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Heavy Load:
Ian McLagan

The former Small Faces and Faces keyboard player on Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Howlin' Wolf, Steve Marriott, migraines...

Even before making his name as the keyboard player with scene-defining mod exemplars the Small Faces, Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan had already toured the UK with Howlin’ Wolf. Not a bad way to open an account as the sideman’s sideman. After six years under a much-copied pineapple haircut with Rod’s Faces, Mac Jerry-Lee-ed the keys for such A-listers as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, Izzy Stradlin, the Black Crowes and the Georgia Satellites. Now settled in Austin, Texas and fronting the Bump Band, Mac continues to wink conspiratorially at any mention of an imminent Rod-encumbered Faces reunion.

What were you like at school?

I was a little bastard. I lost interest after reading Huckleberry Finn, because I learned the expression ‘playing hookey’, took it to heart and thought I’d try it out... I used to go to Osterley Park with a sketchbook and spend hours drawing. I played hookey for so long that when I eventually went back to school I had to have a forged note because I couldn’t tell my parents that I hadn’t been there for three weeks, or however long it was. 

Who cut the Small Faces’ hair?

Mainly, we all did. We just hacked at it. I still cut my own hair, because I know what I want.

Do you believe in God?

No. I certainly don’t believe in any religion. They just seem to cause wars and all kinds of hell on earth. I know there is something other than this life, but I don’t know what. When people say: “God bless America.” No, fuck you; God bless everybody or nobody. You get that back in England too. “Thank God for Liverpool.” Fuck off. Do you think if there was a God he’d have time to pick and choose? It’s all bollocks.

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