Best known for blazing a trail of high-octane hits like “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “Natural Born Boogie, and “30 Days in the Hole,” as well as for their acclaimed albums Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore and Smokin,’ rock icons Humble Pie represent the very pinnacle of early-‘70s British blues-rock. The original lineup, first formed in 1969, featured the late legend Steve Marriott on lead vocals and guitar, Peter Frampton on lead guitar and vocals, Jerry Shirley on drums, the late Greg Ridley on bass and vocals, and—after Frampton’s departure for a solo career in 1971—Clem Clempson on guitar, vocals and keyboards.
Together, they’d tour the planet, rack up several gold records, even headline Madison Square Garden in their heyday, and they’d pioneer an innovative and deeply soulful template for hard rock that would be a massive cross-generational influence on bands like The Black Crowes, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke, and Rival Sons. Even Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, a follower of Marriott’s previous band, The Small Faces, in his teen years, told Rolling Stone Magazine, “I wanted to fucking be Steve Marriot!” And elsewhere, “I could never be compared to Steve, because he’s too good.” Sadly, Marriott perished in a fire at his home in 1991; Ridley passed away from complications of cancer in 2003.
Today, however, co-founder/drummer Jerry Shirley oversees Humble Pie’s legacy from his home in England, maintaining maximum quality control over the presentation of the group and their new, revitalized touring incarnation. “We all have a great sense of love and pride for Humble Pie—the members, their families and what we were able to achieve,” begins Shirley. “And it goes without saying that no one will ever replace Steve, Peter or any member of the band. That said, my goal is keep the legacy of Humble Pie intact, as one of the greatest live acts in rock, while satiating the need for generations of our beloved fans to once again enjoy our music performed live by world-class musicians.”
To that end, Shirley appointed former Bad Company lead guitarist Dave “Bucket” Colwell—who’d played and recorded with Shirley on the last Humble Pie album from 2002, Back on Track—to lead the band live on tour, with blues-infused, powerhouse singer Jimmy Kunes (Savoy Brown, Cactus) handling lead vocals. “Dave represents the bridge to the present-day lineup,” states Shirley “and the live band couldn’t be in better hands than with him and Jimmy. They have my full endorsement.” The band is completed by James “Roto” Rotondi (ex-AIR, Mr. Bungle) on co-lead guitar, Ivan Bodley (Martha & the Vandellas, Sam Moore) on Fender Precision Bass, and Bobby Marks (Dokken, Steeler) fiercely channeling Shirley’s powerful, nuanced work on the drum kit.
After the new lineup’s very first festival performance last Fall at the Ottowa City Fest, a reviewer for KNAC.com declared, “One of the original Humble Pie chefs has concocted the perfect recipe to cook up this new version of the band, using the same ingredients that helped make the first helping of Pie just as tasty then as it is now.” Smokin’, indeed . . .