By Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.d., Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Rock At Night (RAN) had the opportunity to speak with Mollie Marriott recently. She has a new album coming out in September called “Truth Is A Wolf” and she will be performing at The Borderline, London, on June 1st. Special guests include Anna Krantz and Pocket Dragon. If you are a fan of Stevie Nicks or Sheryl Crow, you’ll love Mollie!
With a little help from her friends
RAN: It’s such an honor to talk to you. For you to know (I have to confess), your father is my all-time favorite rock star.
Mollie: Oh! (laughing)
RAN: I’m serious. I’m not bullshitting you. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been following Small Faces and Humble Pie—because of my parents. I remember when they bought the album Smokin’…
Mollie: Oh, yeah…
RAN: I was a little girl. I listened to that album over and over and over…and when I started to learn how to drum, I said, “I’m gonna’ be like Jerry Shirley.”
Mollie: Oohhh! (laughing)
RAN: On Facebook I’m in all sorts of Small Faces, Steve Marriott, and mod groups. I started following you a couple of years ago after Mac died. I noticed that you were starting to produce singles. I started following your work on social media.
OK…I understand you have been doing singing (back-up singing and now solo) for a number of years? I guess since a teenager? I know music is in your genes but please tell me about how you got interested in music.
Mollie: I was raised by my stepfather Joe Brown. With his friends coming over to the house (and we had a studio in the house), I had a very musical upbringing–so it was inevitable that it was going to happen.
Backing vocals was my thing. I actually love doing backing vocals. It all kind of fringed from hearing “With A Little Help From My Friends” (the Joe Cocker version)—and I so wanted to be one of those backing vocalists [when I was young]. So I started when I was 15 with a band called Oasis. They were recording the album Heathen Chemistry at the time and they were recording demos of the songs they had written. I was at the studio at the time and Liam said, “Do you want to do this?”
I said, “No” because I was completely frozen and freaked out. He said, “If you can sing in front of me then you can sing in front of anyone.” And producing their album was a guy named Stan Kybert and he was very encouraging. I had known him for awhile because he was my best friend’s friend. So, I did it—and I got the bug! It didn’t stop, really…Down the line I went to Stan to produce my album, so it kind of came full circle, really.
RAN: That was really quite an honor for Liam Gallagher taking you under his wing…
Mollie: Yeah! It was really cool! He didn’t make it easy for me. He pressed his face against the blooming glass while I’m doing it. He was stressing me and making me nervous. I think it was Liam and Gem Archer, the guitarist, whom I love to bits, said, “Mol, do you want us to go?” I said, “Please.” Liam said, “No, no, I’m staying.” I said, “Please.” Stan eventually asked them to leave, and they did. I owe Liam, I do…
RAN: So were you shy or did you just not feel confident as a singer, at that point?
Mollie: Both, really. I mean, they were the ultimate rock stars at that point. You know what I mean? They were huge! I was such a big fan of them. It was terrifying!
RAN: What a story! I mean, once you’ve done something like that you can do anything!
Mollie: Well, I thought that but it’s funny, I was in a girl band when I was really young and I was touring a lot with them. You do get a bit more cocky about it at that age. It wasn’t until I had my daughter at a very young age of 23 and it wasn’t until I got back into it (after I had her) that I went “Jesus, I have really done some awesome things at a young age!” I’ve got so far to go yet! You just appreciate it a lot more, I think, as you get older.
Down-to-earth and real
RAN: So that’s why there is kind of a gap between your teens and the last couple of years? You kind of took a break…
Mollie: I took a break. I actually went into dental nursing.
RAN: Oh, my goodness!
Mollie: My mum was a dental nurse for 30 years and it used to fascinate me. So I thought, “I want to try it!” So, I did it for like three or four years and then…well…I wasn’t very good at it.
<Lots of laughing>
Mollie: Because my brain was out of whack. It was in music. I loved it! I loved it so much! If I hadn’t had a musical brain in my body I probably would have really gotten into it because I was working at one of the top practices in the UK. It was surgical rather than aesthetics like implants, bone grafts, and gum replacements.
Mollie: Yes, surgery, but it wasn’t where my heart was at. So I started singing and my daughter came along as a very lovely surprise. When she was two weeks old I flew into a gig in Sweden and came back. When she was seven weeks old I was at the Albert Hall. It was mad and then it went dead quiet for a good 1 ½ or 2 years.
RAN: I had never read any of this [history] before. You were essentially a working girl and you decided to follow your heart. I admire that! It takes guts!
Mollie: Oh, thank you!
The new single “Control”
RAN: It was a couple of years ago that I started to see videos from you like the ballad “A Million Miles”. I have to say your latest song “Control” I really, really like it because it is rocking. It is definitely rocking!
Mollie: I know it is definitely rock but I naturally write slower stuff. That is the first one that I have written like that…and I do love it!
I’m already writing for the next album. This album was written but it has never been released. A few promos went out to journalists but it was never properly released. I was never happy with it so I took it to my friend Stan Kybert who produced Paul Weller and Oasis and said, “Help me! This isn’t sounding like I want it to sound. I want a big sound…and it was not happening.
I wrote the album at a time when I was extremely low. I was a rock bottom so the songs are a bit more subdued than rockier stuff. “Control” I actually wrote about six months ago and gave it to Stan. He said, “This is the next single” or your “comeback single”. Like the lyrics “haven’t you heard the word” I am taking things in my hands again.
RAN: I just saw the video of the acoustic version too and I really liked it! It looked like you were in a library or something?
Mollie: I’ll tell you where that is. It is Bob Harris’ cabin in his house. It’s all music books and CDs behind me. It is in his studio where he films his show for the radio. So they do this great thing called “Under the Apple Tree” because the studio is literally under an apple tree. He gets in loads of artists and bands to perform and it’s great! It’s such a cool thing!
RAN: It’s funny, the song lends itself to both an acoustic and full-blown electric sound. It’s a great single! I’m glad you picked it!
Mollie: Ah! Thank you!
RAN: Your voice sounds like Stevie Nicks or Sheryl Crow. I just took photos of her a couple of weeks ago. I actually really like it when you sing more rock-blues.
Mollie: Well, thank you, but you really have to be careful when you sing blues that it doesn’t sound like everybody else. There’s so many rock and blues bands that sound the same.
RAN: True, true…
Mollie: It’s really hard to break out of a certain pocket where that fits. My vocal is more bluesy. You know, I wouldn’t say “Stevie Nicks is a blues artist.”
It’s the label, man…
RAN: I guess this song “Control” is a lot more bluesy than “Ship of Fools”.
Mollie: Actually “Ship of Fools” was not my idea…it isn’t my own song. It was a song by a band called “World Party” and the label I was with at the time wanted me to do it. I really didn’t want to do it…but no offense to World Party (it’s a great song). If you go to YouTube and look up World Party (and I told myself, hey, if I’m going to do this song I want to completely change it and strip it). So we made it more Sheryl Crow-like. Yeah, it’s not my song and I’ve tried to move away from that, really…
The reason they picked “A Million Miles” because they thought it would work better for radio. Again, it wasn’t my favorite. I’ll tell you what though about “A Million Miles” because it really doesn’t work for records but when we do it “live”, it is amazing! It has a real Fleetwood Mac drive to it…and people go mad!
RAN: I almost wonder if the moral is to go with your gut….do what you like and not what you are told…
Mollie: Yeah, but unfortunately I had to…
Latex, leather, and soccer moms
RAN: I noticed in the older videos you came off as almost Olivia Newton John-ish but with “Control” you come off as sassy and sexy. It had more of a raw feeling and I really liked [the video]. It’s just my opinion.
Mollie: I think I kind of got my confidence with that one. It helps when you have a good team around you. I have an amazing stylist. I’m mega-obsessed with clothes (just like my dad was). I really, really am! And at my house I always wanted to wear these kind of clothes but I felt like I couldn’t because I was a mum….or where I live in England is quite snooty…or I would be frowned upon. I didn’t want to embarrass my daughter at school. Then I met my amazing stylist I call “Vic” and she said, “C’mon, leather, latex..I know this is what you are crying out to wear” and I said, “I really am” . She took me in there and I was like “Oh, shit!” <laughing>
RAN: I’m really cracking up because I’m picturing you as a soccer mom who was doing the everyday stuff like taking the kids to school…and now you are in the latex!
Mollie: I have NEVER been a soccer mom!
RAN: Thank God!
Mollie: My daughter would laugh her head off if she heard you say that! The other day I picked her up in my knee length latex skirt (and I felt horrible) because I had nothing to wear because all of my clothes needed a wash. So I went to school and the LOOK of the moms. They are ALL soccer moms. I had dyed my hair pink and I had a jeans jacket on with my latex skirt and I walked up to my daughter who burst out laughing. She loves it! My daughter is quite a goth! She’s amazing.
The new album “Truth is a Wolf”
RAN: When is the album coming out officially?
Mollie: I think it is September. The album is called Truth is a Wolf and the reason I named it that is because I went to Nashville a couple of years ago and a friend of mine had written a song called “Truth Is a Wolf” and he said, “I’m going to give it to Bonnie Raitt.” And I said, “Noo…you are gonna’ give it to ME.” I listened to it and loved it and the chorus to it is “truth is a wolf it will hunt you down.” I loved that and it was really apparent to me at the time.
RAN: Is that your favorite track on the album?
Mollie: It changes all the time! I’m gonna’ say “King of Hearts” and it’s really sleazy. Paul Weller is actually playing on that track.
A Special Question
RAN: There’s a question I always wanted to ask but didn’t know if it was OK or not. I’ve read “All Too Beautiful” and anything I can about Steve Marriott and your family. I understand that Toby is into music. Do you keep in touch with him or would you two ever team up and do something?
Mollie: Toby is the love of my life! About 16 years ago we did some singing together. It’s so hard to see him since he is in Atlanta. I haven’t gone there in years and he’s always coming here. When I was born he was my big brother. I love him very much! I love all my siblings very much! They’re all great!
RAN: I’ve seen photos of the family in books and I was thinking “Man, if the two of you got together and made music—it would be brother and sister—it would be a powerhouse. I just thought it would be a cool idea! It will happen sometime.
Mollie: My sister Tanya is a great player as well. I hope it would happen! I can’t wait!
RAN: I just thought it would be really cool because it’s in your genes and you would harmonize well, too, because you are family!
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS – ‘POCKET DRAGON’ & ‘ANNA KRANTZ’
Daughter of legendary Small Faces and Humble Pie singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, plays intimate London show
24 Hour Box Office – O8444 780 898 / Book tickets from The Gig Cartel, Alt Tickets, See Tickets