McLagan has played with everyone from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones.
To the average rock fan, the name Ian "Mac" McLagan may not ring a bell.
However, this legendary Hammond B-3 organist has played an integral role in the history of rock 'n' roll. From his beginnings with Howlin' Wolf to the Small Faces, Faces and eventually as a session player for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and more, McLagan has quite the impressive r & eacute;sum & eacute;.
Today, he's concentrating his efforts on his own Bump Band, which plays June 30 at the Beachland Ballroom in support of its latest album "Rise & amp; Shine."
Recently, McLagan turned his focus back to his erstwhile band Faces, which ruled the rock charts in the early '70s and boasted a lineup featuring Rod Stewart, Ron Wood and Kenney Jones. The result was the 2004 box set "Five Guys Walk Into a Bar...," which was heralded among rock critics as a cherished treasure.
A dashed hope
For McLagan, the idea was a renewed interest in Faces would get the band back together for a tour. The reality was something different. "It never happened," said McLagan, calling from his home in Austin, Texas. "It seems like the time has passed for us getting together. It was always Rod who would say yes and then he would say, 'I never said yes.' He's a little bit mercurial. Part of my reason to get the box set together was I thought the end result might be to wake Rod up to the fact that Faces were a good part of his early career and it might be fun to tour. Because it would make money and, of course, Rod loves money, as we all do. But he wasn't motivated enough. Apparently, now he's stuck in that tuxedo and won't take it off."
Having rejuvenated his career singing big band music in front of an orchestra (thus McLagan's tuxedo joke), Stewart appears content to leave the past alone. McLagan jokes that maybe if Stewart's ex-wife (or soon-to-be ex-wife) Rachel Hunter takes all of his money, perhaps Rod the Bod will follow the green.
Working with Dylan
Despite his lack of mainstream solo success, McLagan has plenty to tell. Among his notable travails are playing keyboard on a few tracks for the Rolling Stones 1978 "Some Girls" album, including monster hit "Miss You," as well as recording and touring with Bob Dylan.
Quirky is how McLagan describes the '60s icon, saying in the studio for his 2001 album "Love and Theft," Dylan would rarely sing the lyrics, keeping the words to himself to record at a later date. He added that touring with Dylan, which McLagan did in 1984, was a musician's nightmare, with the folk rock singer's penchant for ever-changing set lists.
"I never knew what he would play next," McLagan said. "It was very stressful. I wouldn't have missed it for the world but I wouldn't particularly want to tour with him now because it's too strenuous."
Hall of Fame shun
While open to discussing his history, session work is, well, session work.
"That sort of pays the bills," McLagan said. "I enjoy doing that but my love is really the band. Just a word to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we're eligible."
While he laughs, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is sort of a sore subject for McLagan, who has watched his former band mates marched into the cherished pantheon while he's left a paying customer. Stewart is in with his solo work, Wood with the Rolling Stones and Kenney Jones with The Who.
So why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hasn't inducted Faces?"They have no taste," he replied.
As for his upcoming Beachland show, McLagan said he'll be performing songs from his entire career, including Faces tracks "You're So Rude" and "Cindy Incidentally."
"It's going to be a rocking show, always," McLagan said. "And we take no prisoners."