Wednesday, 18 March 2015

All or Nothing - Rock & roll's MVP keyboardist, Ian McLagan, was first and foremost an Austinite for the last 20 years of his life

"He did something I never saw anybody do before he went onstage," says Billy Bragg. "He brushed his teeth." 

The British punk troubadour is on the phone from the UK, reminiscing about the 10 years he spent with Austin's transplanted Britrock institution, Ian McLagan, who played keyboards in his band. 

"We're playing these little clubs, these old theatres," continues Bragg in his thick Cockney accent. "Mac would always brush his teeth before he went on. I used to laugh at it and think, 'That's so old school.' 

"Y'know wot? I find myself doing it now. I realized, 'This is a pro who knows he's not just walking out there. He's going to a special place. He's doing something really important, and he wants to look his best.' 

"And by God, he was always immaculately turned out. One of my guitar players used to take photographs of his shoes underneath the Hammond – just his shoes. They looked so great, poking out from underneath the organ. 

"Whether he was in a big auditorium or a tiny little club, or a backstreet boozer in England, he brushed his teeth, he put his best shoes on, polished them, and went out there and played his heart out."
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