Tag Archives: Faces

Hall Of Fame for Faces and Small Faces

Well, it’s about fucking time.

The tragedy is that two people who really needed to be there last night missed it. I love both The Small Faces and The Faces and would have given anything to be at their induction, but the stars just didn’t align. As for Rod Stewart, well…hopefully he really had the flu. I’d hate to think his unwillingness to share the spotlight with his former mates had extended beyond reunion tours and all the way to the podium.

Especially because there were two other people who sadly couldn’t be there, because they’ve left this mortal coil. Small Faces founders Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane are no longer with us, but their music and influence lives on, hopefully more so after this induction brings attention to their incredible body of work. I know for a fact that Ian McLagan pays tribute to both every night, at every show, and I am sure he did so again last night from the stage.

Ron Wood and Mac remember the Small Faces

Typical of the lack of respect both bands received in their prime, they had to share an induction rather than be considered individually. That’s a bit daft considering the impact both bands had in their time, and how different they were musically despite sharing three members.

The Small Faces were the mod movement, running off a string of pop and psychedelic singles that set the tone for the late 60s. Steve Marriott’s dynamic voice and presence was ethereal, and he and Lane wrote great songs. They never toured the States – their crook of a manager couldn’t skim if they did – but in England they slot alongside The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who.

The Small Faces:Tin Soldier

The Faces, on the other hand, were brash and boozy rockers that turned arenas into parties where the audience was not only entertained but often dragged back to the hotels for a nightcap. Each packed about as much wallop into a few short years as anyone ever has, and when you realize that half of the output of The Faces between 1971 and 1975 wound up under Rod Stewart’s name alone, you realize what a gross oversight this has been.

The Faces: “I’m Losing You”

But those that really matter – the fans, the bands they influenced – had both bands in their own personal Hall decades ago.

Of course, going any further would just stir up old feelings and make me mock the Hall for ignoring so many other artists; odds are that Lady Gaga will get in before Deep Purple or Cheap Trick. At least they did the right thing and moved the ceremony back to Cleveland.

So I will take the high road instead and simply revel in their greatness, like I always have and always will. Pint in hand, of course.

Happy boys...happy.

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New Album! Joe Elliott’s Down ‘n’ Outz

Joe Elliott is a Mott The Hoople fan. A big fan.

Goes without saying, I guess, since the Def Leppard frontman has worn that on his sleeve his whole career. It’s refreshing to see a rocker who has attained the level of global success that he has still be a rock fan at heart. Elliott grew up loving Mott The Hoople and still does.

Elliott has often put his money where his mouth (and heart) is with his support of Ian Hunter and Mott; he was a driving force in organizing the memorial tribute for Mick Ronson and has always touted the music of his favorite band in interviews. So when Mott The Hoople reunited to make their historic stand at the Hammersmith they called Joe in for support, and he assembled a group of like-minded Mott devotees to perform some songs off the family tree that Mott fans probably never thought they’d get to hear from a stage ever again. The success of that gig led to what I can happily say is one of 2010’s best surprises.

I’ve never been a huge Def Leppard fan but have enjoyed some of their work; the overproduction by Mutt Lange usually tempered any enthusiasm I had for the songs themselves. That’s probably why I enjoyed their covers album Yeah! more than their own material; even though that was a bit bombastic I was halfway there before cracking the shrink-wrap because I was already into the songs. On My Regeneration, it’s inverted; I was familiar with the players but not all the tunes, as I never paid much attention to Widowmaker and British Lions after Mott imploded.

I think the wisest move here was using members of The Quireboys in the backing band, and I hope this project brings much attention to them as well. As a lifelong Faces fan, discovering the Quireboys back in the 90s was a godsend (they were The London Quireboys then), since they wallowed in the same loose menagerie of blues, glam and rock that makes my hair stand on end. If there are torch-bearers for the post-Faces era, surely The Quireboys and The Diamond Dogs are at the front of the pack.

So with Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir, Ronnie Garrity and Phil Martin in tow, Joe lit into a litany of post-Mott cuts, some of which (“Who Do You Love”, “By Tonight”) might be better than the originals. His voice sounds spectacular, but it’s Weir’s tinkling piano and Griffin’s guitar tone that might share MVP honors here as the predominantly hard-rocking album reinvents these twelve tracks with pristine clarity and crisp power:

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
STORM
OVERNIGHT ANGELS
CAREER (NO SUCH THING AS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL)
ENGLAND ROCKS
SHOUTING AND POINTING
BY TONIGHT
APOLOGIES
WHO DO YOU LOVE
ONE MORE CHANCE TO RUN
3000 MILES FROM HERE
GOOD TIMES

A ten track version of this album was included with a recent issue of Classic Rock Magazine, but if you missed it, My Regeneration is available on CD with twelve MTH family cuts (plus a thirteenth track, a puzzling oddity from Elliott and producer Ronan McHugh). And yes, it’s subtitled “Volume 1”!

Listen to clips here.

In  the liner notes, Elliott says “we did this for all the right reasons; for the love of the music and to celebrate the fact that from the ashes of the then defunct MTH came some amazing music, much of it criminally ignored for far too long…” I know that it’s intrigued me enough that I’m going to pull out my post-Hunter Mott records and find out what I missed with Widowmaker and British Lions. I’ve already got Ian’s career locked and loaded.

I want to have a pint of beer with Joe Elliott – and I’m buying!

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Powerful Pub Rockers

Seems like everybody was sick of the radio as the mid-70s approached. Some went underground. Others got back to their roots, whether it was nihilistic and chaotic (punk) or traditional (roots rock). Some literally hit the UK corner bars for an evening of well-played r&b/country blues and rock’n’roll; hence pub rock.

Strip away the nomenclature and you’re back to upbeat, rhythmic, toe-tapping, air-guitar slinging music that will put a smile on your face whenever you slap it on. If there is such a thing as Friday music, this is it.

Perhaps a slight bit of liberty on my part if a few of these tracks are from outside the immortal era; if so, at least the musicians performing the material have validated roots.

So here are ten powerful pub rockers to start your weekend off!

01. Graham Parker and the Rumor:   “Empty Lives

02. Dr. Feelgood:   “Roxette

03. Mickey Jupp:   “Georgia George

04. Eddie and the Hot Rods:   “Quit This Town

05. The Inmates:   “I Thought  I Heard a Heartbeat

06. Ducks Deluxe:   “Coast To Coast

07. The Motors:   “Dancing The Night Away

08. Brinsley Schwarz:   “Surrender to the Rhythm

09. Bram Tchaikovsky:   “Girl of My Dreams

10. Rockpile:   “If Sugar Was as Sweet

Yeah, I know that last band is only one-quarter Brit (two Welsh and a Scot), and for all their related efforts only have one proper album. But pub rock is about the music, not birthplace, and Rockpile was a pub rock supergroup.

Besides, if it was about being in pubs, these would all be Faces tunes, yes?

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Hello Old Friend: Ian McLagan

Face the music

Eight months ago I had the privilege of sitting about twenty feet away from Ian McLagan and The Bump Band when they rocked the house in my town (review here). Last night I got to sit even closer as Ian kicked off his Fall solo tour with accompaniment from newest Bump member Jon Notarthomas on acoustic, electric and bass. Where the Bump Band shows featured several Faces and Small Faces classics, Mac’s current tour is centered upon material from his solo albums, and the result is a warm, funny and intimate show.

Mac will tell you that music is about love, and the set list is peppered with songs that back that up. The smaller setting gives Mac an opportunity to set the stage for each song with a background story or a wry joke; few musicians exude such an approachable and impish vibe. He makes it a point to play Ronnie Lane’s music at every concert so “Ronnie is in the house tonight”. But there are also those moments when you can feel the pain of loss he has endured. Although I thought “Where Angels Hide” was written after and about the loss of his wife Kim, finding out it was initially written to console a friend who had lost his wife makes it no less poignant or powerful.

No Hammond on this tour –  Mac is traveling with an electric piano – but it’s perfect for those songs and that voice. Notarthomas steps in frequently to add flavor with guitars, bass and perfect harmony vocals; the show floats from heart-tugging ballad to barrelhouse rocker and back with ease. Although the set list spans his long career, quite a few are from the most recent album. Here’s my capsule review of Mac’s most recent album, Never Say Never, which ran last year:

Mac is a little mellower than usual on this one, but there aren’t too many bigger hearts making records nowadays. Surrounded as always by great musicians, Mac’s soulful raspy vocals and expressive playing are framed by heartfelt songs, many obvious love notes to his late wife Kim. Ronnie Lane fans will like the organic feel of “Killing Me With Love” while Faces fans will delight in the barrel-house rocker “I’m Hot, You’re Cool”. The Bump Band is on tour where Mac’s material shines brightest, and I’ll wager some alternate arrangements pop up in the set-list.

It’s no accident that Ian McLagan got to be a member of two of the greatest groups of all time, but his solo efforts are proof that an untapped well of songs could have made both those bands even better. Thankfully Mac still has the fire and the drive so we can continue to savor his gift.

The last leg of this tour concludes before Thanksgiving, so catch him if you can:

11/18, Bop Shop, Rochester, NY
11/19, Beachland, Cleveland, OH
11/20, Martyrs, Chicago, IL
11/21, Magic Bag, Detroit, MI
11/22, Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI
11/24, Euclid Records, St. Louis MO
11/24, Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO

Mac’s website.

Mac on Letterman.

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Under The Radar: Sulo / Diamond Dogs

Diamond dogs

Up The Rock

Prescription readers know that I am a huge Faces fan, and I rue the day that the team of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood went their separate ways. Although each has stayed at the forefront of the music scene, I’m hard pressed to find work by either man that can stand alongside the output from their partnership. When The Faces went away, they left a hole in my rock’n’roll heart.

Many bands like the Quireboys and early Black Crowes did their best to fill the void, but each had their own path to pursue. But ten years ago, I accidentally stumbled across the Diamond Dogs, a killer rock band from Sweden, and that’s been the closest I’ve seen anyone come to capturing the music and the spirit of my barroom boys. Of course albums were hard to come by – even some I was able to grab have gone out of print – but thankfully some of the material is out there for grabs.

Here’s a review of That’s The Juice I’m On from 2003, back in their Feedback Boogie label days:

Diamond Dogs juice

The Faces will never reunite – hell, the box set has been dragging its ass for four years plus – but if you still miss the rhythm and booze swagger of Rod and Ronnie I have the band for you. Sweden, of all places, has spent the last few years exporting great bands that land here well under the radar. Diamond Dogs is the cream of the crop, slipping into the shoes of the masters and continuing to champion soulful, energetic, pint-in-the-air rock and roll.

Juice is the sixth, seventh or eight album depending whom you ask, and figuring out whether the current band has five, seven or nine members is also an exercise in futility. But just listen as “Passing Through My Heart” perfectly blends the best parts of “You Wear It Well” and “Ooh La La”. Smile when “Throw It All Away” and “Get The Monkey Off” make you run to the shelf to grab A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse.

Chris Robinson gave it a good shot with the Black Crowes, but this is the real deal, from Sulo’s whiskey voice down to Henrik Widen’s fat organ and rollicking piano homage to the great Ian McLagan. Juice is a collection of alternate versions and unreleased tracks from the past couple of years but stands up as an album, even featuring the requisite killer cover song (a smoldering version of “Pills”) the band is noted for. If you hear one record by the Dogs you’ll want them all, so you might as well start here.

They’ve made more great records since then, and while some of the musicians continued to perform with their other bands (Hellacopters, Dogs D’Amour, etc.) lead singer Sulo cut two excellent solo albums. Reminiscent of the glory days when Rod and The Faces each made a record a year, but without the drama or imbalance. Last year the Diamond Dogs played some tour dates with Jason and the Scorchers, Dan Baird and The Quireboys and released yet another album, and supposedly there’s a live one in the pipeline. 

And Sulo has been a busy guy as well. Besides the Diamond Dogs, the Bitter Twins and other one-off projects, he’s released two more albums! I’m in the process of getting copies and will have links to full reviews soon, but in the meantime, check out the links below and enjoy some of the best music not being played on the radio in America.

Sulo’s Hear Me Out on Amazon.

Sulo’s collaboration with Ernst Brunner.

Diamond Dogs on Smilodon Records

Diamond Dogs on MySpace

Sulo on MySpace

Bitter Twins on MySpace.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Things I’m Stoked About

The upcoming Eddie Izzard documentary

Seeing Ian McLagan solo and hoping there is a Faces reunion.

Also getting to see Todd Rundgren in an intimate show.

The Seinfeld reuinon on Curb Your Enthusiasm  

The Big Star box set

Mitch Ryder singing “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?”

Louis CK’s new show.

Finally getting to catch a performance by Otto and George

Blasting the new Reigning Sound and Greg Cartwright albums.

Opening my copy of the Life On Mars DVD

happy happy joy joy

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Righteous Rockers

jukebox

Ten reasons why rock’n’roll will never die at my house...

 True BlueRon Wood and Rod Stewart from the good old days – always better together than apart.

Generation Upstart – The Diamond Dogs, the closest thing we have to The Faces these days.

Mona Lisa SmiledThe Quireboys are no slouches either. Spike rules!

Natural Born BoogiePeter Frampton and Steve Marriott were great together in Humble Pie.

White Lies – I’m glad that Jason and the Scorchers are still rocking!

Big TimeWebb Wilder covers the Ian Hunter song.

All The Way From Memphis – …and from Queen and Def Leppard as well, Ian!

Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols, with Glen Matlock and on television! Something is wrong here.

Radio RadioElvis Costello and The Beastie Boys re-enact one of the best moments in rock television history.

Under My Thumb – In the early days, Brian Jones was The Rolling Stones

Party on, Garth!

Party on, Garth!

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