Travelling back to the end of the swinging 60s, Martin Cooper checks out the raunchy, rocky stylings of Ronnie Wood’s ‘ other’ band, The Faces.
Formed in 1969, the Faces included two names known to pretty much every household in the music listening world: guitarist Ronnie Wood, and singer Rod Stewart. Completed by keyboard player Ian McLagan, bassist Ronnie Lane and drummer Kenney Jones, the band had several hits including the often-covered Stay With Me ( notably recorded by Def Leppard on their Yeah! album in 2006).
Stewart and Wood had been members of Jeff Beck’s band in the mid- 60s ( with Wood as the bass player rather than guitarist), and they left Beck’s line- up to become full- time members of The Faces in 1969.
Prior to Wood and Stewart joining, the band enjoyed chart success under the name The Small Faces with Steve Marriott, until he left to form Humble Pie. The Faces toured extensively around the world during the first half of the 70s, but tensions began to arise as Stewart’s solo career began to take off and his success started to overshadow that of the band.
Bassist Lane left The Faces in 1973 partly due to his desire to sing more of the lead vocals, which he didn’t get much chance to do with Stewart in the band. Lane went on to play with Pete Townshend as well as having some moderate success as a solo artist, and drummer Kenney Jones played with The Who after Keith Moon’s death. Of course, Ronnie Wood joined The Rolling Stones, so looking back now at the career of The Faces, it’s clear they were actually more deserving of the status of a rock supergroup than most bands on which the label is bestowed: they directly influenced top American groups such as Guns N’ Roses and The Black Crowes.
The last time the classic Faces line- up played in public was in 1986, for the encore of a Rod Stewart gig at Wembley Stadium. By that time, Ronnie Lane was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and could sing vocals but not play bass, so four- string duties were handled by Bill Wyman. The band toured from 2010 with Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall on vocals, and with Wyman again playing bass in place of Lane, who died in 1997. Rod Stewart has recently announced plans to reform the band for gigs in 2015.
The track this month is pure British classic rock in the key of B major, albeit with a lot of non- diatonic chords such as the A major and D major thrown in. The opening eight bars also begin with a classic power chord- toadded6th figure, similar to that made famous by Status Quo. The solo is more focused on being a melodic passage as opposed to a showcase for guitar theatrics, and the emphasis for this track isn’t on technique or speed in any way at all – it’s more to do with timing, tone and a general air of cool rock attitude – so Stay With Me and enjoy!
NEXT MONTH: Martin Cooper looks at the bombastic 80s style of Simple Minds
American bands such as Guns N’ Roses and The Black Crowes have been influenced directly by the Faces.
Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart
Brought to you by...