The Travels of Humble Pie, Colosseum Guitar Stalwart ‘Clem’ Clempson
There’s a faithful rock guitarist who replaced Pierre Frampton in humble pie and played with the Coliseum, Jack Bruce, Cozy Powell, and many others, but whose names remain unknown to many. It’s David Clempson, known to most of his friends and admirers (if not his mother, as he once revealed) as “Clem”.
Born September 5, 1949 in Tamworth, Staffordshire, Clempson was encouraged on the road to the blues when he heard the famous Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album from 1966. He played in local bands such as The Pinch, then rose to prominence in the UK as the founder of the blues-rock power trio Bakerloo.
Bakerloo’s Harvest briefs
Emerge in the wake of the success of three-part power plants Cream and the jimi hendrix Experience, Bakerloo (also featuring bassist Terry Poole and drummer Keith Baker) was a short-lived project. But they left their mark with a self-titled album for up-and-coming Harvest Records.
Bakerloo, released in late 1969 and produced by new Gus Dudgeon, was a combination of the trio’s own compositions and a cover of Willie Dixon’s “Bring It On Home”. Upon the group’s demise, Clempson joined jazz-rock pioneers Colosseum in time for their third album, in the 1970s. daughter of time, which had vocals on five tracks by rhythm ‘n’ blues frontman Chris Farlowe.
When they separated in 1971, Clem was recruited by Steve Marriott and Humble Pie to replace Frampton, who left for a solo career. His arrival, announced on To smoke album the following year, marked the most successful charting period in the band’s history, as the LP climbed into the US top ten.
Three more albums followed before Humble Pie broke up in 1975, after which Clem, bandmate Jerry Shirley and famed drummer Cozy Powell formed Strange Brew. Clem was about to join Dark purple around this time, jamming with the band and hanging out with Jon Lord at his Malibu home, then formed Rough Diamond, with Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron.
Countless other projects and collaborations followed, including work on Powell’s solo album On top and Bruce’s invitation to play with him and fellow heavyweights Billy Cobham and David Sancious. The team produced the 1980 album I always wanted to do this.
Clempson’s extraordinarily productive resume has since included studio work for Paul McCartney, Roger DaltreyRod Argent, Roger Waters and many more, plus countless film scores, including contributions to hits such as tomorrow never dies and Notting Hill. In recent years he has toured in the later Colosseum line-up and with his own band Clem Clempson, which includes Adrian Askew on keyboards, bassist Reggie Worthy and drummer Eddie Filipp.
Buy or stream Humble Pie’s The 1979-1975 A&M vinyl box set.
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