Blimey, I have been a busy boy. I've just faxed the review of the gig for the Hastings Observer - I was asked to do it on Saturday afternoon (it's a long story......). I'll post the final version after the editor has done his dirty work, and now here's my exclusive for the list. Hastings 28/9/97 A night to remember.
First the set list:
As I promised I took along the questions that you mailed and Ian read them over my shoulder as we discussed them, and other issues, for a relaxed 15 minutes or so (pinch me!)I namechecked everyone so he knows who you are! Incidentally, he confirmed that Trudi - who was there at the gig - checks our list regularly and informs him of any relevant posts.(Hi Trudi! Say hello to Ian)
Al Trombetta - Ian recalls the Overnight Angels sessions, confirmed that there are another 10 tracks in existence and says "Give me my shades back!" (He was joking...)
Nicole, Tom, Bill (and Greg) - Ian is loving playing the small gigs here in the UK. He says that large venues and large tours are not as attractive as they used to be "They do me in!" He doesn't rule out a US tour but.....
He thanks you for offering to drive for 10 hours, but says that he would have to drive for 10 hours to get there as well! There is a logical response to this somewhere.
Bill - Ian is keen to rid himself of distribution deals and so on in which people are openly "scamming" and has considered releasing material on the Web. He points out that there is a problem getting people to the pages. It's not to be ruled out though.
He is "always writing" (books) and has "half" of a new album written, so we can look forward to a new offering in the not too distant future. A boxed Ian Hunter 'Best Of plus outtakes' was/is scheduled for release 12 months after the Mott The Hoople boxed set. This has been delayed because of the desire to include Bowie singing ATYD as one of the tracks (licensing problems) - amongst other unnamed reasons. Ian has the idea of releasing his 'Best Of' as one disc of Ballads and another of Rockers. I love the idea and told him so. Haven't we all produced our own tapes in this format?
Ian is in great form. His renditions of Waterlow and Michael Picasso were heart stopping for their emotion and voice quality. "I think that was the best I've ever sung Waterlow tonight". He acknowledged Darryl Bath's contribution to a new relaxed approach to being on stage. He says that he is less nervous about singing and is clearly doing a much better job as a result. He enjoyed a strong rapport with the 200 strong audience and said that he likes singing to people rather than to himself which is how he feels it is at the larger venues where he can only hear his monitors. He said that even the Hammersmith Odeon (3000 seater) is poor from this point of view. "I'm not that kind of artist, I like to interact with people".
The discussion wandered taking in Tommy Mandel - "Great Keyboard player - - very creative, I just used to let him get on with it and he produced some great stuff. He did Big Time in one take and we never thought he'd get through it, but he did. Have a listen to it sometime, he was wild."
Finally, I asked him how he felt about the trade in tapes and bootlegs. He was fine "People who buy and trade them have already bought all my other stuff so why not. It would ne nice to make a few bob (bucks)from them, but it's ok."
A postscript. A bloke in his late twenties approached me in the bar before the gig to say hello. After a couple of seconds I recognised a former student of mine, David Coggan. He was a budding bass player and I introduced him to Jaco Pastorius through All American Alien Boy. In the 10 years since he left school he has purchased every Ian Hunter album until YUI ORTA and presumed that Ian had retired or died until he saw this gig advertised. He loves the man and had to be there. Makes you realise what an important job we teachers are doing .......
Behave yourselves, see you around.
Ian Hunter, former lead singer of Mott The Hoople, drew a loyal band of followers to the White Rock Theatre on Sunday September 28th. His tour of smaller venues is designed to promote his new album, The Artful Dodger, and to provide an enjoyable night for himself, his band and the fans. Some twenty five years after the release of All The Young Dudes Hunter is still able to rock with the best and this was revealed through splendidly performed renditions of Just Another Night, Roll Away The Stone, All The Way From Memphis and Cleveland Rocks. His backing band contains a tightly disciplined rhythm unit with the creativity, of Darryl Bath and Paul Cuddeford on guitars, to bring new life to his classic songs. Of the new songs 23A Swan Hill, the tale of his decision to leave home at the age of sixteen, encapsulated Hunter's ability to 'tell it like it is'.
Ian Hunter is noted for his idiosyncratic vocal style - a blend of Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan - but to this has been added a new relaxed approach on stage which lends itself to the singing of ballads. Waterlow, Boy and I Wish I Was Your Mother were delivered with a new confidence: Hunter himself conceded afterwards that he had never sung Waterlow better. However, it was the deeply personal Michael Picasso, which deals with the loss of his former guitarist and good friend Mick Ronson to cancer, that brought many of the audience to their feet. Hunter sang with genuine emotion as his band knelt quietly until called to play.
The show ended with All The Young Dudes. A fine conclusion to two hours of great oldies and enough new material to suggest that Ian Hunter will continue to rock for some time yet.