Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 15:21 UK

Mott's return after 36-year break

Mott the Hoople
Mott the Hoople were regulars on the BBC's Top of the Pops in the 1970s

They may not be young dudes anymore, but 70s glam rock band Mott the Hoople are as excited about playing live again as they were starting out 40 years ago.

The band, best known for classic tracks Roll Away The Stone and All The Young Dudes, are warming up for five nights at the Apollo in London with two sell-out gigs in the rather less well known Blake Theatre in Monmouth on Friday and Saturday.

The band's original keyboard player, Verden Allen, from Neath, said the owners of the nearby Rockfield studios in Monmouthshire where they have been rehearsing, suggested the Blake as a good venue to road test their live show.

"We are set and ready to go. We're really looking forward to it," said Verden who originally left the band in 1973 and went onto make several solo albums.

"It all feels very natural and we've all fallen back into place with each other.

"I just cannot wait to do it because there's only so much you can do in rehearsal.

It's appropriate that we're kicking this whole thing off in Monmouth because we started out recording demos in the Rockfield studios
Verden Allen

"We want to get the gig as tight and as powerful as possible. We have matured a bit but the wildness in our playing is still there."

The original members of Mott - Verden, drummer Dale Griffin, lead singer Ian Hunter, guitarist Mick Ralphs and bassist Pete Overend Watts - all originate from Hereford and the Welsh borders and were playing together in the Blake Theatre on Friday for the first time in 36 years.

They formed in 1969 in Herefordshire from the ashes of beat bands the Soulents from Ross-on-Wye and the Buddies from Hereford and first peddled blues rock.

Poor record sales meant they were on the verge of breaking up in 1972, but fan David Bowie stepped in and persuaded them to stay together.

He wrote them their most famous song All the Young Dudes, which reached number three and featured Bowie on backing vocals.

Their revival lasted until 1974 when Hunter and the late guitarist Mick Ronson left.

Verden admitted that many of their recent rehearsal sessions at Rockfield over the last five weeks had involved a lot of catching up for the members as well as a lot of practice.

Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople
The band formed in 1969 and had a string of hits

"We've spent a lot of time talking," he said. "Socially we get on great.

"A few years ago we started talking about doing a reunion. Lots of people thought it wouldn't happen. But a lot of work has gone into it.

"It didn't happen quickly because Ian had a few things on but we persevered.

"It's appropriate that we're kicking this whole thing off in Monmouth because we started out recording demos in the Rockfield studios.

"It's all come round in a big circle."

The band, which made eight albums during their five-and-a-half year existence, announced in January 2009 it would be performing a string of 40th anniversary reunion gigs.

Verden's long-time friend and collaborator Martin Chambers of The Pretenders is joining the band on the drums for much of the gig because of Dale Griffin's ill health.

Verden said Dale, who is also known as Buffin, will participate for as much as his health will allow and he is likely to be on stage for the big encore numbers.

After the London dates are over in October, Verden said he wasn't sure what would happen and there were no plans yet to play any further dates.

"Ian and Martin have a few things to do," he said. "Let's see how this goes first and we'll go from there."

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Mott choose Monmouth for reunion
07 Sep 09 |  Music


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