Ian McLagan is motoring through Pennsylvania on his way to Chicago, but the crisp connection and his chipper, English-accented voice make it sound like he's calling from his Manor country abode just outside Austin. Which is where he'll be again in a few days because he and his Bump Band have scored the opening gig to end all opening gigs: warming up for the Rolling Stones and then playing the Continental Club's afterparty the same night. Of course, a Stones gig is hardly new to "Mac," who's not only played on their albums, but also toured with them as keyboardist.
"I booked them, actually, at a hotel in '63 or '64 and put my band in to open," he laughs. "When they hit the stage, they were so tanned. Brian Jones was tanned!
"It's like history repeating itself, but it took 42 years. It'll be hugs and kisses and laughs when I see Woody. They're my favorite band. I was so privileged to get to play and record with them. Truthfully, I don't know if Woody will come to the [Continental] club, but I'll be very happy to welcome them to Austin. Dear friends."
Mac arrived in Texas after the 1994 L.A. earthquake, and life was idyllic for him and his wife Kim, who earned her rock & roll stripes modeling during London's Swinging Sixties. Once married to Who drummer Keith Moon, she and Mac fell hard for one each other and hitched in 1978. On a terrible Wednesday morning this August, she was killed in a car accident. The somber tone in Mac's voice speaks for the tragedy.
"Well, you know ... you gotta just keep plugging on. The best thing was all my friends were so supportive, my family the same. The music got me through it, and will continue to. If I hadn't had the Lucky Lounge, I don't know how I would have dealt with it. She took care of everybody. We would have just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. But she's with me, giving me strength."
Mac keeps busy with the Bump Band, whose Thursday slots at the Lucky Lounge keep them one of the must-see acts in Austin ("every week there's someone from England or Scotland"). He recently released the critically-acclaimed Spiritual Boy, a tribute to his former Facemate Ronnie Lane, and is finishing up the band's new album.
"It's called Epic Days because these are epic days, aren't they?"