I don’t know how to work synthesizers,” says Ian McLagan, a longtime member of the Faces who lately has been playing with the Rolling Stones and the New Barbarians. “When everybody started buying synthesizers I didn’t have the money, so l never got into that race. I have an ARP Pro Soloist, and that’s about as technical as I get.”
McLagan usually uses a Hammond B-3 organ with two Leslie speakers, a Steinway piano and “four or five” Wurlitzer organs, including an old flat-top model.
“I’ve had them all for years,” he says. “I brought the B-3 over to the United States on the first Small Faces tour, but I didn’t know that the electricity here was on a different cycle, and I spent the tour a half-tone flat.”
“MY DAD FREAKED OUT, BUT FOR TWO WEEKS I STAYED IN THAT ROOM WITH THE HAMMOND.” —IAN McLAGAN
McLagan’s first keyboard was a Cembalet, which he describes as “the cheapest thing you could get that looked like a keyboard.” From there he moved to a Hammond: “When I first heard ‘Green Onions’ [the Booker T hit], I decided it was time to throw the Cembalet out the window. I went into the Hammond shop in London with absolutely no money and said I was interested in a C-100. They let me try one out at home for two weeks, so I moved the dining-room table out of the way and set it up. My dad freaked out, but for the two weeks I stayed in that room with the Hammond, a record player and a copy of the Green Onions album. By the end my dad had gotten used to the organ and I had talked the band into chipping in to buy one.”