The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nuthin But The Truth
The Truth, The Whole Truth by Mott the Dog And Nuthin But The Truth by Meow the Cat
As Ian Hunter surges into the second half of his seventh decade, he leaves many
of the young pretenders in his wake. His live shows still are full of energy,
superb songs, great showmanship, and surprises. His story is one of the more
vivid and real of all the rock ‘n’ roll stories. Many peaks and troughs,
but never ever counted out.
In 1969 Ian Hunter had a past record as a rocker playing mainly as a bass
guitarist with people like Freddie ‘Fingers’ Lee, touring Hamburg, but
never really making an impression, and had been reduced to working as a Tin Pan
Alley song writer, with only moderate success. But fate was waiting just around
A group of people including such firebrands as Chris Blackwell, David
Betteridge, and Guy Stevens, had set up Island Records. Guy Stevens had just
signed up and taken under his wing a band called ‘Silence’. As ever, Guy
Stevens was full of enthusiasm, but knew there was a missing component in the
band. So Stan Tippins, who at the time was singing for the band, was shuffled
across to be road manager, and auditions were set up looking for a new focal
point within the band. A friend persuaded Ian Hunter to try out, and on a whim
Hunter followed his friend’s advice and went down to the studio where the
band was rehearsing.
At thirty years old, extremely shy, rather fat, and with unfashionable short
curly ginger hair, the prospects were not exactly good. When Ian Hunter
arrived, Guy Stevens asked him what he could do, and Ian Hunter sat down at the
piano and jammed his way through, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, the old Bob Dylan
standard, and then ‘Laugh At Me’ by Sonny Bono. Ian Hunter is not a natural
singer, nor did he have the stage presence that now dominates his live
performances. But Guy Stevens could see something, and somehow managed to
persuade the other four of ‘Silence’ to take the podgy guy hiding behind
his shades into the band.
A name change for the band was deemed necessary and Guy Stevens came up with
‘Mott The Hoople’ from the title of the Willard Manus novel.
After three years and four albums, Mott The Hoople could fill almost any
concert hall in the world, had toured the States almost every six months, but
could not sell an album, and after a bad gig in Switzerland they decided to
call it a day. A great live band, but the albums were weak, not always the
band’s fault as production often let them down, massacring great songs like
‘Sweet Angeline’ from Brain Capers (1971), making them sound weak when they
could turn them into raging missiles in the live arena.
Once home, Overend Watts rang up David Bowie, who at the time was just taking
off on the crest of his wave to the top of the rock ‘n’ roll tree, to ask
if he had any work for an unemployed bass player. Bowie was horrified to hear
‘Mott The Hoople’ was splitting up, revealing himself to be a huge fan.
Bowie persuaded the whole band to come around and see him. After a meeting,
Bowie offered the band new management, a new record label (they moved to CBS)
and most importantly a song.
The first song that was offered was ‘Suffragette City’, but the boys hung
out for another little song Bowie had called ‘All The Young Dudes’. Mick
Ralphs added the guitar introduction and Ian Hunter added the rap at the end,
and bingo, Mott The Hoople had a huge hit on their hands.
1974 was the year of Mott The Hoople: A week of sold out shows at the Uris
theatre on Broadway, touring America and the British Isles twice with Queen as
support, the world was in the palm of their sweaty little hands.
Ariel Bender was then pushed out of the band, and replaced by David Bowie’s
old guitar player Mick Ronson, and Mott The Hoople was destined for the stars.
Instead of which, Ian Hunter collapsed with exhaustion, and the band imploded,
with Hunter and Ronson going off to form a new band.
Since then Ian Hunter has followed his own path, releasing nine solo albums
This double live CD gives all of Ian Hunter’s two and a half hour show at the
Astoria Theatre, London. All the hits are here, mixing songs from Mott The
Hoople’s debut album to Ian Hunter’s latest solo recording ‘Rant’
(2001). The band is as tight as any band in the world, firing off each other
with the two old boys Hunter and Ralphs having the time of their lives.
The title track is as good as any rock ‘n’ roll gets with the guitarists
firing sparks at each other whilst Ian Gibbons, on keyboards, Gus Goad on bass
and the superb drumming of Steve Holley nail the music to the floor, whilst the
man himself leads from the centre of the stage.
To bring the whole thing to a blistering close, Brian May of Queen steps out
from the sidelines to throw some guitar shapes all over ‘All The Way From
Memphis’. It is a great tribute to Ian Hunter that after twenty one songs,
including a medley of old Mott The Hoople favourites, there are still plenty of
songs that you wish could somehow have been shoe horned into the set, like
‘The Golden Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, ‘Good Samaritan’, ‘All of the
Good Ones Are Taken’, ‘Violence’, ‘Sweet Angeline’, ‘The
Outsider’, ‘One Of The Boys’; the list is endless. Maybe next time.
Only a four star rating though, as the packaging is awful. In this day and age
of downloading etc, you need to encourage people to buy the product, therefore
the packaging should be attractive to encourage the buyer. But the music is
Ian Hunter’s Rant Band
Ian Hunter: Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, and Piano
Mick Ralphs: Guitar, Vocals
Andy York: Guitar, Vocals
Ian Gibbons: Keyboards
Steve Holley: Drums, Vocals
Gus Goad: Bass
Brian May: Guitar on ‘All The Way From Memphis’
Rest In Peace
Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen
Once Bitten Twice Shy
I Wish I Was Your Mother
Knees Of My Heart
23a Swann Hill
The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nuthin’ But The Truth
A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square
Roll Away The Stone
All he Young Dudes
The Journey (Medley)
Dead Man Walking
Just Another Night
Standing In My Light
All The Way From Memphis
To contact Mott the Dog
email: [email protected]