Rock history tells us that mid-60s England was one of the most fertile
musical scenes of the last century. The bands who came out of the British
Invasion are ingrained in rock lore; The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Beatles, The Animals, The Zombies, Fleetwood Mac, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, The Pretty Things...The list is almost shocking in scope. Amongst the most dynamic of all these groups was the SMALL FACES, featuring singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, bassist Ronnie Lane, keyboardist Ian McLagan, and drummer Kenney Jones....
Like their peers, early on the Small Faces specialised in adrenalised R&B,
Motown, and blues. Also like their competition, the Small Faces quickly
developed a distinct sound. Their 1968 album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake ranks alongside The Beatles' Sgt Pepper, The Who's Tommy, and the Zombies' Odessey And Oracle as a pinnacle of 60s art-pop.
Kenney Jones' warm but tough drumming supported the band throughout all their great musical advances. This became particularly clear after Marriott left the band with a shortened name and the replacement duo of guitarist Ronnie Wood and singer Rod Stewart. American airwaves were not only treated to Kenney's bluster on tunes like The Faces "Stay With Me", but on some of Rod Stewart's solo hits, like the classic "I Know I'm Loosing You."...
Eventually Stewart's ascending solo career overshadowed the band's albums, and the Faces ground to a halt in the early 70s. Kenney, however, would be back on the map by the end of the decade, replacing the late Keith Moon in The Who. Arguments would be made that Kenney's new gig was the least or most enviable in rock. Everyone knew Keith was irreplaceable as a musician and personality, and any change in The Who's revolutionary sound would likely draw much scrutiny. Kenney took took the bull by the horns, though. He successfully toured with the band through an immensely difficult time, and recorded what would be the band's last two noteworthy albums, Face Dances and It's Hard. To his credit, Kenney practically reinvented his playing in the process.
Jone's drumming career doesn't stop with The Faces and The Who, though. He's rocked up an impressive list of freelance sessions, with artists as diverse as '80s pop chanteuse Sheena Easton, The Moody Blues' John Lodge, and early rock heroes like Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. Kenney says:
"Chuck was great to work with. He's one of my heroes. I think that was the
sessions where we did "My Ding-A-Ling." [London sessions 1972]. A funny oldsong, that one. Chuck loved playing with us British musicians. It's funny, I remember he kept getting his fingers stuck in the strings. I thought, "Man, he's got big fingers." But he was great to work with as I expected. You hear all these horror stories about Chuck Berry, and I know some of them are true, but we didn't see any of that at that time."
"The Jerry Lee Lewis sessions  was a similar thing to the Chuck Berry
sessions. Jerry Lee came to London to record, which seemed to be the fashion at the time. He was great to work with too. It was lovely, because it's nice having someone like that, one of your heroes, appreciate your drumming. But he did lose it one day in the studio when this young record exec came in and said, "Oh Jerry, you're fantastic. Love to have you hear, here's a bottle of champagne...." "Well then we better drink that straight away!" Apparently he wasn't supposed to drink at that time. He had one glass and it was like someone turned a switch on. He just kept picking on this young guy, "I can whip you around the block!" and all this crap. It was never difficult playing with guys like that, though, because a lot of them were my influences anyway, so I played in their style naturally. Booker T. & The MG's was always on my record player, for instance. Al Jackson will remain my hero till the day I'm gone. He's definitely the man who knew his place as a drummer."
These days Kenney's readying his own band, The Jones Gang, for a long tour of The States supporting a new album that comes out this spring. "I've got all drums blaring now" Kenney says excitedly today. "They are out of the holsters and firing."
Jones is jazzed to again be in the public eye after laying low for a while,
even talking about a possible Faces reunion tour. "I enjoyed every single
moment of recording with the band," Kenney insists. "We were a creative band, and we all had this telepathy between us. We never ever told each other what to play. We just sort of did it."