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An Exclusive Interview With Hunt Sales

May 16th, 2021 | by admin
An Exclusive Interview With Hunt Sales
Hunt Sales has been involved in Rock-n-Roll since the late 60s, a highly-regarded drummer, he’s worked with Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and then with David Bowie in Tin Machine, alongside Reeves Gabrels and his brother Tony. He recently released a critically acclaimed new album “Get Your Shit Together” available here
Hunt first met Bowie in the early 70s, in NYC, watch him and David talk about when they first met below..


DBN: The way you played on “I Can’t Read” is truly fascinating…during live performances you didn’t stick to a safe tempo suited for the song, instead it sounds as if there were moments you were almost going to fall out of rhythm, but it never happened and you keep the listeners on the edge. How did you come up with that approach for the song?

HS: There’s a music genre called rock and roll then there’s a music genre called jazz, and anybody who knows the difference between jazz and rock and roll would probably understand what I was doing. My influence and my approach would be closer to an Art Blakey record than a Motley Crue record.

The band didn’t want to be pigeonholed in any particular sound or genre, hence the second album is radically different to the band’s debut. There were plans for a third album, alas it was scrapped. Did you ever envision where that third album could have gone to in terms of sound?

The third record, we talked about it and some of us were actually excited about it only to be told at a certain point the band was over.

“Sorry” appears as a lush ballad in the second Tin Machine album, but it harks back to 1989 when it was performed as a rock version. Did you
do a studio recording of the rock version? It is quite compelling.

No, we didn’t, and by the time we recorded the song I thought it sounded better as a moody ballad over the earlier version.

During the recording sessions for the first Tin Machine album, the band was extremely prolific, recording as many as 35 songs. We know some of the unreleased material from these sessions includes “You’ve Been Around” and even a cover of “Waiting For The Man” from Velvet Underground. Do you have any recollection from the other unreleased songs from the sessions?

Yeah there are a ton of tracks that were not released that are sitting in a vault and it is just too bad that David isn’t here so we could talk about it and maybe be sensible, picking the best of the best of the unreleased material for an album. What we ended up with is some business people that have no taste and are making David Bowie Barbie dolls and Vans sneakers. It’s David Bowie Incorporated, and I find it tasteless. Don’t be surprised when the David Bowie butt plugs hit the market.

Tin Machine performed a rare song called “Now” which later morphed into the song “Outside” from Bowie’s solo work. Do you wish the band had
explored that track further? 

We explored it enough then he ended up using it. I don’t even know which song you’re talking about that came later, but I don’t agree that he took Tin Machine material and used it in another format.

How did you approach the performances of “Debaser” from the “It’s My Life” tour? Were you a fan of The Pixies as much as David or did he just say “Hunt, I would like you to sing this?”

I didn’t sing it. I guess the Pixies were a good band and a lot of people followed them. I myself was not necessarily a fan of their music, that was more David and Reeves’ wet dream.

The new book “Bowie Memories” by Brian Aris has a wealth of Tin Machine era photos, including candid moments. Do you have fond memories of traveling with the band, and sometimes even having Bowie as a tour guide during your outings?

I guess lots of photographers were around during that period but I’m not aware of this book or its contents.

You recently shared an unseen video of Tin Machine rehearsing. We got a peek of you performing Stateside. Is there more material from the rehearsal you plan on sharing soon?

Not necessarily. If I find something else we will see but Tin Machine was so many years ago and it was almost like another lifetime.

Watch it here

Hunt with his brother, Tony Fox Sales.

Why were there metal masks decorating the platform of your drum set during the “It’s My Life” tour?

I don’t remember having metal masks on my drum set.

“You Can’t Talk” is a great song, but it’s such an odd one. The lyrics sound like cut-up and the polyrhythmic instrumentation make for a very interesting listen. Do you have any recollection about the story behind the song?


During the Italian leg of the “It’s My Life” tour the title track “Tin Machine” made a brief comeback to the set lists. Where there any other songs from your repertoire you wish had made it into the tour?

The Paul Anka song Put Your Head On My Shoulder, I wish we had done that song. Gigs in Italy were good, I had a great time there.

“You Belong in Rock n’ Roll” is an often overlooked music video, full of interesting moments and even film references and homages. “One Shot” on the other hand has a more conventional approach with a clear narrative, nevertheless it’s still quite an eccentric video. These are just two examples of how visuals were also an important part of Tin Machine’s output. Which music video from the band is your favourite?

The pornographic one that ended up on the cutting room floor was my favorite.

Some songs didn’t have you on lead vocals, but your harmonies were an integral part to the performances, for instance “Prisoner of Love” and “Goodbye Mr. Ed”. Were your vocal contributions created on the spot as you performed the songs or was it after recording the instruments that you heard back and thought “this section could use some backing vocals”?

I think that was my brother. When you’re recording and making art there’s always spur of the moment stuff going on with the whole band but outside of that moment, years later, talking about it makes less sense.

“One Day” from your Hunt Sales Memorial album is a compelling listen. Can you share some insight into the song from your songwriter perspective?

The lyrics tell a story and everybody has a mother, everybody has a father, a brother, a sister, or a friend that is no longer here. Everybody has made some bad decisions they wish they could do over. But that’s life. The song is about all of us.

Can you elaborate a bit on the topic of the delayed Tin Machine box set? Will it ever be released?

What box set? I don’t know of one.

What are you memories of working with Iggy Pop?


I feel that Jim was at a high point when David helped him get a deal, called me and my brother and said hey, come play.

I love Tin Machine, saw you live a couple of times in the UK. What are your favourite songs and memories from that time?

Favorite memories are being in England and the responses we got from the audience in places like London, Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester.

What is your creative process like?

Get in the moment then the rest pulls me along for the ride.

Who are your favourite musicians that you listen to?

Anyone who is real and interesting.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Art Blakey, Albert Collins and ME.

What is the best advice you’ve been given? and the best advice you can give to young musicians who are just starting out?

Keep it simple, stupid!

Did you keep in touch with David after Tin Machine ended?


If you didn’t become a musician, what do you think you would be doing now?


What got you into music?

Seeing Earl Palmer, the drummer, in a recording studio when I was six years old.

What are you currently working on?

My live show material plus songwriting. I’m writing new songs.

You can visit The Hunt Sales Memorial website here
And follow Hunt via his social channels, Facebook TwitterInstagram

Interview by Nick Vernon & Francisco Beristain, exclusively for David Bowie News. © 2021.

Many thanks to Hunt and to Sharon Anderson for her help.

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