Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter
[Phil Cato's book]

Philip Cato has written a book about Mott covering the 1969-74 period. Philip wrote an article about Mott for UK magazine Record Collector a few years ago. Although he is clearly a fan, the article contained several mistakes, so I was looking forward to seeing these rectified.

The book runs to 120 pages (A4 size), and contains many photographs (all in black and white). It contains a UK discography, and a complete gig guide. There are some 23 chapters, each of which covers a distinct period in the band's history. Although not individually titled, coverage is (roughly) as follows:

  1. Guy Stevens
  2. Silence/Doc Thomas Group. Covers the early years up to the Guy Stevens audition, and the hunt for a new singer.
  3. Ian Hunter Patterson. Covers his early career, up to his audition for Mott.
  4. Covers Ian's audition for Mott.
  5. Covers Mott's first album in depth
  6. Early gigs, and an in-depth look at Mad Shadows
  7. Disillusionment with Stevens, and a look at Wildlife
  8. The recording of Midnight Lady, and the Albert Hall gig
  9. The recording of Brain Capers
  10. Zurich, the split, and the Rock 'n' Roll Circus tour
  11. Tony DeFries and David Bowie
  12. All The Young Dudes, and the Nov/Dec US tour
  13. Mott split from MainMan, and Phally quits
  14. The Mott album
  15. Morgan Fisher's early career
  16. Mick Ralphs quits, Ariel Bender joins Mott
  17. The Hoople album
  18. Mott's 1974 US tour
  19. Bender quits Mott
  20. Mick Ronson's early career, and Mott's Autumn '74 European tour
  21. Dissent in the ranks
  22. Saturday Gigs, the Live album, and Hunter quits
  23. Mott/British Lions

On the whole, the book is reasonably well presented and written, and it is nice to have, BUT there is little new here. There are still a few mistakes and the UK-only discography is both incomplete (it missed Greatest Hits) and inaccurate (the Backsliding Fearlessly CD, although widely available in the UK, was a US issue). Quotes are taken from contemporaneous magazine interviews and from interviews published in the Mott The Hoople, Outsider and Just a Buzz fanzines (although Sven and Justin are credited, permission to use their material was neither sought nor given). My advice is to save your money, and spend it instead on Campbell Devine's Offical Biography.