- (Yann) So what’s about the convention? Massive success as usual?
John Hellier: The 14th annual Convention was a great success, as they’ve all been. Because of the proposed 10/10/10 show this year’s event was brought forward to mid August and transferred to a smaller venue. The reason being that it was thought that many of the fans that travel to London from afar would (possibly) have opted for just one of the shows and rather than skip the Convention completely this was seen as an alternative plan. Traditionally August is a poor month for gigs as many fans take advantage of the school break to go away on holiday. I needn’t have worried though the new venue, The Garage, was pretty well full.
- So, John, We can’t avoid the subject, there’s an incredible buzz on many mods’ list about the 10.10.10 cancellation. I have to admit the deception is very important, and many fans are very angry, it would have been a true rendez-vous for Small faces fans…So What can you tell us about the cancellation? According to the buzz, Kenney Jones said he wasn’t asked permission, so what?
Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan issued myself, fellow producer Mark Cunningham and promoters CMP with a very nasty legal threat that if we didn’t cancel the event we would be sued in court. After having taken legal advice it turns out this was a bluff. They knew and were consulted with regards plans for the show but permission was not asked as permission does not need to be asked. Those songs are played in pubs and clubs throughout the country every night of the week and as long as a PRS fee is paid all is above board. But it was a bluff serious enough to frighten away the Promoter. We could have ignored the threat and continued but CMP, the guys that were putting the money up for the show, didn’t fancy the fight and told us that they would only proceed with the blessing of the remaining members of the band. We thought we had that up until a few weeks ago! The timing of the cancellation was awful, tickets had been on sale for over two months and of course, all those fans that bought tickets would now have to be refunded but many had also booked flights/hotels etc and may possibly end up losing out financially. The REAL reason for cancellation is not yet known but I have my own thoughts on the matter and have a gut feeling that Mr Harvey Goldsmith is involved somewhere. I may be wrong but isn’t it just possible that they thought the idea was just too good for anybody else to do it. Perhaps when the ridiculous Mick Hucknall and the Faces tour peters out they’ll announce Ogden’s at Wembley Stadium! Only a hunch but if that happened I know a few people that wouldn’t be there.
- Have you been disappointed from a personal point of view? I mean everyone knows you’re the flamekeeper of the small faces lantern (including all the people who work with you for the Wapping Wharf issues, like Mick Nutgone taylor as an example.) and they are not very correct with you, do they?
I have worked with those two guys several times before and it’s always problematic. I have no wish to ever work with them again. They would almost certainly say the same of me but I’m still called upon when sleeve notes or some knowledge of the back catalogue is required for a CD set or whatever. I’m disappointed but not surprised and as for Kenney’s children’s charity not wanting anything to do with 10/10/10….. Have you ever heard of any charity that refuses money? Especially a five figure sum. Beggar’s belief! They are musical heroes of mine but you know what they say about meeting and working with ones heroes... don’t you?
- How did you learn you have to cancel? Any phone call, a personal touch? Will you speak to them anymore?
No phone call, no personal touch. It came via an email from Kenney Jones manager to Mark Cunningham. Everything from KJ comes via his manager!
- You were looking for appearances as guest stars? Who was in it?
Guest vocalists were being sought but with a show like that nobody is contracted so it is always best to sell as many tickets as you could without naming names but some that were in the frame were Richard Ashcroft, Suggs, David Essex, Tom from Kasabian, Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs), Midge Ure, Chris Farlowe, Sam Brown and of course at one stage, The Faces themselves.
- It looks very complicated to work with Mr Jones, Mr McLagan but also with all the people who can make money with Stevie and Ronnie, is it? No news about the Ronnie Lane memorial DVD? It’s something very hard to understand. When there will be no more new material, the lights will go down for sure…
With regards new material: there is a new box set of re-mastered material in the pipeline and Immediate tapes have recently been discovered in America featuring the likes of the band structuring classic numbers such as Tin Soldier. It comes complete with banter and Steve bollocking KJ (although almost certainly Kenney with the extra “e” will want that removed!) Hope they leave that sort of material in though as it’s just the type of thing that fans love. And yes, regardless of our 10/10/10 differences they are still happy to pick my brains for things that they cannot remember. I cannot comment on the Royal Albert Hall DVD yet as the politics surrounding that are very complicated. One bit of hassle at a time eh? There are but two Small Faces…Steve and Ronnie must be ROLLING OVER in their graves eh?