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."
""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.