Next month, legendary U.K. glam greats Mott the Hoople will embark on their first tour of the U.S. for the first time in 45 years with their legendary lineup from their glory period in 1974. During this time, the band went on a prolific tear that saw them releasing three bona fide classic albums with the David Bowie-produced “All the Young Dudes,” “Mott” and “The Hoople.”
Mott the Hoople’s tour around that time was one that influenced many of the most important young bands who took inspiration from both their theatrical stage show and their punk-before-punk attitude. This tour went on to influence musicians on both ends of the spectrum with both members of Queen and The Clash sighting that tour as a pivotal light bulb moment in their growth as musicians. That, in a nutshell, was the beauty of Mott the Hoople around that time period. They both aimed for those impressionable ears all the way up in the cheap seats, while keeping one foot boogying in the gutter.
According to lead singer, songwriter, and overall rock and roll deity, Ian Hunter, the magic on stage and on those records at that time came as a result of turmoil and transition with the band.
“We were sort of coming to fruition,” recalls Hunter. “It was weird because even though we are getting bigger, [original guitarist] Mick Ralphs had left so I was the only songwriter. So material, it was getting harder, you know, so in one way it was going down an amazing line, and another way I was running out of material, so it was a worrying time in Mott the Hoople. As every year was, just one thing after another.”
Ever since that time, the band had split up in an unceremonious fashion with Hunter eventually striking out solo. The band had reunited over the years for spontaneous tours and albums that were only really reunions by name alone, but it wasn’t until the band reformed last summer for a string of U.K. festival dates with guitarist Ariel Bender and keyboardist James Mastro joining for the first time since that glorious run in ’74.
To Hunter, the band’s songs from that period have more power and meaning all of these years later. “I think it’s more unique now,” says Hunter, “because a lot of people who have followed Mott, turned out to be punk and then turned out to be metal. You know, kind of fantasy-based, darker-based. Mott was never like that. Mott was the original spirit of rock and roll a la Jerry Lee Lewis. Mott was a good-time band, and that’s still how it is today.”
Head here for full tour dates to see Mott The Hoople ’74.