Humble Pie have a double live album out soon, called "Performance", recorded at the Fillmore East. And it should show Britain, apart from those who saw them at Hyde Park in July with Grand Funk Railroad, what they are really like.
When you think about it, it's taken them a long time to find out what they are - three years and five albums. But now they know. Steve Marriott ventured last week from his Essex home. He was suffering from a bit of a chill and only felt safe on orange juice. By my round he was on brandy.
"We whought we'd do a live album because we're more of a live group. When we started we were more of a recording band but since we've been playing in America (they've done five tours this year) we've become a performing band"
And a cheap one too ! Their album will cost only the price of a single album.
"America has doen a lot for us, and for me particularly. The audiences are incredible. They are as important on the new album as we are. It's just working hard that's helped us. The last 18 months I had in the Faces didn't do any of us any good because we didn't work; we didn't even rehearse. I just forgot everything. Since we've been playing in America I've realised what I do best and I'm doing it and enjoying it twice as much as before".
"It's just what I used to do in '65 - '66 only I like to think I'm better at it. I'm just a rock n roller, that's what I'm best at"
Steve, by this time on brandy and coke, reveals that the band were really nervous about the Hyde Park gig. It was the first time they had shown in this country what they are really like. When they formed, unbelievably three years ago, they experimented with all kinds of things, using keyboards and even acoustic sets. But that's all past them now. They're just a raw bawdy rock band. Hyde Park was the first time they did that sort of set in this country - that's why they were nervous.
"And it worked. We got a really good response from the crowd. It was great seeing all those Englishmen standing up on their feet. They gave us a real welcome home when we went on stage. And that did our confidence a lot of good."
But Humble Pie don't plan to appear in Britain yet. They go back to America again in the autumn.
"We owe America something because they turned us into a touring band. But at least we feel confident about appearing in Britain again now. Hyde park was the first time over here for ages"
Besides, they are literally based in the Staes now; their offices, Management and agency are there. And it's not only America they're grateful to , but their Manager Dee Anthony too
"When we first went there we completely lacked confidence. Our manager told us our act was too long, and told us to drop certain numbers and concentrate on the exciting stuff. And he was right. I reached the stage where I was afraid to wiggle my leg, but then I thought 'why shouldn't I?' It's what I do and now I know how to turn an audience on again."
"The Faces made some good records but we didn't work enough. We lost contact with the audience."
"We were together for four years and it became a downhill thing. It was best for me and the other three to part. It's taken three years for me to get that uphill thing but now we've got it ! Rock On ! And they're doing well too. Rod's huge in America. They've got the energy back as well!"
One thing that has helped the rise of Humble Pie is the apparent passing of the "cool" age. in the days when groups told audiences to sit down and listen to the music - well it wasn't the right environment for bands like Humble Pie.
"People who got on their feet and freaked about were called idiot dancers. and nobody wants to be called an idiot dancer. But the whole idea of rock and roll is to get people off their arses - that's what it's about"
"Another thing that has helped me is getting telegrams in America from Pete Townshend saying 'your new single's great'. If he likes it then it must be good.. It's great that he's still digging what I do - because I'm still digging him. We heard the new Who album in the States - great; 'bout time Tommy got the boot!"
Humble Pie are ready to make a sort of comeback in Britain. They've got the confidence now, but their manager doesn't think the time is right, and they go along with what he says. They particularly feel good after Hyde Park as the only criticism of them was that they were too loud. Steve's reply to that is unprintable !
They won't be here to push their next album, and anyway they want things to happen for them as naturally here as it has been in the States. Mind you their tours in America have been with some pretty big names which can only do a bad group harm. Next time, however, they will be topping themselves.
"I just want people to say that Humble Pie are a good band, and I don't want any hype or anything like that to have anything to do with it"
The only problem seems to be guitarist Peter Frampton. The others worry about him because of his macro-biotic diet.
"he really looks knackered after a gig. If you do a heavy show you need heavy food. You can't work as hard as we do and then eat a yoghurt!"