Having just completed a handful of festival dates with the latest incarnation of the Faces, keyboard legend Ian McLagan returns to centre stage with a month of solo shows in the UK and Ireland. Controversy still surrounds the decision to enlist Mick Hucknall in the continued absence of Rod Stewart, but Mac feels the revised Faces line-up, which also features former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock in place of the late Ronnie Lane, treat the band’s legacy with respect.
“The thing is that Rod’s voice isn’t what it was, he had surgery on his vocal cords a few years ago and it’s changed the way he sings,” says Mac. “We had some rehearsals a couple of years ago and basically had to re-learn all the songs in different keys to accommodate Rod. Ron Wood had to put heavier strings on his guitar and tune everything down, and we all agreed that it just wasn’t the same.
“That’s not to say we’ll never play with Rod again, never say never. If at some point in the future he’s really up for it, and we can all get comfortable with the changes to the songs, there’s no reason for us not to get back out there.
“We always knew it would work with Mick, and I think he’s surprised a lot of people. He’s a rocker at heart, and was a Faces fan from way back when, so he already knew the songs inside out. He’s been singing them in his bedroom since he was a kid!
“Glen is someone I’ve known since the late 1970s; my old friend Mick Ronson called me up to play keyboards for this band he was producing, Rich Kids, who were Glen and Midge Ure. I did a tour with them and kept noticing Glen throw a few familiar bass riffs into the songs – it turned out his all-time hero was Ronnie Lane, he’d actually taught himself by playing along to Faces records.
“That’s why he’s such a natural fit; having any old bass player, regardless of how talented they are, wouldn’t work as well. Glen really gets the magic and the sensuality of the Faces, he slots in perfectly with me and Ron.”
Mac talked to MusicRadar about his favourite 11 tracks out of the hundreds he’s played on over the years.
Ian McLagan tours the UK and Ireland throughout August, full details at ianmclagan.com