Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Faces are back!

The Faces

I just obtained the four-disc collection, that was recently released, of one of my all time favorite bands: the Faces. This comprehensive survey of one rock's finest bands was assembled by their former keyboardist Ian McLagan who was able to choose the songs from a wide range of formerly unreleased material. In fact the only thing he left out was their cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" which, strangely enough, was one of my favorite songs by them. Oh well, I still have it on vinyl.

I never realized how many other people were worshipers of this immortal group until I read the beautiful 60-page book that accompanies the CD collection. It contains quotes from Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Slash, Gaz Coombes of Supergrass, Paul Westerberg and, of course, Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes (a band that sounds so much like the Faces that I don't know whether to scream at the blatant rip-off or weep tears of joy that somebody is still reverently keeping that heavenly rock & roll sound alive).

Tweedy's comments especially hit home for me: "The Faces' importance as punk prototypes cannot be questioned; they never appeared to take anything too seriously. Cutting all potential pathos with a wink and a healthy shot of rubbing alcohol--pinky raised, no less. Like the ne'er-do-well that can't even keep a straight face while his clothes are being tossed out on the lawn. Always falling apart and having a great time at it. I love 'em and doubt seriously if we could have had a Sex Pistols much less a Replacements without them."

Listening to this collection takes me back to a time when the world I lived in was a much more fun and easy going place to inhabit. These drunken, skinny louts were out to have a good time and the devil-may-care attitude in their performances brings this home loud and clear. They were also very skilled musicians, who took their art seriously but that art just happened to be rock & roll and as such required an irreverence and lack of pretension that makes them the giants that they are. Thank God for the Faces! They made noise like no one else.

I count myself as very fortunate to have seen them live when I was 15, on the last tour the band ever took in 1975, and to top it all off I had a backstage pass! I'll never forget the moment when my friend David Simon and I were peering into a garbage can full of Heineken's on ice, during the after show party, when Rod Stewart walked up with Ron Wood and said to us "Go ahead, have a few mates!" It was always a party with those guys.

Just in case you youngsters don't know very much about this band they were: Ron Wood (guitar), Ian McLagan (keyboards), Kenney Jones (drums), Ronnie Lane (bass) and Rod Stewart (vocals). A band for the ages.

Oh, and I highly reccomend this CD collection, which is titled "Faces: Five Guys Walk Into A Bar....."

I wanted to grow up to be just like Woody.

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