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Clip: Dave Hoekstra interviews Ian McLagan

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  • Carl Z.
    The faces behind the Faces October 8, 2006 BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporter The
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 9, 2006
      <http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/hoekstra/87022,SHO-Sunday-Ian08.article>

      The faces behind the Faces

      October 8, 2006
      BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporter
      The rain poured on the Rolling Stones last weekend during their
      historic concert at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Ky.
      Mick Jagger was backstage changing expensive clothes when Keith
      Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts huddled for a grungy version of
      "Little T&A," an overlooked Richards track from the Stones album
      "Tattoo You."

      Now, the Stones were a band -- sloppy but true. But similar sparks
      ignited the music of Faces, the Stones' contemporaries and (ahem) the
      world's greatest rock 'n' roll band between 1969 and 1973.

      Wood has been in both bands. He, keyboardist Ian McLagan and the late
      bassist Ronnie Lane were kindred spirits in the Faces (which started
      life as the Small Faces) -- the band where lead singer Rod Stewart
      morphed into the glamourous, swaggering Jagger role.

      Where are they all now? This week answers all the questions.

      # First, the Stones roll into Soldier Field at 7 p.m. Wednesday for
      the third Chicago stop on their juggernaut "A Bigger Bang" tour, this
      time with Elvis Costello & the Imposters opening.
      # At 9 that same night, McLagan -- who first played with the Stones on
      stage in 1964, and who will open for them later this month in his
      adopted hometown of Austin, Texas -- brings his Bump Band to the
      Chicago area for a three-night residency at FitzGerald's in Berwyn.
      # The day before, Tuesday, Rod Stewart hits the streets with a new CD
      of covers, "Still the Same: Great Rock Classics of Our Time" -- and
      hits movie theaters nationwide with a satellite broadcast concert.

      There's a chance Wood could show up for one of McLagan's shows, McLagan says.

      "The Stones were in Houston in December, and we were playing the
      Continental Club," McLagan said from his home in Austin. "They finish
      around 11, we start around 11:30. The place was packed. I started
      playing 'Mystifies Me' which is one of Woody's songs [from 1974], and
      Woody walked in. He and his security guards were pushing their way
      through the center of the crowd, and he's yelling, 'I'm here, you
      bastard!' I got halfway through the song, and next thing I know we're
      lifting him up on the stage."

      Wood joined the band for four extended songs, including the Small
      Faces' "Whatcha' Going to Do About It" and McLagan's "Little
      Troublemaker."

      In 1964, McLagan and his first band, Muleskinner, opened for the
      Stones in in England after their first American tour. McLagan then was
      the Stones' keyboardist for their 1978 and '81 tours. Now, McLagan and
      his Bump Band are set to open for the Stones on Oct. 22, when they
      appear in Austin.

      "This may or may not be their last tour," McLagan said of the Stones.
      "And it's their first time in Austin. The Faces never made it to
      Austin. Woody played here with his band, and Ronnie Lane sat in with
      us."

      McLagan's latest record is "Spiritual Boy -- An Appreciation of Ronnie
      Lane" (Maniac Records), an elegant tribute to his former mate, who
      would have turned 60 in April. Lane died of complications from
      multiple sclerosis in May 1997. The record features Faces chestnuts
      such as "Glad and Sorry" and "Debris," which were written by Lane, and
      "You're So Rude," which was written by Lane and McLagan.

      "There were many sides to Ronnie Lane," McLagan said. "He was a rascal
      with the ladies. He was a thinker, right from the early days. When we
      took acid, I was overcome with the beauty of flowers -- or anything.
      I'd spend all night drawing Ronnie, myself, the carpet. Well, he
      discovered Buddhism. That alienated him from the rest of us, but we'd
      snap him out of it every now and then."

      Lane wrote the timeless song "Debris" (the flip side to the Faces'
      1971 hit "Stay With Me") about his father, Stan Lane. "Debris" says
      much in a short song -- Lane describes a return visit home: "I went
      there and back just to see how far it was / and you, you tried to tell
      me, but I had to learn for myself ..." -- and McLagan has updated the
      track, adding searching cellos.

      McLagan's tribute CD has a picture of a smiling Stan Lane, smoking a
      cigarette and plunking away on a ukelele. "Ronnie had that photograph
      on his bedroom wall up until the moment he died," McLagan said. "It
      was on his bedroom wall when we first lived together in 1966. And that
      photograph is a total lie. His dad was a lovely man, but he never wore
      glasses, he didn't smoke and he couldn't play the ukelele. It was
      funny."

      However, one time Stan Lane gave his son this lasting advice: "You
      play an instrument, you always have a friend."

      Another "Spiritual Boy" highlight is "Itchycoo Park," the Small Faces
      1968 smash that McLagan reworks into a ballad. Lane had a folk music
      sensibility. The Small Faces included vocalist-guitarist Steve
      Marriott (replaced later by Stewart), McLagan, Lane and future Faces
      drummer Kenney Jones.

      In 1990, Lane asked McLagan to join him on a tour of Japan. While
      rehearsing for the tour in Austin, McLagan met his current drummer Don
      Harvey (Billy Bragg, Charlie Sexton). Lane wanted to include "Itchycoo
      Park" in the set.

      "We were doing it the way the Small Faces cut it, and I didn't like
      it," McLagan said. "I liked the track, but I just didn't like, 'IT'S
      ALL TOO BEAUTIFUL!' It's too jolly. And I didn't feel life was all too
      beautiful at that point."

      McLagan later studied the lyrics and even wrote them out. He said, "I
      realized he's talking about Oxford and Cambridge and England; much
      bigger than, 'It's all too beautiful.' He says, 'Over a bridge of
      sighs,' which is Cambridge, 'to rest my eyes in shades of green, under
      dreaming spires' -- that's Oxford. It's a beautiful song, and I
      discovered it for the first time when I studied it. ... That's it.
      People are now rediscovering that song, which is a great thing."

      Although bass was not Lane's primary instrument, he became known for
      his melodic bass lines in the Faces. (After the Faces broke up, Lane
      was guitarist for Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance.) "So many bass players
      admire him," McLagan said. "My bass player included [Mark Andes of
      Spirit]. Glen Matlock [original Sex Pistols bassist] -- who would have
      been my choice had the Faces ever reformed -- always loved Ronnie's
      playing. We'll do a Ronnie song, and he plays it just like Ronnie. A
      lot of bass players are, 'boom, boom, boom,' padding and pumping.
      Ronnie would always find a melody. He'd suggest lovely horn lines. God
      bless him."

      For a complete look at the Rolling Stones' Louisville concert, visit
      http://www.blogs.suntimes.com/hoekstra

      McLagan on Stewart: He's a thief and he can't sing
      Rod Stewart's new disc "Still the Same: Great Rock Classics of Our
      Time," out on Tuesday, is a K-Tel sounding project that follows his
      hugely successful string of four albums covering the Great American
      Songbook. Here, he turns to rock and covers Bonnie Tyler's "It's a
      Heartache" (a natural for Stewarts' raspy vocals), Bob Dylan's "If Not
      For You," Van Morrison's "Crazy Love," John Fogerty's "Have You Ever
      Seen the Rain?" and the Bob Seger title track, among others.

      "He can't write -- all he can do is cover Bob Seger's hits!" quips his
      old bandmate Ian McLagan, who backed Stewart in the rollicking Faces
      in the early '70s.

      McLagan's 1998 biography, All The Rage: My High Life With the Small
      Faces, the Faces, the Rolling Stones and Many More (Pan Books) ranks
      with Bob Dylan's Chronciles, Vol. 1 as brilliant and seamless rock 'n'
      roll literature. At the end of the book, McLagan -- one of the most
      acclaimed organ players in rock -- calls out Stewart for hoarding
      McLagan's beloved Hammond B-3 for 22 years after the Faces broke up.

      McLagan got the B-3 back in 1998, but he had to pay to have it shipped
      from a southern California storage facility to his home in Austin,
      Texas.

      During a conversation last week, McLagan cracked up when he learned
      that Stewart will be at the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York
      City Monday night at the same time McLagan and his band will be
      appearing at the famed Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J.

      Monday's sold-out "Rod Stewart Rocks Times Square" concert will be
      broadcast nationwide at 117 participating theaters to promote the new
      CD. The concert will be broadcast locally at 8:30 p.m. Monday at
      Cinemark 7 Bridges in Woodridge, Lincolnshire Stadium Imax in
      Lincolnshire and Chicago Showplace 16 in Crystal Lake.

      "I knew Rod had that B-3!," McLagan said. "In '86, he had a show at
      Wembley in London. It wasn't selling very well, so he decided to have
      a Faces reunion. Ronnie Lane and I flew in from America. It was quite
      the shambles. We set up as Faces with the organ and piano at the front
      of the stage. But he said, 'If it goes wrong, there's always your
      organ back there.' His keyboard player was using it. He wouldn't admit
      to that before. I had just bought that when the Faces broke up [Nov.
      1, 1975 in Minneapolis], and he kept all our amps and everything.
      That's what I call a thief. I could say it to his face, but he won't
      admit it."

      Just a couple of weeks ago, Stewart was quoted tossing around the idea
      of a Faces reunion, saying, "It'd be great to put the band together
      for charity or a one-off event."

      So what are the chances?

      "It's not going to happen," McLagan said. "He's a solo artist. He
      should go back to his old fogey music, that Great American Songbook
      stuff. He can't sing rock 'n' roll. He can't sing anything anymore."

      Dave Hoekstra

      Classic rock trifecta!
      ROLLING STONES WITH ELVIS COSTELLO & THE IMPOSTERS
      When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
      Where: Soldier Field
      Tickets: $60-$165
      Phone: (312) 559-1212

      IAN McLAGAN'S BUMP BAND
      When: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday
      Where: FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn
      Tickets: $15
      Phone: (312) 559-1212

      'ROD STEWART ROCKS TIMES SQUARE'
      When: 8:30 p.m. Monday
      Where: Cinemark @ Seven Bridges, Woodridge; Regal Lincolnshire 20,
      Lincolnshire; Regal Showplace 16, Crystal Lake
      Tickets: $15; www.big-screenconcerts.com
    • Jim Caligiuri
      ... should go back to his old fogey music, that Great American Songbook stuff. He can t sing rock n roll. He can t sing anything anymore. wow I wonder what
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 10, 2006
        >> "It's not going to happen," McLagan said. "He's a solo artist. He
        should go back to his old fogey music, that Great American Songbook
        stuff. He can't sing rock 'n' roll. He can't sing anything anymore."

        wow I wonder what Rod did to Mac. The last time I spoke to him, he
        wasn't kind to Rod but he wasn't this blunt.
        Something changed.

        Jim

        --

        a former conservative, Barkley told a local reporter, "I was a Republican - until they lost their minds."
      • Carl Z.
        I don t recall the specifics, but I believe both Mac and Kenny Jones were angry about Rod s share of Faces royalties and not giving a fair share to Ronnie Lane
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 10, 2006
          I don't recall the specifics, but I believe both Mac and Kenny Jones were
          angry about Rod's share of Faces royalties and not giving a fair share to
          Ronnie Lane when he was ill. It's not the first invective one of them has
          thrown Rod's way.

          Carl Z.

          On 10/10/06, Jim Caligiuri <jcalig@...> wrote:
          >
          > >> "It's not going to happen," McLagan said. "He's a solo artist. He
          > should go back to his old fogey music, that Great American Songbook
          > stuff. He can't sing rock 'n' roll. He can't sing anything anymore."
          >
          > wow I wonder what Rod did to Mac. The last time I spoke to him, he
          > wasn't kind to Rod but he wasn't this blunt.
          > Something changed.
          >
          > Jim
          >
          >


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