Ian Hunter & The Rant Band Rock SoCal Twice

IAN HUNTER & THE RANT BAND

IAN HUNTER & THE RANT BAND play Teragram Ballroom Sep 12 and The Coach House Sep 13; press photo

Ian Hunter, the once glam rocker of Mott the Hoople who evolved into a phenomenal solo artist penning radio hits such as “Cleveland Rocks” and “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, continues to tour and write interesting albums such as last years’ Fingers Crossed.

He will be performing with The Rant Band at Teragram Ballroom Sep. 12 and The Coach House Sep. 13, a venue he has played a few times including when he and Mick Ronson played after a week-long stint recording 1979’s live album Welcome To the Club at The Roxy.
The group has put together an amalgamation of songs covering 48 years of music to perform.

“You’ve got to please the casuals that means you’ve got to do a bit of the old stuff,” Hunter explained. “Then you’ve got to please the other half that means you’ve got to do a bit of the stuff no one’s heard, then you’ve got to do some solo stuff. And it all sort of melds in somehow.”

Naturally there should be a couple of songs from Fingers Crossed such as the recently released single, “Ghost” that has a delightfully soulful chorus complimenting Hunter’s rough around the edges vocals. As well as “Dandy” which is a nod to David Bowie who passed while Hunter was having difficulty writing a completely different song called “Lady” that he turned into “Dandy”.

“I only knew him for about a year that was around the Hunky Dory, Ziggy period,” Hunter recalled. “I kind of wrote the song from a fan’s point of view from that period.

“Because when he came in, everything was kind of drab, it was kind of like watching a black and white movie. Then, all of a sudden, David came in and everything went technicolor.”

One of the lyrics, “the last bus home” shows up throughout the song and refers to the end of a good night out.

“We used to go and see gigs and they were magic then you would come out and you really didn’t like your own existence,” Hunter chuckled. “It’s the same as when you came out of a movie and it’s ‘oh Jesus, here I am again’. That’s the whole idea of it.”

Not one to write and tour at the same time, Hunter prefers to focus on one or the other. He’s been touring since last year on the recent record and will most likely begin writing the next one in January.

“I just write when I want to make a new record,” Hunter noted. “I’m not one of those people, I can’t really work on the next one when I’m on the road. If I started on it now, it would be a bit dated by the time I did it.”

Being a rhythm guitarist and not a lead guitarist, Hunter prefers Martins, but also uses Gibsons and RainSongs.

“I have two other guitar players in the band so I stay acoustic,” Hunter said. “RainSongs is kind of a unique guitar because it’s not wood so it has a little edge to it. It’s kind of like halfway between an acoustic and an electric. I use it for open tuning.”

He keeps some of his guitars in Europe and some in the States so he doesn’t have to deal with transporting them as often.

“When we depart here, we go to Germany, then England and you don’t want to be carting stuff all over the place so we generally leave stuff in different countries,” Hunter explained. “You can pick them up when you’re there and it saves a lot of aggravation on the plane.
“It’s something you learn over the years. I never would have thought of it years ago.”

Something else he has learned over the years is that you have quite an advantage if you are passionate about what you choose to do in life.

“And if music’s your passion, more luck to you, but get a lawyer,” Hunter laughed. “If you haven’t got one in the family, get one.

“Usually with musicians, one side of the brain’s not working. They need somebody to compensate for the side of the brain that’s not working.

“I mean, I could never understand at school why you had to be good at arts and sciences. Usually you find arts people aren’t very good at math and vice versa.”

One other thing he laughingly mentioned he’s picked up over the years is that he likes to have a drink prior to going on stage.

“It’s a ritual that starts about 30 minutes before we go on. It gets you in the mood.”