INTERNATIONAL rock legends – due to the proximity of Rockfield recording studios – are rather more likely to be spotted in Monmouth rather than Ross on Wye, but one was indeed sighted last Friday.

Elusive recluse Overend Watts, legendary bass player with Mott The Hoople, was seen scouring the shops and boutiques of the town... And the man who 'never, ever, gives interviews' spoke exclusively to the


He told us: "I'm on the hunt for stage kit for the forthcoming Mott The Hoople reunion tour, which is in November. We are doing five dates, all told, with the last one being at the O2 in London. It's really exciting, actually, because the last reunion we did, four years ago to celebrate 40 years together, was just amazing. So I'm out on the lookout for some clothes I can wear on stage. I'm talking 'unusual but not weird!' here. I did manage to find a great shirt last week, but that won't last a whole tour."

And how are rehearsals for the tour going? "Well, to tell the truth we haven't actually started that sort of thing yet. What will happen is that about a fortnight before the start of the tour the band will get together and start work for a week on the songs we are going to do. Then Ian (Hunter, Mott lead singer), will fly over from his home in the States for the second week. We kind of know the songs..."

Those songs have provided the band with a stream of hit records over the years, from their debut international smash hit 'All The Young Dudes', through to 'The Golden Age Of Rock n' Roll' and 'All The Way To Memphis'. Are they all getting an airing on the tour?

"Oh yes, that's really important to make sure we get everything covered that the fans would want. Let's face it, they've been supporting us loyally for 45 years - so that's the least we can do! Just at the moment, the band is sending set lists around to each other with suggestions on the songs we will be doing.

"We have a new face with us this time as Martin Chambers from The Pretenders is drumming with us. He's replacing our original drummer Buffin (Dale Griffin), who can't make this tour due to ill health. Martin is great, really enthusiastic about the whole thing."

Mott The Hoople were formed in the local area and Buffin, Overend and Mr Chambers all have Ross-on-Wye in their backgrounds, the first two meeting up at John Kyrle School in the town after Overend moved to the area when aged 13. The Pretenders also hail from the area.

He added: "The shows are so exciting, for the fans and us. I made the mistake of popping into the main bar at one of the gigs on the last tour, and they nearly ripped my clothes off me! It was absolutely wild."

Famously, Overend is known for his epic long-distance walks, that have taken him the length and breadth of the UK. It is a hobby has also spawned a book, soon to be published by Wymer Publishing.

"Yes, its called The Man Who Hated Walking and it should be out just in time for the tour. I'm with a great publishers and they've made a nice job of it – but talking of walking, I'd better get on."

And with that, the international rock star scurried off back into Ross search of that elusive shirt.