Ronnie was given an old ukulele which he played as a little boy at the local bus terminal to earn a couple of coins of pocket money, then as a teenager he played with other local teen musicians which included Kenny Jones who would later join him in the Small Faces as well as the Faces before becoming the replacement drummer with The Who after Keith Moons terrible death. During these early practice sessions it was agreed as no one else was prepared to help make the move that Ronnie should shift from rhythm guitar to bass.
Later Ronnie’s father took him to a neighborhood store to buy the new instrument and they were served with a little cheeky chap called Steve Marriott (Small Faces, Humble Pie), Steve was invited by Ronnie to join his buddies who were playing at a neighborhood pub that night and Steve’s raucous voice and cockney design resulted in great delight, nevertheless becoming carried away Steve then danced about the pubs just piano until it was wrecked and Steve, Ronnie and Kenny found themselves ejected into the road.
This trio of young men hit it off so well that they decided to form the Small Faces, so named for their diminutive size and soon when they invited Ian McLagan to join them on keyboards when they saw how similar he looked to them in an area magazine article.
The Small Faces got a regular slot at a local London pub and like The Who, a similar group of the time, they went from strength to strength as well as in 1968 they brought out one of the first genuinely psychedelic records of the period called “Ogden’s Nut Gone” the songs with this album were chiefly written by the prolific duo of Lane & Marriott and Stanley Unwin added a bizarre narration involving the tracks of one side as “Happiness Stan”. Years later The Observer paper described Ogden’s Nut Gone as the “Top British Album of All Time”.
Another claim to fame of Ronnie Lane in the time was his snappy awareness of clothing as well as the group soon followed suit, it truly is unclear when the group actually created the “Mod” image made so popular in the times of “Mods and Rockers” but they certainly were one of the first bands to develop on the theme.
In early 1969, Ronnie, Kenny and Ian were left high and dry when the lead singer Steve decided to leave the band to join Peter Frampton (ex Herd) to form the brand new group called Humble Pie. In search of a way forward Ronnie encouraged a musical neighbour to join them, Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones) who brought along a buddy who could sing, Rod Stewart, plus one of the very best live bands of the 1970’s, The Faces, was born.
Now living a gypsy lifestyle and unhindered by the high pressure music business, Ronnie and Slim Chance could concentrate on the joy of music for it’s own benefit and not simply for commercial success, they developed a unique musical style that sparkled having a fascination for spontaneity and imagination using instruments which were otherwise shunned by many in the sector at that time, arcadian violins, mandolins, accordions and wind instruments of many sizes and shapes.
A musical open house evolved and many famous musicians would drop in for a jam session sat around the Welsh hills surrounded by local sheep, the household children and jugs of the neighborhood brew, Eric Clapton freely confesses to writing a few of his finest work of the time sitting shoulder to shoulder with Ronnie and friends.
Still funded chiefly by the remains of his money in The Faces from the days, Ronnie eternally creative of things new, hit on the weird concept of forming a musical circus that was travelling to play in the tiny local towns and hamlets around the UK.