When did you first
become aware of the Small Faces?
That would be on Ready
Steady Go playing “Whatcha Gonna Do About It”. I was completely blown
away by everything about the band. Kenney’s drumming in particular
struck me. It was exactly how I wanted to play, I became a pseudo to
Kenney I did just about everything I would to be like him. The mod
image was absolutely spot on and, of course, Staves voice really floored
me like it did everybody else. Shortly after that Ready Steady Go
appearance I went to see them at the Hertford Corn Exchange. By this
time my own little group had become a full-blown Small Faces copy band
and we ended up supporting them at the Wolsey Hall in Cheshunt.
That’s when I first met them and I remember whilst we were playing our
set I looked sidewards into the wings and saw Steve and Kenney watching
me play and giving me the thumbs up. After the gig Steve actually
asked me if I would be there stand in drummer in the event of Kenney
being sick or unavailable. It was probably just friendly chat and
Steve’s behalf and Kenney never did become sick but, of course, it made
me feel ten feet tall. Steve and I did become good friends and I
would often go to Steve’s flat in William Mews, Knightsbridge. This
was in 1967 and it was during that period that he gave my group a song
to record. We went into the studio and recorded “Tell Me Have You Ever
Seen Me” and it was released on Immediate under the name of Apolistic
Intervention, we were previously called Little People. Steve wanted to
call us The Nice but Andrew Oldham said no. Only a few days later I
found out that he’d given the name to PP Arnold for her band.
With the Small Faces
were you always closer to Steve than the others?
Not really. I was very
good pals with Kenney, we would swap ideas and talk drums. Mac was
always very nice although I would only see him and Ronnie at gigs.
Ronnie was always a bit distant. I think he had some resentment about
us coming in and recording one of their songs. Ronnie was at the
recording session but he left halfway through. With Steve it was very
much a social thing.
did Humble Pie come about?
Fast-forward a year or
two. Steve had become good pals with Peter Frampton. Peter had told
Steve that he was unhappy with his current band; The Herd and Steve had
offered to help him form a new one. Steve recommended me and I went to
Beehive Cottage to meet him. I, in turn, invited to a gig that I was
doing in Cambridge with my band The Wages of Sin. He liked what he saw
and the Humble Pie seed was planted that night. At this stage there
was no intention of Steve being in the group. Nothing really happened
for several months until I got a phone call from Steve in the early
hours of New Years Day 1969. He told me that he’d walked out on The
Small Faces and asked is he could join the new band with Peter and
myself. My first reaction was one of total shock. The Small Faces
were my favourite band and the thought of them being no more left me
dumb. However when he told me that he had a bass player lined up and
that bass player was Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth well that clinched it
for me. Greg was the most respected Bass player in England and the
idea of playing with him was every drummers dream.
did the name “Humble Pie” come to be?
It was suggested that
all band members submit names, we’d write them all down and come up with
a shortlist. “Humble Pie” was one of Steve's suggestions. One of
mine was “Evil Cardboard” which was the end of a joint. Anyway “Evil
Cardboard” did not get the vote. We all thought Humble Pie was just
perfect. It was a reaction against the whole super group thing. The
idea of being called a super group without even playing was quite
disturbing. We were just saying, “Now wait a minute we’re only a bunch
of lads just starting and want time to develop”.
Were there any differences between playing
with Peter Frampton and his successor Clem Clempson?
Both are brilliant
guitar players. Peter was and still is a very jazzy guitarist whereas
Clem was more of a Blues man. Clem joining the band gave us a fiercer
edge, more of a dirty blues feel. Clem also became a good mate and he
probably fitted in personality wise a bit better. He was one of the
lads. Peter is a nice guy, please don’t get me wrong, but Clem slotted
were your favourite Humble Pie songs to play live?
Well there weren’t too
many that I didn’t like. I loved “Hot ‘N’ Nasty” because of the
Hammond organ. “Doctor” was always fun, so was “Hallelujah”.
There’s a couple of songs that we played in the later years that I
didn’t like doing, one was “Up Our Sleeve”. But generally speaking if
we didn’t like it we didn’t play it.
What are your favourite
Humble Pie albums?
Probably both “Smokin”
and “Rock On”. The live album was great but that was a different
animal. Also the two Immediate albums have some wonderful moments on
them. We were having so much fun in those days.
the installation of The Blackberries the beginning of the end for the
Yeah it was. It wasn’t
their fault though. Things that were going wrong behind the scenes
just happened to coincide with them joining the band. Steve’s life was
falling apart at the seams so therefore, so was the band. In today’s
world having black female singers with a white rock n’ roll band are an
everyday thing but back then it just wasn’t accepted by lots of
people. You could really feel the prejudice in a lot of the American
audiences. I hate any sort of racism. A great shame.
Why the Split?
The disintegration of
our personal lives I suppose. We were all doing too many drugs, we’d
lost sight of our business arrangements and no one within the band had
any control over money matters. But the main reason was that we were
making bad records, it all came to a head in early 1975. The rot had
set in so deep it was inevitable.
there any unreleased A & M recordings?
I don’t think so. I
suppose there might be the odd one here and there. Oh yeah, there is a
version of the old Chris Montez hit “Lets Dance” knocking around
How did the early 80’s
Humble Pie reincarnation come about?
IN 1979 while I was
living in New York I got a phone call from Steve, who was living in
Santa Cruz, to ask if I was interested in putting a band together. I
mentioned the idea to Jerry Krebbs, a New York manager, and he made us
an offer to put Humble Pie back together. Steve came over to my house
in upstate New York to see what we could come up with song writing
wise. Over the first weekend we wrote “Fool For A Pretty Face” and
made a demo of it. We used session bass player Sooty Jones and on the
strength of that song and our version of “My Lovers Prayer” we got a
deal with Atco Records. I approached Clem to see if he was
interested. He came over to check us out and brought Bobby Tench with
him. Clem chose to pass on the idea, I don’t think he wanted the
hassle of working with Steve again but Bobby stuck it out and that was
the line up, me, Steve, Bobby and Sooty.
How did the Packet of
Three thing come about a few years later?
Steve called me 1985 and
asked me if I’d like to join the band. The idea of playing again with
Steve in small clubs and pubs appealed very much to me. I was out of
work at the time and had just moved back to England. It was a fun two
years but it ended on a sour note. We came back from a very ugly
American tour and Steve decided to change the band and it didn’t include
me. Shame but these things happen.
How would you sum up
He was certainly the
most talented person I ever worked with. He was like a brother to me
and I was devastated when he died. He always lived on the edge and I
was always waiting for a phone call to say that he had died but I never
dreamed it would be under those circumstances. He’s never got the
credit that he deserves. He should be in the Rock and Roll hall of
fame because he was the greatest white soul singer that England ever
produced. I’m if you caught the likes of Rod Stewart and Paul Rodgers
in a private moment and asked them who was the main man? They would
say Steve Marriott.
Thanks Jerry for your
time, that was super.
Jerry went on to form
a new version of Humble Pie in 2000 with Greg Ridley,
Bobby Tench and Dave Colwell. For full story see issue 20.