Hunter and Ronson reaching for Rock Star Fame
Daily Review, Hayward CA
Argus Fremont CA
18 July, 1975
by Kathie Staska and George Mangrum
Since 1969, Mott The Hoople has been shooting for superstardom in the rock music field. Although the band has been a headliner for a while and have sold quite a few records for Columbia Records, they have never quite hit their peak, popularity wise or music wise.
One key member of this unique English rock and roll band was Ian Hunter, who left the band last year to become a solo recording artist. Hunter has his first solo recording effort out now Ian Hunter, and it's more complete and versatile than anything Mott ever thought of doing. Hunter has nine very interesting cuts on the disc on which he received much help from Mick Ronson of David Bowie fame. The two work well together on Ian's new album that has been out for a little over two and a half months. They are a duo now and probably will be considered such from now on as they are trying to get their act together.
The album is produced by Hunter and Ronson. Mick also does the recording arrangements. Ronson plays many instruments on the disc like lead guitar, organ, mellotron, mouth organ and bass guitar. With a few exceptions, Ronson and Hunter play most of the instruments themselves. Ian works out on his very popular English vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, percussion, and the list goes on.
Hunter, on his solo album, says, 'I'm really pleased with it but I can see a lot of areas for improvement which I think is good. If you can see a lot of room for improvement, then your next attempt can be a good one. It was a nice change for me doing this album. Before, I was in a regular group and now I'm in a two-piece unit. Ronson and myself did my first solo album and then we were going to do his next solo effort. But at this time, he wants to do another LP with me. The best way to describe Ronson is inconsistent. He does not know how to play guitar when there is no one around to motivate him. Sometimes he will play amazingly and sometimes he will play bad. Other times, he will not play at all. You have to look after him.'
Ian talks about the great ex-lead guitarist of Mott who is now with Bad Company. Mick Ralphs. 'He is the same as Ronson. He has to be motivated to play good guitar. Before he left Mott, he just was not into playing. 'Ralphs is now doing what he wants to and he is motivated. He has always wanted to be a singer-songwriter. To me, it looks like Bad Company is going to be a huge band. I can see them becoming another Led Zeppelin in popularity. Our last days in Mott together, Ralphs' music was different than mine. His music is very basic and there is nothing basic about mine.'
Ian says his music is more rhythmic than it has ever been and one of the reasons for that is. 'I have been spending some time with the Blood, Sweat & Tears' great drummer Bobby Colomby, and he has helped me a great deal. I think people in today's music are better off if they have some jazz background, I think it is very important to have some swing in your music. Look at the Rolling Stones. They have swing in their sound. 'That's one of the reasons they have been around for so long. Charlie Watts, the Stones' drummer, has always been influenced by jazz.'
Hunter thinks his next album might be his best yet. 'The way things are looking now, I think my next recorded album will be my best piece of work that I have done. I am already preparing for it. The music level is going to be a lot different than my last album and the energy level will be higher on this disc we are working on now.''
Mott The Hoople was a popular band with teens in many parts of the nation before they caught on in the Bay Area. 'A lot of bands were like that. Only the superstar groups are popular in every city. We were known mostly in the States as a 'Back East' group. 'Mott was a flash-type band. We were very theoretical on stage. We had a lot of talent in Mott but with the type of music we're doing, the band was very limited. We all knew what we wanted to do as a band but we didn't have the musical technique to carry it off. 'When Mick Ralphs left. I knew our credibility was gone,' says Hunter.
The 'Ian Hunter' album is just the start of some good music that will be coming from the very versatile talent of the ex-Mott The Hoople member.