Ronnie : Ron Wood Autobiography

On stage, Ron Wood and Keith Richards often appear inseparable.  While Sir Mick and The Human Riff may be responsible for creating the bulk of the Stones’ massive catalog of songs, Ronnie has served as Keith’s guitar  foil while giving those tunes life in concert longer than either Brain Jones or Mick Taylor ever did.  In Ronnie (St. Martin’s Press), Wood confesses that he’s often been
mistaken or Keith by everyone from Muddy Waters to Tina Turner.  But while "Keef" has always exuded a sinister aura, Ron Wood has always projected himself as more light-hearted.  Beyond the seemingly permanent bed head and the trademark cigarette dangling from his lips, Wood has had a drug history almost as infamous as Richards.  But his playful persona always makes him seem less threatening.  You just can’t help but like him.

That quality comes through in his memoir as well; no matter how much danger he’s put himself and others in over the years, we want to let him off the hook.  Not only does he chronicle his madcap adventures with the Stones, but Wood also includes humorous anecdotes starring the likes of John Belushi, Tony Curtis, Muhammad Ali, Bob Marley and Groucho Marx.  He also gives us a peek behind the curtain at the fragile relationship that lies at the heart of the band and even drops a few new tidbits of info along the way.  Who knew that Wood lived the floor above Jimi Hendrix?  Or that the sight of Keith Richards sitting on the toilet could go unnoticed during a bathroom freebase session with Stones’ saxophonist Bobby Keys?  It also turns out that it was Ronnie, not Mick, who had an affair with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s wife, Margaret.

The only thing the reviewer found disappointing about Ronnie was that not enough time was spent chronicling his days in the
Faces, formed out his tenure with the Small Faces and the Jeff Beck Group and whom he aptly describes as "five guys with one haircut." The consummate bar band, they still remain one of music’s most underrated outfits.  But, since Wood also suggests in the book that Rod and the remaining members may yet reunite and tour in ’08, Ronnie may yet find another venue to display his infectious energy.

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