IAN 'MAC' McLAGAN (pictured above, second left, with the Faces) was a man who, despite the many travails in his life, spent a great deal of time with a smile spread wide across his face. He was, he believed, luckier than most and, unlike most, he had the pleasure of being in not one but two of the greatest rock bands of all time. His arrival in the Small Faces following the release of their second single, I Got Mine, in November 1965, saw the keyboard player join a group of kindred spirits who shared his affection for hard hitting R&B and whose attitude matched his perfectly. While the band would infamously find themselves at the mercy of various industry machinations, musically their evolution was both thrilling and inspirational during their brief three-year career.
“I am complete devastated by this shocking news and I know this goes for Ronnie and Rod also.”
Frontman Steve Marriott’s decision to leave the band in late '68 and form Humble Pie led to Mac, bass player Ronnie Lane and drummer Kenney Jones teaming-up with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to form The Faces – a group who in turn managed to form a new laddish identity that seduced audiences both at home and particularly in the US. The band’s penchant for excess was manifested in the bonhomie that graced four albums culminating in 1973’s Ooh La La, which proved to be their final set as Stewart embarked on a hugely successful solo career.
In later life Mac would admit that he felt that the two bands were at times prisoners to both their image and the revelry they enjoyed. And while he pulled few punches in his acclaimed autobiography, All The Rage: A Riotous Romp Through Rock'n'Roll History (published in 2000), his love of music remained untainted as did his playing which never ceased to thrill and astound.
Moving to Austin, Texas, in 1993, Mac enjoyed the local live scene tremendously and, when he wasn’t jamming or touring with famous friends, he insisted on playing a weekly residency with his group The Bump Band at The Lucky Lounge on Fifth Street, not only driving himself to the gig but also turning the act of unloading his trusty Hammond from the van into a fine art.
His love of the road meant that he was due to embark on a set of shows with Nick Lowe this month. Sadly, he suffered a stroke on December 2 and was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital where he subsequently died surrounded by his friends and family.
The statement on Mac’s website that broke the news reads as follows:
“It is with great sadness and eternal admiration that we report the passing of rock and roll icon Ian McLagan. Ian was a member of the Small Faces and Faces and was inducted into the Rock'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012. He died today, December 3, 2014, surrounded by family and friends in his adopted hometown of Austin, TX, due to complications from a stroke suffered the previous day. He was 69 years old.”
Mac’s manager Ken Kushnick added: “He was a beloved friend to so many people and a true rock'n'roll spirit. His persona and gift of song impacted the music across oceans and generations.”
Kenney Jones, his bandmate throughout the Small Faces and the Faces gave his tribute, explaining: “I am completely devastated by this shocking news and I know this goes for Ronnie and Rod also.”
MAIN PHOTO: Getty Images.