John Varvatos Welcomes Ian Hunter

WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

After 12 solo albums and five decades in the rock'n'roll trenches, Ian Hunter still has style to spare. The singer/songwriter, best known as singer of '70s glamazons Mott the Hoople, celebrated the release of his newest solo album, Shrunken Heads (out May 15 on Yep Roc), with a cheerful and incisive performance at the John Varvatos men's boutique in Soho last night (April 25). And amid the sleek, elbow-to-elbow crowd and endless hors d'oeuvres, one man in particular was ready to rock.

"I remember seeing Mott the Hoople in concert when I was fifteen," Varvatos told SPIN.com. "This is very strange for me." Varvatos later urged the crowd, "Get your asses closer to the stage!" in a moment quite dissonant from the chic surroundings.

Hunter, with James Mastro on guitar and Steve Holley on drums, performed five songs, including three new tracks -- the morose, bluesy "Shrunken Heads," the poetic and hopeful "When World Was Round" and the country-pop shuffle "Words (Big Mouth)." Wisely, he closed with "All the Young Dudes," Mott the Hoople's 1972 smash co-written by David Bowie. And though most of the crowd sang along exuberantly, Hunter later found the moment bittersweet.

"The world isn't the same as when I first wrote songs," he told SPIN.com. "I don't look for a way to create, but it finds me...I'll be going to Spain soon, which I always enjoy. I'll visit Guernica." STACEY ANDERSON / PHOTOS BY TYLER CAMPBELL WRISTON

We asked: Mott the Hoople was a prominent rock band in the '70s. Who is your favorite artist from that decade?

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