The Saving of Mott The Hoople, Part 2
NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS
November 16, 1974
REMEBER THAT rumor going the rounds a few weeks back about Man guitarist Deke Leonard being offered the Mott axeman gig before Mick Ronson came into the picture?
A tonsorially-rejuvinated Ian Hunter--having ditched his satin and tat in favour of an aged-in-the-wood denim shrouding and looking, reports Charles Shaar Murray, more than ever the elegant weatherbeaten elder statesman of British Punk - volunteered the full facts of Leonard's involvement during a trip to Amsterdam.
According to Hunter, the whole business has been somewhat misinterpreted. It seems that Deke was up for the Mott guitarist's job when Mick Ralphs quit the band a year ago, at which time Leonard was still with his own group, Iceberg.
After being 'sounded out rather than actually asked,' Hunter decided Leonard wasn't the Man for the Job. It appears Deke's fondness for playing Extremely Long Solos (emphatically not a Mott trademark) was one factor, not to mention some of the Welshman's...um...personal habits which a lot of his friends and colleagues find extremely endearing, but which are frowned upon in Mott.
As everybody knows, Ariel Bender got the gig instead, Ronson coming onto the Mott scene only some couple of months back.
Interestingly enough, this marks the second time that Ronson has been involved in resuscitating Mott.
The first time was when Bowie saved them, and the second time...well, the new live album and the 'Saturday Gigs' single were intended to be Mott's last recordings.
After the failure of the Bender association to work out as planned, Hunter had intended to break up the band at Christmas.
Bender, however, wasn't prepared to stick around that long, and the group were forced to look around for a new guitarist ... that's when Ronson entered the picture, and things began to look so rosy that Mott ended up opening Phase III.
All this in mind, the heavily nostalgic tone of 'Saturday Gigs' (including the reprise of the backing vocal line from 'All The Young Dudes' and the similarity of the line 'Then we got to Croydon' to 'All the way from Memphis') begins to assume a new connotation.
Plus that 'goodbye, goodbye' on the fade. Heavy stuff, hey kids?