‘Upward and Onward’- Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan Remembered

Ian McLagan died suddenly last December in his adopted home town of Austin. Today would have been Mac’s 70th birthday.

A bunch of his friends gathered at SXSW this year to pay tribute to their pal, this very loved man who’d been the keyboard player in the Small Faces, The Faces, with the Stones and in Dylan’s band and so much more, so much more.

On the panel – singers BP Fallon and Patty Griffin both of whom Mac recorded with, bass-player Jon Notarthomas of Ian McLagan & The Bump Band who played with Mac solo too, KUTX radio personality Jody Denberg, Jo Rae Di Menno who did Mac’s press and David Fricke Senior Editor of Rolling Stone.

Says BP Fallon here – “What is stardom? Stardom is generosity of spirit and the joy of life made contagious and in that context Ian McLagan was as big a star as anyone”.

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BP talks about Mac watched by Patty Griffin and David Fricke. Photography by Radek

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David Fricke & BP Fallon & Jody Denberg & Jo Rae Di Menno & Patty Griffin & Jon Notarthomas. Photography by Radek


Ian McLagan with Patty Griffin ~ ‘Never Say Never’ ~ The David Letterman Show

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Ian McLagan & BP Fallon during the recording of the BP Fallon & The Bandits album ‘Still Legal’. Photography by Radek

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Even in the dark Mac was a beacon of light. Recording at Red Horse Ranch Studio ~ BP Fallon, Hector Munoz, Clem Burke, Ian McLagan & Aaron Lee Tasjan. Photography by Radek

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Ian McLagan’s home in Austin. Photography by BP Fallon

Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan
May 12th 1945 – 3 Dec 2014
Rest In Peace, Mac. And thank you. We love you x

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Johnny Thunders – 24 years gone but not gone

Posted by admin on Thursday Apr 23, 2015 Under Brown Bread, Magic, Music, Rock'n'Roll, Timeless

On the 24th anniversary of the death of the great Johnny Thunders, we present this reflective and moving piece by his former manager BP Fallon. From the book ‘My Generation: Rock’n’Roll, An Imperfect History’ (Lilliput Press 1996).

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Johnny Thunders in Dublin 1990 by & © BP Fallon

BYE BYE JOHNNY
by BP Fallon 1996

The New York Dolls, particularly their gutter peacock guitarist Johnny Thunders, they were gods to the whole of 1976 punk, and The Sex Pistols, The Clash, they carved themselves from the shadows of
Iggy And The Stooges, Lou Reed and The Velvets, Bolan and Bowie and The MC5 and a boy called Johnny.

You meet Johnny in 1972 in the after midnight of a dentist’s surgery in Harlem. He’s a flash peacock in rags of glitter, platform boots and a jet-black plumage of shoulder-length backcombed hair as if a buzzard has been nesting on his head. On-stage upstairs at Max’s his streetwise Italian face pouts as he poses, a cross between Keef Richard and an urban subterranean gutter glam outlaw. A punk. Plus of course Johnny plays the bestest, most exciting, powerful vicious guitar in town.

Come ’76 The Dolls have collapsed in a storm of too much drink and too many drugs, rejected at large for their Neanderthal rock’n’roll, and Johnny is in England fronting The Heartbreakers, he and The Dolls’ second drummer Jerry Nolan. The first, Billy Murcia, he accidently OD’d on Mandrax. Johnny and Jerry, they’re junkies and they celebrate their stupidity with songs like ‘Chinese Rocks’ and ‘Too Much Junkie Bizness’. The Heartbreakers collapse.

At a party for Patti Smith, Johnny Thunders asks you to be his manager. Listen, heroin is the horrors, the darkest of darknesses, a hole into which junkies pour their very life. If you wanted an ad against heroin, Johnny Thunders was it to a T. A rock’n’roll genius turned into shambolic mess. We managed some gigs at The Speakeasy, Steve Jones and Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols playing with their hero. Sid Vicious got up once. He idolized Johnny and wanted to form a group with him called The Junkies. One gig was billed as ‘The Living Dead’.

In interviews, Johnny has kindly said that I was responsible for putting together his best LP, the album ‘So Alone’. Loyal musicians who lent their support came from The Sex Pistols, The Only Ones, The Heartbreakers, even Traffic. Chrissie Hynde sang backing vocals. On the storming version of Derek Martin’s R&B classic ‘Daddy Rolling Stone’, first Johnny, then Phil Lynott, then Steve Marriott sing a verse. Phil, he was concerned at Johnny’s health. “He’s too out of it, knowarramean?” And then there was Johnny’s most beautiful, sensitive tragic song. It was titled ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ but Johnny, he always sang it “You can’t put your arm around a memory”. Christ, Johnny.

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BP Fallon & Johnny Thunders 1990 by Paul Murphy

Sunday afternoon at the tail-end of April 1990 and Johnny is over at your house. He’s been in Ireland a week or so and the previous night appeared in Dublin at the New Inn. Naturally, it was chaotic. And sad. And brilliant sometimes, like when Johnny’s into a rambling blues and he’s saying “And there’s you kids, the reason, the reason why. I tell ya, if it wasn’t for the kids!” and the guitar, it cries, a flurry of notes weeping the blues. Johnny is playing his heart out.

Sunday afternoon, sunny, we sit here and play records and talk and Johnny plays a tape of some new stuff he’s recorded.

Heroin? Naw, he’s just on methadone now he says, gets it on prescription. Doesn’t do heroin, no not never. Well… hardly ever.

He’s hoping for a record deal somewhere. His wife Julie is back in Michigan with the kids, has been for years. He’d been living with his girlfriend Susanne in Sweden but that … well, that isn’t happening either.

And then you put on The Shangri-La’s song ‘Give Him a Great Big Kiss’ from Johnny’s So Alone album and Patti Palladin, her voice all Noo York sass like all of The Ronettes chewing gum, she teases “Well I hear she’s pretty bad” and Johnny, he responds “Well she’s good bad but she’s not evil”, and sitting here now Johnny’s lived-in face, the mouth grins lopsidedly and there’s a twinkle from under the drooping eyelids and for a moment he looks so happy and so vulnerable, the wounded artist touching the sunlight for a moment and you understand again why you love him.

Johnny’s leaving now, leaving for the airport. He has no home, no number. Says maybe he’ll go to New York after he’s played in London, maybe go back to Paris. Says he’d like maybe to live in New Orleans.

Johnny gathers his plastic bag of medications and in the street we hug. Once, he’d had a muscled torso like Iggy. Now underneath his pinstriped suit he seems suddenly frail. This battered artist who sings from the slums of his soul is on the home run.

Six days short of a year later, Johnny Thunders is in New Orleans. He’s just done a tour of Japan. Two days ago he’s recorded with the group Die Toten Hosen, recorded his Heartbreakers favourite ‘Born To Lose’. He’s thirty-eight years old. And he’s dead. The police find vials of methadone, and in the toilet a syringe. The coroner’s report says the cause of death may have been drug-related.

Bye bye Johnny.

– BP Fallon 1996


Johnny Thunders ~ So Alone (full album). Produced by Steve Lillywhite. Directed by BP Fallon

Johnny Thunders July 15th 1952 – April 23rd 1991
Billy Murcia October 9th 1951 – November 6th 1972
Jerry Nolan May 7th 1946 – January 14th 1992
Arthur Kane February 3rd 1949 – July 13th 2004
plus
Chris Wood June 24th 1944 – July 12th 1983
Phil Lynott August 20th 1949 – January 4th 1986
Steve Marriott January 30th 1947 – April 20th 1991
John ‘Irish’ Earle 1944 – May 8th 2008
Billy Rath 1948 – Aug 2014
RIP

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BP Fallon ~ Does Anyone Care What Anyone Says In Rock’n’Roll ~ Live In Texas 2015

BP Fallon ~ vocals
Danny B Harvey ~ guitar
Joe King Carrasco ~ guitar
Mike Mills ~ bass guitar
Clem Burke ~ drums
Annie Marie Lewis ~ backing vocals/percussion

‘Does Anyone Care What Anyone Says In Rock’n’Roll’ written by
BP Fallon/Aaron Lee Tasjan/Nigel Harrison/Clem Burke

Video by Radek
with added appreciation to Kim Galusha & Alejandro Escovedo

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The bow ~ Clem Burke & Danny B Harvey & BP Fallon & Annie Marie Lewis & Mike Mills & Joe King Carrasco. Photography by Dawn Laureen

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This radio programme was broadcast April 20th 2012 on the 21st Anniversary of Steve’s death, bless him

Wang Dang Doodle Artist Of The Week – from London
– Steve Marriott 21 Years Gone But Not Gone (2012)

Steve Marriott Jan 30th 1947 – April 20th 1991 RIP

00:00 Hi And Happy – BP & Tara & Ashley 4 play
00:21 BP Fallon’s Wang Dang Doodle – Ronnie Drew
00:31 High And Happy – Steve Marriott
03:05 Love Interruption – Jack White
05:36 The Kids Don’t Dance – The Happen Ins
09:30 American Beat – The Head Cat
11:07 BP verbal
12:34 Louisiana Blues – Steve Marriott
16:16 You’re Not The Only One – Black Pistol Fire
20:00 Love Is Dead – Kopek
23:58 Street Rat – Steve Marriott
26:39 BP rabbit
27:36 Bluegrass Interval – Steve Marriott
31:33 Never Say Never – Ian McLagan & Patty Griffin
34:58 New Year’s Eve – Tom Waits
39:22 New Year’s Eve At The Gates Of Hell – Ray Wylie Hubbard
42:44 Gramophone
42:51 Mother Blues – Ray Wylie Hubbard
48:43 The Eagle Flies On Friday – The Head Cat
52:00 Hambone – Steve Marriott
54:44 BP au revoir
56:17 Lord Let Me Hold Out – Steve Marriott
59:40 And the jingles jangling go auld triangling

Hear here!
Wang Dang Doodle featuring Steve Marriott 21 Years RIP, on BTR


Small Faces – Steve Marriott & Kenney Jones & Ian McLagan & Ronnie Lane


Steve Marriott in the Small Faces


Ronnie & Steve, bless ‘em both


Ian McLagan, God bless Mac too


Black Pistol Fire


The Happen Ins by & © Alexandra Valenti


The sound of music…


Tara & Ashley by & © BP Fallon

And!

Small Faces & Stanley Unwin – Happy Days Toytown – the joy of life


Humble Pie with The Blackberries – Black Coffee – Steve Marriott mindblowing black vocal in this raw celebration of the joy of music

God bless you, Steve
And Ronnie Lane April 1st 1946 – June 4th 1997
And Ian McLagan May 12th 1945 – December 3rd 2014
We’ll meet again xxx

Breakthru Radio

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BP Fallon remembers Joey Ramone


Joey Ramone by & © BP Fallon

Letter from America by BP Fallon: Sunday April 15th 2001
Reprinted from The Irish Times April 24th 2001

I’m sorry to have to tell you that the Mayor Of The East Village Joey Ramone died this afternoon. He died from lymphatic cancer. His mum Charlotte said he was listening to U2’s In A Little While in his room at New York Presbyterian Hospital when he died. “Just as the song finished, Joey finished,” Charlotte said. He was 49.

Only a month or so ago I saw him on his perambulations, gangling down St. Mark’s Place, this rubbery creature who towered giraffe-like above the gaggle of excited Japanese girls who formed a moving clucking mass around him as he walked. And as he walked his neck craned down to meet their smiling upturned faces, this most unlikely – and enormously likeable – apostle of cool, mane of black hair blowing this way and that, automatic hand tugging it back, those yellowy-orange prescription shades like the bottoms of milkbottles that when the light hit them in a certain way you would see those bulbous eyes that he hid from the world, these eyes still excited by the quest but equally – more? – still shy and self-effacing.

Just a pop singer…

Just the singer in the fastest, blastest, tightest, rockin’est, coolest band of their magic moments.

Just fucking Joey Ramone.

First time I saw Joey was at the Roundhouse in 1976 when the Ramones blitzkrieg bopped into London for the very first time, waving a ‘Gabba Gabba Hey!’ placard and taking no prisoners. It was the Bicentennial Fourth Of July, a fact trumpeted by these feisty young American invaders from Queens, New York. Bloody hell.

The Ramones nailed ev’ryone to the wall.

Johnny’s chainsaw guitar, legs apart, moptop flying. Dee Dee’s barked exhortations of “1,2,3,4!” Tommy attacking the drums like the bloke from Black Sabbath on Lemmy-quality speed.

And in the middle at the front at the mic stand stands the human stick insect Joey Ramone, a mess of hippy hair at British punkdom’s Damascus, the hand holding the mic drowned by this scraggly waterfall of Woodstock visual, the face virtually absent, this humanoid freak looking like a geek and singing like Adonis.

Make no mistake, Joey was a romantic.

The Ramones sound, it was like a stripped-down Phil Spector record, speeded up and the sweetening gone and the naked engine snarling, heavenly choir transformed into gutter-gaunt revving roadster, this little monster hot-rod racing, rockin’ tough and hard. Hoodlum music with a smile, delinquent teen vignettes like Teenage Lobotomy and Beat On The Brat and Cretin Hop and Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment. Gene Vincent, the punk from Norfolk, Virginia who’d scored with Be Bop A Lula twenty years earlier, even Gene Vincent couldn’t have said it better. Really, the titles say it all, fast and funny and to the point. I Wanna Be Sedated. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue. Classics…

And on top of this full-speed full-tilt amped-up electric mayhem there’s this voice of pop that when Phil Spector finally got to produce the Ramones – ‘cos he did and even if it was mad and even if it was crazy which of course it was because that’s just the way it is sometimes with ol’ Uncle Phil, well it was fated and that’s it. Anyways… down the line Phil gets to produce the Ramones and he takes this Joey voice, this perfect pop voice for today people and he melds it to Baby, I Love You and God forgive me but it’s as good as Ronnie Spector’s immaculate vocal on the Phil Spector-produced original by The Ronettes. But while Mrs. Spector had sang it with wet-lipped joy and celebration, in Joey’s reading it was as if he was pleading his love. It was beautiful.

Last time I saw Joey sing was with Ronnie Spector. Ronnie sang Don’t Worry Baby and then they did a song written by one of Joey’s peers, Johnny Thunders, a song Joey had produced for Ronnie Spector’s new EP, Johnny’s song You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory…

There on St. Mark’s Place we nodded greetings at each other.

Joey had always been one of those characters who you weren’t really sure if they actually remembered you or not, he seemed so gently affable but kinda out there at the same time.

The Boomtown Rats did a tour, their first tour of England proper, supporting Talking Heads and the headliners the Ramones, in 1977. Joey was the same then, Mr. Vagueout dreamin’ his dreams, charismatically freakish on stage and genuinely sweet to the ever-awed fans who crowded into the dressing-rooms after ev’ry show.

Then another BP charge with the unlikely name of Snips, a mate of Chris Spedding who’d sung with Ginger Baker, Snips landed the support on the latest Ramones tour. This is ’78. On the plane to Belfast I find myself sitting next to Johnny Ramone, Mike Clark Byrds hair framing a tight face. “How old are you?” I say idly (as one does…). Johnny thinks about this for a while, then ponders the question a bit more, then drifts into further cogitation. Finally, he takes in air and says, with great consideration, “Mid twenties”.

Dee Dee was another story altogether (see BP Moves Into Chelsea Hotel, Dee Dee Visits. Weird scenes from inside the goldmine vol. 69).

Anyways, when the plane gets to Belfast – this is the gig before the epochal Dublin gig at the State Cinema in Phibsboro – when the plane gets to Belfast all the Ramones, this cartoon rock’n’roll band of hair and leather jackets and ripped jeans, they scruff into a scruffy van and their manager Linda Stein, she swans into a flash limo. Ah, rock’n’roll high school…

After that Ronnie Spector gig here in New York at Life in the West Village a year and a bit ago, Arturo Vega the Ramones lighting guy from the year zero, he does all their graphics and stuff, he’s introducing me to Joey yet again,”Uh, you know BP Fallon?” “Yeah, you were on the tour we did with Snips,” Joey deadpans back drily, quick as a button and on the button too, memory sharp as an owl’s. “You used to wear a short green velvet robe, didn’t you?”

So on St Mark’s Place a few weeks back, we nod our greetings and amble on by.

I never thought I’d never see him again. God bless Joey Ramone. Gabba Gabba Hey!

– BP Fallon, East Village NYC April 15th 2001.


Local TV Coverage of the death of Joey Ramone on Easter Sunday 2001


Joey Ramone and fan at CBGB 2000 by & © BP Fallon


Ronnie Spector & Joey Ramone NYC 1999 by & © BP Fallon


Debbie Harry & Joey Ramone from Punk Magazine 1976


Just kids: Dee Dee & Joey via Phyllis Stein’s Facebook


Not kids anymore: Joey, Ronnie, Keith & Dee Dee

Joey Ramone May 19th 1951 – April 15th 2001
Dee Dee Ramone September 18th 1951 – June 5th 2002
Johnny Ramone October 8th 1948 – September 15th 2004
Tommy Ramone January 29th 1949 – July 11th 2014
God Bless Da Brudders x
and Arturo Vega October 13th 1947 – June 8th 2013
Linda Stein April 24th 1945 – October 30th 2007

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