"If it's of any interest, Jerry and I were great school mates in the sixties. He was a great drummer, even as a young kid, and had his first drum kit set up in the public bar of the Three Tuns in Hereford. It was obvious from those early days music was going to be everything to him. We lost touch in the mid-sixties and not met since."....Eddie
Actually, he was playing in a Band called The Valkyrie by the time he was 11. (Jerry called it underground...I guess a few years before underground was invented, and before Robert Plant cornered the market in Nordic wails)
After that it was Little People, who were (guess what with that name?) full blown Small Faces copyists. Steve Marriott saw him play, and was impressed. Marriott adopted him as a kind of child protege, and asked him to stand in any time Kenney Jones was unwell.
Jerry's dad was a drummer in a swing band, and he grew up listening to the the old swing drummers like Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Sonny Payne from Count Basie's Orchestra. Then when rock n roll started kickin in big time, he was a huge fan of Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell and Charlie Watts. His biggest American influence was Al Jackson from Booker T and the MG's.
Jerry's band was named by Andrew Oldham as Apostolic Intervention and were soon releasing a single on Oldham's Immediate label. The single came as catalogue number IM043 : Have you ever seen me, b/w Madame Garcia. Some say it's not the Apostolic Intervention, it's the Small Faces. Probably a combination of both, by my reckoning.
Ingredients of the Pie
When Steve Marriott was helping Peter Frampton shed his "Herd" teenybop problems by helping him put together a new group, his mind immediately turned to self confessed Small Faces fanatic, little Jerry Shirley, who was still only seventeen at the time. Jerry had gone on to form the band Little Women, but not before jamming with Frampton as the basics of new band . Then on what would be a moste fateful New Year's Eve for Jerry, Steve Marriott rang to say that he had agreed with Frampton to join the new band, and that he was bringing one of the scene's very top musicians with him - Greg Ridley from Spooky
Tooth. Jerry was delighted that Steve would be joining, but especially thrilled about Greg. The two went on to be one of the tightest live rhythm sections in the world.
Only a Roach
Famously, Jerry wrote the music to "Fool for a Pretty Face" to which Steve Marriott added the lyrics. He wrote music for four other tracks on "On to Vistory".
Jerry's singing on Humble Pie's "Only a Roach" wasn't to be the start of a big vocalist career for him. He is a multi-instumentalist, playing piano, guitar and wurlitzer piano as well as a whole host of percussion intruments including percussion saw!
Steve Marriott (1969), "Jerry plays nice piano."
Jerry Shirley (1969), "Steve plays nice drums."
When Jerry left Humble Pie in 1975, he was just 23 years old, having packed more into those short years than most people do in a lifetime. But his headlining days were almost over. He formed Natural Gas with ex Badfinger and Colosseum members. They released one album, before mutating into Magnet, and releasing the Worldwide Attraction album in 1979.
He was then a driving force behind the reformation of Humble Pie in late 1979, bringing in Magnet bass player "Sooty" Jones, when Greg Ridley was unavailable.
After the Humble Pie reformation in 1981, Jerry formed Fastway with Eddie Clarke of Motorhead. Fastway went on to release two albums in 1983 and 1984. Following that Jerry teamed up again with Steve Marriott in Packet of Three, and then toured with Badfinger in the late 1980's.
Jerry on the death of Steve Marriott (April, 1991)
"We lost, in my view, one the the truly greatest white blues singers in the entire world, way better than almost all of them out there. You ask the real top notch singers and they'll tell you. We lost one of the absolute best songwriters we ever had. We lost a much better guitar player than anybody gave him credit for, in particular a rhythm player. We lost a fabulous piano player. We lost one of the naturally most witty people I've ever known. As far as live performing, in terms of working a stage, working an audience, he helped invent a lot of what is taken for granted in rock and roll performance today."
Over the years, Jerry has worked with a whole range of people, including David Gilmour, Alexis Korner, Billy Nicholl, Syd Barrett, John Entwhistle, Sammy Hagar and Benny Mardones.
Nowadays, Jerry owns the Humble Pie name, and has done so for many years. He gigged throughout the nineties with a version of Humble Pie, based around ex-Ted Nugent band singer Charlie Huhn. While never comparing in any way to the original band, they were a tight outfit, while playing the Humble Pie back catalogue with aplomb.
Also in the mid-90's, Jerry turned to broadcasting when he accepted a job as a radio show host in Cleveland, Ohio. He also owned a carpentry business until a fateful day in August, 1999 when he was seriously injured in an auto accident. Upon recovering, Jerry moved back to London for a happy reunion with his wife and children.
In 2000, Jerry reformed Humble Pie as a touring band in the UK and Europe with Greg Ridley, Bobby Tench, Dave "Bucket" Colwell and Zoot Money. The group left behind an excellent legacy with the Back on Track CD, released in February 2002.