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The New Barbarians

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The roots of the New Barbarians lie in Ron Wood's need to have a backing band for the supporting tour of his 1974 debut I've Got My Own Album to Do. He played a gig in Kilburn supported by his Faces bandmate keyboardist Ian McLagan, and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, filling out the lineup with bassist Willie Weeks and drummer Andy Newmark. Five years later, he had another album under his belt -- 1975's Now Look -- and had become a member of the Rolling Stones, so when he released Gimme Some Neck in 1979, he had the pull to do a full tour, especially considering how the Stones were taking a break between projects that year. McLagan and Richards both returned for the New Barbarians, as did Stones auxiliary player saxophonist Bobby Keys, jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, and Meters drummer Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste. The group made their debut supporting the Rolling Stones on a pair of Toronto charity concerts in 1979, then set out on a full American tour that lasted a mere 18 dates. One of those concerts didn't go well, with fans rioting in Milwaukee, leading to a revised version of the band -- one without Richards, Modeliste, or Clarke -- fulfilling a date in 1980. After that show, the band was done, a footnote to the Stones' history. Many years later, a May 5, 1979 show in Landover, Maryland was released as Buried Alive: Live in Maryland in 2006, followed by a 1974 gig in Kilburn called First Barbarians in 2008. In 2016, a Madison Square Garden gig from 1979 was released as Wanted Dead or Alive from MRI. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine