CR AWARDS: Steve Marriott
Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley pay tribute.
Tommy Vance Inspiration Award
Winner: Steve Marriott, received by Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley.
What did it mean to you to receive that award on behalf of Steve?
Peter Frampton: It mattered a great deal. He was such an inspirational person. From the moment that I saw him singing Whatcha Gonna Do About It with The Small faces on Ready Steady Go [in 1965], I knew I wanted to be in a band with Steve. I had to play guitar behind that voice.
Jerry Shirley: I got a call from Steve in 1969. On the one hand it was sad because he was leaving The Small Faces, but on the other he asked to join the band that Peter was putting together. And then he said: ‘By the way, I’ll be bringing Greg Ridley on bass’. A young man’s dreams came true, right there.
It’s purely speculation of course, but what would Steve have felt about such an accolade?
Frampton: Awards didn’t mean that much to him. He didn’t like the limelight in that way. He had an acidic side to him…
Shirley (interrupting): …In the old days he would do anything he could to sabotage those more gentlemanly situations. Who knows what he’d be like now, if you put twenty years on him, because he was showing signs of coming out his bad ways [when he died in 1991], and Peter was doing a lot of help him with that. All it took was one night for things to go wrong; we all know what happened.
An alien comes down from space and doesn’t know who Steve Marriott was. How would you explain his genius?
Frampton: Steve he had more talent in his little finger than a hundred others. He oozed soul from every pore of his body. He was also the greatest teacher; he’d get you in a room and play you one new song or artist after another. He would educate you. And another thing: You haven’t lived until you’ve shared a microphone with him – or tried to.
Shirley: There were nights when the band was playing, maybe not quite at full bore, and he’d push the mic to one stage and I could still hear him above the music. He was amazingly powerful, and it wasn’t just screaming.
Can you name a definitive Marriott moment?
Frampton: For me, it’s Tin Soldier every time. That’s the ultimate. If you listen to the bridge of the song, which is right at the end, it keeps on modulating and his voice goes up and up and up… that’s just stupendous. It’s one of the songs I wish we’d have done in Humble Pie, but he didn’t want to do Small Faces stuff.
(Interview: Dave Ling)
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