Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ian McLagan: Nicest Guy In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Faces. Small Faces. Hall Of Fame. What does it matter, really?

Well, when you're a fan, it matters a great deal.

So, as both a Faces and Small Faces fan, I thought I'd share this story.

I was in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, 2003. I had a routine. Places I had to go the minute I touched down. Artists I needed to see perform. Food I needed to eat. Records I needed to buy.

First stop after deplaning was usually somewhere low key, a place I could unwind, have a drink or two, and not worry about crowds. Snug Harbor was the place; a jazz club with a cool, comfortable bar, and one of the best burgers in the city.

I walked in and looked around, and there he was, sitting at a table with a young lady, Mr. Ian McLagan.

Now, I am not the person who stays after shows, hoping to get backstage. I was never that guy who wanted to talk to anyone in the band. More power to those who have that ability. My feeling is that, I just don't think the artist needs one more person in his face. So I choose to not be that one more person. I'm satisifed just hearing the music.

But it was Ian McLagan and this seemed too easy.

I walked over and politely interrupted, if there's such a thing.

"Ian. Hi. I'm a long time fan and I just wanted to say hi."

There was some small talk. I told him I owned a record store, and Mr. McLagan was very gracious.

Then he hit me with this:

"You know, we're working on a boxed set of Faces material. Ya know, hits and some rarities. Whattya think?"

What do I think? I just about plotzed. I don't recall exactly what I said. My store was still happening at the time, so I may have said something retail-related like, "The clamshell jewel box is much better than the oversized book-like box...blah, blah, blah."

(Another reason I prefer not meeting my idols. I blather like a bonehead.)

We shook hands and I felt great. What a great way to begin my week in New Orleans.

About 30 minutes later, as I was scarfing down my burger, I hear a soft, British voice."

"Sal? Sal?"


""Do you think it's better to have more rarities than album tracks?"


"As a fan, what would you suggest? What would you do if you were putting a Faces box together?"


I am in New Orleans. I'm happy. I see one of my musical heroes. And now, he's interrupting my meal, wanting my input on this upcoming Faces project.

I spent the next 20 minutes discussing the ups and downs of CD retail, boxed sets, Faces rarities, Rod Stewart, and New Orleans with Ian McLagan.

It's such a cliche to say, "Only in New Orleans." But...damn!

Only in New Orleans.

As for Ian McLagan and the boxed set he is holding in the photo above, maybe he remembered my suggestions. I sure don't. Or maybe he's just a gentleman and appreciated the enthusiasm of a fan. Either way, I am thrilled he is getting into the Hall Of Fame, and that night at Snug Harbor will always be one of the best memories I have of New Orleans.


Jaggerfan1 said...

I heard the news last night of the Faces being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was cleaning up after dinner when my mom had the news on and they said that the Faces were inducted, and that previously with them was Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Albert said...

Oh yeah....would love to have been at the next table watching this unfold.....the closest I ever came was picking Gene Rayburn's brain near Rock Cen once....wowie....hope you said rarities btw...and no Ian B3, no Tin God bless him for that alone....

Shriner said...

You suggested Paul Westerberg write the liner notes, though, right?

(That'd be a capper to the story for sure...)

Alan said...

GREAT post! Among all the assholes, its great to hear about the nice guys. I was talking to Ian just the other day, and he said one of his best memories of NOLA was meeting a record store guy named Sal from NY. He didn't want to bother you while you were eating, but ...

steve simels said...

Very cool story, Sal. I had a feeling Ian M. was a righteous guy, and it's nice to have that confirmed.

FD13NYC said...

Great Nawlins story. You met with one of rock and roll's debouched soldiers, very cool. Always loved The Small Faces/Faces groups. Very glad to see them inducted into the Hall, along with Laura Nyro and Donovan. But the Beastie Boys and the Chili Peppers, I think not. KISS, left out again, and much more deserving.

Robin said...

Nice story wow. Also thrilled he will be in HOF.

Sal Nunziato said...

At the risk of starting more than just a conversation when things have been so upbeat, I'm curious FD13NYC as to what makes Kiss more deserving than the Beastie Boys?

I happen to be a fan of both, and both seemed to turn the musical world on its ear. The Beasties were groundbreaking in the world of hip hop. And while Kiss has never broken any musical ground, they certainly inspired many rockers who did, not to mention the all around spectacle.

If we're talking just music, Kiss ain't so special, and some would argue that what the Beasties do ain't music at all. But as packages, if Kiss deserves the honor, so do The Beaties Boys.

The Chili Peppers on the other hand, could eat my shorts.

Albert said...

Gotta agree with FD13NYC a hunnert percent...a hunnert smart....funny....great base the size of a planet....and the ONLY one of its kind....if I gave the RHOF any respect at all (which I do not) I would call it a major slap....

kevin m said...

Nice story!

Ahhh, yes. Time for the annual debate about how the RHOF neglects or overlooks bands at the expense of what is hip.

By the way, how come YES ain't in?

Other than that, I think this is a pretty cool class.

Meanstreets said...

We see Ian McLagan often in Austin in small venues with his " Bump Band " & I agree with you totally....He is very approachable & you would have no idea of his proud history with The Faces....just another " Austin-ite who has a extremely good band that is....

FD13NYC said...

To answer Sal's question without causing a comment commotion. I was never into hip hop or rap and never will be of any crap of it's kind. I've listened to some of the Beastie Boys over the years and found it very boring, no substance and very plagiarized. Just like all the rest it. These dopey guys (or kids when they started) are IMO just not worthy to be inducted.

Now I admit, the RRHOF committee has made some error in their choices and exclusions over the years. Some of the choices are ridiculous. Like in this case, you scratch your head and go, huh?

Many worthy bands wait year after year to be inducted. Some don't even give a care, like KISS, so I've heard or read. Which always has led me to believe that the RRHOP people sometimes don't know what their doing. After all, it's the Rock and Roll not the Hip Hop Hall Of Fame.

And now let the rebutting begin.....

Sal Nunziato said...

Not sure why polite discussion needs to turn into "comment commotion." I simply wanted to hear the merits of Kiss, a band who I'd go to bat for through 1982, but who has for the last 30 years, made a mockery of themselves. They don't even play on their own records.

Not liking the Beastie Boys because you think hip hop is "crap" or because the artists are "dopey" seems odd when you're defending a band who has relied on spectacle over substance for all of their 40 year career. Is social commentary over a funky beat, with hilarious rhymes and mind-boggling samples really any more "dopey" than "You pulled the triggger of my love gun?" Or how about a Kiss coffin for $2000?

I was hoping for a better discussion, especially since I opened with how I was a fan of both the Beastie Boys and Kiss.

Hip-Hop isn't for everyone, but neither is Todd Rundgren or The Hollies or Donovan or Laura Nyro.

I sure hope the discussion continues. It doesn't matter if everyone agrees.

FD13NYC said...

OK, to simplify it. I was unaware that the RRHOF inducted hip hop acts. If that's the road they are going down, some serious trouble there.

Let's forget about KISS. There are many bands that deserve an induction that are overlooked by bad choices. Even Joan Jett. Really, in the real world scheme of things, no big whoop.

Fielding Melish said...

I don't always get the hoopla about who gets inducted each year - I might be wrong but seems like they do get around to inducting the right people eventually. Wouldn't you say KISS will get in at some point? If they only do a certain amount of inductees a year they can't do everyone right away. Beastie Boys are as deserving as anyone in popular music, since it seems to be less about "rock" these days anyway...

Alan said...

My 2 cents: The RRHOF is bullshit from top to bottom. Its not about rock and roll and never was; its about how can they squeeze one more dollar out of baby boomer nostalgia. The whole idea of the RRHOF is the most un-rock-and-roll thing I can think of. But hey, Cleveland needs the help, so what the hell. (As an aside: anything that further aggrandizes Gene Simmons is a bad idea. Maybe put him the Big Asshole Hall of Fame.) Having said that, I think little David (from the Bible) should be inducted, because he took a rock and rolled the giant.

richeye said...

Okay... here goes my 2¢. The RRHOF should be run more like the Baseball Hall. Were that the case, this wouldn't even be a topic as many of those bands who have been inducted already wouldn't qualify. Chili Peppers don't belong there and while I am tempted to agree with those who disqualify the Beasties on the grounds that they are not rnr, I have a different view.

What qualifies as rock and roll, really? Is it the jangly guitars? the 4/4 beat? Two guitars, bass and drums? A direct lineal relation to Chuck Berry or Robert Johnson? Or is it the ability to inspire - good and bad. Is it rock and roll because your parents hated it? Is it rock and roll because it speaks to you and your peers and none of "them"? Early hip hop certainly did that. It was a language of the streets and of disaffected youth in the very same way Elvis, Fats, Little Richard and others did in the '50's.

If you believe it's all about the music, the songs and nothing else, neither the Beasties nor the Peppers nor Kiss should be in. But if attitude counts, and I personally think it does, then both the Beasties and Kiss belong. If your band mattered, then you have a shot. RHCP will never matter, period.

To me, the Small Faces should have been in a long time ago. Rod Stewart should never have been inducted on his own and the Faces are borderline, though I would give them the benefit of any doubts.

The RRHOF is not about music at all. It's about business and as such, will never matter the way it could have. Certainly, it will never mean to anyone what inclusion in Cooperstown means to everyone. It only means one has survived Hunter S. Thompson's shallow pit.

Finally, the Beasties get points with me simply for the line, "We've go more hits than Saduhara Oh"

Jonnie said...

Just read your Ian McLagen story, Sal and I will second that. I had couple of beers with him and Ronnie Wood afew years ago in an old haunt downtown - Johnny's Bar, and he was the nicest guy! It's true!

stivseed said...

Fantastic story. I wonder how he, Ronnie, and Kenny feel about Rod`s statement to the press about "loving the chance for a re-union". A collective rolling of the eyes, perhaps? What, his email was down?

Albert said...

Ok...still on it....good....I really don't think the question is "why them? why not them?"...I mean,like,eventually ANYONE who ever plugged in a guitar or blew into a blues harp will get into this bogus Hall of Shame anyway...question to me is why bother to fabricate a set of standards for this when there obviously isn't any?...i.e. sure let the Beastie Boys in(hate them really) but don't cold-shoulder Kiss as if there were valid requirements for this....

Sal Nunziato said...

A few more cents from me:

I could care less about the RRHOF. Truly. But the artists seems to like it. Some of them, anyway. My point could be made if the RRHOF didn't exist.

Hate the Beastie Boys? Cool.

Hate Kiss? Love Kiss? Whatever.

But if we are using the HOF as a starting point, "hating" a band or genre because you think it's "crap" or "dopey" seems as offensive as the Hall itself.

Should we take down the James Brown exhibit? Or Sly Stone? Or Simon & Garfunkel? Are they "rock and roll?"

I admit, I am pushing some buttons. But, I still don't get the "hip hop is a dangerous road" approach. I don't love it, but I do recognize its importance.

I'd also like to know just what the Beastie haters hate, precisely. How much of "Paul's Boutique" did you listen to before giving up?

One thing uniting us all--

NO LOVE for the Chili Peppers.

Shriner said...

Merits of KISS (from a long long time fan) -- in no particular order:

The first 6 albums (and, personally, I'd throw in Dynasty and The Elder). Choice Bob Ezrin (who should be in eventually) productions. The reunion tour (both as an event and as a show). Eric Carr and Eric Singer. The stage effects. The Ace Frehley solo album. Kiss Alive. "Shout It Out Loud". And the continual live concerts which have the most predictable sets ever, but are still dynamic for a couple of guys in their 60's leading the band. And damn it, "Rock N Roll All Nite" is unforgettable and a stone classic (whether or not you think it's overplayed...)

I won't make the argument that "if X got in, then Y should". But Kiss is terribly influential on many, many bands (not just "rock bands" either) and that should be the only criteria for the R&R HOF -- did they influence who came after. KISS certainly did.

Somebody ask Ian what he thinks of Kiss. ;-)

As for the Beastie Boys -- I remember hearing Cooky Puss on the radio and thought it was funny. I own the first album. And the third. Paul's Boutique did nothing for me (I just didn't get it and listened to it again a few years ago and still don't hear it.) I lost interest with "Intergalactic" and haven't missed them. Maybe it's because I'm as old as they are, but they don't speak to me any more. I took off the last album after a couple of songs because I was bored. I dunno. Maybe rap/hip-hop really is a young persons game when it comes down to it and that's what some old farts (myself included sometimes) have a hard time grasping.

But I can't deny their *influence* (really nobody should try) in being *the* white act -- and MTV - that made hip-hop/rap mainstream (i.e., like Elvis did for rock -- though a case could be easily made that "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith and Run DMC may have done that instead...)

However, I have a harder time seeing the B-Boys influence on other bands. How many other white rap groups are there, really? Or even solo white *rappers* that were influenced by them? Eminem (who I think will easily get in) certainly seems to not be influenced by the B-Boys.

But KISS -- man, they still speak to me for some reason. Dumb, loud and fun with larger than life band members -- everything Rock & Roll should be. I loved Psycho Circus regardless of who played on it and I'll be one of the first to pick up Monster to see what it sounds like.

The fact that they haven't even been on the *ballot* yet bothers me

Chili Peppers? Chad Smith grew up not terribly far from my town. And I think Flea -- as a concept and a player -- is cool. But a white funk-metal group with an off-key lead singer? I dunno...I got nothing.

Les said...

Ok. Somebody school me. Why no love for the RHCP? Are they not relevant? What gives?

IS there criteria for the HoF? I mean, other than who will sell induction tickets?

soundsource said...

great post, put a smile on my face.....and then i read all of the other comments.....oh well by the way I'm hearing this all second hand so did the faces and the small faces get in or what? Also I've actually been to the rock and roll hall of fame and forgetting who gets in or who doesn't or who should or who shouldn't it's a cool place to visit especially if your into rock and roll ephemera, like bill payne's notes about wanting a little feat song to sound like procol harum as just one example. Anyways great story and glad to hear the face and or the small faces either way got in.

FD13NYC said...

Now let's start it. Sally Boy, calm down, relax, really, not a big thing, just opinion. Let's all get a life. You jump on me every time. I'm just expressing my opinion. I'm thinking of boycotting The Wood for a while. Christ, everything I comment on or say here!?

FD13NYC said...

Hip Hop and Rap is not important. It's Only Rock and Roll and we like it.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I got to meet Ian because my former bosses brother drums for the Bump Band. It was fun telling him that My favorite Faces song is "Too Bad" (nice piano intro) and that I took up the guitar because it looked like no one had more fun than the Faces, and I wanted to play like Ron Wood. Not a shredder, but a guy who tossed of ramshackle solos like the one in "Twisting The Night Away".
Ian was as nice as Sal's story would indicate. My only regret is I didn't have the Faces compilation (purchased at NYCD) with me to get signed.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I don't listen to much rap because it's not made for me and most of it's boring. It isn't trying to be music, it wants to be a brand.
in 1986 I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform in an Orange County disco in support of "Freaky Styley". I was surprised when George Clinton joined them onstage.
At that point they were a pretty good funk band. Yes they wore the tube socks.
I've never heard a whole Kiss or Beastie Boys album, just whatever hits managed to get through my filter.
I'm not sure any of them belong in the RNRHOF. Unless a career mediocrity is a consideration.

Ken D said...

Nobody's said anything about Donovan getting in. Talk about "not rock 'n' roll." I don't care much for the Beasties either but I'd rather listen to their entire catalog than have to hear Donovan whisper through "Mellow Yellow" or speak/croon "Atlantis" one more time.
Donovan's popularity completely mystified me and when I hear him compared to early Dylan I want to scream...

elizabeth said...

Soundsource had something positive to say to say about the ROH, so I'm not the only one here who thinks it's a good thing. I've been a couple of times, both when we took the kids off to Cleveland to see concerts - Prince, the first time and Vote for Change (Springsteen & E St/Fogarty/REM etc) the second. Loved it. It did a great job exploring the roots of rock 'n roll in country & rhythm & blues and among other things, the kids got to see outfits people like Jimi Hendrix wore onstage (which had an impact, believe me).

No, I don't always agree with who gets inducted, although looking the list over, mostly because I would never listen to a particular artist (Metallica a prime example). More often I'd say I regret who hasn't been inducted even after nomination (J Geils Band is just the most recent I can think of). I'm sure the decisions are political in some sense, even if only at the nominating level and of the "who will show up and draw a good crowd" nature. Seriously, though, look over the list on inductees and see who you'd kick out.
Plus, the ceremonies provide an opportunity for the more gifted presenters to provide a context for the impact of an inductee, and, yes, bring back memories for those of us who "remember when". Last year Sal posted Little Steven's speech about The Hollies, a prime example (and a whole lot better than the performance the present day Hollies gave).
And, as has been pointed out, it's apparently important to many of the performers, including mainstay favorites of Burning Wood discussions. The 25th Anniversary concerts held a few years ago were filled with major names and some spectacular performances (ok, I sped through the Metallica and Ozzy portion).

Now, I will risk the scorn of the Burning Wood community - I like the Chili Peppers. Some of their music, very much. When one of the afore mentioned kids asked for Stadium Arcadium for a birthday, it was on heavy rotation on our cd player which I controlled. I'd liked them prior to that, I guess when they started which I time in the same frame as Guns 'n Roses. Just not enough to purchase. And god knows there are a number of live down loaded tracks I removed from the family hard drive. But come on, the music's got a beat and you can dance to it! How can you not like a group that shows up to honor Brian Wilson? (at MusicCares)
The kids -now young adults - and I part ways over both their taste in rap (Little Wayne, gag) and what do you call it? Alternative? Beach House, Best Coast, Arcade Fire. Mind numbing.
A BW commenter the other day mentioned having you back, Sal, was like having the record store owner who'd give you suggestions and converse about musical taste. An apt comparison. The 29 comments above and my own lengthy post here bear it out. Thanks for coming back.

Christine said...

What a great story Sal! So happy you're back here to share it.

Kiss made a huge impact on me back in the 70's, I do like the Beastie Boys, I do like the Chili Peppers, and I LOVE Eminem, but I don't care who gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I MUST be old! Sorry.

zyderock said...

Ignoring the entire RHOF discussion although interesting I love the original story. As a Jazzfest regular I know how special those kismet meetings can be. I've had the pleasure of a few over the years - my best was Earl Palmer outside the Louisiana Music Factory. What a true gentleman and joy to talk with.