The Faces

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.

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Rock -

Easy/ Mod­er­ate

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

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