Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance and Me

I love this bloke, in a bloke sort of way.

Ronnie Lane left The Faces in 1973 to persue a solo career and live out a gypsy lifestyle complete with a travelling circus, buying a derelict farm and an old fashioned circus tent and showmans caravans and trucks he took his folk/rock inspired new band on the road with the intention of simply stopping wherever they liked, setting up tent and having the show right there that night, in true Mickey Rooney stylee.

It was a complete balls-up and he lost a fortune.

But the following year he was back with his band of nomads doing the university dining hall gigs in the traditional way and it was then that I went to see him at Leeds Poly with the ensemble in the video and Gallagher and Lyle guesting in the band (none of you have the faintest idea of whom I speak have you), two wonderful gigs I saw him perform in Leeds in succesive years, 74 and 75 and it was at the second gig that a friend dragged me away during the final encore to traverse a maze of passageways behind and under the stage to finally emerge in the dressing room just as the band came off stage - we spent 30 minutes with them drinking their beer and slapping backs and pretending that we were part of their entourage until a security chappie rumbled us and threw us out on our arses.

Two years later while recording an album with an old friend and admirer of the "fuck 'em all I'm off to be a gypsy" attitude, Pete Townsend, Ronnie Lane was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and in 84 he took off to Austin Texas where the climate was beneficial to his health but a disasterous business venture was less than favourable to his health and he almost ended up in jail.

Skint and more disabled by the month, a series of benefit concerts organised by fellow Small Faces band members Kenny Jones and Ian McLagen raised enough cash to get by with until he finally seccumbed to the disease in June 1997.

I have three albums of his somewhere (I know where two of them are but I'm buggered if I can find the other) and I treasure each one, even the lost one, i love this music.

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