"I'm not really aiming at a kind of mass appeal, dancefloor type thing. It's a little more subtle."
Nov.14 Cover - Ian Hunter
Written by Bob Townsend   
ImageRant Central:
Ian Hunter, All the Way From Connecticut

At 75, Ian Hunter could be living the quiet life in Connecticut with his wife Trudi.

These days, though, he’s been spending more time on the road with the Rant Band, a versatile group that’s been anchored by longtime drummer Steve Holley and multi-instrumentalist James Mastro since Hunter released the fiery rock album, Rant, in 2001.

On the phone from Connecticut one recent afternoon, it’s clear that Hunter is a little tired, and he lets it be known that touring isn’t his favorite thing right now.

“Oh, it’s fucking annoying,” he says. “I got back a couple of days ago and what was going on at Kennedy was just plain uncivilized. There are certain places that you have to go and there are certain traffic jams that you have to beat. Overall, the traveling is more of a problem than the gig itself. The gig itself is the easiest thing of all.”

Of course, it’s what Hunter has been doing since the late ’60s, when he signed on as the frontman of Mott the Hoople. It was an unlikely gig that transformed a 29-year-old working class family man into a glam-rock star.

But with his curly blond hair, signature shades, and Bob Dylan sneer, plus a little help from David Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes,” Hunter made Mott the Hoople ’70’s British rock legends, then went on to an influential solo career as a singer, songwriter and performer.

The author of such strutting anthems as, “All The Way From Memphis,” “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Cleveland Rocks,” as well as heartbreak ballads such as “Irene Wild,” “I Wish I Was Your Mother,” and “Ships,” Hunter has the rare gift of writing as easily from the crotch as the heart.

Asked if it seemed a little crazy to have songs from his catalog covered by the likes of Great White and Barry Manilow, Hunter balked a bit, saying, “Well you picked some extreme ones there, but yes, I guess.”  Then added, “For me it’s harder to write the rock songs, especially the older I get.”

Before Mott the Hoople broke up in 1974, and Hunter moved to New York City, there was a brief period when guitarist Mick Ronson joined the band and helped lay the groundwork for what came next.

“That lasted five minutes because he didn’t seem to get on with the rest of the band,” Hunter says. “And I wasn’t getting on with the rest of the band, either, so we decided we’d split and just do the two of us.

“When we did the two of us, that was extremely good. It was great, really. But unfortunately, we had two different managers. And managers are very jealous people. They’re like wives, you know. We stuck it out for about a year and then we couldn’t really do it anymore.”


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