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Rod Stewart, who told The Hollywood Reporter in May, “Me and Ronnie [Wood] were out plotting the Faces’ future,” confirmed in a Dec. 2 interview on Boston’s WZLX radio that the Faces, founded in 1965, would reunite as a live band after Wood’s next tour with the Rolling Stones. Said Stewart, “We’re earmarking 2015,” which is the 40th anniversary of the band’s breakup.
The Faces were named after the 1960s British hipster expression for a fashionably mod “mover” on the pop scene — in fact, the first time Ron Wood introduced himself to Stewart, they both said, “Hello, face.” The band began life as the Small Faces, because the original lineup comprised fashionable short guys: lead singer Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Jimmy Winston, who was replaced by Ian McLagan. (Lane died of MS in 1997; and Marriott died in 1991.)
After a 1967 hit urging Oxford students to skip school (“Why go to learn the words of fools?”) to get high and “feed the ducks with a bun” in the park, Marriott quit the band to start Humble Pie — the band that breaks the heart of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) by buying her favors for $50 and a case of Heineken in Cameron Crowe‘s Almost Famous.
Stewart replaced Marriott in the Faces from 1969-75, as his solo career simultaneously soared. Wood joined the Faces in 1969, too. When Mick Jagger wooed Wood away to the Stones — after repeatedly promising Stewart never to do so — Stewart quit, too.
In his memoir Rod, reprinted in 2013, Stewart says the Faces drank too much, and one member wore a fake carnation full of cocaine onstage to sniff from discreetly in concert. He recalls them “squabbling like cats in a sack. But while it worked, god, it was brilliant. On a good night, the Faces were something special. On a bad night, we were bloody awful … but being bloody awful could sometimes be even more special than being good.”
Stewart brought his fellow Faces onstage at a Wembley Stadium show in 1986, but missed the band’s 2012 induction at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks to strep throat. Odds are he’ll be croaking “Stay With Me” with Wood in 2015.
But one mystery remains: What will they wear? Few bands were ever such fashion victims. As Stewart recalled of the Faces’ heyday, “Carrying 200 pounds of velvet and satin around a stage for 90 minutes — that’s man’s work, let me tell you.”
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