By Phill Marder
I’d like to blow my own horn here. I don’t play a horn, but I’d like to sound off anyway, so I’ll bang my own drum…all day.
There’s a new CD on the market entitled “Still Rockin’” by Mott’s Old Men. I’m real proud of it because I play drums on it, sing on it and had a hand in writing a lot of the songs on it. It features four very talented musicians, Steve Johnson, Joe Seddon, Tom Clubb and Markie Hutchinson. All sing lead on various cuts and all had a part in writing the material.
Because you have five lead singers – I take the lead on one cut – and five songwriters, the result is a CD of tremendous variety, each cut totally different from its predecessor. Few groups have been able to pull that off, but I think we did.
So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to tell you about the songs on the disc.
Cut #1 is entitled “Not Too Old To Rock & Roll” and features Steve on the lead vocal. It’s a rocker as the title would imply, with Steve’s usual insightful lyrics taking you back to the ‘50s and ‘60s. Another of his gems that does the same is “Red Rover,” cut #10, though that cut is totally different musically, more Rockabilly.
The second selection is “Comin’ Or Goin’,” which was released by the original Mott’s Men in 1966. It was a local favorite in sections of New England and is highly rated today and extremely rare. The lead vocal on the original was a group effort, but this remake is sung by Markie, and I believe this version is far superior. Most who have heard it rank it as one of their favorites on this disc. The original flip side, “She’s So Mean,” (not the Matchbox 20 song) has become something of a garage band classic, currently appearing on at least three garage band compilation CDs. As on the original, I sing lead. We changed a lot of the lyrics and stretched it a bit and, again, I think we improved on the original.
The humor in “She’s So Mean” also appears in tracks #6, “Sometimes It Sucks 2BU,” #11 “Good For Nothin’” and #9 “Go Baby.” On the latter, I get a writer’s credit with Joe, who, over the years, has been one of my all-time favorite songwriters. Joking around in the studio, we wanted to do something harkening back to the old ‘50’s instrumentals with an occasional vocal interlude – think “Tequila” or “Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu” (how many remember that gem by Dicky Doo & the Don’ts?). Naturally, we were unable to do it seriously, and the more onlookers that got involved, the more ridiculous it became. It made its debut on the “Jumbo Hot Dogs” CD, which also is still available and well worth purchasing as it contains several of Joe’s classics, some featuring the fabulous Frank Appice (cousin of Carmine & Vinny) on drums.
Others gems by Joe include the original version of “Blue Ridge Heart,” a redone version later appearing on Joe’s CD, “Walking Back To Gettysburg” by the Amishland String Band, and “Save Us All,” which Joe’s band Plymouth Rock/Feather Blue recorded in the early ‘70s. “Save Us All” is particularly gratifying to me because Markie and I did the entire recording thanks to the wonder of today’s technology and it’s probably my favorite of Joe’s extensive catalog.
“Murder At The South Pole” and “No Reflection” demonstrate the heavier and darker side of Mott’s Old Men, Steve handling most of the lead, while the great voice of the late, lamented Tom is heard singing harmony on several cuts and lead on the bouncy “Love Is a Beautiful Thing” (not the Rascals’ hit).
The disc is now available at ITunes under Mott’s Old Men,
CD Baby at
CD Universe at