Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter


In Autumn 1996 we had a Mott tribute competition on the hunter-mott mailing list. The idea was to write a tribute (be it an essay, concert review, graffiti - whatever) to Mott The Hoople. Judging was by Rory and Gina Musil (who run the mailing list), with first prize being a copy of the Japanese Mott The Hoople tribute album Moth Poet Hotel, autographed by and kindly donated by Morgan Fisher (who played keyboards with Mott).

I have collected all the tributes here on this page, and arranged them in alphabetical order. As usual, they are presented "as is", with no editorial meddling by me. Enjoy!

Craig Abrams' tribute

My ode to Mott The Hoople.

Late bloomer '77 First albums that I bought were Billy Joel's The Stranger, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell. Cool.

Short, geeky kid trying to fit in in high school. Junior year '79. Heard Just Another Night on the radio. I never stopped the world until I heard that song. Wow! When the Daylight Comes. Another stopper! Gotta get that album. Ian Who? I found a "real gem here"! Too Cool! Kinda scary! Ian was the only music that existed and I spread the word! Got my friends into him. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a 5-year mission to acquire Ian's and Mott's entire discography, as well as change my life!

Senior year 1980. Depressed after missing the Schizo tour the previous summer. Bummer! Also missed the 'big' Pink Floyd The Wall concert in NYC in January. That's okay though, because I was into Mott The Hoople's Mott, The Hoople and Live. I always thought that the naming of the albums were cool, still do! Ian and Mick release Welcome to the Club and I finally catch them in concert. Nose-bleed seats, but I got binox. Stop the world! The Ian Hunter Band includes 5 guitarists and 2 keyboardists and easily blow away Heart! Ian's got this double-handle silver guitar! Mick just leaves everyone in awe, on every song! Earlier in the year I saw Billy Squire open for Queen. Queen was the best I've seen so far. Ian and Mick would blow them away too. I can only imagine what a Mott the Hoople concert would have been like!

The music would continue, the concerts were few and the discography would be nearly collected. Mick's death hit me like a train, but he lives forever in his music. The greatest guitarist in Rock music. I still anticipate new music from Ian and any Hoople. I also anticipate that some day Mott The Hoople would be recognized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The music they made in just 5 years is still being used as the basis for the new wave, punk, alternative, and modern rock stylings.

Thanks, Ian, Ronno, Mick, Pete, Dale, Verden and Morgan for the great music that still keeps me going! 8-)

Nicole Apostola's tribute

There was only twelve bucks in my pocket, so I could buy either Long May You Run by the Stills-Young Band or London to Memphis by Mott the Hoople, but not both. Steve Stills and Neil Young would be predictably themselves; I had never heard Mott the Hoople. Cool name, though. And if I didn't like it I could always give it to my best friend.

Needless to say, the CD never made it to my best friend. I heard the opening chords of All the Way from Memphis and it hit me in the stomach: this is my favorite group. Fifteen minutes every day before school was devoted to recording the names of their albums on the back of an envelope, which would then be stuffed in the back of my purse to take to the record store to special-order.

It's been two years since I first listened to Mott the Hoople, and they're still my favorite group. They're not perfect by any means. Queen is more creative. Bob Dylan is more eloquent. Midnight Oil has taken up countless noble causes. And, except for their brief time with Mick Ronson, no-one came close to virtuosity and most had only a fair amount of talent. But their music speaks to me more than any other music does. They say what I feel, and, more importantly, they say it how I would. No big words. No complicated grammatical devices. Just Mott the Hoople.

Mott the Hoople is the best there is. And if they were perfect, they wouldn't be the best. And if I've learned one thing from listening to their music, it's that I don't need to be perfect either. I just need to be myself and speak from the heart. I don't know what I would do without Hymn for the Dudes - whenever I'm down, I just remember that I am not alone and my world brightens. Mott confirms that I'm not strange, that I really am ok. And for giving me a sense of self-worth I am forever in their debt.

Tom McCool's tribute

Coming of age in the early 70s, I witnessed what I believe to be the Golden Age of Rock and Roll. The 60s were over, and rock was maturing and branching out. Although 70s music is viewed by some to be excessive and tacky, there was some great music - if you knew where to look.

But The Journey begins in 1968, when my family moved to a new neighborhood, and I was enrolled in a new, small elementary school. I didn't fit in anywhere, except as One Of The Boys with other new kids and Original Mixed Up Kids from the nearby boys home.

I spent Sunday nights in my room, my ear glued to a small, red transistor radio, listening to Casey Kasem's Top 40. My taste was extremely eclectic. I admit to buying 45s by Barry Manilow, The Beatles, The Eagles and The Jimmy Castor Bunch. Old Records Never Die.

The year of my "coming of age" was 1972 at the age of 13. The song was Tumblin' Dice and the band was The Rolling Stones. This was the kind of music a Restless Youth wanted to hear.

Top 40 radio no longer fit my tastes. By 1973 I had somehow managed to afford a small stereo system with an FM radio and a turntable. FM radio then was much more Wrath and Wroll than it is today.

I wanted to learn more about what was going on, so I bought a subscription to Circus magazine. One day, an issue arrived that contained an article about a band named Mott The Hoople. Man, they looked so Cool in those pictures! I had never heard one note of their music, but I wanted to.

So off to the record store to buy the Mott LP. The record just blew me away! The best part was turning on my friends to this great music. I remember we tried to figure out the opening piano chords of All The Way From Memphis on the piano in the school band practice room.

I soon purchased All The Young Dudes. One of my older cousins spotted this LP in my collection. "This is one of my favorites! Put it on!" she insisted. You never knew where you'd find a Mott fan.

As each new Mott LP, and later, each new Ian Hunter LP was released, I bought it. When the band passed within an hour's drive during the 1974 tour, I wanted to go so badly! But being only 15, with no transportation I was Backsliding Fearlessly.

Years and albums went by and unfortunately, their popularity waned. I sometimes passed up my Mott and Hunter LPs during parties because I didn't want anyone to Laugh At Me. But The Loner always dug it.

However, Ian still had a few aces up his sleeve. You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic brought the Whizz Kids out of the closets. To this day, one of my closest friends counts this album among his all-time favorites. Ian and Mick played in Chicago that year, but I broke a leg and missed not only a year of college but perhaps one of the greatest concerts I never saw.

Ian's Ride On The Sun ended, but I stayed with him Every Step Of The Way. Short Back N Sides came out, and one of my friends commented that Ian had "Clash-ed out." I wondered if the title to All The Good Ones Are Taken was an ironic joke, because there weren't many on that album! Thankfully, the old Mott albums were still there when I needed a little Honaloochie Boogie.

I graduated from college, got married, got divorced, and went to Atlanta to recuperate for a week with my brother. We hit every record store in that city when I'm in town. I had lost track of Ian over the years, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a cut- out cassette tape of American Music.

I can't count the number of times I played Women's Intuition. That song fit my divorced state of mind just perfectly! Ian took my emotions, my anger, and put it in a balls-out rocking tune. "I gave you the best years of your miserable life!" I sang along. I still listen to this song and imagine screaming the lyrics to my ex.

Once again, Ian and Mick played Indianapolis. Once again, I missed it. If I knew then what I know now....

Today, I listen to Dirty Laundry and hear the talk about Ian's vocals on The Artful Dodger, and I wonder if he will ever tour again. I pray that he whips that wonderful voice into shape and hits the road. I also pledge that no matter where, no matter when, no matter what the cost, I will be there, if only to thank the man for a lifetime of memories.

Excuse me, but I think I have something in my eye....

Thomas Murphy's tribute

Act One. Long haired 17 year old boy, off on his own. In cheap apartments, always waiting for one of the girls to come by. Its the only way the dishes get done. Background music (loud enough to make the neighbors complain) Dudes and Mott.

Act Two. At the Park West in Chicago. Two couples drink champagne, one of them is the long haired boy, a few years on. He's with his live in girlfriend, but on the way to the mens, sees one of the former dishwashing gals. Talks briefly to her, but knows those days are past. On stage Ian & Mick wailing guitar "Is there life after death?" He screams MICK RONSON!.

Act Three. Now in South Florida, not retired but stable, wife and kids the full nine yards. Let's get out, call Timmy, Hunter Ronson at a night club on the beach. Wow Mick wrestles his guitar, he's tan and healthy. Standing so close, Ian's voice, new songs and dental work are very impressive. It ends here, there will be epilogs, but none as satisfying.

Adrian Perkins' tribute

(The Fawlty Towers hotel)

Rolling away the years, I find that I've loved Mott for some two-thirds of my life. They came, they rocked, they went, and behind them have left a legacy like no other. I knew then they were something special, and today their albums still find pride of place in my collection whenever I want something good to listen to.

Few of my friends were into Mott, but it didn't worry me - they were my band, and I knew how much they meant to me. It was the music I could relate to, an honesty in the lyrics that no one else could touch. And American street-imagery - wow! Nobody came close, with their cliche-ridden efforts. From the highs of Whizz Kid and Hymn For The Dudes to the lows of Ballad of Mott, the Mott album assaulted my ears, my emotions and my senses at precisely the right time. One of the first albums I ever bought, and still one of the best albums of all time.

When I came to put this short tribute together, I thought I'd do something different. I'd already put my web-site together (which is more work than anyone can imagine), so I thought I'd do something other than write another page of text.

After just five minutes thinking about Moth Poet Hotel (what an inspired title!) I already had my tribute storyboarded in my head. A ten-minute web search revealed the GIF I wanted - it had some text written all over it, but nothing a good drawing/painting package can't fix. The animation was fairly simple to do as well.

The building itself is indeed a (fictional) hotel, and so neatly ties in with the greatest band ever, the Japanese tribute album, and the world's favourite (televisual) hotel. Mott aren't around any more, neither is the building depicted (it burnt down about ten years ago), but they both live on forever in our hearts. Thanks, guys, for those five years of craziness.

Jay Sciascia's tribute

October 27 1973, one day before my 15th birthday, myself and a few of the old gang jumped on a train to Boston's Orpheum Theater to see a local band named Aerosmith open for something called "Mott The Hoople". We had no idea what this Mott The Hoople was all about, except that we had heard Dudes, and All the Way From Memphis was getting some air play on local radio stations when they weren't playing Dream On or something else from Aerosmith's first album. Aerosmith put on a very good show to open things up, however the next day all we would be talking about was Mott The Hoople!

When Mott hit the stage, the very first thing some one who, like us, was seeing them for the first time, would look a was the geek playing bass! We had never seen Overend Watts before, and he was, to our young eyes, one strange looking dude! The music rocked, and even tho I didn't know any off the songs, I was blown away! The man front and center was the guy that eventually would capture every ones attention! The shades, the moves, the raspy vocals, what a showman! This Hunter guy was one cool dude! They didn't have a big light show or props that night, they just Rocked the house down! Within days I'd have all the Mott the Hoople records I could find!

I saw them again on April 26th 1974, I knew the words to every song by then. Puppets hung from the rafters, a laughing confetti blowing clown and Ian dragging Ariel across the stage by the hair are but a few of the memories I have of that show. Once again Hunter barely controlling the chaos!

I have seen Ian Hunter in various line- ups 12 times since those shows. I have all the vinyl, CD's, even a few 8 tracks, over 100 bootleg live shows, video's and some stuff I'm told I'm not even supposed to have! When I listen to this stuff now, every now and then, I think of those two shows and the friends I went to them with. I also think of how amazing it is, that I've made so many new friends, trading boots etc. because of this music and those two shows. But it always reminds me of a line from Ian's song Sons N' Lovers :

"Time Will Never Take Old Times Away"

Later, Dudes Young and Old Alike!

Jim Veltri's tribute

I'll never forget the first time I heard Brain Capers...I turned the volume up so loud that my stereo started feeding back. Death May Be Your Santa Claus echoing throughout the house. The Glen Miller & Frank Sinatra coming through my parents radio didn't stand a chance. I remember brother had an 8-Track of Mott which I borrowed & never returned...I don't think he noticed, listening to Cream & Ten Years After. "Violins" I thought it was saying...Violins? Doesn't make any sense...or does it? "Eight track machine playing Half Moon Bay..." actually, it was playing Drivin' Sister, wasn't it? Whizz Kid WAS such a gas...The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception was just another part of The Journey.

David Wilk's tribute

When I was fourteen,
And The Hoople was released,
I jumped up and down.