Gregg Roth Peter Frampton can make a guitar talk, but he couldn't make his…
- Posted on Oct 15th 2010 4:30PM by James Sullivan
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But Marriott's biggest hit might have been the one on his own life, if he hadn't played nice during a reputed meeting with the Mob. After the singer left the Small Faces, the Mod band that had notable success with the single 'Itchycoo Park' and the concept album 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake,' he formed Humble Pie with Frampton, who'd first emerged in a band called the Herd.
Though Humble Pie had some luck in America, particularly with the single '30 Days in the Hole,' Marriott began to suspect that his manager, Dee Anthony, was funneling the group's money into Frampton's budding solo career. Born Anthony D'Addario, Anthony was Tony Bennett's manager from the mid-1950s until the late '60s, when he began working with British acts hoping to break in America, such as Traffic and Joe Cocker.
With Humble Pie, Anthony led a reckless lifestyle, sinking the band's earnings into beachfront cottages in Nassau, the Bahamas, and planning an expensive, ill-fated documentary trip to Japan. Marriott, meanwhile, gave away Rolls-Royces and was known to run up $800 phone bills in cheap motel rooms. According to Fred Goodman in his book on the commercialization of the music industry, 'The Mansion on the Hill,' Anthony had three rules of business: Get the money, remember to get the money, and don't forget to always remember to get the money.
After Frampton's departure, Humble Pie released an aptly titled flop called 'Eat It.' When Marriott began openly questioning Anthony's business practices, the singer was summoned to a meeting at a social club in New York's Little Italy. According to Marriott's ex-wife, among those in attendance were John Gotti and several other members of the Gambino crime family. Marriott was quietly persuaded to forget about any money he thought he had coming.
A few years later, while Frampton was riding high as a solo act, an increasingly booze- and drug-addled Marriott was informed that he owed more than £100,000 in back taxes to the British government. He moved to California, where he was reduced to redeeming bottles for spare change.
Over the final decade of his life, Marriott struggled to make ends meet, agreeing to Humble Pie reunions and starting pub bands back in the UK (Steve Marriott and the DTs, Steve Marriott's Next Band). He died in a house fire in April 1991, at age 44.
One of the responding firefighters was a fan. Finding the body, he said, was like walking down Memory Lane. Foul play was out of the question: Marriott had simply passed out with a lit cigarette in his hand.