After a successful nationwide tour of the British Isles, the
boys from Mott spread their wings and journeyed over the Atlantic Ocean to try
their luck with their American brothers, who had always given them such a fine
welcome in their days when they had Hoople tagged onto their name. As expected,
musical conquest was almost instant; although it was a little disappointing
that their American agents did not have the confidence to put them into bigger
concert halls rather than the small clubs they were asked to play. However,
with increased sales of their debut album ‘Drive On’ they were soon moved
up the pecking order by the record company and put on bigger and more
prestigious gigs, supporting the likes of Kiss, Aerosmith, and Canadian prog
Things were on the up and up, and if anybody deserved it,
this bunch of eccentric British musicians deserved every slice of luck that was
coming their way, as they had certainly paid their rock ‘n’ roll dues over
So when Christmas and New Year 1975 loomed, it was decided
to return home to Blighty for the festive season for rest and recreation,
re-uniting with loved ones, and hopefully a bit of industrious writing to
record the next album in January. So far so good.
This time the onus was not solely on Overend Watts to write
all the songs as various ideas had been worked by various members of the band
whilst out on the road. Add to this the necessary recording and road time that
had been spent to let the new guys, Ray Major on lead guitar and Nigel (the
Dome) Benjamin, to feel like part of the band, and not like the ‘new guys’.
So it was with great optimism that they returned to recording in February 1976,
after further rehearsals. The prestigious Manor Studios in Oxford was booked
and the great Eddie Kramer was moved in to do the major part of the production
This time the band knew what they were going to record
before they went into the studios. So when ‘Shouting and Pointing’ was
released in June that year, it was an absolute corker. Even the artwork for the
cover was of the highest standard with the band in full stage regalia, emerging
from a futuristic rubbish dump - naturally ‘shouting and pointing’.
The album was split into the two sides of the vinyl, side
one ‘Shouting’ and side two ‘Pointing.’ The opening title track is an
all time classic rallying call for futuristic Hot Motts, very similar in feel
to the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, only with Benjamin’s high
pitch wail beseeching you to listen, while Morgan Fisher frantically pounds the
piano as if his very soul depends upon it. A gut ripping solo from Ray Major
hammers Mott’s intention to the mast.
Of course, after all these years the rhythm section of Watts
and Dale is never going to let you down. The whole album is a real party album
with each new track breaking out from the speakers. All of them could be ripped
up and roared out live in concert. Mott even closed the album with the stage
favorite, the old easy beats number ‘Good Times’ (after being deluged by
request from fans for a recorded version).
All this is witnessed by Angel Air’s posthumously released
‘Mott, Live - Over Here And Over There, 75/76.’ The only ballad on the
album is a Benjamin/Fisher penned number entitled ‘Career (No Such Thing As
Rock ‘n’ Roll)’, a song about the dangers of the business side of the
music business. This, coupled with the fact that Overend Watts decided to take
lead vocals on his own song ‘Hold On You’re Crazy’, was all rather
Although another U.K. tour followed by another visit to the
States, they were moderately successful. The band felt that they were not
making any further headway. The reasons for this was firmly put at the feet of
the record company and the Dome, who was perhaps getting a little delusional in
his own role in the band, wishing to take them off into some form of
progressive rock storytelling band venture, when the rest of them just wanted
to get out and rock. The record company, smelling a rat, backed off
dramatically financially. In December it was announced that Nigel Benjamin had
left Mott. A couple of new vocalists were tested, but without much enthusiasm.
Mott was put to rest before the end of the year.
A great shame to a band that had huge potential. Mind you,
the arrival of Punk Rock didn’t help. But it took more than that to put these
British lions down. Within six months all remaining four of the Mott’s had
regrouped around John Fiddler, ex Medicine Head, to have another reach for the
stars. However, that’s another story for another day. Get out there and do
some ‘Shouting and Pointing’.