Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Christopher Sandford's recent book about the Rolling Stones, Fifty Years, clarified a little of what we all wonder about: what do these people do when they aren't being Rolling Stones? Which is most of the time.
Jagger globetrots, hobnobs and takes care of his many businesses; Richards hangs around the house(s) and pops out to do guest spots on albums with friends; Charlie Watts breeds horses on his estate and Ronnie Wood . . .?
At the time Sandford was writing, Ronnie was still painting but then was back on the bottle and in and out of rehab. He had a famous falling out with his new paramour, the young Russian cocktail waitress Ekaterina Ivanova some 40 years his junior who described him as "an evil goblin with bad boozy breath".
But since then Wood has undergone something of a reinvention with his podcast radio show where he plays stuff from his archives, manhandles a guitar and gets in guests. Like, really famous guests, many of whom he has worked with.
The radio show went on to win two awards in 2011 and Wood also picked up Music Radio Personality of the Year in another award ceremony. In these days of interfacing media, it was almost inevitable it would be parlayed as radio into a television show where cameras capture that face which looks like it has been slept in and the easy familiarity of his body language with guests like Alice Cooper (an astonishing advertisement for modern dentistry).
That television show is now a series starting Sunday July 15, 8.30pm on the Arts Channel, and if the idea of musicians briefly reminiscing before moving on, casual banter, great songs being talked over and pointless anecdotes is your thing, then this one is worth tuning in for.
Otherwise it really is rather sad and awful.
Elvis Costello's Spectacle might have more perspiration and longer to explore ideas, and Rick Wakeman's chats also dig in deeper into musicians' history, but Wood is such an affable and loose-limbed character that he is quite compelling to watch, even as he seems to forget quite why he is there and what to ask guests other than facile openers along the lines of, Chuck Berry is great.
And when the great songs play he and his guests do what we might all do at parties or in the car, sing along with the few lines we know or do the backing vocal when the mood takes us. It is about as interesting watching them do it as it would be for them to watch us.
Wood's most recent album was the rather overlooked I Feel Like Playing in 2010. From the informal nature of this show, you get the impression he genuinely does.
But playing is what he should do. He is no interviewer and this isn't really television as we know it. It is radio with pictures and nowhere near as funny as this online radio show.