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.
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.
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…
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.
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