We asked Kenney Jones if he would like to feature in an interview the heartbeat that powered three of the most influential rock bands of all time. The Small Faces, Faces and later The Who.
Kenney Jones career has spanned an amazing six decades, experiencing everything the music industry has to offer. We asked Kenney if he would give us a taste of what to expect from the autobiography. He didn't go into great detail as much of the questions are answered in the book, However i am honoured that he agreed and to feature him in an interview.
Kenney Jones life Begins in London’s post-war East End, Kenney’s story takes us through the birth of ‘Mod’, the mind-bending days of the late-1960s and the excesses of the ’70s and ’80s. He jointly created some of the world’s most-loved records, hung out with the Stones, Beatles, David Bowie, Keith Moon and Rod Stewart, and suffered the loss of close friends to rock ‘n’ roll excess and success. The legacy created by Kenney and his band mates has influenced countless acts and in this autobiography, Kenney tells the full story of how a young cockney Herbert played his part in the biggest social transformation in living memory – the people, the parties, the friendships, the fall-outs, the laughter, the sadness, the sex, drugs, and a lot of rock ‘n’ roll, while also opening up about his own deeply personal battles and passions, too.
1) The Small Faces released their first song ‘What'cha gonna do about it’ on 6th August 1965 (written by Ian Samwell – The Shadows) and that would go onto reach 14 in the UK singles chart for 14 weeks. How did it that feel at the age of 15 and hearing it for the first time on the radio?
- Elated. I felt so proud of myself and the whole band
2) Before The Small Faces and learning to play the drums who were your musical influences and what kind of music did you listen to?
- I listened mostly to The Shadows, Booker T and the MG’s, Buddy Rich and Bobby Elliott/The Hollies
3) People can find out in more detail from your autobiography ‘let the Good times roll’. In the book you say that you went to a pawn shop to buy a banjo and left with a drum kit. Can you briefly tell us a little bit about that, and did you ever buy a banjo in the future?
- Yes I did buy a banjo many years later. When I went that day to buy the banjo originally it was gone so it was my friend who saw how upset I was that brought round bits of a kit - 1 bass drum, 1 floor tom tom and 1 and a half sticks, and the rest as they say was history
4) In the book you mention a young man called David Jones who would go onto make a name for himself as David Bowie. You have described Bowie as the fifth member of The Small Faces and became very close friends. Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with Bowie and how you met?
- It was in the early days when we used to hang around together and he came to a few gigs and played with us for a bit. This was before any of us were famous. We met in a little cafe on Denmark street.
5) As we all know ‘the Small Faces’ toured alongside ‘The Who’ the early days and you would spend a lot of time between gigs with Keith Moon (Drummer). In your book you go into detail about the drink and drug fuelled antics of Moon. If you were to pick one moment that sticks out in memory what would it be?
- I’ve got too many! Ha. They’re all crazy. I think when he was staying next door to me and made a hole in the wall to get through to me has to be at the top.
6) The Small Faces, The Faces, and the Who each have a unique style and sound and different in many ways, however each band found success and are three of the best bands the UK has produced. Which was your favourite band to be a part of?
- I would say it would have to be The Small Faces because it was the first one and my first love but they were all amazing and I’m so proud to have been in them all.
7) You were an only child growing up, it seems from the book you had a great relationship with your parents. Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood and growing up in east London?
- I had a wonderful experience growing up in the East End. You can read all about it in the book but I had great friends, great parents and a great childhood.
8) The Small Faces were fashion icons to many teenagers growing up in the UK. You grew up in the east end of London and were part of the first teenage generation after world war two. At that time fashion was evolving as many teenagers experimented with bold colours such as red, pink, green and yellow. Fashion started to become a major part of teenage life at the time and was very different from the fashion that came before, breaking away from the generic blacks, whites and greys. What was it like experiencing this change and growing up at that time?
- Exciting, a moment of discovery.
9) When joining ‘The Who’ in November 1978 and replacing Keith Moon after he passed away. Did you feel any pressure as The Who at that point had already established a successful career and had a massive following?
- I never had time to feel under pressure. It was all so fast paced that I didn’t stop to think about it and I’m glad it was that way.
10) Did you use your own drum kit when you performed with the Who or did you use Keith Moons lol ? (Follower of Mods Of Your Generation Question)
- I used my own kit.
11) In the book you say your marquee gig on 22nd March 1966 was a more accurate representation of The Small Faces. You said, “We had the freedom to be ourselves” Can you briefly explain what you mean by that?
- It’s as simple as that. We had the freedom to be who we wanted to be.
12) You have been diagnosed with throat cancer and prostate cancer, Prostate cancer effects many men worldwide. There seems to still not be very much awareness about it until recent years. A factor that may be a reason for this is that men tend not to talk about it or get checked. What advice would you give male readers of this interview
- Don’t be afraid. Just start monitoring from the age of 40 and insist on getting a PSA test and continue to do so every year. If it’s caught early there are so many treatments available.
13) You have said that you were very much lost and didn’t know what to with yourself once Steve Marriot left The Small Faces to form ‘Humble Pie’. Can you explain exactly how you felt and what was going through your mind.
- It was like having a brother walk out on you. It hit me very hard.
14) When you formed ‘The Faces’ you say that you had a hard time convincing the band to let Rod Stewart join as front man. How did you do or say to convince them in the end?
- By sitting up all night until I finally convinced them 📷:-)
15) You have lived a Rock n Roll dream and have had an extraordinary life with many tales to tell. The book goes into a lot of detail about your life and is very enjoyable read. If you could pick any highlight from your time with The Small Faces, The Faces and The Who what would it be?
- I look back at those times with fond affection and memories it would be impossible to pick just one.
16) You appeared on two albums with ‘The Who’ including songs ‘you better you bet’ and ‘eminence front’ which are two of my favourite tracks. Do you feel you would have liked to of done more with them if it wasn’t for your toxic relationship with Roger Daltrey at that time?
- I think everything happens for a reason. The Who were going through a troubled time and it was my time to take a step back.
17) The book describes in detail your love for polo and how you got introduced to the sport. Do you have any other interests or hobbies? You have opened up your own polo club in Hurtwood Park and have performed there with the remaining members of ‘The Faces’ to raise money for charity and awareness for prostate cancer. Are there any plans for this to happen again in the future?
- I did it with the Who as well as the Faces. There’s another Rock ‘n’ Horsepower this year at Hurtwood which is a tribute to Brian Jones and I’m sure there will be many more.
18) The music industry is very different today to what is was like in the early sixties however what advice would you give aspiring drummers and young bands starting out or breaking into the industry?
- Just be true to yourself and find your own style.
19) What did it feel like being inducted into the rock and roll of fame as part of the two most influential and popular bands that the UK has produced?
- Absolutely incredible. I felt very proud and honoured to be inducted.
20) How would you like to be remembered? - As someone who’s contributed to the music industry through my music.
- As someone who’s contributed to the music industry through my music.
I Would like to thank Kenney Jones for agreeing to do this interview. Although he didn't go into great detail in his answers, this interview was intended to give you a flavour of what to expect from the book.
Purchase book here