KENNEY JONES: There have been moments, even in the reformation
of the Small Faces, which should never have happened, where we
played great -- the jamming we did and all that stuff. The songs
weren't that good because they weren't there, because we were
trying too hard, basically. The chemistry still existed, but we
should have stopped it the second time.
KEN SHARP: What prompted the band to get back together in 1978,
and why did Ronnie opt out? That video with Ronnie still in the
IAN MCLAGAN: Andrew and fucking Tony Calder....it's a long tangled
tale over the rights to those songs. It was really sort of a shuffle
from one hand to another. In 1976 or so they were with a company
that was gonna release "Itchycoo Park" again, and it
was going up the charts, and they contacted Kenney or Ronnie or
someone, and asked us if we'd get back together for a video for
the song, and promised us some figure -- $10,000 each or something,
if we'd do it. And do one live show and they could film it and
record it and release it. 'Cause we weren't too keen to get together.
So we got together to do the video and he never fucking paid us,
and it hit the charts again. So we were pissed off with him double!
But we did get back together again, and then the first day of
that, Ronnie got stroppy and said "fuck this!" and so
he was booted out of the group.
KEN SHARP: Why do you think he didn't want to do it? Old wounds?
IAN MCLAGAN: Yeah, probably. And then I started writing with
Steve, and we got Rick Wills in on bass, and we had nothin' else
to do at the time, and it wasn't.....
RONNIE LANE: They tried to get me! I dunno, I find Steve Marriott
kinda hard to take in my old age, my boring old fart age! I really
wouldn't go out of my way to talk to him. I don't know what's
going on in his mind -- I really don't.
STEVE MARRIOTT: I think Ronnie tried to explain to me once that
he didn't get involved in Small Faces Mk. II because he didn't
like the idea of it at the time, and also, he'd just found out
he had MS or something (ed. note: Ronnie was stricken with MS
-- Multiple Sclerosis -- in about 1977), and was still trying
to come to terms with it. 'Cos in the studio, Ronnie kept falling
over, and I couldn't work it out and got angry with him. I thought
he was drunk, but I don't think he was, thinking about it. He
was trying to sing, and he'd sway and fall. But he did have a
bottle of brandy, too. If he'd told me then I would have been
alot more sympathetic towards why, instead of being annoyed.
KEN SHARP: What do you think of the albums, Playmates
and 78 in the Shade?
IAN MCLAGAN: There's a couple of my songs that got ruined. "Darling
This Song's Just for You" is a little country song I wrote
for Kim (ed. note: Kim Moon, ex-wife of Keith Moon, now McLagan's
wife of about twenty years) -- we weren't living together then.
It was a little country song and Steve just fucked with it --
fucked with the words. Good album covers, but I've never listened
STEVE MARRIOTT: "Lonely No More" is with Ronnie playing
bass on it, just that one track with the four of us. Ronnie had
left. I stayed up all night to edit it, to make it twice the length
it was because it was only a minute and a half, so I edited the
back track together so it went on for about three minutes, and
then we worked on it. It's really good, and we wanted to put it
out as a single -- that's how good we thought it was.
KEN SHARP: What was the tour like?
IAN MCLAGAN: Steve was into his post-punk spitting at the audience
phase, which was kind of tragic. And here we were doing "Itchycoo
Park" again (sings) "It's all too beautiful," and
I hated it. After the Faces it was like going backwards. We did
"All or Nothing," "Tin Soldier." Even if Ronnie
had stayed, you couldn't have saved that project. It was a train
wreck. It was awful. It was a rotten idea.
JODY DENBERG: There was one more project that never did get off
the ground, something of a Small Faces reunion with Steve Marriott
and Ronnie Lane in 1981; what happened?
RONNIE LANE: Oh yeah, Magic Midgets! That was just a kick-around.
I still had my mobile studio, and Steve wanted to do something.
I had nothing to do, I'd just had this attack, and in my mind
I was crawling up the wall, so it gave me something to do. I was
a no-go as far as the record industry was concerned because of
my MS, and they didn't want Steve either, so it never came out.
The punk attitude was that everything that came out before was
rubbish, so I did a song to kind of say "...who are you to
disrespect your elders? What have you done?" We recorded
a bunch of songs, but nothing ever came of it.
STEVE MARRIOTT: We had another stab at it in 1981 when me and
Ronnie did another album, but it wasn't released. Ronnie's mind
is over active, but physically he's knackered -- but he can still
write. The way he writes is to tell you something, you know, do
this, do that, play that chord with these words. He can still
do it. (The Magic Midgets album) was done in Loughton at the Corbett
Theatre in 1981. We hired the theatre and took Ronnie's mobile
studio down there. It was alright. Ronnie was singing, I was singing,
played some keyboards and guitar, wrote some songs. Jimmy Leverton
was on it, Dave Hines was the drummer. We done some good stuff,
but I don't think Ronnie really wants it released. Took it to
everybody nigh on. But they couldn't see what we could do. Took
it to Arista, CBS, Virgin, A&M, Atco. We thought Keith Richards
was going to buy it, but at the last minute he said no as well.
Don Arden might have taken it on Jet, but I don't think any of
us wanted to go that route. I've got copy tapes, but I haven't
got the master tapes. Ronnie's got them. It was alright. We're
pleased with it, but not a lot of people know we did it.
IAN MCLAGAN: We're gonna reform the Faces this year! That relates
because I'm hoping that will be really good. Me and Kenney have
been working on it for some time. Rod's up for it! Woody's definitely
up for it!
KEN SHARP: Who's gonna be on bass? Tetsu?
IAN MCLAGAN: No way! No way! I don't know. I want Carmine Rojas,
Rod's bass player. He's a very good bass player, he plays Ronnie
Lane lines, he'll help Kenney a lot, and he'll give confidence
to Rod. I know Rod has a feeling he wants somebody famous in,
knowing it will help.
KEN SHARP: Does Ronnie give his blessing to it?
IAN MCLAGAN: Oh yeah, I haven't spoken to him since Christmas...but
he'll be there, we'll fly him in for it. He's gotta be there,
the Faces ain't complete without -- can't do it without him! But
I don't know, I want Carmine. I know Rod's keen on Bill Wyman.
I like Bill alot; Bill would probably do it, he played with us
once before when we did it. But anyone who plays with the Faces
had better play Ronnie Lane. Bill could do it but I want him to
play Ronnie Lane. What we'd like to do is an 8-week tour this
summer, and maybe 3-4 gigs in England. We did a "secret Faces
reunion" in Dublin in December at the end of one of Rod's
gigs, all of us, and it was good really. We're movin' ahead, I
really want to do it. The way I look at it, everyone's a millionaire
except me and Ronnie, and it wouldn't make us millionaires, but
it would be a good chunk of change for both of us. I don't expect
to get the whole 15 million, but a couple of million apiece would
be good, you know! [Rod Stewart bailed on the Faces reunion
at the last minute. Since Ronnie Lane died, he's used Ronnie's
absence as an excuse not to do it, never mind that he had the
opportunity to do a two week tour that could've put some real
cash in Ronnie's pockets while he was still alive. Reality seems
to be he can't handle the idea of being part of a band of equals
STEVE MARRIOTT: Frankly records never earnt me any money anyway,
they were just a giggle, and let's face it, you've got to live.
So that's why I'm playing live as much as I can. Records had never
been me living, so I don't worry about it. Someone got the fucking
money, but I didn't. So who cares?!!