British Beat Groups of the 1960s

Book Review: All the Rage by Ian McLagan

January 1999

It was a while coming but the autobiography of Mac is now available. Written largely while touring with Rod Stewart in the mid-1990s, All The Rage is a detailed glimpse of the music business from the inside. As Noel Gallagher says in the cover notes "As a musician you hope to be part of a great band once in your lifetime. Ian McLagan was in two!! The jammy bastard." Of course, aside from the Small Faces and Faces, Mac is able to relate his times recording and playing live with some other great artists such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt as well as the formation of the Bump Band.

Mac covers his formative years in detail, how he obtained his first Hammond organ, the evenings in the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond watching the young Rolling Stones, the formation of the Muleskinners and their times backing Howlin' Wolf. We are then taken through his introduction to the Small Faces. Mac was put on a higher wage than Steve, Kenney and Ronnie but assumed they were on the higher wage. Once he believed he was a full part of the group, he asked for parity with the others and promptly had his wage reduced.

Quite rightly, the Small Faces take up quite a large proportion of the book as befits their greatness. It is clear that he still has immense respect for the other band members but none at all for manager and agents. The Small Faces were one of the most creative bands of the mid to late 1960s so at least something good came out of the time at Immediate Records, even if no royalties did then.

There was a difficult period after the Small Faces. Marriott has left to form Humble Pie and, while it was a relief to be away from that hyperactivity, Mac, Ronnie and Kenney were looking for a new direction. This came when they were joined by Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood from the Jeff Beck Group. The Faces were a very hard working) and even harder drinking) band. However, Rod's solo career started to pull him away from the group and when Ronnie Lane decided he'd had enough, the band was effectively over. Ronnie was the lynchpin, not Rod.

After that Mac played with a number of artists. Most interesting was when his career went full circle and he was asked to join the Stones on tour, some years after watching them as a fan at the Crawdaddy. Mac was also going through a number of personal crises at the time. He had fallen in love with Kim, former wife of Keith Moon. We learn the harassment that Mac and Kim had to endure from Keith. Despite that he still has respect for him. The other main vices are also detailed such as Mac's long recovery from freebase cocaine and excessive alcohol. Despite all this, Mac has come through it, played on some of the greatest records ever made and has just celebrated his twentieth wedding anniversary. Not bad for a short arse from West London.

mp, December 1998




ISBN: 0-283-06334-3

Published November 1998 by Sidgwick & Jackson


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