How We Met: Ian "Mac" McLagan & Ronnie Wood
Independent on Sunday 12 March 2000
by Gina Rozner
"Mac" McLagan was born in Hounslow in 1945. In 1965 he joined
the Small Faces, which became the Faces in 1969. They split in 1975. His
Bump Band CD, "The Best of British", has just been released.
He lives in Texas with his wife Kim.
Wood was born in Middlesex in 1947. He studied art before joining the
Jeff Beck Group in 1967. Two years later he was playing guitar with the
Faces. In 1976 Ronnie joined the Rolling Stones. He and his wife Jo live
in London and Ireland
"Mac" McLagan: It was early 1968 and Steve Marriott (lead
singer with the Small Faces) was living in Chiswick in the house he
wrote "Lazy Sunday" in. He'd rented this place and completely
murdered it - all his dogs and cats were shitting all over the carpet. I
would go over there quite often.
was a great guitarist and he always hung out with the best guitarists,
and one day I went there and there was this big-nosed bastard with
jet-black hair sitting on the beanbag. Steve introduced me and it was
Ronnie Wood. And from that very first time we met he was easy to get
along with, very nice.
didn't see him again for months. Then, on New Year's Eve 1968, Steve
said he was going to leave the band. We did a few more gigs in 1969 and
that was that. Ronnie Lane had met Ronnie Wood around that time too,
again through Steve, and Ronnie Wood was the first person Ronnie Lane
called to play guitar with the band that became the Faces. So Steve
opened that door. Steve was like that. He was always generous. Ronnie
Lane, Kenney Jones and I had always planned to stay together, so when
Ronnie and Woody started writing songs I roped myself in as quick as
possible because I didn't want them to get a band together without me
being a part of it. It worked well from the start. Things snowballed and
Rod Stewart joined soon after.
just somebody you want to be around. I find him very charming. He can be
in a crowded room and be having a conversation with more than one person
and no one's going to feel they're being ignored - it's a talent he has.
He's very convivial, and if I had a bar, God I wish he'd come into my
bar a few times a week. When you're in a band you go through a lot more
than some marriages and it makes for a very close bond. If I haven't
spoken to him in six months or a year we just continue from there.
There's never a feeling of being neglected. He's a Gemini, so he's at
least two people. Ronnie would be as nice as he can to everybody to the
point of probably hurting himself. I can name five or six people who
will tell you that Ronnie Wood is their best friend and he is, and I
find him to be mine. I love him 'cos he's so lovely. I've only fallen
out with him once, and that was for five minutes in 1981.
that's not bad for a friendship that started in 1968, is it?
Wood: The Small Faces were my favourite band and to meet them all
together was like "aargh", this blaze of lovely midgets coming
in. I used to hang with Steve and I'd often be at his place in Chiswick.
The Small Faces would be off doing Top of the Pops and I'd be there in
the corner when they got home. They'd be yak, yak, yakking, and all
kinds of things would be blasting out of the sound system. There was dog
shit everywhere because Steve used to love dogs but he was never home to
take care of them, and the Small Faces would go, "There's no
business like cat's business, like cat's business."
had this road manager who spiked the water tank with acid or something,
and anyone who had a drink was going to get high. It was very watered
down but I had a good time on it.
first time I really met Mac was when Steve went off to form Humble Pie,
which really hurt me and Rod Stewart. We didn't like the fact that he'd
left this institution. I was with the Jeff Beck Group at the time and
they folded. I got my secretary to track down Ronnie Lane's number and I
rang him up. I've always had more front than Harrods. I said, "Do
you fancy getting together?" It was a Friday night and I just went
round. Mac had his Wurlitzer, Kenney was tapping on phone books or
something, Ronnie was on bass and me on guitar and we were too nervous
to even face each other. But it worked out really good, we had a good
laugh and a good drink and that was the first time I really remember
getting on with Mac.
Ian Stewart of the Stones gave us their rehearsal space free. After rehearsing we'd go down to the pub where we used to roll joints. The landlady used to say, "All that money and they roll their own." We hadn't got a vocalist. Rod Stewart used to hide upstairs and listen to us rehearse. One day Kenney Jones went up and asked him if he would come and join in. So that was that.
and I used to write songs together. In 1974, when I made my first solo
album, which is probably the best album I've ever made, Mac was right
there, my right-hand man. We had a fantastic time and we had the most
amazing selection of people queuing down the stairs to play - McCartney
and Linda, Greg Allman, Chris Wood out of Traffic, George Harrison,
Keith Moon, Alvin Lee, and we'd sort of wheel them in.
involved with everything that I do musically. He's always in my
thoughts. If he hadn't moved to America we'd be hanging out all the
time, but whatever he and Kim have got going over there they must really
love it. When Mac met Kim it was like he found where he wanted to be
forever. My mum, who I lost last year, she used to love her little Mac.
He was her favourite person. She was a good judge of character, she knew
that Mac was a lovely bloke, and he is.
Mac McLagan's autobiography, "All the Rage", was recently published by Pan, price £9.99
© Making Time 1995-2008