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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The DTs with Steve Marriott Live in Liverpool February 1989

In an exclusive interview with the Musical Times, local blues singer, composer and harmonica player, Simon ‘Honeyboy’ Hickling, talks about the three years when legendary Small Faces & Humble Pie genius, Steve Marriott, worked with his midland’s blues band, the DTs. Three years that preceded Marriott’s untimely death by fire. The DTs, comprising of myself, Simon 'Honeyboy' Hickling on harmonica and vocals, Craig Ring on bass, Steve Walwyn on guitar and Chas Chaplin on drums, had been gigging semi-professionally for the last half of the 70s. In the 80s we went professional and gigged all over England. Consequently we found ourselves on the same bill as Steve Marriott and the Packet of Three on a number of occasions. Down on his luck Steve had come back to England from the States and was down on his luck. In America, after the collapse of Humble Pie - which had been even bigger after Frampton had left - with about four or five big albums over there - Marriott's solo career had not got off the ground. He also had a bit of personal trouble and he was in some management deal he couldn't get out of. He told me he hadn't been paid. He said he should have been a millionaire three or four times over but when he came back from the States he didn't even have a guitar - he didn't have anything at all. So he phoned up his old roadie who had a guitar under his bed that Steve had previously given him. So equipped with a guitar, and an invitation from Joe Brown, he did a few gigs with Joe Brown and his band, and then he started using some of Joe Brown's guys and doing a few gigs on his own. And then The Packet of Three was formed. The DTs and Marriott In 1986 we, the DTs, went down to see the Packet of Three and had a drink with Marriot at JBs club in Dudley. This was the first time we got talking to Marriott. We used to headline at JBs ourselves occasionally and sell out as well. We went for a drink, me, Steve Marriott and DT guitarist, Steve Walwyn. We went back to Steve's hotel until about five in the morning. A memorable evening. A session! One night we were all at the old Five Bells in Northampton. It was a big gig, a very large room and we were used to play there once a month. I'd recommended The Packet of Three as a main act, and they were there. We'd all had a drink before hand, and there was much larking around, and in the middle of our set Marriott leapt up on stage and began singing with us. Anyway after that gig, In September 1987 I rang Steve Marriott to see if he would jam with us in Leicester. I said you'll have to come to one of our gigs as a special guest down at the Shearsby Bath Hotel - a big regular gig for Leicester musicians up until about ten years when most local bands played there about once a month. It was arranged for him to do a special guest night, however, he didn't turn up there. In the end we arranged for him to gig with us at the Charlotte in Leicester. He came to the Charlotte. I picked him up at the station. He was out of his tree. He did the gig - he played great. We all went back to the holiday Inn. We were drinking all night. Everyone had a lot of laughs and everyone made a bit of money. He went home on the train. He had just left his wife and gone walkabout, so at this stage he would have been at Safron Walden, in Essex, near where he later died, in another house he had rented. Anyway I didn't hear from him for about a couple of months but apparently he fell out with his band, The Packet of Three - now called The Official Receivers. A brilliant band: bassist Jim Leverton - who had been in Humble Pie at one stage, keysman Micky Weaver, who’d played with everybody including Joe Cocker and Joe Brown, and drummer Richard Newman, son of Sound Incorporated’s drummer. Steve Marriott, now without a band, rang me up and said "Do the DTs wanna be my band?" I said, "yeah, if we can do it at weekends and then we can keep our own career going during the rest of the week, so if we just do Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with you, the rest of the week we'll just try and keep our own gigs going 'cause we were busy." That's what we did, and we became Steve Marriott and the DTs. As singer and harmonica player of the DTs, I had no problems stepping to one side to allow Steve Marriot to come in as front man. He asked us to tour with him internationally from February 1988. Personality What was he like? Hugely talented, larger than life. He was a natural pub entertainer. He could have been in any area of show business he wanted to be in. Tell jokes, stories, reminisce, have you in stitches, sing, dance, act. He talked about his past - but with all the alcohol you never knew how much of it was true and how much of it was coloured to make it a better story. If he did exaggerate, he did it to make it funnier. He would have you in fits. And you can’t tell any story about Marriott without swearing. Article compiled & edited by Mike Clifford from an interview with Simon Hickling. From MT 27 June 1999

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