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Mott The Hoople '74 at the Fillmore, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digialfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twit

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019

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Much has changed in the decade since members of Mott The Hoople began playing together again -- which makes the current outing of Mott The Hoople '74 particularly meaningful.

The trek features frontman Ian Hunter along with guitarist Ariel Bender (aka Luther Grosvenor) and keyboardist Morgan Fisher from the lineup that released "The Hoople" album and played North America during 1974, its last tour in these parts. Mott began reunion shows during 2009, but since then bassist Pete Overend Watts and drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin have passed away and guitarist Mick Ralphs has been incapacitated by health issues.

Hunter, who left the band to go solo after that 1974 tour, recruited Bender and Fisher for shows in the U.K. last year. He liked it enough to bring it across the pond one more time, but he promises this tour, along with some UK dates later this month, will be the last time he waves the Mott banner...

Hunter, 79, says by phone that even when the earlier Mott lineups were playing select shows he always had an inclination to bring Bender and Fisher back into the fold for something. "They were real goods ports about the other (reunions). I always thought they brought a good energy to the band; Because they both like a good time, tours with Luther and Morgan were very pleasurable. I always thought it was a good energy. Mott's a fun band -- not like a metal band, but a fun band. Things did get out of hand sometimes, but they were always good to play with."

Hunter remembers the 1974 tour as "the usual chaos," though there was a charged atmosphere because of Bender stepping in for the Ralphs, who, feeling creatively stifled, had left to form Bad Company. "Luther and Mick had been mates, actually, so Luther was the obvious choice, and I gotta say, he carried it. His enthusiasm on stage and enthusiasm off stage -- we were tired from the early years and he came in like a breath of fresh air. The other side of it was I didn't have Mick Ralphs writing all those great songs anymore. So (Mott) was great on stage, but it was harder off the stage."

During the '74 tour, which included performances at the Uris Theatre on Broadway, Mott famously featured a then-new Queen as an opening act, which was referenced in the film "Bohemian Rhapsody." "We always took good opening bands with us 'cause we felt fans should have a good night out," Hunter says. "You knew they were good; I would come in during their last two songs, 'Keep Yourself Alive' and 'Liar,' and they were good songs, so you knew the band was going to go places. And they were intelligent, too, and good fun. They just fell in with us, two bands became one big band off stage."

Hunter -- who led an all-star rendition of Mott's hit "All the Young Dudes" recently at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn -- insisted that Detroit, specifically, was one of the eight dates Mott is playing in the U.S. "I asked for Detroit, along with Cleveland. I like playing to Detroit people. It's a rock 'n' roll town. Mott loved playing in Detroit. We loved playing in Philly, Cleveland. So when the gigs started coming in I didn't see Detroit and I asked for Detroit."

Hunter insists that he plans to pack Mott in after this year's dates and then return to his solo career, with a new album currently in the works. "I really don't want to (do more), but after the three concerts we did last summer it got silly. You couldn't turn down (the offers), and Luther said to me, 'Let's just do this...' You never know, but I don't see any more. I really don't. I still don't understand why people want to see it after all these years. It's a calculated risk, I guess, but it seems to be going OK."

Mott the Hoople '74 performs Friday, April 5, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors at 7 p.m. $25-$250. 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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