MAYBE it was the time difference between the UK and New York, maybe it was the fact that he’s just played eight shows in 10 days in the States or maybe it’s because he’s genuinely overwhelmed but Ian Hunter sounds slightly stunned at the reception he’s had taking Moot the Hoople back on the road.

“It was wonderful, quite incredible really,” he says. “What we did was way beyond my expectations.”

For many fans, the tour was something they never thought they would see as Ian was reunited with guitarist Luther Grosvenor (nicknamed Aeriel Bander) and keyboard player Morgan Fisher for the first time in 45 years.

The trio are now getting ready for a series of UK dates beginning in Manchester on Friday backed by Ian’s current outfit the Rant Band.

The show celebrates the 12-month period in 1974 when they were first together - Luther replacing Mick Ralphs and Morgan replacing Verdan Allan - and Moot the Hoople released the studio album The Hoople plus a live album recorded in London and New York.

“In 2009 and 2012 the original band played England,” said Ian. “They didn’t want Luther and Morgan in; they just wanted keep it original which was understandable but wasn’t really fair for Morgan and Luther’s point of view as they both kept the thing going for more than a year.

“I thought then that if I get a window in between what I do we’ll have a go at it and this is what happened.”

The show features songs from that specific period in Mott the Hoople’s career including The Golden Age of Rock n’ Roll and Roll Away The Stone which both featured on Mott plus other classics from the live album including All the Way From Memphis.

Not having worked together for 45 years could have caused problems, but Ian was delighted at how smoothly everything went.

“It was great having Luther and Morgan back,” he said. “Morgan provides a kind of classical element to it and Luther is the court jester.

“We don’t rehearse much - that’s not a good idea - so we got better and better as we went on. It was more guarded at first, we were just trying to remember the chords!

“But by the end of it all, the old personality stuff started moving in. The whole idea of it is fun and people seem to get off on it.

“I was the only one who knew them all but I thought that they would get on. Now they get on great and are in touch with each other constantly. The only person they don’t get in touch with is me,” he joked.

“My band’s full of characters and then to have these two characters on board - they are all different to each other and I think that’s what makes it work so well.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s boring. I’ve been in musical situations with people intently listening to what they did last night on the bus but that doesn’t interest me. What interests me is fun – especially at this stage of the game.”

Amazingly Ian will be 80 in June. so what’s his secret?

“I have a very good wife, I’m kind of her project,” he said. “I do a lot boring stuff that you really don’t want to hear about but a lot of us do that got up there and are still around.

“I didn’t actually junk out or anything as a kid. I did have a sniff around but it didn’t seem worth the money to me. Plus my dad was a copper so I suppose I was brought up pretty strictly.”

Anyone thinking that the Mott tour is just a nostalgia trip should read the reviews from America and see the fan reaction.

“I would say there is nothing better in our area of fun based rock and roll,” said Ian. “I really don’t think anyone can beat us at the moment, I really don’t, especially seeing that Mick’s ill at the moment. (referring to Rolling Stones frontman Nick Jagger)”

Mott the Hoople, Manchester Academy, Friday, April 19. Details, from 061 832 1111 or