The place to be on April 8th was at the British Consulate-General in Manhattan, along the bustling section of 3rd Avenue where such famed Manhattan eateries as P. J. Clarke’s and Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse are. The occasion was the official press launch for the just-released British Invasion (Reelin’ In The Years) 5-DVD box set. The deluxe box includes individual DVDs of performance documentaries of the Small Faces, Dusty Springfield, Gerry & the Pacemakers and Herman’s Hermits. The discs can be purchased separately, but if purchased as part of the box set, they include an additional 2 1/2 hours of bonus interviews and performances.
In attendance at the event were musicians Marshall Crenshaw, Genya Ravan, Dick Manitoba and Robert Kenison, better known as Troy Charmell of the legendary cult band Dr. Bop & the Headliners.
Kenison had crossed paths with Herman’s Hermits guitarist Keith Hopwood back when Herman’s Hermits was topping the charts in the 60s. Hopwood, along with Ian McLagan of the Small Faces was in attendance, and Kenison and Hopwood were trading guitar tips and generally enjoying each other’s company. McLagan couldn’t take a moment to even sip his drink, as he was constantly overwhelmed with those in attendance wanting to chat not just about his time in the Small Faces, but also about his experience with the Faces with Rod Stewart and about his stint with the Rolling Stones.
For our profile of McLagan some months back, I talked to him about the recent rehearsals for a possible Faces reunion tour that would have included McLagan, Kenny Jones, Ron Wood and Rod Stewart. Att that time McLagan didn’t think the tour would happen. He told me that it was finally official that Wood, Jones, himself, Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols filling in for the late Ronnie Lane on bass, and Mick Hucknall of Simply Red on vocals would be playing a concert in England, but that they have no further plans so far.
Also in attendance at the event was famed rock photographer Bob Gruen (the man who took the iconic photo of John Lennon in a New York City tee-shirt); New York radio legends Dennis Elsas and Dan Neer; Mark Lapidos, who runs Beatlefest; author Bill Flanagan; and the Examiner’s Jim Bessman. The event was hosted by the esteemed British Consul-General, Sir Alan Collins, whose impassioned speech on the continued vitality of British music moved the appreciative crowd. It was announced at the event that in the fall, a second set of DVDs will be released and will include the Hollies, Manfred Mann and the Pretty Things. A brief glimpse of the Hollies DVD drew a rousing round of applause.