From ?All The Way To Memphis? to ?Cleveland Rocks,? as leader of Mott The Hoople and as a solo artist, lead singer/songwriter Ian Hunter has written a string of enduring rock and roll anthems.
Receiving glowing accolades from the likes of KISS, Def Leppard, Guns ?N Roses, Motley Crue, Oasis, Jet and others, Hunter?s claimed his own stake of rock immorality.
Hunter’s newest record, Shrunken Heads, dropped earlier this month.
Goldmine: Your book, ?Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star,? is a classic. Tell us what prompted you to write it.
Ian Hunter: I just got married, so I was not chasing girls, so that left open a lot of time. I was never much of a druggie. There was a lot of hanging about. I always had a real bad memory. I thought that I would do a diary and just record all of this in case I forget it all. At the end of the tour, I was in England. There was an author who had a contract for six books, and he was missing one book. I told him, ?I?ve got this diary, if that?ll help you out.? And that?s how that got published. It was written as an exercise for memory.
GM: Can you cite some of the best times with Mott The Hoople?
IH: I think the early years, the first album. Just the joy of actually having a record deal and having a label that was interested in us. Then it sort of went downhill for a couple of years. Then we got with CBS, and ?All The Young Dudes? came out, and that was quite fabulous for a while.
GM: How close was the band to splitting before you landed a hit with ?All The Young Dudes??
IH: We broke up in Switzerland. When we quit, Pete Watts, the bass player, rang up (David) Bowie looking for a gig. Bowie at that time was forming a band. David said, ?What do you want to join me for? You?re with Mott The Hoople.? Pete said, ?We split up.? David went on this whole crusade to get the band back together again, and he offered the band ?Suffragette City.? I didn?t think it was strong enough because radio was closed to us, kind of like now, actually (laughs). Then he came back with ?Dudes.?
GM: Weren?t you forced to changed the lyrics from ?stealing clothes from Marks & Sparks? (a department store in England)?
IH: We got to change it because there was some kind of weird law in England. It was rubbish. I had to fly back and change the one line to ?stealing clothes from unmarked cars.?
GM: While ?All The Young Dudes? gave the band new life, don?t you think that it also presented the band in a more glam-rock light than what you truly were?
IH: We were desperate. We were running out of options. It?s all very well talking about it in hindsight, 20/20, but at the time, everybody in the band went for it hook, line and sinker, including me. We didn?t know where it was gonna lead. We just thought, ?It?s a hit; we need a hit!? Bowie was a great producer. He?d just been working with (Tony) Visconti so he?d learned a lot, as had (Mick) Ronson. David?s work in the studio was very quick and very intense. We learned an awful lot from David and Mick.
GM: Your partnership with Mick Ronson led to some amazing records. Can you characterize your working relationship with Mick?
IH: Mick said it the best when we were at a radio station in Canada. A bloke asked him, ?How do you and Ian work?? And he said, ?I play a bit of guitar, and he comes in singing, and when he stops singing, I?ll play a solo. Then I?ll stop when he starts singing again, and when he finishes singing again, we stop (laughs).? Mick came from the song. He would try and write a song within a song rather than going up and down the fret board at 90 miles an