songs I`ll be all right. But I didn`t leave Mott the Hoople for money. Columbia Records didn`t even know I`d left. And it happened weeks before the press knew about it anyway. It really upset me that they would print I left Mott for money…I`d never think of that.

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Do you think that Mott was one of the last great rock and roll bands of a certain era and that you`re headed towards something else?
Well, I`m too close to that to want to get into it. I really have no comment on the Mott situation because I`ve not been out of it that long. I know I had no alternative – I had to go, it was written all over me mind and all over me brain and all over me body, and I could no more have continued to play for them than…fly. It was finished, a real physical, mental…whole thing.
It was really upsetting to read that I`d left them for large sums of money…that was like a crock. I mean, I have been offered substantial amounts of money since then, but I`m not going to discuss figures, It wasn`t anything like the figure that was quoted – and it wasn`t at that time. I mean the record company didn`t know anything about it, it`s just rubbish.
And there was something also, that I argued with Buff over the live album, and that was pure conjecture. We don`t want anybody to feel upset – because it just happened that way. It was perfectly genuine, these things just happen.

Your music has occasionally been a bit pessimistic – about what rock and roll is, or has been, or will be. Do you still often feel that you`d just like to go to the mountain sometimes…you know, just get away from it? You know, just come back on your own terms…
No, not at all. I think I just got a bit confused there…I think I got into a stale situation. Now I`m breathing fresh air.
Are you doing anything else? Any relaxing…a little billiards? Darts?
I never relax. Mick and I just rented a little cheap studio before we went into the studio…you know, to try out a bass player and such. And I ain`t the easiest guy in the world to get on with and neither is Mick, despite what we might seem on the surface. So all this time has been spent breaking down walls as…well, things like that. I think it will all happen pretty quick – the album and the tour and all. What Mick`s doing is holding his album back, so we can go out together and push our albums at the same time, and try to keep it as equal as possible. What`s happening now is really interesting in relation to what will happen six or seven months away.
For Mick`s next album, I`m determined that he`ll have good songs – he`s a bit erratic with his songs, they tend to go here, there, and everywhere. And I can play a role for him, in much the same way he`s arranger and co-producer for me. He does so much for me.
But it`s all music, it`s got nothing to do with moves or how wonderful we look in lipstick, and all that. I can write songs and he can play them, and he`s good at arranging, and we both know a bit about production, and it`s coming along that way. But we need time.

It will be interesting to see what it sounds like a year from now…
Well, if we`re still together, yea, it will be. You know, – it`s frightening sometimes. There are songs we can`t put together yet…but with Mott, there were four lousy albums before it started happening. Not lousy, but four formative, learning albums. And here me and Mick are supposed to do it in three months flat.
Do you think that this is the best situation you could be in? If you had a choice would you still pick this?
Well I could have done without the hassle, but I`ve gone through it all now, and we`re at the other side. It wasn`t particularly easy for me and Mick to get together, but it gets more solid all the time and since we`ve stuck it out for this long, it also gets easier all the time.
Are we going to have Volume Two of your diary?
Don`t think so…
Maybe for private circulation…
Well, I don`t know about that…

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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: Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon, Barclay James Harvest, Suzi Quatro, Billy Preston, Roy Wood, Nils Lofgren, Tommy Steele, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Beaver, John Coltrane, The Soft Machine.

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 around or upwards of 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 Mott The Hoople FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, SEPTEMBER 16, 1972

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

Here is Ian Hunter guiding us through what we today consider a real classic album! Enjoy!

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What`s Mott?

By Julie Webb

When the news was first released that David Bowie had written and produced the single “All The Young Dudes” for Mott The Hoople, reactions were mixed.
Some people were knocked out with the whole concept, while devout Mott fans wondered whether they had “sold out”. Did Mott really need Bowie? the latter faction reasoned. The simple answer (and the correct one) is yes.
Without Bowie there would be no Mott THe Hoople today. Without his help their very fine new album would perhaps not have reached such a high standard. And over and above everything else, Bowie has given Mott a new confidence in themselves and injected a new enthusiasm into their music.

Lead singer Ian Hunter was delighted with the new album when I met him at their new record company CBS – where it was blaring away on the turntable. (“It should be played loud,” says Hunter.)
“You can`t compare it to our other albums – this one is how Mott should have sounded all along. David likes a very perfect album and this one is so much cleaner and clearer – after the mugginess on previous albums.
“In the past we just didn`t know how to record. I think we could have done this album a year ago if we`d had the right producer.”

Hunter talked to me about each track…starting with “Sweet Jane”, the Lou Reed composition – and other than Bowie`s “Dudes”, the only track not written by the band.
“About the same time as `Dudes`, Bowie played us a riff and we leapt on, wanting to know what it was. It turned out to be “Sweet Jane”.
“Mommas Little Jewel”: “Overend wrote this with me while we were still at Island. We recorded it then but it was too fast – it`s one of David`s best tracks. He really has got the knack of knowing what to do – just a little thing makes all the difference.
“All The Young Dudes”: “There`s a jerk in the tape here just before it starts – I like a jerk, it`s cute, makes you think.”
“Sucker”: “I don`t think anyone has noticed Mick Ralphs. I know certain people who play guitar notice him, but if people can`t relate to the guitar solo on `Sucker` then there`s something wrong. It`s funny, with guitarists, the emphasis often seems to be on speed – but character is important and I think Mick`s guitar playing is very individual.”
“Jerkin` Crocus”: This is about a lady who is good at pulling. The title was taken from a girl Overend knew. It was written fairly recently – just before we went into the studio to do the album.”
“One Of The Boys”: “David liked this a lot. We did it at the time of the `Dudes` session, and towards the end of the second day we knew `Dudes` would be the A side. It was written just before the Circus tour. Again, Mick had a riff – and usually that`s how it works. We got the phone effect at Trident – there`s a bit I like where the track dies away and you hear it come out of the phone reciever.”
“Soft Ground”: Verden had this in mind for three or four months. And when something`s in his mind it totally absorbs him. He lives it. It came out at rehearsals – just before the album.”
“Ready For Love”/”After Lights”: “Although on the album they are two songs, it`s really just one song. Mick wrote it, and there are two hook lines. You think it`s all over – and then it goes into the next hook line.”
“Sea Diver”: “Writing songs is almost a perversion. Most writers can go six months and not get a song. They panic – and then suddenly they start again. That`s what this song is about.”

Album and single aside, the best thing Bowie did for the band was to keep them together. Hunter explains:
“We were looking for material, and David sent us a demo of `Suffragette City`.
“Anyway, we split up in Switzerland. So Overend phoned David to thank him for sending the demo and told him the news. David went quite mad on the phone about it, and Overend rang me and said Bowie thought the group was great and shouldn`t split.
“At that time we`d all heard David`s “Hunky Dory” and dug it, but didn`t want to form again because we were so pissed off. Pissed off with being told we`d be put on half wages…and they were taking our lights away.
“Anyway, three hours later Bowie rang Overend again and in that three hours he`d written `All The Young Dudes`. He`d said to Overend, `if you want to split, then split – but please do this number first.”

It was after a gig at Guildford that Mott came under the management of Tony DeFries, and Bowie offered his help with the album.
“CBS were at the gig and Tony said he wanted to manage us. And David said `if you want me to write a song, or produce you then I will! He didn`t want us as an extension of his personality. He wanted people to understand he was helping and not taking over. He even wanted us to have co-producer credits on this album.
“When it came to making the album David had some numbers and so did we. We played him ours and he said they were okay – he liked the stuff we`d written. The basic arrangements were done by the band then David set about embellishing it. He`s been a great assett just when we needed it.”

For all the help Bowie has given the band, the most refreshing thing is, as Hunter says, the fact that the band are exactly the same as they always were.
I asked Hunter if having Bowie as a producer would be a permanent thing – or if this album was a one shot idea.
“Nothing is ever permanent in the music business, but as far as we`re concerned the relationship with David is amazing, and he wants to carry on. He genuinely digs the band – he needn`t have had us, after all the band was over.”

Hunter denies any allegations that Mott are now portraying a camp image.
“The last thing we want to be called is camp,” he says, and certainly looking at him swigging back a glass of scotch, a mop of curly hair flopping around his shoulders, he looks anything but camp.
“There`s only one person who can do that well and that is David. And he`s not a fairy. It`s just that what he does on stage he can do infinitely better than anyone else. We ain`t fairies – not one guy in the band is. And we figure we`ve got to lay back a bit on stage so that our audience will lay back on looking and start listening.”

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As a bonus – here is the review of their then new album, also in this same number of the NME:

Mott-Bowie compromise

Mott The Hoople: “All The Young Dudes” (CBS)

There`s the story that David Bowie saved Mott from winding up completely when the band were at an all-time low. And it could be true, because he penned their “All The Young Dudes” single – easily one of their best numbers ever – and their status and success have increased immeasurably since.
But, Bowie`s guidance brought an obvious danger: the band could fall into an abyss of emulation and be criticised for cashing in on the Bowie – Reed – Underground syndrome. After all, aren`t Roxy showing just a few of those roots?
Therefore this album is important for the group, as on it their own talents will be judged.
And thankfully, Mott have NOT been manipulated and stylised by producer Bowie in such a way to exclude personal flair and inventiveness. Yet neither do they show themselves to have a totally individual style.
The latter fact is quite surprising, because most of the material – apart from the title track and Lou Reed`s “Sweet Jane” – is their own. Yet for the first four numbers there is a resemblance to the Underground – in the chords, and in Mick Ralph`s guitar style; simple but chunky. With Ian Hunter`s vocal phrasing reminiscent of Reed, and Yule.
Then there`s “Jerkin` Crocus” (which sounds so much like the Stones` “Brown Sugar”) and “One Of The Boys”, which both have a Stonish quality. This again is down to Ralphs and his gritty tone, and exaggerated by that Stax drum style from Buffin.
“Soft Ground” – with Verdan Allen`s vocals mixed well back – seems to be closer to their own style and sound, and the song is well put together with a twanging clock-like timing.
With “Ready For Love/After Lights” there`s a comparison to Free in the structure and style, down to Ralph`s vocals – which are excellent. But this number is not exactly straight rock, because of the time signatures and vocal melody.
There can be no denying this is much like a group`s “first” album. Though it is more professional and interesting from both the musical and production point of view.
“One Of The Boys”, quite a beaty, driving number, starts with a phone being dialled, then halfway through a phone bell rings, is answered, and the music comes through like you had your ear to the earpiece. A cute gimmick, which doesn`t make the music more original – but more appealing. Mott`s problem has always seemed to be communicating on record. Now they have done that. And as far as musicianship goes there is little to criticise.
The guitar is used tastefully, with grunting and soothing tones. The organ acts as an effective foil, and the drums and bass keep all the movement there.
It`s a good album, probably their best. But from the pointers here, it`ll take them a while to formulate a style. Aside from the comparisons, Mott still play good music. No more so than on the emotion packed last track “Sea Diver”.
– Tony Stewart

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One of the many great festivals you could go to in the 70s.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Slade, Alice Cooper, Valerie Simpson, The Faces, Muddy Waters, David Cassidy, Quintessence, Renaissance, Edgar Winter, Leo Sayer.

The NME 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 around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.