It's been nearly two decades since Ian Hunter has released a pair of solo albums just two years apart. But the Mott the Hoople frontman credits 2007's "Shrunken Heads" with helping prod him towards "Man Overboard," which is due out July 21 on New West Records.
"I really had a good time on 'Shrunken Heads,'" Hunter tells Billboard.com. "I thought if I could write (another album) quick and do it, the situation will not have changed, so I was able to do that." Hunter adds that three of the new album's songs, including the opening track "The Great Escape" and "Babylon Blues," were started during the "Shrunken Heads" sessions.
"Man Overboard" was co-produced by John Mellencamp's guitarist Andy York, who Hunter has been working with since 2001's "Rant." He recorded in the same studio in Prawling, N.Y., where he made "Shrunken Heads" and used many of the same players.
"I've noticed that a few (song) writers seem to be doing quick ones now," Hunter says. "My only thought is it was kind of a time where (George W.) Bush was coming to an end and we knew (Barack) Obama would get in, and you think, 'There might not be so much to write about 'cause he seems like he's a decent guy.' So people had a lot of songs to get out. I know people who normally take five years to make a record are just getting stuff out there now, or that's how it seems."
Hunter hopes to tour in support of "Man Overboard," but not long after his release he'll be turning his attention towards the five Mott the Hoople 40th anniversary shows taking place in October at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London, which were broached by keyboardist Verden Allen during Hunter's last solo tour of the U.K.
"My attitude was, 'Yeah, if it's painless, if everybody wants to do it, if it can go nice and easy and no farting about and the usual bullshit, I'll do it,' " Hunter says. "It'll live up. I'm looking forward to playing with them and rehearsing with them especially. They're a lot of fun, extremely funny people to work with."
Hunter says not to expect more out of Mott than these shows, however. "That's not on my agenda," he says. "But that could change, I guess. I mean, I never thought I'd ever do this. So I haven't got a clue."
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