Faces, With Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, Planning Tour
Declaring that "this is a band," Ian McLagan says the new incarnation of the Faces is planning to play much more than the just-announced Aug. 13 at the Vintage at Greenwood Festival in West Sussex, England.
"Frankly, I'd be happy to get the band on the road proper and get into the States, Japan, Australia, 'round Europe," the keyboardist, who resides in Austin, Texas, tells Billboard.com. "I want to play. It's good to do just one thing, but I want to get on the road."
Initial reports have indicated the group will play more festival dates this year with a full tour to follow in 2011, but McLagan says nothing is concrete yet.
This version of the Faces includes McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones, who co-founded the Small Faces in 1965, as well as guitarist Ron Wood, who joined when the group became the Faces in 1969. The lineup is fleshed out by Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall, who's stepping in for the reluctant Rod Stewart.
McLagan says the lineup started rehearsing in March, after it became clear to he, Wood and Jones that Stewart -- who's currently touring to promote his 2009 "Soulbook" covers album -- had "lost interest" in working with the Faces. Hucknall was one of the singers who joined the Faces at a British Performing Rights Society benefit in November and, according to McLagen, "knocked us all out."
"Mick surprised us all by ripping through 'Stay With Me,' " McLagan recalls. "I didn't think he could sing like that; all I know about him is Simply Red, and I just thought he's more kind of a soul singer, which is part of what the Faces are, but I didn't think he could rock, and he certainly surprised us all. When we started rehearsing in earnest, that's when his true colors came out. He's not Simply Red; he's simply rock 'n' roll."
McLagan says Matlock was actually his "first choice" to be the Faces bassist when the group started talking about reuniting after issue the 2004 box set "Five Guys Walk Into a Bar..." He'd worked with Matlock in the late 70s new wave group Rich Kids and noticed at the time how much Matlock was influenced by the late Faces bassist Ronnie Lane. "In the middle of a song I'd hear a Ronnie Lane bass lick and I'd look over at him and smile. I just kept him in mind ever since then.
"When we've done this before it's been Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagen playing Faces songs. But with Glen it suddenly becomes the Faces because he's playing those very important Ronnie Lane bass parts."
McLagan says the Faces have hired a booking agent and are actively seeing other shows. He notes that the Rolling Stones will always exert a pull on the newly sober Wood -- although this year's promotion of the "Exile on Main Street" reissue has created a window for the Faces to work -- while Hucknall will occasionally have Simply Red responsibilities. But McLagan anticipates the Faces moving forward and was pleased to hear that even Stewart has made some positive noises, wishing the new lineup well during recent concerts in Great Britain.
"It certainly is a lot of fun," McLagan notes. "The great thing is the bunch of us, we're smiling at each other. We're blessed; it's a fucking band, and that's what I love. It's not just getting together to cash in and make a buck. We are the Faces."