Monday, January 30, 2017

Pete "Overend" Watts 1947-2017

RIP Mott the Hoople's bassist.

I was lucky enough to see the pre-David Bowie Mott on a couple of occasions, and all the glam-era incarnations (save for the one minus Ian Hunter) several times. Watts was a fixture in all of them, and they were all just great.

Have I ever mentioned that this may be the greatest rock-and-roll song under one minute and twenty seconds in history?

God, I'm getting sick of posting obituaries around here. Especially since I have the awful feeling that sometime soon I'm going to be posting one for the United States of America.


Blue Ash Fan said...

I never got to see them in their heyday, but I went to London in 2009 and Glasgow in 2013 for reunion shows. The London show was at the former Hammersmith Odeon and the gentleman sitting beside me had been there for the show that became Side 2 of "Mott the Hoople Live." I was chartreuse with envy, as I am now reading how you saw all the various incarnations live. The 2009 show in London was mind-blowing: I can only imagine how amazing they were back in the day.

Any week where we lose Overend Watts and Mary Tyler Moore (Oh, and a lot of what we came to think of as "America") has got to be one sucky week.

steve simels said...

Saw Ian Hunter solo in a club two years ago -- he was better than ever. Swear to god.

Blue Ash Fan said...

I've seen Ian live quite a few times in the 15 years. A few times at the City Winery. Once at the Bell House. And I never miss a DC-area show. Every show has been incredible. IMHO, nobody's been as consistent in this century than he has. His last five albums have all been at least four stars out of five.

I met Ian on the "Rant" tour: made a fool of myself.

Mark said...

I too have seen Hunter on numerous occasions, and in fact he's playing at City Winery in NYC on February 6 and 7. But let me say a few words about BRAIN CAPERS. WHAT. A. GREAT. ALBUM. And if Quivering may be the greatest rock song ever under 01:20, Death May Be Your Santa Claus may be the greatest rock song ever clocking in between 04:50 and 05:00 that contains Santa Claus in its title.

Yet somehow this track never makes it to holiday complilations.

dave said...

One of my early faves:

Anonymous said...

Gibson Thunderbird bass, thigh high boots, biggest cock in the band, "Born Late '58". What more needs to be said.

Loooove "Born Late '58"

The post-Hunter stuff bites and was DOA. Saw "Drive On" band quite accidentally when they opened for Aerosmith. Meh. Later British Lions were gonna be third billed to BOC and UFO. But thankfully they didn't show. Montrose took the spot, which made the concert better. He did an absolutely killer live instrumental version of "Town Without a Pity".

Saw Mott the Hoople several times, but all post "Dudes". Once with Verden, twice with Mick, 4x with little Luther. They didn't come out west much in the beginning.

Fan since 1st LP's US release. Intended to see them at the Whisky in summer '70 but wound up in the back of a limo at a drive-in theatre consuming extra dry martinis and consummating a relationship. It was a triple feature of the X rated (now a soft R) films "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" "Witchcraft '70" and "The Kama Sutra".

They were gonna play the Whisky behind "Wildlife" but the venue had a fire weeks before at the start of a Humble Pie residency. So first time I saw 'em was at the Palladium Nov. 1972 opening for West, Bruce & Laing. Had the privilege of meeting them, however superficially, at the Hyatt on that tour. Was seeing a guy who shot for Phonograph Record magazine.

Got freebies to see them film Don Kirshner at the Aquarius. That girl they pulled on stage was part of our flock.

On subsequent shows that I attended they played with Joe Walsh, Blue Oyster Cult, Terry Reid, Aerosmith and Montrose. This was when rock stars dressed like rock stars. That Buffin-Overend rhythm section was pretty badass. They were drivers. And, Overend's just a rock and roll star.

Here's a link to a Kirshner performance. Gotta love the way Ian shoves Ariel out of the way after his first guitar break. Ha.

VR - Detonater-jail baiter-radar radiator

Anna said...

Never got to see Mott, for one reason or another, but as soon as I saw the post, somehow I just *knew* VR'd have a story to tell. Vickie, you should do a blog of your own! :)

I *did* see Hunter/Ronson in 1979 at the Center Stage, in some shithole of a town between A2 and Detroit. It had Johnny Cougar opening, and in idiotic full-on Springsteen mode riding his sax player's back, when someone took a wrong turn and poor John slammed his head into the bass player's headstock, rendering him unconscious. The Detroit crowd (being a Detroit crowd) all laughed as the curtains were pulled down, and cheers went up when the announcement was made that Mr. Cougar would be unable to complete his performance. We were all there to see Hunter and Ronno! Goofballs, we wuz.

Anna said...

...oh, also, VR...? That mutual acquaintance of ours from the Capitol Records Swapmeet (the one that did "Ten Of Swords") is supposed to be calling me soon...I'm told he's more psycho than ever, and went bald and got fat. Can't wait! (Not.)

steve simels said...

Circa 1975 -- when I was living near Grammercy Park, I literally bumped into Overend Watts coming out of my local deli. Dude was HUGELY tall.

I was totally stoked, as I usually am when I have encounters with greatness.

Anonymous said...

They did 1973 tour rehearsals in Hollywood when Ariel was brand new and barely bent. I got in for two of the days. I used to call Overend "Sheepfucker". This came from a conversation we were having about his thigh high boots.

I told him that when I was in high school a guy from the 4-H Club explained to me the technique behind sheepfucking. Why he did this I do not know. It was completely unsolicited, which made it all the more disturbing. Anyway, the trick was to wear thigh high waders and place the hind legs into the tops of them so the sheep couldn't get away when you molested it.

I told a chucking Overend he had a nice pair of sheepfuckers. Hence the pet name 'Sheepfucker". When they played Fresno in 1974 my cousin and I made a sign which read "Sheepfucker" accompanied with a drawing of a Yahoo Mountain Dew guy wearing waders nailing the sacrificial lamb to the cross. Pete really cracked up when he saw it from the stage.


Anna said...

VR: thought of you when I saw this at Music Aficionado...!/article/i_was_a_teenage_bootlegger_by_jimsullivan

Anonymous said...


Please a little respect for the newly dead!

Sounds like you studied animal husbandry in high school.

More details then even I need and I'm not the biggest prude around here. Hey that didn't come out right. (In more then one way.)

Captain Al (Biggest hands on the seven sea's!!!)

Anonymous said...

"somehow I just *knew* VR'd have a story to tell. Vickie, you should do a blog of your own

yes. do, please.

Anna said...

Aw, lay off Vickie. Her stories are always entertaining to me; then again, I'm fond of debauchery. Sex *is* kind of fun, you have to admit.

Anonymous said...

Captain Al: Is English your native language? You really need to get your adverbs and conjunctions straightened out:-)

Didn't take animal husbandry at school. The 4-H guy was an underclassman who lived next door to one of my better girl friends. Sometimes we'd drive him home after school and trip out on his eccentricities. Total Skoal goat-roper. Despite his proclivity for sheep, he otherwise came across as extremely naive and bashful. But in a very odd way. That boy wasn't right.

Also, Captain, the "biggest hands on the Seven Seas!!!"? Scoff, scoff. Really now (read sardonically). You better keep those "hands" on deck because I think you're running afloat:-) And what might your vessel be christened? You name it, I'll sink it.

Anyway, I love old Mott the Hoople and dug Overend. His campy "All the Way From Memphis" vocal killed me from the get go. It's perfect. From a day when you could call a spade a spade. And Mackay's screeching sax adds to the fun.


Billy B said...

Buffin left us a year ago and now Overend? Crap.

Also just read where John Wetton lost his battle with cancer.

Always though he was a vastly underrated bass player and singer.

RIP, Mr. Wetton.

Alzo said...

There was a band called Mambo Sons who did a tribute song:
Overend Watts, Overend Wats
My sister's got the hots
for Mister Overend Watts...