This past week I’ve been fortunate enough to go on the road singing backing vocals with a band from the early 70’s called Mott the Hoople. You probably won’t know them (unless you remember the movie Juno/ask your parents) but they’re awesome, not least because they feature my dear ol’ father, Mick Ralphs, on guitar.
The first gig was held at The Symphony Hall in Birmingham, a spectacular venue and a great gig. I managed to find my way to the very topper most of the venue where the spotlights are operated from and took some cool vertigo inducing pictures.
I had an wonderful experience after the gig involving Mr. Joe Elliot (massive Mott the Hoople fan/singer of Def Lepperd) and myself sharing songs on the piano in the almost empty dressing room. He played a magical rendition of “The Journey’ by Mott, ‘Perfect Day’ by the late, great Mr. Lou Reed and a few of his own new songs. Then I snuck behind the keys and played ‘The Game’ by WATP, and he seemed to really like it and wants to play it on his radio show. Subsequently, my grin could be seen from Solihull.
The next day we travelled to Glasgow in Scotland, where an inevitably rowdier crowd made for another great gig. The band seemed to be more relaxed this time and the crowd responded by getting out of their seats and partying hard down the front for the last 5 songs.
It’s proving a truly enjoyable experience as everyone on the tour is lovely and so happy to be here. I’m singing backing vocals along with Ian Hunter’s daughter Tracie, and son Jesse, which is great as we all get on really well. There’s definitely a family atmosphere on the tour that reminds of being with the WATP boys. Happy days.
Its also cool to see how much enjoyment the band still get from playing music together and getting to share it with the people that loved it the first time and still love it now. I hope that we can continue making music as long as these dudes and be as cool as they all are at their age. Some of their items of clothing definitely wouldn’t be out of place in Will and the People’s wardrobe.
On Thursday night we attended the Classic Rock magazine awards at The Roundhouse. It was a fun night. Brushing shoulders with some of the people that inspired the people that inspired me to make music was a real treat. Jimmy Page was sat at a table with my dad and Ian, John Mayall was right behind me on the next table and I managed to bump into Carl Barat at the after show party. Nice guy. I even got to fulfil an adolescent dream of seeing ‘The Darkness’ play live. Rad.
On Friday we played in Newcastle which was a big improvement of the first two gigs. The crowd really gave the band a lot and the band certainly delivered on their side. Its great when that happens. I like to think of it as a mutual energy dialogue where everyone wins.
We stayed in the luxurious ‘Hotel du Vin’ which was very pleasant. The night we arrived I ate what was possibly the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. Pumpkin and Parmesan ravioli with sage and pine nut brown butter. It was off the chain.
Last night we were at Manchester for the penultimate gig (twas truly rocking), before the final show in London at the O2 on tonight. Its another dream that I get to fulfil. I really am a very lucky boy. I’m so grateful that music still means so much to people. I hope it can continue being a part of my life.
Anyway, I just thought I’d let y’all know what i’ve been up to, as its been a fantastic experience that doesn’t happen very often. If you want to come down to the London O2 show tonight, and I promise you won’t regret it, tickets are still available online or at the venue.
It gives me a lot of faith that what we do as Will and the People, and as musicians, has worth in its ability to unite people and allow them to forget their troubles just for a song and remember what its like to feel free, like we did when we were small. To be a rock, and not to roll.
Peace. Jim xx
All photos taken by Karen Patterson