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IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

He’s been the connective tissue for the world’s biggest band for over 40 years, but Ronnie Wood has more than just six strings to his bow. A lavish new book, The Rolling Stones Set Lists, shows off his artistic flair, while sobriety and his young family have renewed his lust for life…
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RONNIE WOOD

Ron Wood has experienced a rebirth. Not in a religious or New Age-y sense – but at the age of 71, he’s beaten cancer and attained hard-won sobriety after decades of overindulgence. Re-energised and refocused, he has a young family, a renewed sense of purpose and he’s finally recognising what truly matters to him.

Not content simply with playing guitar in the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band for over 40 years, the Rolling Stones guitarist has also maintained a parallel career as a respected painter. He’s speaking now because of his latest project: a sumptuous new book called The Rolling Stones Set Lists, which offers rare behind-the-scenes insights into the creative process of the Stones.

Wood was born in 1947 into a self-described “water gypsy” family, and lived on a canal boat in London with his two older brothers. They not only turned him on to music, but also painters – Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, the Impressionists and others – and he started drawing. As a young teen, he picked up a guitar and instantly became captivated by the inherent possibilities and challenges. He was soon playing well enough to join local bands. At 17, Wood and friends formed R&B out fit The Birds, in London. In ‘67, he moved onto The Jeff Beck Group, soon switching to bass for two landmark albums (Truth and Beck-Ola). After these, he joined the Faces along with ex-Jeff Beck Group singer Rod Stewart and returned to guitar.

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