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Musician Ronnie Lane dies; battled multiple sclerosis
by Chris Riemenschnieder
Austin American Statesman; Austin; Jun 5, 1997


Ronnie Lane, who paved a joyous musical road with influential British rock bands the Faces and Small Faces before finding a home in the Austin music scene, died early Wednesday after battling multiple sclerosis for 20 years. He was 51.

At the time of his death, Lane was living in Trinidad, Colo. He left Austin in 1994 only because the heat affected his health, said longtime Faces mate and fellow Austin transplant Ian MacLagan.

``He loved it here,'' MacLagan said. ``He loved it that people loved him being here.''

Austinites definitely enjoyed having Lane around, KGSR-FM's Jody Denberg said.

``It was great because Austin is known as a place where people make music simply for the joy of making music, and here was this guy who had been through it all, done it all as a musician, and he ended up here for that same, pure joy,'' Denberg said.

The Small Facestook off in 1965 with future Humble Pie leader Steve Mariott, Lane, MacLagan and drummer Kenney Jones, all under 5 feet, 6 inches tall. Led by Marriot but fueled by Lane's lyrics and spirited, R&B-tinged melodies, the group had such hits as ``Itchycoo Park'' and ``Hey Girl'' before Marriot left in 1968.

With Rod Stewart and Ron Wood on board, the Faces weren't so small, figuratively and commercially. Their hits included ``Stay With Me'' and ``Cindy Incidentally.''

Lane left the Faces in 1973 and recorded three solo albums before teaming with the Who's Pete Townshend for 1977's ``Rough Mix,'' which had the hit ``My Baby Gives It Away.''

In 1983, Lane organized the ARMS tour (Artists for Research into Multiple Sclerosis), which featured Wood, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and Charlie Watts.

``I don't think (the ARMS organization) ever did what he'd hoped it would, and they kept some things from him, so he came here a little frustrated and tired,'' said Jo Rae DiMenno, publicist for the South by Southwest Music Conference, who was Lane's caretaker when he moved to Austin in 1986. ``He was just the most spiritual songwriter and devoted music lover, so it was good for him.''

While in Austin, Lane played with ``just about everybody who was a fan of his here, which was just about everybody,'' Denberg said. That included Alejandro Escovedo and the True Believers, various pre-Poi Dog Pondering outfits and the Tremors, featuring Bobbie Keys.

 

 

 


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