Rock

Ronnie Wood’s Journey

I just wrapped up Ronnie Wood’s autobiography, Ronnie. Now, I consider myself a pretty big Stones fan. Of course, I missed them in their prime (which I consider their career through 1981’s Tattoo You). I didn’t really learn to appreciate them until I was a senior in high school in ’87-’88, when I came of age with albums like Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, and Let It Bleed.

I’ve only seen the Stones live once – high in the nosebleed seats at Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium during their Bridges of Babylon tour in 1997. The wind was swirling, messing the sound up, and I honestly was too far to get any true enjoyment out of it. Not big on stadium shows am I.

When you start to know a band’s music inside and out, you feel you have a pretty good understanding of their background and roots. But after reading Ronnie’s autobiography, I discovered that I had a lot to learn, and that most of my focus over the years has been on Mick & Keith.

Only over the last couple of years have I started to get into Faces, one of Ronnie’s pre-Stones bands (along with the Jeff Beck Group). And I admit to having no idea that Ronnie has a rich solo catalog, which started with 1974’s I’ve Got My Own Album To Do. Ronnie built a studio in his home at the time, called the Wick (I wish my house was impressive enough to name). This album’s recording took place before Ronnie was in the Stones, but he had already befriended Mick and especially Keith. So they show up on the album, as do Mick Taylor, Rod Stewart, Pete Townshend, and even George Harrison, for crying out loud.

One of the amazing things about the British music scene in the late 60’s and early 70’s is that every musician seemed to know eachother – it was a pretty tight knit club . They also knew eachother’s girlfriends. Pattie Boyd, who was married to George Harrison, and would go on to marry Eric Clapton, actually dated Ronnie in between. Ronnie tells some incredible stories about he and Harrison openly cavorting with eachother’s wives. Pattie Boyd must’ve been something – look at the songs she inspired: “Wonderful Tonight”, “Layla”, and “Something”.

If you want an entertaining read, and want some great behind the scenes stories from a legendary musician – not to mention an accomplished artist – check this book out. Obviously, Ronnie is not without his demons. The book details his struggles with cocaine and alcohol – a struggle which continues to this day. Ronnie’s currently in rehab in Woking, England. And the tabloids say he may leave Jo – his wife of 30 odd years – for a 19 year old Russian waitress. No, you can’t make this shit up.

Underneath all the vices though, is a sweet, funny, talented man. And it shines right through in the book. The guy is/was friends with seemingly everyone: from Slash to Kate Moss to Tony Curtis to John Belushi (who tried his best to steal Jo away from Ronnie).

So here’s one from his first album. You’ll hear Faces bandmate Rod Stewart singing background. I’m really enjoying this album. It’s like unearthing a hidden Stones/Faces hybrid. And over the coming weeks, I’ll be picking up the rest of his solo albums.

Get well Ronnie…

Ron WoodMystifies Me (mp3)

Official Site: RonnieWood.com

Buy I’ve Got My Own Album To Do….

Check Ronnie out on Amazon:

Any recommendations for top-notch music autobiographies?

8 Comments

  • Johnny Bacardi

    You might want to do like I did earlier this year, and read Patti Boyd’s book, then Eric Clapton’s (I read the Woody bio in between). I feel like I know pretty much everything I will ever want to know about that whole scene…!

    I love Got My Own Album– not as much as I love the Faces, but almost. Its followup Now Look is pretty good, too. After that, successive albums suffered from inferior material and slicker production (Gimme Some Neck‘s Roy Thomas Baker more than 1234‘s self-produced job), but still had their moments.

    It’s funny how now when I read about Wood, it’s from people who think of him primarily as Robin to Keef’s Batman…but I discovered him first doing wonderful guitar work on Rod Stewart’s solo albums, then the Faces. I was a bit disappointed at how Wood seemed to gloss over his Faces years to get right to the Stones stuff. Perhaps he just doesn’t remember that much of it, who knows…

  • RAY WILKES UK

    I like you have just finished the book on Sunday, I found the last half of the book was compeling stuff, I could not put it down.Brilliant.
    My favorite stones was from late 60s – 70s. whilst saying that i have been a fan since 64 till now, I saw them in 65 at Birmingham Hipodrome, and then again in 90 at Main rd.
    I love keith he is my favorite, to have done what he as and still be alive i take my hat off to him.
    I hope Ronnie sorts his stuff out at the moment with Jo, and his booze thing, and the drug stuff,.
    God bless you all boys.

  • Pete

    Thanks Johnny…. Pattie Boyd’s and Clapton’s books are enroute from Amazon.

    Ray – true, to think Keef is still kicking strong after all these years is truly amazing. Has he slowed down? I know he still enjoys the bottle, right?

  • Jon

    These are obvious (which means you’ve probably read them already), but “Chronicles” by Bob Dylan, “Miles” by Miles Davis and “Cash” by Johnny Cash.

    My friend bought me “Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas” (I don’t know if this counts as an autobiography) which I didn’t really have any interest in reading as I’m not a huge U2 fan, but I ended up really enjoying.

    There’s also a Rolling Stones autobiography “According to the Rolling Stones” which is done much like “The Beatles Anthology”. I have it, but have not read it yet so I don’t know how it is.

  • Pete

    Didn’t mention earlier, but yeah, I’ve read ‘Cash’ and ‘Miles’ (which takes top billing so far, but I haven’t read it in years). time to re-read…

    Thx for the other recommendations… hmm, Michael – Lemmy’s autobio – sounds enticing.

    Any definitive, solid bios on Mick or Keith? There’s so many that they’re hard to sort through.

  • Eric

    Hey Pete – I’m a couple of days late in this comment, but I just today read the post. One fascinating rock autobiography I read a while back is Marilyn Manson’s “Long Hard Road Out of Hell.” Before reading it, I couldn’t stand him or his music. Reading the book gave me an entirely different perspective: He’s articulate and very intelligent. I came to see him as an updated version of Alice Cooper.

    There are some things in the book you’ll probably wish you didn’t know (how to tell if you’re gay), but overall, it’s a great read.

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