Ian McLagan likes to joke that his current 10,000-mile North American tour "is equal to the (Rolling) Stones -- except we're (playing) every city. Now if we could only switch (ticket) prices..."
The 68-year-old McLagan, keyboardist in the Small Faces and Faces and a solo artist since 1979, certainly has license to poke a little fun at the Stones. This year marks the 35th anniversary of his tenure as a Stones sideman, playing on the group's 1978, 1979 and 1982 tours as well as being part of the Keith Richards-Ron Wood side project the New Barbarians.
"The magic part of it was getting a call from Keith asking me if I would come out and do the tour with them -- and it was only a few days before the first show," recalls McLagan. "I said, 'Of course. I'd love to. I'm knocked out.' And, of course, it did change my life considerably; after that (1978) tour I decided I didn't want to take that money back to England and give it to (then Prime Minister) Margaret Thatcher, so my wife and I sold the house and moved to L.A., and I've been (in the U.S.) ever since.
"So it was great fun, and it's great to see them still out there doing it."
McLagan, meanwhile, is doing plenty on his own at the moment, too. He's just released a live album with his Bump Band that was recorded during April at the Lucky Lounge in Austin, Texas, near where he now resides. Meanwhile, a new studio album, "United States," which the group recorded last year, is waiting in the wings for the right distribution deal -- though he's previewing some of its songs at his concerts -- and McLagan also has plans to film another live show for subsequent DVD release.
Meanwhile, he and drummer Kenney [cq] Jones are talking about some sort of Small Faces 50th anniversary celebration in 2015, possibly with some all-star friends filling in for late members Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane.
"And you know," he adds, "the ('United States') album was recorded in April last year and mixed in October, and it's already kind of old because I've written a bunch of other songs and I'm ready to so another album. So I"m not resting on my laurels. There's work to be done, mate, and I'm loving it."
Ian McLagan and Eddie Baranek perform Sunday, June 30, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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