Interview: Small Faces
A musical about the Mod pioneers The Small Faces is on a UK tour. Peter Grant got on his moped and caught up with the show’s writer.
By Peter Grant
Meet the real Modfathers.
They inspired Led Zeppelin, The Jam, Blur, Oasis, The Verve, Ocean Colour Scene and countless other bands.
Now 60s legends The Small Faces are themselves the stars of a hugely-successful musical play.
All or Nothing is the title of the hit show which is now on its third UK tour having hit one million in ticket sales.
The musical featuring a live band enjoyed a three night run at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall. Now it is heading to Chester Storyhouse.
EastEnders star Carol Harrison, who played Louise Raymond in the soap, is the woman behind this success story.
Carol, an accomplished award-winning actress and screenwriter, not only wrote and produced the play – she also stars in it, playing Kay – the mother of inspirational singer-songwriter Steve Marriott.
It was a real labour of love for the real life EastEnder who had known Steve when she was just an eight-year-old. One of her cousins played in a bands with the visionary Steve
‘’He was such a talented, lovely, funny man,’’ says Carol.
‘’Growing up I had a huge crush on him.
‘’I am just honoured that this play takes the legacy of Steve, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane and Ian McLaglan to new generations from teenagers to grandparents.
‘’We have been so proud that some people have been to see it again and again.
“In Glasgow forty Mods came to greet us.
‘’And Paul Weller loves it.’’
The show sees two actors play Steve and features a stunning live band who perform the group’s catalogue of hits including the title song, Itchycoo Park, Tin Soldier, Whatcha Gonna Do About It and Lazy Sunday.
Steve, who died in a fire at his home in 1991, would have been 70 this year.
Carol believes had he lived he would be making music now.
She says: ‘’He could do most things. He was once the Artful Dodger in Lionel Bart’s Oliver.
‘’But it was R and B music that he loved and always turned to. He would be writing and playing music – I am sure of that.’’
Carol has put all of her energies into this show from raising the money to appearing in it and selling it.
She says she is so looking forward to the run at the Storyhouse. She hs strong links with the North.
Carol says there is interest in a film version. For now she is aiming for a West End run.
She says her show is full of cockney humour while being ‘edgy’ focusing on the career of those four – underrated working class musicians.
The actress says she last played in Merseyside in 1983 – a highlight in her life appearing in Alfie at the Playhouse with Adam Faith.
But recently she had a ‘Goosebumps’ experience doing a promotional event in the Cavern where she paid her own personal homage to John Lennon.
‘’I have fond memories of visiting my best friend Judy Holt in Port Sunlight – I am Godmother to her daughter.
‘’So it’s a part of the tour I am so looking forward to – the people there love their music.’’
Carol, who had a cameo in The Who’s Quadrophenia film, strove for Mod authenticity in her own latest production from the outset.
Steve Marriott’s daughter, Mollie, is the show’s vocal coach and members of the families of Small Faces members have given it their ‘thumbs up.’
And soul superstar P.P Arnold is a fan – she was one of Steve’s closest friends.
‘’I believe Steve would have loved it, too ’’ she says.
‘’Our live band and cast featuring the talented Chris Simmons (one time star of The Bill) tell the story of the rise and fall of the band, a journey as vivid and colourful as their sound, and we get to showcase an amazing catalogue of music – real hard-edged R & B.
‘’Their music influenced millions of fans – me included.
‘’When I started out I knew it would be a long, hard road with many highs and lows, but I wanted integrity. I am now in my 60s and still dancing.
‘’I had to get it right for the Mods. With me, like Steve and the other Small Faces it was always . . . All or