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Rave - April 1968

Steve Marriott is a changed person, After drugs incidents, broken romances and bad publicity, he's done a lot of growing up, as Dawn James discovers when she went along to interview him at his London home.

Behind Steve Marriott's tall house, night air wafted in from the black River Thames. In front, traffic streamed out of London. Inside his pad, which his girlfriend runs, his dogs wear out, and he just loons around in.

"Great seeing you," he said when I arrived. An Alsatian called Lucy, and two mixtures, one called Shamus, roared to his rescue. "O.K. dogs, we're going upstairs." The first floor lounge was red with light, and heavy with music. Steve and Lucy collapsed onto a settee. I hadn't seen Steve for a year, so I looked for a difference. His hair was much longer and his face more interesting. There was an awareness in the eyes that shone too brightly before. There had been drug incidents, broken romances, and a whole lot of growing up done. Things didn't matter so painfully any more. He was a whole lot cooler.

"I went through that scene where everything went wrong for me. It was a drag, man. I tried too hard. I listened to so much advice that I wondered who I was. I was told what to do for my public image, and if I wasn't careful I started believing in the image and forgetting about myself." He banged his chest. "I said to myself one day, it's me, not that cardboard cut-out I read about. Before that I got really hung up about bad write-ups and popularity polls. If I didn't do well in Rave's poll I panicked! It lasted about two years and then I surfaced. I'm just glad I'm still a real person. Now I don't dig everything with such fervour. Take my mother - she phoned me and said 'You didn't win your Battle Of The Giants. Whatever will happen?' Well the world won't end for sure! It's the Herd's turn to worry about things like that now. They've still got it all to go through."

"Eighteen months ago I worried about the next move and the next day. Now I say, great man, let it come and we'll see. It's fun not knowing what's going to happen. I dig that scene. I used to think so hard about things that I felt my head was going to split! Where was I going? But I didn't find the answer."

The dogs were enjoying a tumble in the centre of the sparsely furnished room. Steve put on another screamingly loud record and joined them.
Emerging with Lucy in his arms he went back to the sofa. "I love these dogs; they're part of me and my life. Lucy had distemper and they wanted to put her down, but I wouldn't hear of it. She's much better now, just a bit thin." Lucy licked him.

"The thing I dreaded most when I came back from Australia recently was that the dogs would have forgotten me after two months. But
shamus came to the airport and licked me and went mad. It made me feel great."

There were some bad reports of the Small Faces' Australia - New Zealand tour with the Who and Paul Jones. "That continent was a
complete hang up! we went there with the intention of knocking them out, and we did, but in the wrong way. The Press took a dislike to
our hair and never printed a single truth about the whole tour. They said we were booed off at the Sydney Stadium. What a joke! what
happened was that we went on a revolving stage, where the people sat all round. If the stage doesn't revolve properly the people at the
back don't get to see a thing. It didn't work. All the people there were allowed to stay in for the second house, but the stage was still stuck fast for that performance. Of course the audience got cross, but not with us, with the organisation.

"One night a bloke spent the entire evening flicking pieces of paper at my eyes as I played the organ. I shouted at him that if he didn't
pack it in I'd thump him. It got in the London papers that I'd yelled at the entire audience and walked off in a temper. Rubbish man!
"The Who got arrested every time they came off stage, accused of inciting a riot. Could they help the kids digging them?

"On the last night of the tour in Wellington we were so fed up at the way we had been treated that we let fly. it was my 21st birthday
party and I had a party. I don't often drink, so when I do I get drunk quickly. I was lying on the floor within an hour. Everyone got
merry and started shouting 'reeb' and 'nis' (beer and sin backwards). Because it was us shouting, the inhabitants of the hotel presumed they were vile words. 'Reeb!' we yelled at them. 'Disgusting' they muttered.

"Then we got the idea of chucking everything out of the windows. I had been presented with a beautiful record player. That went out of
the window. The people were thrilled. The wicked British groups were confronting to their Press image. The police were called. I lifted my
head up and saw lots of uniforms. 'Who started this?' the fuzz asked. Of course, no-one answered. Then suddenly this mad figure on
the floor beside me started thudding his chest and screaming, 'It was me, Moon, Keith Moon, it was me, me, I'm a maniac!' What a
fantastic giggle."

Steve is buying himself a home in the country. "It is two cottages set in several acres of ground. I am building a recording studio in
one cottage. I dig my songs all the time. That is all I really do. I get a little sound and put it on tape. Then I add to it, maybe sleep
a whole night and wake up next day and finish it. I'm getting better because I write quicker nowadays. Writing is my scene. I don't go to
clubs, except maybe at three in the morning, when I'm about the only one there and the DJ plays all my requests. When I live in the
country I'll come to town three times a week and get all the work done."

Steve has a new girlfriend. "No names and no comment. After all the publicity on Chrissie Shrimpton I'm shy of public romances. You have
a cool thing going and then it stops, and you want to forget it because it's not there anymore, but people keep reminding you. "Marriage isn't my scene at all. I like to live with a girl if I love her, but I can't stand to be tied down. I get hung up just thinking about it."

It was time to leave. The pop star and dogs headed downstairs ahead of me. There was a kiss from Steve, licks from the dogs, the door was
unlocked, and he waved me off into the cold night.

Many thanks to Iain McGonigal for supplying this article

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