Music Friday, January 20th Words by: Mark Bowen

Mott The Hoople founder member Pete 'Overend' Watts dies at 69

Music Friday, January 20th

Mott The Hoople founder member Pete 'Overend' Watts dies at 69

Peter 'Overend' Watts, the bass playing founder member of Herefordshire's Mott the Hoople, has died at the age of 69.

While Millennials might not have heard of Mott The Hoople it is no exaggeration to say they were one of the giants of glam rock, massive in the seventies and much more than the band that covered Bowie's 'All The Young Dudes'.

For many Mott were regarded as the ultimate fans band with their four pre-Dudes releases building up a strong following which saw their live performances becoming the stuff of legend.

Following their Bowie collaboration the band produced 'Brain Capers' - widely regarded as an influence on punk just as the music scene was radically changing direction.

The band's impact outlived its own existence with the likes of The Smiths, The Clash, Billy Idol and Def Leppard citing Mott as a major influence.

Lead singer Ian Hunter confirmed the news of Pete's passing on his Twitter feed and fans from all over the world shared their condolences on social media. 

 The band's keyboard player and founder member Verden Allen also paid tribute.

Andrew Marston, the presenter of BBC Introducing on BBC Hereford and Worcester, said on the station's Facebook page that he had known Pete as a 20-year-old while running band nights.

"As I started doing more and more work for the BBC and I got to meet the rest of the band, who'd tell me stories such as the time they drove to Italy - were being screwed over by the record company so they bought a load of TVs on the company credit card and blew them up at the side of the road," said Andrew.

"Then the van broke down so they got a taxi from Italy to Hereford."

He added that during the Glam Rock era Pete used to visit Kensington and Shepherd's Bush markets searching out the most outrageous clothes.

"He once bought some platform boots so high that he fell over on stage and it took for a couple of roadies to pick him back up again," said Andrew. 

Pete was also well-known in Hereford for running the delightfully offbeat Dinosaur Market. This could be found off Union Street and was full of vintage clothing, CDs and records with hand-written messages on the price tags. 

In more recent years Mott played massively successful reunion shows in 2009 with the band's original members, including Pete, selling out three nights at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Then in 2013 the band got back together again to play the 02 Arena in London.

Last year a major convention was held at The Richmond Club in Hereford which saw fans travelling from all over the world to celebrate the band's glorious history. 

Ian Hunter, Verden Allen and Mick Ralphs, who is recovering from a stroke, remain from the classic Mott The Hoople line-up. Drummer Dale 'Buffin' Griffin died last year following a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

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