Monday, January 28, 2008

Ronnie by Ronnie Wood - Another Review

I recently read the Eric Clapton autobiography Clapton and I decided to read Ronnie Wood's autobiography immediately following. Both cover the same time period but Mr. Wood's is a little bit younger and his career did not begin to take off until the late 60s when he became the bass player for the Led Zepplin prototype The Jeff Beck Group.

The two books read completely different from each other. The Clapton book is very organized and somewhat sanitized. The Ronnie Wood book is all over the place and completely mirrors his book. It would really be scary if this were in fact the sanitized version. The randomness of Ronnie can at times be frustrating it is also part of the charm. The same can often be said for the two bands that Mr. Wood is most famous for: The Faces and The Rolling Stones.

While Clapton details the life of a guitar god front man Ronnie details the life of a guitar god side man. Like many sidemen Mr. Wood has a formal musical background and is proficient on many instruments. Ronnie details Mr. Wood's post World War II upbringing in a large extended family made up of both blood relatives and neighbors. Two older brothers provided the musical and artistic influence.

Ronnie Wood's life has been one big party. From the after parties that his father had when Mr. Lane was young to the parties that he threw as he was living the rock star life style. Mr. Wood makes and spends several fortunes. It is amazing the he finds any time to make as much music and art as he has.

The rehab story does not come until the end of the book and is not nearly as detailed as Mr. Clapton's. I was wondering what took him so long. However, it must have been hard keeping up with Keith Richards.

I have always been a fan of Ronnie Wood. Especially after getting good seats at a Rolling Stones concert at Giants Stadium in the early 90s. That was when I first noticed how important Mr. Wood was to the Rolling Stones live sound. James Honeyman Scott of the Pretenders listed Ronnie Wood as one of his biggest influences. The Rod Stewart's Album Every Picture Tells a Story probably showcases Ronnie Wood as much as Mr. Stewart.

The only real disappointment is that the book does not have a lot of Jeff Beck stories. Mr. Beck is one of my favorite guitarists but I have heard that he protects his image. In fact his performance was the highlight of the Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival but it was left off of the DVD.

I do want to read the Patti Boyd autobiography next. Three versions of the same story should give me a good approximation of the truth.


Isorski said...

I knew you were going to review Ronnie next and I didn't want to read your review before I wrote mine, because I didn't want to be influenced! Anyway, I think your review is spot-on.

It's a good observation that Woodie was always a side man and that led to its own perspective. I felt that in Clapton's book, he was actually happier as a sideman than a front man.

I also agree that Wood's rehab is less certain and is sort of glossed over. Where recovery is the main theme of Clapton's book, it's a side story for sure with Ronnie.

Anyway, you can see my review at Check it out!

Flametop59 said...


Thank you for the comments. I just read your review as well. Great stuff.

Take care,