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cast of characters

Lineup #1 (1969-1972)

Ian Hunter - vocals, guitar, piano 
Mick Ralphs - lead guitar 
Overend Watts - bass 
Dale Griffin - drums 
Verden Allen - organ  

In 1969, the band Silence was comprised of Mick Ralphs, Overend Watts, Dale Griffin and Verden Allen. Needing a front-man, their producer, Guy Stevens, placed an ad for open auditions. A then 30 year-old struggling musician, songwriter named Ian Hunter Patterson auditioned, playing Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" and Sonny Bono's "Laugh At Me". Although the band was not impressed by the audition, Steven saw something in Hunter that the others didn't. Hunter joined Silence and the band was going to be renamed Savage Rose and Fixable until Stevens came up with Mott The Hoople (see the mott the what? page for more details). The band recorded most of its debut album during June 1969. The band's first gigs consisted of a seven day residency at the Bat Caverna Club in Riccione, Italy. This lineup was responsible for the recorded of the debut album, Mad Shadows, Wildlife, Brain Capers and All The Young Dudes. In late 1972, Verden Allen grew unhappy with the band because they weren't using his songs. Some accounts claims that he physically assaulted Hunter more than once. After the a gig at Sheffield University on January 19, 1973, Allen left the band.

Lineup #2 (1973)

Ian Hunter - vocals, guitar, 
Mick Ralphs - lead guitar 
Overend Watts - bass 
Dale Griffin - drums  

After Allen's departure, the band continued as a four-man outfit. During this period, they recorded the Mott album which many critics consider one of the most significant rock albums of the 1970s. Mick Ralphs became disappointed with his decreasing role in the group. Over time, it became clear that Hunter was becoming more and more the focal point. Ralph's left the band to form Bad Company with former-Free front-man Paul Rogers. Ralph's final gig with Mott the Hoople took place on August 19, 1973 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. 

Lineup #3 (1973-1974)

Ian Hunter - vocals, guitar, 
Ariel Bender - lead guitar 
Overend Watts - bass 
Dale Griffin - drums 

After Ralphs' departure, the band needed a guitar player... and needed one quickly. They chose Luther Grosvenor, the former guitar player from Spooky Tooth, whom they had met years earlier when both band were signed to Island Records. To avoid legal and contractual problems, Grosvenor was renamed "Ariel Bender". The band unleashed Bender's guitar playing onto the public at a gig at the Hollywood Palladium on September 14, 1973. Bender remained with the band to record the Hoople album. Bender's playing is also heard on the Live album. While Bender clicked with the band on stage, the same was not true in the studio. Despite a successful 1974 U.S. tour that included a one week engagement on Broadway (the first rock band ever to do so), Bender was let go. His final gig with the band took place on July 6, 1974 at the Palace Lido Douglas on the Isle of Man.

Lineup #4 (1974)

Ian Hunter - vocals, guitar, 
Mick Ronson - lead guitar 
Overend Watts - bass 
Dale Griffin - drums 
Morgan Fisher - piano 

Mott, once again, found itself needing a guitarist. In December 1973, David Bowie had dismantled the Spiders From Mars. The Spider's guitar player, Mick Ronson, had recorded a solo album that was met with luke warm reception. Mott the Hoople offered him the job and he accepted. Also, Morgan Fisher was made an official member of the band. Fisher had toured and recorded with MTH extensively during 1973 and 1974. The only official release from this lineup was the single "Saturday Gigs". The new lineup's first gig took place on October 10, 1974 at the Olympen in Lund, Sweden. On paper it seemed like an incredible match -- Mott the Hoople, an incredibly successful band, teamed with Mick Ronson, David Bowie's former bandmate and highly regarded guitarist. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Hunter suffered a breakdown in late 1974. He and Ronson left the band to pursue solo careers. The final Mott the Hoople gig took place on November 3, 1974 at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in Luxembourg. 

Where Are They Now?

Ian Hunter - Since 1975 Hunter has enjoyed a solo career that has met with mixed success. Hunter continues to record and tour. Hunter's last two albums, Artful Dodger and Rant, are arguably among his strongest solo efforts to date. Visit www.ianhunter.com for more details.

Mick Ralphs - After leaving Mott the Hoople in 1973, Ralphs enjoyed immense success with Bad Company through the early '80s. Bad Company broke up, leaving Ralphs to record a solo album, Take This. He also toured with David Gilmour during his 1984 world tour. Bad Company reformed and released several albums during the late 1980s and early 1990s without Paul Rogers. While Bad Company has since reformed with Rogers, Ralphs has opted not to rejoin the band.

Overend Watts - After Mott the Hoople broke up in 1974, Watts helped form Mott and The British Lions. Watts also did some production work in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Dale Griffin. For the most part, Watts has retired from the music business. He runs a small shop called the Dinosaw Shop in England. In 1998, an album called Mott The Hoople Friends & Relatives contained a new track by Watts called "The Caribbean Hate Song" and the liner notes foretold of an upcoming solo album; however, to date, no solo album has materialized.

Dale Griffin - Like Watts, Griffin played in Mott and the British Lions after the break up of Mott the Hoople. Griffin did extensive production work for various bands and the BBC. Griffin was responsible for the superb quality of the Mott the Hoople box set which was released in 1998. Griffin also works closely with Angel Air, and has overseen the release of a number of Mott the Hoople, Mott and British Lions CDs.

Verden Allen - Allen has recorded two solo albums since leaving Mott the Hoople. Allen still writes music and can occasionally be found playing a live gig in the UK.

Ariel Bender - After leaving Mott the Hoople, Bender reverted to his given name, Luther Grosvenor. He spent time playing with Steeler's Wheel and Widowmaker. During the 1990s, he released a solo album and worked with a reformed Spooky Tooth. Grosvenor runs a successful interior designing firm in England and has announced his retirement from the music business, although he is know to make an occasional live appearance. Visit www.luthergrosvenor.com for more details.

Morgan Fisher - Fisher joined Watts and Griffin in Mott and the British Lions. In 1985, he moved to Japan where he continues to record. Fisher has also recorded music for numerous films, television shows and commercials. See my Morgan Fisher Interview or visit www.morgan-fisher.com for more details.

Mick Ronson - After Mott the Hoople, Ronson continued his solo work and collaborated from time-to-time with Hunter. Sadly, Ronson passed away from liver cancer on April 29, 1993.

Copyright©2000-2001 Richard A. Manson


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