Martin Cooper checks out the influential guitar styles of Steve Marriott and Clem Clempson from the early-70s rock supergroup Humble Pie.
Martin Cooper eats Humble Pie with Steve Marriott and Clem Clempson!
influenced other well-known artists including Kiss, Aerosmith, Stereophonics and Mr Big, who covered 30 Days In The Hole on their eponymous debut album.
Humble Pie were initially signed to Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records and scored a Top 5 hit single with Natural Born Bugie, and Rolling Stone magazine described their debut album in 1970 as one of the first Heavy Metal. As the 70s progressed they also found fame in America. Frampton was subsequently replaced by ex-Colosseum guitarist Clem Clempson, and their sound continued to move towards a harder rock style, having previously dabbled with more acoustic offerings before his departure. They disbanded in 1975, only to reunite in 1979 with changes to the line-up, but this later incarnation lacked the success of the early 70s line-up of Marriott (guitar and vocals), Clempson (guitar), Greg Ridley (bass) and Jerry Shirley (drums).
Sadly Marriott battled with drink and drugs, and died in a house fire in his 16th century Essex home in 1991.
It’s also worth remembering what a great singer Mariott was - he did vocal sessions including TV commercials and is rated as having one of the finest voices of his era.
The incarnation of the band that we’re looking at here is the Marriott/Clempson hard rock style, and you can hear how this riff-based music has influenced a number of famous artists over the past four decades. Marriott’s playing is founded in the blues and there are also elements of Hendrix-style Pentatonic phrasing in his playing, as well as the influence of other soul based musicians and bands. Clempson is a little more ‘rock’ in style and there are Minor scale phrases and arpeggios in his playing, along with those tried and trusted Pentatonics.
Our track starts in the key of D(D E F# G A B C#) although there are a number of non-diatonic notes and chords such as the Cadd9 and C5. When we get to the solo section
Humble Pie have influenced artists such as Kiss, Aerosmith, Stereophonics and Mr Big.
the key moves up a tone (two frets on the guitar) to E (E F# G# A B C# D#), although again there are non-diatonic notes included such as D, G and C.
The first eight bars of the solo is in Steve Marriott’s style, and based largely on the E Minor Pentatonic scale (EG A B D), while the last eight bars is more Minor scale and arpeggio based, in the Clem Clempson style.
Check out the Playing Tips, notation and Get The Tone box for more information.
Steve Marriott: with customised LP Custom!