Rod Stewart in concert. Boston, MA. (Photo by Getty Images)
A significant new band was born on this day in 1970 when the Faces released its debut album "First Step," sending the careers of a young singer named Rod Stewart and his friend Ron Wood, a first-class guitar player, into high gear. Both careers continue to this day, Stewart as one of the most successful singers in history and Wood as an integral member of the Rolling Stones since 1976.
The Small Faces were a hit band in England and when their lead Steve Marriot departed to form Humble Pie, the new duo passed the audition and stepped in. They weren't entirely unknown; both had played on tour and on two albums as members of the Jeff Beck Group. The addition of Stewart and Wood to the Small Faces lineup so radically changed the band's direction that they changed their name to the Faces; that plus the fact that the new guys were not 'small' at all and towered over their new bandmates!
The appropriately-titled "First Step" album came out on this day in 1970 and became a hit in England. The band would become huge in that country and in Europe, also enjoying moderate success in America till the group went bust in 1975. By that time, 'Woody' was heading off to join The Stones on their '75 tour and Rod had already birthed a wildly-successful solo career with hit albums and singles that had eclipsed the beloved band he had joined five years earlier.
On November 25, 2013, Rod Stewart, on the other end of a long career and still selling out the Boston Garden, called me at WZLX. Along with the reason why the singer never got to play Woodstock and the state of his legendary stormy relations with Jeff Beck, here are some highlights, plus the interview!
In your autobiography, you say you are your 'father's biggest mistake.' "Not planned, yeah. My brother said that, actually."
When you first came to New York in 1968 with the Jeff Beck Group, did you actually put your lives in danger by going up to the Apollo Theater in Harlem? "Yeah; weren't we brave? We were, literally, the only two white people in the audience. Two British guys with these huge haircuts and funny clothes - a couple of oddballs; nobody would come anywhere near us!"
You sound like a regular guy in your book ("Rod: The Autobiography"). "To be honest, I've had my moments with my ego. My family have always kept me well-grounded; their always the ones to put me in my position!"