Clem Clempson interview about Bakerloo, Colosseum, Humble Pie and more!
Hi Clem! It’s really nice to talk with you. What are you currently up to?
I’ve recently put a new “Clem Clempson Band” together to record a cd in the autumn and tour next year – Adrian Askew on keyboards, Eddie Fillip on drums and Reggie Worthy on bass – all really great musicians and I can’t wait to record and play “live” with them! I’m also working on material for a new Colosseum cd.
I want to go back in time to your childhood. Where did you grew up and what are perhaps some influences that made an impact on you?
I grew up in Tamworth, in the UK Midlands… my earliest influences were the bands that would be playing in the local working mens’ clubs, where my family would go on Sunday evenings for a drink… I was always very excited about seeing those bands, the “hip” ones would be playing the latest Shadows tunes, and I especially loved to see and hear the electric guitars they had – electric guitars weren’t so common around that area in those days! The best band was called The Wanderers, and the guitarist had a white Stratocaster – I would just sit there gazing at that!
Was Bakerloo your first band or were you in any other bands?
My first band was formed with friends at school, we were called “The Vipers”, and we played a lot of gigs at the working men’s clubs I just mentioned – there’s a web site with information about us, and posters from some of the gigs – http://www.tamworthbands.com/vipers/index.htm
Let’s talk about Bakerloo. How did you guys came together to form this powerful trio?
A local guy called David Mason asked me to join his band, which was called “The Pinch”, and which had a drummer called John Hinch – Mason wasn’t the world’s best bass player and he was soon replaced by a local boy called Terry Poole! John left the band soon after, and then Terry and I began a long quest to find the drummer of our dreams; we got through quite a few including Pete York and Poli Palmer, before we found Keith Baker, who was just what we’d been looking for – a drummer with a great rock feel and attitude but also the chops to play more adventurous stuff!
Harvest Records signed you up and in 1969 you released a single and your selftitled LP. I would like if you could share some of the strongest memories from recording and producing this LP?
The main memory is that it was my first real experience of recording, and there was a lot to learn! It was the first production by Gus Dudgeon, who had engineered some of my favourite albums, including the legendary Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton.
What gear did you guys use and in what studio did you record?
It was recorded in Trident studios in London, I played my ’58 Les Paul goldtop through a Laney stack.
Why did you choose the name? Did it have a deeper meaning for you or was it just a coincidence?
Our manager came up with the name when he was travelling on the Bakerloo line on London’t underground – it didn’t have any special meaning, it just sounded cool!
Tell us about concerts. Where did Bakerloo play and with who?
After John Peel heard us play in Birmingham we appeared on his radio show, which was incredibly influential and the only chance to hear good music on the BBC! Soon after that we were booked by all the best blues clubs around the UK, such as the Roundhouse and the Marquee, where we supported Led Zeppelin on their first UK date!
What happened next. I know you joined Colosseum and after that you were in Humble Pie. How did that happened and what are some memories from playing in this two great bands?
Bakerloo supported Colosseum at a gig at Cambidge University, and when Bakerloo split up soon after Jon Hiseman called me and asked me to audition for Colosseum – I got the gig! I have a lot of wonderful memories of that time – Bakerloo had mostly just gigged in the UK, but now I started playing all over Europe which was very exciting. And we played some of the biggest festivals of that time, including the famous Bath festival. Then when Colosseum were about to split two years later Humble Pie were looking for a replacement for Peter Frampton – good timing, and now I had the chance at last to visit and perform in the USA, which had been a dream of mine all along. I had a lot of fun with that band and played a lot of seriously rocking shows!!
Thanks a lot for taking your time, Clem! Would you like to send a message to your fans and to It’s Psychedelic Baby readers?
Thanks a lot for your interest in my music, hopefully there’s still a lot more to come and I hope that your readers will have the chance to hear it!
Best wishes, Clem
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
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