Lead singer and songwriter for Mott The Hoople, Ian Hunter’s voice is probably best known for All The Young Dudes, originally written by Bowie. After they split, Shrewsbury-born Ian started a solo career during which he worked extensively with Mick Ronson. Releasing over 15 albums under his own name, including last year’s Fingers Crossed, his influence as a musician has reached into many modern bands’ sound. I spoke to him about still rocking as hard as ever in his 70’s.


ou were in Te Apex Group, Hurricane Henry and the Shriekers

and several other outfits during the sixties before Mott Te Hoople. Tis was a heady time for music, especially in Britain. Was there a specific moment when you decided you wanted to be in a band? Tere was no specific moment, I was just a fan that hung in until it slowly dawned on me I might have a chance. I was a factory worker so I had to go for it. You were the singer and main songwriter for Mott the Hoople from 1969-1974, and since then you’ve released 14 studio albums. When you struck out as a solo artist after Mott split, what were your initial plans? Te Mott thing got so stupid I wound up in hospital in the U.S. Mick Ronson came over a week later and said, “You’re all emotional – it ‘s a good time to make a record!” So we did. Can you hear the influence of Mott Te Hoople in modern bands? I’ve heard it said we influenced bands – and we probably did. I remember Noddy Holder and his band came to see us at Wolverhampton Civic. Tat was the night they decided

to fully form and have a go at it. Mott’s attitude influenced the Clash and Queen but I won’t say who we influenced musically because they’d probably deny it. Mick Ronson was a very important man in your life. What have you missed the most about not having him around from a music making perspective? Mick Ronson was an amazing arranger – give him a good song and he could make it so much better. He was unique and irreplaceable. You’ve worked and played with some huge names including the E Street Band, John Cale, Todd Rundgren, Brian May, Joe Elliott and Mick Jones. Who else would you love to collaborate with? I never got a chance to work with Dylan. He was my inspiration. I would also have liked to have worked with Levon Helm and Leon Russell. On Record Store Day you released a gold 7” single called Dandy, a tribute to Bowie who produced All Te Young Dudes in 1972. I believe that Mott Te Hoople had actually split up and this song helped you stay together? Mott had split, but David Bowie was a big fan and when he found out he tried his best to keep us together; hence ‘Dudes’ and the ‘Dudes’


album – which he produced. It was great to work with him. Your second single from Fingers Crossed is Ghosts, was inspired by a visit to the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis a few years ago. How did you come to write a song about the experience? It’s a strange room. Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano is still there. It hasn’t really changed and it makes you want to play a certain way. We all picked up instruments and played in that room. Te son of one of the original Jordinairs , Rick Steff showed us around. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt ghosts in that room Your songs encompass a wide range of subjects, from drugs to family. What’s been the most emotionally hard song to write through the years? I wrote a song called Sons ‘n’ Daughters that was pretty hard. You seem to have an interest in social history – Fingers crossed, the song is a 1750’s Navy tale, and Bow Street Runners is a tale from the 18th century. Have you always been into tales from the past? I’m fond of history, especially U.S. history, because you can almost reach out and touch it. Wyatt Earp died in 1929 – I was born in 1939, so it’s pretty close. UK history is so

vast. Punch ups all the way. When do we grow up? You’ve worked hard to have a successful music career for so many years and always seem to be moving on to the future. What do you get out of making music these days? I’m just trying to get better at it and trying to outdo myself and my age. I have a terrific band and it’s difficult to stop. You live in America these days – have you managed to find a comfortable routine between your everyday life and being a musician? No – when you’re home you want the excitement of the road and when you’re on the road you want the peacefulness of home. So, in a way, yes! It’s all very schizophrenic.

LIZZ PAGE Read this interview in full at

INFORMATION Ian Hunter and the Rant Band play The Waterfront on 16th June. Tickets available from ueatickets.

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