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Steve Marriott Interview

BBC Saturday Club, August 1966

This radio interview was recorded in July 1966 by Brian Mathew for his Saturday Club show and was broadcast in August. It was reproduced in The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette no. 4.

Brian Mathew:

Now we have an interview with The Small Faces' Steve Marriott. Steve came from the rough and tumble world of London's East End and indeed I asked him how tough it was.

Steve Marriott:

Well it's very tough but its petty tough and I'm glad I'm out of it.

Brian:

But were you at this time a musician?

Steve:

Yeah, oh yeah. I managed to get that slung in my face every five minutes.

I think most of 'em though that 'cos I had long hair and used to wear clothes that they didn't agree with…(pauses) well, I used to get many a good hiding for it, put it that way! Which is a shame.

Brian:

It's an unusual background, certainly in Britain, for producing a musician. How do you think you started? What first gave you the urge?

Steve:

Erm, well me dad just brought me a guitar and I learnt a few chords. I used to play on the cemetery wall (laughs), sit up on the cemetery wall and play but I think what really gave me the urge was that a few of me mates fitted me up to sing with a local group just one night and they asked me to join 'em. Which I did. And I think anyone, after about a month, gets it under their skin, y'know. And it doesn't matter how much you're earning, you still got it under your skin and it's great!

Brian:

But you wanted to get out of it in the end, I mean out of the area!

Steve:

Oh, yeah.

Brian:

How important is appearance to you in the way of dress and so on, you mentioned this….(regarding the East End)?

Steve:

Oh, I think to establish yourself in the very early stages, it's very, very important because it sets an image for you. It can either set an image for you, when you're first seen it can do this, clothes, or it can make you a laughing stock. I think it's very, very important to watch how you dress.

Brian:

This sort of whole Mod thing started in London, were you ever a part of it?

Steve:

Oh yeah, I used to go down to the Scene Club (laughs) and all that business! I can't really say that the Mod thing's alive anymore.. I think it was a good scene while it lasted….

Brian:

Why did it finish, do you think?

Steve:

Because kids are always searching for something new. And I think they've found something else now. I think music, overall, has taken over from a lot of things….it's a lot of kicks y'know.

Brian:

Do you think there's an entirely different reaction to music generally among young people?

Steve:

Oh yeah, before it was just something to dance to, and this was all it was. 'Cos I was one of those kids you know. And I didn't really care y'know. I must be honest, what the sound was like or what the singer was doing as long as it had a nice groovy beat y'know, that you could work out to. But now I think kids in general, I hate calling 'em kids, I'm sorry, don't know what else to say y'know….

Brian:

Alright, alright.

Steve:

….they tend to listen to actual sound effects and this is why all this electronic business has come up, it's only to please the kids….and the artist as well, to see what you can get. But, erm, I think music now is at a peak, if it's electronic, if it's opera, I don't care what it is, it's still music, and it's definitely at a peak.

Brian:

How long can this go on Steve. I mean obviously you hope it will go on a long time….how long do you think?

Steve:

Obviously we're not gonna be a success all our lives. We may have a few more hit records and then the public are gonna want something new, which is obvious, which is what we've got to face up to. This is why I'm busying myself writing and I'm very interested in producing and I think these two things will hold me up if I can get enough knowledge in the short time that I've got. Because the public want something new so quick, and you never can tell. Our next record could be a dire flop and then your money drops and where are you from there? So you see I really want to….

Brian:

(Interrupts) But on the other hand a group can continue to produce new things.

Steve:

It can and we hope to. But at the same time the public might not want or like the new things.

Brian:

Yeah.

Postscript:

Shortly afterwards the Small Faces released All or Nothing, their only UK number one single.

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