Mac reveals band’s discomfort over changing keys to fit Stewart’s abilities – that’s why Hucknall was good choice for vocalist

Change of tune: Rod Stewart

Faces keyboardist Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan says Rod Stewart couldn’t sing the band’s songs in their original keys when they gathered for an attempted reunion – and that’s one of the reasons why Mick Hucknall was a good choice as another vocalist.

The band have tried to regroup with their original singer on a number of occasions, but after another failure they made the controversial decision to tour with the Simply Red frontman in his place.

And McLagan admits the band weren’t happy with the changes required to accommodate Stewart’s twenty-first century vocal abilities.

The keyboardist tells MusicRadar: “Rod’s voice isn’t what it was. He had surgery on his vocal cords a few years ago and it’s changed the way he sings.

“We had some rehearsals a couple of years ago and we basically had to re-learn all the songs in different keys. Ron Wood had to put heavier strings on his guitar and tune everything down.

“We all agreed it just wasn’t the same. That’s not to say we’ll never play with Rod again – if at some point he’s really up for it, and we can all get comfortable with the changes to the songs, there’s no reason for us not to get back out there.”

Despite a certain amount of backlash from fans, McLagan maintains Hucknall delivered the goods. “I think he’s surprised a lot of people – we always knew it would work with Mick,” he says.

“He’s a rocker at heart and was a Faces fan from way back when, so he already knew the songs inside out.”

But if Stewart does return McLagan says he’d love to hear more double-vocals between the frontman and guitarist. ““It’s a pity there are so few songs where Rod and Ron are both singing. I always thought there was something really emotional about that blend,” he reflects.

Stewart is currently working on a reunion album with Jeff Beck. In May he said he’d only commit to a Faces reunion if Wood left the Rolling Stones first.

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