Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ian McLagan, 1945-2014



Bobby Keys just passed away. I don't like doing the obituary thing on these pages, but we now just lost Ian McLagan and I feel like I have to. Ian McLagan made one night in 2003 one of the best nights I ever had.

There's a jazz club in New Orleans called Snug Harbor, one of the best of its kind. It's also the first place I visit once I step foot on the grounds of the Crescent City. Quiet and cool, with a fine restaurant on the left and a very hip and friendly jazz bar on the right. I walked in, just a few hours after deplaning, and asked for a table. As I walked through the room, I noticed Ian sitting by the window. It's rare when I care about meeting my rock and roll heroes. I never want to. But tonight was different. It was New Orleans.

I introduced myself and apologized for the intrusion. I explained I was a fan and felt like this was a great way to start this particular visit to my favorite city. Ian all but asked me to join him. We discussed Jazz Fest, my record store, Austin and more. It felt like an hour, but was probably five minutes. He asked about the record store and wondered if I'd be interested in a boxed set he was putting together of the Faces. I'm sure I gushed all over his gumbo, but we had a nice chat about rarities, hits and just boxed sets in general. We shook hands and I made my way to my table to finally meet my party.

I was as high as a kite.

15 minutes later, as I was shoving one of the best burgers in New Orleans into my face, I felt a presence over my shoulder. I assumed it was the waiter. It was Ian.

"Sal? Sorry to bother you but, you really think people are gonna want Faces rarities?"

I said yes, though it probably came out as "Frrsnpsstlullss."

He thanked me. He thanked ME.

Ian McLagan was one of my favorite musicians, was part of some of my favorite records of all time, wrote one of the greatest rock and roll memoirs ever and he was a gentleman.

Rest In Peace, good man.




21 comments:

misospecial said...

Very sorry to hear of his passing. We're now in the hectic rush to die by the end of the year, which makes me think we'll see a couple more major losses before year-end.

He sounds like a mensch and a gentleman. Glad you got to gush over him...

steves said...

Everyone I know who ever met him had the exact same thing to say: The guy was a mensch. And a brilliant musician. Very sad news indeed. RIP, Ian.

Anonymous said...

Great story Sal.

Fishguy said...

Sad news.
Now I have to find a conversation in which I can say that I "gushed over someone's gumbo". I don't care HOW long it takes.

hpunch said...

Very sad news. I'm happy I learned about it from this blog, and along with that touching anecdote.

Raise a glass to great a loss.

Marcia said...

This is better than any obituary anyone could ever write for Ian. Thank you.

sad said...

How abrupt this all is.
http://imageshack.com/a/img901/8121/xITF7n.gif

Just delete the special guest from the announcement, and that's that.

William Repsher said...

Terrible, shocking news. You should never feel odd about honoring the dead/writing a personal obit for an artist who deeply affected you - he deserves all the attention that comes his way in the next few weeks. I made sure to get the word out when Ronnie Lane passed on so the world could grasp what I knew and felt about him, which was a lot, much more than an average fan. As with Ronnie, Ian's solo work deserves respect and attention he didn't fully receive while alive. Of course, what he did in The Small Faces and Faces will stay with all of us the rest of our days. An essential member of two perfect bands and someone who never stopped playing.

A Walk In The Woods said...

Oh, this is sad news, right on the heels of Bobby Keys. Great story about meeting Ian in that magical city.

Rest in peace, Ian and Bobby.

Mr. Baez said...

That's a wonderful story, Sal. I just picked up Ian's 'Never say Never' cd during last Friday's record store trek. Talk about heartbreaking... I'm just kind of numb by this trend that appears to be developing. Oh well, life goes on. Here's a good old Faces show to drown our sorrow in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRa6l1x-Q6E&feature=youtu.be

-Mr. Baez

Anonymous said...

Sal, it's been a heck of a last couple of days. This is a great story. You always kick yourself when you miss a chance to see your favorites in the craziest of places - I had to pass on a chance to see Ian in 2006 play a club truly right down the street from my brother's apartment for $10. I kicked myself then, I'm hating my choice now...Paul

buzzbabyjesus said...

My former boss's brother played drums in the Bump Band for awhile so I was introduced to him by virtue of being a musician. We talked shop for about twenty minutes. If I'd known, I'd have had him sign the copy of the Faces box recently purchased from Sal. I told him my favorite Faces song is "Too Bad", which has a great piano intro. I thought he was a classy gentlemen.

soundsource said...

great tribute and very moving, rough week for us aging rockers.

Anonymous said...

"First Step" was the 2nd record I bought with my own money (Keith Relf's Renaissance was the first), and probably the one I've had to replace the most. Good call on the box set, Sal - it is fucking amazing.

kevin m said...

What a great story and an even better musician. He is probably laughing it up with Bobby Keys right now.

cmealha said...

Great story Sal. I'm glad that he was one of the good ones as I enjoyed him so much over the years.

whattawino said...

Funny, I had been listening to Five Guys Walk Into A Bar... over this past weekend and just loving it. Ian sure could pick a band. Really sad to hear this news but loved your story. Those kinds of moments make our life unbelievably and unexpectedly beautiful. He was one of the greats!

M_Sharp said...

Excellent story, Sal, thanks.

Noam Sane said...

He just played a tiny place in town here just a few weeks ago...I had a gig of my own booked. Next time, I thought...

A musician's musician, and i don't say that lightly.

HippieGirl21 said...

This is so sad. While I'm not a Small Faces fan, I do know he played music with Ronnie Wood in The Faces. Too good a person to die. But he's in a better place, entertaining the angels now. So sad. A brilliant musician and a good soul

Anonymous said...

Another great man in my rock and roll world is gone. My dad passed away last night after a courageous fight with Parkinson's. In 1975, when I was 15, he drove me and a friend four hours to St. Louis to see Led Zeppelin. He then drove around St. L. for four more hours, picked us up and we headed for home. On the way we had car trouble and eventually arrived home around sunrise. On no sleep he then had to go to work. Not once did I ever hear him complain about that. I love you, Dad. Randy