Tweedy Gets Into Hunter's 'Heads' On New CD
Ian Hunter's forthcoming solo album "Shrunken Heads," his first in six years, is a mixture of American politics and just old-fashioned fun, the singer says.Ian Hunter's forthcoming solo album "Shrunken Heads," his first in six years, is a mixture of American politics and just old-fashioned fun, the singer says.
"The last album [2001's 'Rant'] was geared around British politics. This album is more geared around American politics, and it's a more American sounding record," Hunter tells Billboard.com.
The former Mott The Hoople frontman, who has resided in Connecticut for several years, says the track "How's Your House" was inspired by a news report on Hurricane Katrina. "It's an obvious thing to write about, and I'm sure 100 people wrote that week about it," he says. "But what I saw was this show where they were talking about how their conversation had changed from, 'Hi, how you doing?' to 'How's your house?' And I thought, 'Well that's a weird way to talk to somebody: 'How's your house?'"
Hunter's debut for the Yep Roc label, "Shrunken Heads" is due May 15 and features vocals from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy on album opener "Words (Big Mouth)," "Fuss About Nothing" and "Guiding Light." Tweedy, who has been known to cover such Mott tracks as "I Wish I was Your Mother," came to a Hunter gig in Chicago a while back on a mission.
"He came to the gig and said asked me why I had never finished 'Henry and the H Bomb,' which is a song I had never finished," Hunter recalls. "I don't even know how he got his hands on it. I said that I never did it because I never wrote the lyrics for it. He said, 'You did!' and he gives me these lyrics, great lyrics. He had listened to this demo, and he thought he had written my lyric down, but he hadn't; he had written his own down. I knew it wasn't mine, because I know what I do. This wasn't me. This was him. But he insisted it was mine."
"Jeff thinks inside his head, he lives inside his head, and I do, too," Hunter continues. "So we kind of really understood each other. And politically we're pretty similar."
"Shrunken Heads" also features E Street Band violinist Soozie Tyrell, and backing from drummer Steve Holly (Wings, Joe Cocker), bassist Graham Maby (Joe Jackson, Natalie Merchant), guitarists Jack Petruzzelli (Rufus Wainwright, Joan Osbourne) and James Mastro (John Cale) and keyboardist Andy Burton (The dB's, Tommy James). Andy York plays guitar and keyboards and also produced the disc.
According to Hunter, the album finds him in one of his most prolific periods. "There's always five or six years between my records, but this time I'm almost finished with the next one already," he promises.