Faces, without Rod Stewart, have big tour hopes

Thu May 27, 2010 1:33pm EDT

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DETROIT (Billboard) - Rod Stewart has "lost interest" in a Faces reunion, so the '70s rock band has recruited Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall as it eyes a return to the road, keyboardist Ian McLagan said.

Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock has also joined the lineup, filling in for the late Ronnie Lane. McLagan will also be joined by original members Ronnie Wood on guitar and Kenney Jones on drums.

Declaring that "this is a band," McLagan says the new incarnation of the Faces plans to play much more than the just-announced August 13 show at the Vintage at Greenwood Festival in West Sussex, England.

"Frankly, I'd be happy to get the band on the road proper and get into the States, Japan, Australia, 'round Europe," he told Billboard.com. "I want to play. It's good to do just one thing, but I want to get on the road."

Initial reports have indicated the group will play more festival dates this year with a full tour to follow in 2011, but McLagan says nothing is concrete yet.

The lineup started rehearsing in March, after it became clear that Stewart -- who's currently touring to promote his 2009 "Soulbook" covers album -- had "lost interest" in working with the Faces, McLagan said. Hucknall was one of the singers who joined the Faces at a benefit show in November and, according to McLagen, "knocked us all out."

"Mick surprised us all by ripping through 'Stay With Me,'" McLagen recalled. "I didn't think he could sing like that; all I know about him is Simply Red, and I just thought he's more kind of a soul singer, which is part of what the Faces are, but I didn't think he could rock, and he certainly surprised us all. When we started rehearsing in earnest, that's when his true colors came out. He's not Simply Red; he's simply rock 'n' roll."

McLagan says Matlock was actually his "first choice" to be the Faces bassist when the group started talking about reuniting after issuing the 2004 box set "Five Guys Walk Into a Bar..." He'd worked with Matlock in the late-'70s new wave group Rich Kids and noticed at the time how much Matlock was influenced by the Lane, who died from complications of multiple sclerosis in 1997.

"In the middle of a song I'd hear a Ronnie Lane bass lick and I'd look over at him and smile. I just kept him in mind ever since then.

McLagan says the Faces have hired a booking agent and are actively seeing other shows. He notes that the Rolling Stones will always exert a pull on the newly sober Wood -- although this year's promotion of the "Exile on Main Street" reissue has created a window for the Faces to work -- while Hucknall will occasionally have Simply Red responsibilities.

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