Saturday, December 17, 2011

Background Matters (2)

Also around May 1969 Ian Stewart offered his help to newly formed band Faces, a collaboration between ex-Small Faces members Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones, and singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood, who had just left the Jeff Beck Group. In his great biography Faces, Before During And After, author Andy Neill recalls the situation:

"Ian Stewart, the Rolling Stones' chief road manager and piano player, offered his help. Small, stocky, with a protruding jaw, Stu looked more than a garage mechanic than a rock musician, but his boogie-woogie licks captivated those who heard them and his forthright opinions often contained good advice for those within rock's hierarchy to whom he became a dear and valued friend. Stu had shared a house in Surrey with Glyn Johns and first met the Small Faces in 1967 at Olympic while the Stones were recording in the next studio.

In 1968 the Stones invested in a warehouse at 47 Bermondsey Street, south-east London to use as a rehearsal and storage facility. Because they spent so much time at Olympic the basement space wasn't being utilised, so Stu offered it to Ronnie Lane to rehearse in. Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Glyn Johns were good pals, and Glyn and Stu had always been tight, so Ronnie would go and visit Glyn and hang out. Stu had faith in us, he said, 'I know you've got no money now but you can use the studio as much as you like and pay us when you get a record deal'. That was how things happened in those days".

In his autobiography All The Rage, Ian McLagan quotes Stu: 'You might as well use the room, they never go down there, it's a bloody waste of space, if you ask me', he said, his chin to the wind. It was exactly what the doctor ordered, and although it was only a cellar below a flag-maker's warehouse, it was everything to us. He'd had it painted and carpeted, and had a C3 Hammond with a Leslie, assorted guitar amps and a drum kit
already set up".

Adapted from the following sources:
Andy Neill, Faces, Before During And After, Omnibus Press, 2011.
Ian McLagan, All The Rage, Pan Books, 1998.

Note: three recordings from these Bermondsey sessions are contained on Faces' 4-disc retrospective "Five Guys Walk Into A Bar...".

No comments:

Post a Comment