Mott Latest: Verden Allen On The Drummer Situation
Mott The Hoople organist Verden Allen has spoken exclusively to Classic Rock’s Malcolm Dome about the current situation with drummer Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin, and also what the future holds for the band beyond their upcoming reunion shows in London at the Hammersmith Apollo.
MD: So, how did the warm up shows go in Monmouth on September 25 and 26?
VA: “Overall, they were great. The second one went better than the first. Which you’d expect. The mix was better on that night, and I actually had monitors I could hear.”
MD: Did the set change from the first night to the second one?
VA: Not really. Although Ian (Hunter) did do a bit of Like A Rolling Stone the second night, during The Journey. That was completely unplanned, though, and took me by surprise. But I went along with the flow, and it worked.”
MD: Will you vary what you play in London at all?
VA: “No. Right now, the set is locked in, and we won’t be looking to change it. We know what we’re doing, and that’s fine. Personally, I’ve had to get to grips with songs like Roll Away The Stone, The Golden Age Of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Honoloochie Boogie and All The Way From Memphis, which were written after I left the band (in 1972). But it’s all gone well enough. I can’t wait for London.”
MD: Are you planning to record and film the shows?
VA: “Well, we are recording the first night, and it’ll be available for people to buy on CD as they leave the venue. But that’s the only one of the five. The problem is that the company we’re using can’t do the other nights. As for filming… that’s not happening. It’s a shame, but has to do with too many people being involved on the business side.” (Copies of the CD from first night may be ordered from the Mott The Hoople website. See below).
MD: OK, what happened with drummer Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin? He missed the Monmouth shows, right?
VA: “He’s not been at all well for years. But the problem he had this time wasn’t connected to his ongoing health situation. He had severe nosebleeds, and was admitted to hospital. He’s out now, thankfully, and will be appearing at all the London dates, but only for the encores. We have to be careful with his health, but it wouldn’t be the same without him making some sort of appearance.”
MD: Who’s playing drums at Hammersmith, then?
VA: “Martin Chambers, who stood in for those Monmouth gigs. He’s an old friend of mine; we were in a band called Cheeks after I left Mott The Hoople. He’s a much more straightahead and powerful drummer than ‘Buffin’, but for him playing in Mott The Hoople is a dream come true. Ian Hunter suggested I call him when we found out about ‘Buffin’s absence.”
MD: So, what happens after the reunion shows? Will Mott The Hoople carry on?
VA: Nobody’s sure at the moment. We all have other commitments. But hopefully, these gigs will go so well that all of us want to do something more. But it has to be sparing. Maybe a few dates per year, no more. New songs? That’s possible, but again up for discussion.”
For further info, go to: www.mottthehoople.com