Ronnie Lane Interview #2, Part 2

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Ronnie Lane Interview #2     Part Two

DAVE:  Are you meddling around with recording songs aní all? Just little demos, here and there? 

LANE: Oh, Yeah. Well, I haven’t lately because I’ve been out on this tour n’all. But,Small Faces come the new year 

DAVE: Well, what’s the next project you’ve got going, then?

LANE: LANE: Well, to make some records. I’d like to make some records now. Of course, the next project is to get walkin’ again. I’m gradually, very slowly gettin’ there, but, ohh, it’s a long hike! That’s really, mainly what I’ve got on my… because, until I can walk properly, I can’t go on the stage. I’m not going to go on the stage in a wheelchair, which has been suggested so many times… 

DAVE: Has it?

LANE: Oh, I know my pride has taken a bit of a batterin’, but I ain’t going to go that far.

DAVE:  Are you getting your walking back, then?

LANE:  Gradually. Yeah.

DAVE:  From the treatments?

LANE: Yeah, from the treatments. I had a lot of treatments in Florida, just before the tour. I had lots of oxygen, and it was that that got me through because, uh… that tour was heavy goin’, y’know? I think that I proved that HBO works! I mean, for somebody with MS to get through that tour… 

DAVE: Proof positive, on it’s own.

LANE: Yeah. Absolutely! And they’re still having an (argument) about it! That’s what amazes me!

DAVE: Still fighting it in their own, twisted way…

LANE: Yeah!! Weird. Very weird.

DAVE: Oh, yeah… Something that I found whilst I was here… (pulling out a recently purchased LP of One For The Road

LANE:  Oh! Yesss!

RUBY:  What?One for the Road LP

LANE: There’s a picture of your mum! 

RUBY: Where? Where? (crawling onto Ronnie’s lap) Where’s my mum? 

LANE: There! That’s before you was born! You was just a twinkle in my eye then! 

RUBY: Where’re you? 

LANE: That’s me, there! 

RUBY: I didn’t know you had new trousers!

LANE: New trousers? They’re not new! They’re old! That’s an old boiler’s suit! Say ‘hello’ to Salt Lake City! 

RUBY:  Hello!

LANE:  Well, that was very dainty, Ruby!  Cor! That brings back some memories, I tell you!

DAVE: Like what? Because, I’m going to be playing it on the radio, so you might as well go at it! 

LANE: Oh, well… (pointing to cover of album) We made it in that barn, there. We recorded it on my mobile studio, there… 

DAVE:  Is that at your farm up in Wales?Recent compilation entitled 'Plonk'

LANE: (Lost in thought) Huh? Yeah! That’s the farm up in Wales. 

DAVE: With all the sheep?

LANE:  With all the sheep, yeah. 

DAVE:  Go ahead and list off some of the songs there that you really like.

LANE: What? Off this one? Well, let’s have a look. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard any of these. 

Side two, "Steppin’ and Reelin," I wrote that on my bus.

Side two, track two, "Harvest Home," was a number that I wrote for a lady called… who died. Her name was Mrs. Caulfield. She lived down the road from my farm, and she died, and it was really weird. It was very hot that summer, extremely hot. It was nighttime, and it got dark. Of course, in the summer it gets dark very late. I went to a pub, and someone told me she’d died. I couldn’t believe it… well, I could believe it, but it knocked me about a bit. I came out of the pub and it was dark, and all of the tractors were coming up from the fields with their lights on, and their carts all filled with hay, bringing the harvest home. I was just very choked, and I went home and I wrote "Harvest Home". Yup.

On side one, "That Burning Summer," I wrote that about that summer I was talking about. It was very hot.

"One For The Road" speaks for itself.

DAVE: How did you like working with Island?

LANE: Island Records? I didn’t.  I like the fellow who’s the guvner, who is that?

DAVE:  Chris Blackwell.

LANE: Chris Blackwell, yeah. I like him, he’s a good fellow. But, the people who work for the company… I knew most of them when I was in the Small Faces. They were teaboys for the record companies. Now they’re sort of the heads of Island Records. They couldn’t run a piss-up in a brewery, y’know what I mean? 

DAVE: Why don’t you list some of the Faces tracks that you really liked. 

LANE: The Faces tracks… Well, I like "Memphis, Tennessee." I like the way that came together, recording, too. We didn’t… we didn’t… (The kids start fighting) 

(To the kids) OI! Oi! I’m doing an interview!! Now, keep quiet, please! This is Salt Lake City! Ruben! That means you, too.

"Memphis, Tennessee" came about… we really didn’t intend to do it. I started messin’ about with it on the bass, just, uh… I was playin’ my version of what I thought Lonnie Mack used to do it like. And the rest of the band joined in and, all of a sudden, we just did it! Then, Rod came in and sang it.   It was one of those things that came about without thinking. I like things like that. Spontaneous. It was spontaneous. I like spontaneous things.

Other Faces things… Cor, dear! I can’t remember much of ‘em!

DAVE:  (laughing) Sure you can! You have to!

LANE:  Yeah. "Cindy Incidentally," I like that.

DAVE:  How did "Ooh La La" come about?

LANE: "Ooh La La" was an idea of Ron Wood’s. I wrote the words to that. I was just entering my ‘Hating Women’ stage, you know? Loving them and hating them all at the same time. I’ve really been through that stage, as well! I never realized when I wrote the words to "Ooh La La," how relevant it was. Very strange. Everything that I seem to write either comes true or is what’s what’s actually happening, and I haven’t noticed it’s what’s actually happening. 

DAVE: You’re subconsciously writing songs. 

LANE: Yeah! I think I’m sort of writing something out of my head and, in actual fact, all I’m doing is sort of writing down what’s happening, you know? 

DAVE: Can you think of some other songs, then? "Stay With Me," of course. You’d have to say something about that one, considering it was the big hit. 

LANE: Oi! Ruben! I asked you to be quiet! We’re making a recording to go on the radio in America! Lukie!Caravan Days 

LUKE:  Yeah?

LANE:  Leave him alone.

LUKE: I’m not touching him. He’s kicking me!

LANE:  Sorry, what did you ask?

DAVE:  "Stay With Me"

LANE:  (Distantly) "Stay With Me." Why did you ask me about that one?

DAVE:  It was a big hit, for one thing.

LANE:  Was it? The only thing I can remember about "Stay With Me" is the bass line! (laughter)

DAVE:  How about "Around the Plynth?"

LANE: "Around the Plynth." Now you’re getting right back into the early days! (Long pause) 

DAVE:  "Debris"?

LANE: Oh, "Debris" is basically about my old man. Yeah, the Debris used to be… The Debris was down… not Petticoat Lane. Adjoining Petticoat Lane-- which is famous, everybody knows about it—is another market called Club Row, and that was all on Debris. People just used to come out there with all their chuck-outs and flotsam and jetsam and spread it out on the Debris, you know? And my father used to go down there every Sunday. Every Sunday morning, he’d take me down there and he’d root around for hours in all this shit! (Laughter) And, uh, it wasn’t until I was in New York that I realized that I quite missed it! I was feeling homesick at the time. 

DAVE:  Well, can you think of any other songs from your long, illustrious career?  Oh! How about "Rene"?

LANE: "Rene, the Docker’s Delight"? (laughs) Well, that’s basically about a chick called Rene Tungate, and it’s a true story, again. What more can I say? You listen to the words of "Rene, the Docker’s Delight," and you’ve got it. I can’t say no more than that!  (Pause)  She was an old bag!! (Laughs) 

DAVE:  Down at the Crown and Anchor.Ogden's Nut Gone Flake LP, 1967

LANE:  Well, that was a bit of artistic license.

DAVE: Couldn’t say the real one, could you?

LANE:  No!

DAVE:  That would make it too true?

LANE: We didn’t know at the time. We weren’t drinkers. We weren’t drinkers at the time. 

DAVE: Good album, that was, Ogden’s Nut

LANE: Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. (laughs) 

DAVE:   I always thought that was kind of odd, because Ogden is where I live.

LANE: Oh, yeah? Well, that’s the name of a tobacco company over here. 

I mean, the idea of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake was, if they ever legalized marijuana and the tobacco companies put it out, that’s what it would be kinda called. We thought of a good name for a brand of marijuana, "Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.  That’s good stuff! It makes your nut go!" (Laughter)

DAVE:  Would you call the early Rod Stewart albums just, simply, Faces albums under an incorrect moniker?

LANE:  Pardon?

DAVE:  Do you think of them as Faces albums rather than Rod Stewart solo albums?

LANE: Not really, they were Rod Stewart’s all right. I actually think that they were sort of… There were things that Rod, if he’d been worth his salt, should have saved for Faces albums. But, it became obvious to me after a while that Rod was saving all his good ideas for his own albums, and very little for the Faces albums.    I thought, "I’ve been through all this before. Steve Marriott left the boys right up the lurch, now Rod’s going to leave us up the lurch. So, the only thing to do is, I’ll leave first." Y’know? So that’s why I left the Faces! 

DAVE: And once Tetsu [Yamauchi, who replaced Lane in the Faces—D.M.] got in, what was it, another year before it was all over? 

LANE: It didn’t last much longer after that. 

DAVE: It shouldn’t have. 

Wasn’t there some disturbance over Ooh La La, once it came out? Rod slammed it in the press?

LANE:  Oh, yeah!

DAVE:  What was that about?

LANE:  Rod slated it something rotten!

DAVE:  Why?

LANE: I don’t know.  Basically, he didn’t bother to turn up for it. So we carried on recording, and when he came in to put his voice-overs on it they was in the wrong keys, and things like that, for him. And he started complaining about this and complaining about that! And, if you ask me, if he’s gonna fucking complain he should have been there when we recorded it, you know?! 

So I thought, ‘Oh!! I’ve had enough of all this! I’ve been through all this with Marriott, now I’m going through it with him. So, I’ll see if I can’t get on without all these people!"

DAVE: Move on down the road… 

LANE:  Yeah, right!!

DAVE:  Did you like the album, though? I thought it was a very good album.

LANE: Under the circumstances, it was a great album! It would have been a lot better if we’d had some assistance from Rod, I think. Y’know? 

DAVE:  Well, at least you had Glyn (Johns) behind you! (Laugh)

LANE: We had Glyn behind us. That’s all we did have! We had our exuberance for our band, and we had Glyn Johns! That’s what made it a good album, if it is good album. 

DAVE: I’d say it is, definitely. 

Why not mention some of your favorite solo stuff? If you can remember…

LANE: Actually, I think one of the nicest little songs that I’ve put together, I don’t think it’s been released in America. And I don’t think it’s on an album, either, because I was still in the naÔve sort of way of thinking, "y’know, you shouldn’t put singles on albums… that’s a con!" (Laugh)

That’s how naÔve I was! Anyway, it’s called, "The Poacher." Have you heard it?

DAVE: Oh, yeah! Sure! It’s on albums. 

LANE:  Is it?

DAVE: Yeah. It’s on Slim Chance. [It was released on a special disc-jockey version in the US, which is what I own—D.M.] 

LANE: It’s on Slim Chance, is it? Well, I don’t know how it got on there! It certainly didn’t get on Anymore For Anymore, did it? 

DAVE:    Say something about "Poacher", then, because I’ve got that.   

LANE: Well, I like "The Poacher", although, if I had the chance to do it all over again, I’d like to do it all over again! And I’d like to try and sing it this time! Instead of wailing it. It’s a bit high, very high, and I was scared of singing it at the time. So I made an excuse for it. But, in actual fact, it’s not a bad song. 

What’s another song I like? Of mine? Have you got that, See Me?See Me LP

DAVE: No. That’s one I’m looking for, desperately. 

LANE: Cuz that’s got a couple of nice things on it that I like. So you can’t play any tracks off of that, can you? 

DAVE: Not unless I find it, which is possible. Give it a shot! I’ll find it someday, and I can use it then! 

LANE: Right! There’s a track called "Ain’t No Winning With Women." I told you about my "hating women" number! I think that was my last "hating women" song. I love all women, now. They’re not nasty at all. It’s me that’s nasty! (Laughter) 

And, there’s also a number called, "Don’t Tell Me Now." I like that one.

DAVE: How did the soundtrack with Ron Wood come about? [For the as-yet unreleased film, Mahoney’s Last Stand, directed by and starring Alexis Kanner, and also starring Sam Waterston-- D.M.] 

LANE: It was just a friend of mine who was an actor, called Alexis Kanner. He asked me if I’d do it, so I said, "Yes, I’m interested. Let’s have a look, see what it’s like." And, at the time, it was a good movie. I read the story, and it was amusing. And then I saw some shots from the movie, and I thought it had something. 

So, I went to Ronnie Wood, and said, "you interested, Ronnie?" And he said, "yeah."

DAVE:  Was he with the Stones at the time?

LANE:  No. He was with the Faces. We was both with the Faces.

DAVE:  You did that in 1975, though. 1974?

LANE: Did it about ’72, ’73. 

DAVE: Really? It didn’t come out til ’77…

LANE: Well, I left the Faces in ’73, and it was in the can by ’73. Yup.

Getting it finished, once I’d left the Faces, was something else because Ronnie was wooing the Stones at the time. And getting him to come down to the bottom of his garden to work, to finish the album, was, uh…Mohoney's Last Stand LP

DAVE:  Something just short of impossible

LANE: Absolutely! He would fly to Ireland to see Mick, and I was up at the bottom of the garden, like! (Laugh) So… 


I intended to stay only a short time for this interview, as Ronnie was obviously not feeling well. If I had been able to stay in the UK for another week, we were to have met for a third time to do an some in-depth work on the years 1964-74. However, I’d already stayed weeks longer than initially planned, and was unable to extend my stay any longer. Two days later, while interviewing Simon Kirke at his home near Kew Gardens, Ron Wood stopped by. While I was chatting with him, it didn’t even occur to me to mention having just seen Ronnie.  I simply didn’t think of it.

I spoke to Ronnie several times in the next few years, but slowly lost contact with him after his move to Texas.  Still, each time we spoke his spirit never flagged, even if his health had. He always seemed to know of something around the corner that might change his plight. My only wish is that there had been.



© Copyright 1983, 2003 D.C. McNarie. Reproduction of any kind prohibited without the prior written consent of author.



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