For anyone holding tickets to a Faces gig in the early 70s, it was often a coin-toss as to which version of the band would turn up. It could be the sloppy (yet strangely lovable) model that stumbled its way through the set, all missed chords and meandering jams; or it could be the tightly-drilled outfit who seriously challenged The Rolling Stones for the crown of the world’s best live band.
The former inevitably makes for the best copy; overgrown adolescent ruffians riffing away through a fog of booze, bed-hopping and fisticuffs. They’re well represented here by Neill, but the author also rightly praises the music, the songs that established The Faces as the quintessential touring rock’n’roll band. Their meagre back catalogue of just four albums (long overdue deluxe reissue treatment) could have been more, had internal friction and Rod Stewart’s stratospherically successful solo career not got in the way.
Post-split activities are covered in the last 100 or so pages, with Neill especially good on the creative joy but financial folly of Ronnie Lane’s circus-like collective of troubadours and Ron Wood’s increasingly important role in propelling the Stones forward. The ongoing reunion, with Mick Hucknall in the Stewart role, is touched upon, and fans may find themselves clinging to Rod’s casual remark that he’ll “get back there some time”.