five guys walk into a bar
OH MY GOD, FINALLY, FINALLY, SOMEONE FINALLY BOUGHT THIS OFF OF MY CHANUKAH LIST:
I know the Faces are supposed to be a guy’s band, the lad’s lads, and, furthermore, thoroughly British enough to even confound the most ardent of Anglophiles.
But sweet holy jesus does any of that really fucking MATTER when you have the intro to “Stay With Me,” LIVE, dear lord almighty, LIVE, cranked through headphones somewhere very very far past 11? WIth all the raunchy popcorn crunch that is the entire reason you love the Faces? Ronnie Wood’s notes tumbling like dustbins down the stairs, aural somersaults, the notes guaranteed to have me stop whatever I was doing and run into the middle of the room wanting to play guitar or dance around or just stand there and FEEL it for as long as it lasted?
OH MY GOD. I cannot stop listening to this. The drum breaks at the end were entirely the reason I was so fucking excited when Kenney Jones joined the Who, even though of course he never got to show any kind of mettle even remotely similar to this when he was with them. (And, of course, we aren’t even going to discuss Rod Stewart’s solo career because that would rate a fucking book about the size of a James Michener novel, and, ya know — horse.dead.beaten anyway.)
This is the sound that made me love the Black Crowes even though I always felt slightly — wrong — doing so. I know it was faux Faces but for just a second or two of live crunchy guitar debris in my ears I would have done just about anything.
It feels utterly and completely pointless to write anything about the Faces when Nick Hornby covered it just about as well as it could ever be covered when he did those readings with Marah last year. It wasn’t some kind of grand treatise on the band or some monumental definition, but it was honest and true and made my heart ache just a little because I couldn’t relate to the band the same way because, Anglophile at age 10 or not, I wasn’t born and raised in Britain in the 60’s or 70’s.
But when I discovered them at the age of 10 or 11 when I started opening the Pandora’s Box that was all connected to the Beatles/Who/Stones trinity, I loved them. I loved them because they could be big and bold and brash and achingly heartfelt at the same time, bluesy and raunchy, Rod Stewart’s voice soaked in whiskey and coated in gravel, Ian McLagen making me think that all rock and roll piano players would be like that, Ronnie Wood being, well, Ronnie Wood, and Ronnie Lane’s elegantly solid thundering bassline under it all. I didn’t understand it but unlike everything else I was discovering at the time, I didn’t need to. I just needed to feel it.
So tonight, at about 1:30 a.m., I threw the headphones on and the cd in the tray for just a second, for what should have been one playing of a live version of “Stay With Me,” and suddenly it was like a time machine taking me back.
And I’ve only listened to one song off the damn thing so far.
(Personal to the people in 3R. I’m *really* sorry. I thought I’d switched the speakers off.)
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