An Interview with Ian McLagan

Ian McLagan and Ronnie Lane, the keyboardist and the bassist of the famed UK groups the Small Faces and the Faces, eventually made Austin their home—Lane in the mid-eighties, McLagan about a decade later. Lane passed away in 1997, and McLagan pays tribute to his former mate on Spiritual Boy (at

Why a record of Ronnie Lane’s music? Well, I’d been working on my own album. We had eleven tracks down, and then we cut [Lane’s] “Glad and Sorry,” and that went well. So I started recording. Actually, what happened is that I got a migraine one day, lay down, and woke up thinking of [Lane’s Small Faces hit] “Itchycoo Park.” I wasn’t going to do it because I never liked the song.

Really? I love it now. But I never liked the recording. Because [sings teasingly] “it’s all too beautiful” doesn’t really fit to me. I started thinking about the words and rediscovered the song. Then I realized, “Crikey, this should come out on Ronnie’s sixtieth birthday,” which was April 1. So I shelved my album and just worked on Ronnie’s.

Lane’s excellent work was overshadowed by superstars like Faces lead vocalist Rod Stewart. Ronnie was the most prolific writer in the Faces. And the sad thing was, when Ooh La La  was recorded, he had more songs on that album than any, and he wasn’t going to be able to sing any of them live. Rod [could have] said, “Why don’t you do a couple songs in the middle of the set?” Then he could go and change his bloody shirt. Which he does all the time now.