By Duarte Garrido, Arts and Entertainment Reporter
On a snowy afternoon at a rock'n'roll themed hotel in London's Soho, I met up with The Rolling Stones' legendary guitarist Ronnie Wood to discuss his art, his life and an upcoming tour.
This is what he had to say…
DG: So, 11 more shows – how do you do it?
RW: Well we haven't done them yet (laughs)… but it's going to be good fun!
Looking forward to a good start. That's what it is: It's a good start.
How do you find the energy to keep going after more than 50 years?
I think it's a four-part battery. Five-part, really.
There's me, Charlie who is here at the hotel as well. If Keith and Mick were here… And then there's the rest of the band.
So there's your five-part. It's just this unstoppable energy.
Somehow age doesn't seem to affect you. Little over a year ago you fathered two twins.
Yes. They're over 22 months now. They are fantastic. They are another energy source…and a continued inspiration. Just fantastic.
Is it more challenging now to be a father than it was when you were on your thirties?
Yeah but all my kids understand the rewards I'm getting – and that they're getting now – when they see [the twins].
It's like: 'Wow, we forgot how fantastic little babies are…'
It feels great! It feels like I've been given a new ticket to ride.Ronnie Wood
You've also just powered through a cancer diagnosis.
Yeah, luckily that's all gone. It was all in one lung and phew, all out the window. Yeah, that's gone.
How does it feel?
It feels great. It feels like I've been given a new ticket to ride for another 30-year adventure.
You've kind of done it all now. Had a few kids, survived cancer, built the Rolling Stones.
Yeah things are looking good. I've got my book out, my paintings are such a reward as well. My music is such a reward.
The twins, Sally. I mean, the whole life is fantastic.
Do you feel like you've learned something? Is "Reckless Ronnie" something of the past now?
Well, I still maintain some of that madness. And humour. You got to have that to make life interesting.
Do you look now at this younger generation of rock stars and feel like rock has lost its grip?
I look back and this is like a changing time again. It's like a metamorphosis time again.
We've gone past the chrysalis stage and I think something is gonna emerge again. But it's hard to say.
Maybe it'll be the emergence of real music again, which is sadly lacking this day and age I think.
But it's coming back, it's coming back… Everything is coming back real again.
Whether it's through rap or through funk, through all these different ingredients. Through house, through blues, through all kinds of music that are going back into that melting pot again.
Any new bands you're interested in?
Well, I met Stormzy the other night and he was a nice, humble guy. Really lovely. There's a lot of soul coming back.
A lot of soul. I think that's very important. I think that goes hand in hand with the blues, which is where I come from – where The Stones come from.
So you just have to, as long as the music maintains some soul and elements stirring from the ground, from humility, from humble earth – I think that's where good music comes from.
Real music is sadly lacking this day and age, I think.Ronnie Wood
Was that what powered the Rolling Stones at the beginning?
Yeah, just the primal urge of… Primal Scream! (laughs) That's a good name! That's the energy of music!
Looking back at past collaborations of yours like Dylan or Clapton, do you think rock has evolved since, or has it always been the same?
Yeah it might be different now but it should never veer too far from what I've learned from working with Eric Clapton and Dylan, Harrison…
All these name drops, all these interchanges between people well-known and people less well-known. If they have that common lust for learning and getting better and to always learn, you know, that's the whole thing.
I know you paint a lot. Could you imagine yourself doing just that? No more music?
Yeah. I haven't played for a while, you know. Since Paris, really.
What I have been is drawing and painting and I'm looking at it through a whole different angle.
And that's a great thing – to step back for a little while and when I step back into music I'll see it through a whole new [perspective].
You know music is always renewing itself, on a daily basis, so you never get fed up.
Bum notes should be regrets but I enjoy bum notes as well.. If it weren't for bum notes you wouldn't know what good ones were.Ronnie Wood
And why painting?
Well, I got inspired because a friend of mine sent me the entire works of Leonardo Da Vinci! (laughs)
You're thinking: 'Oh, not him again' – Yes him again!!!! You know? Where did it start? With him! It's amazing!
It's like someone sending you 'How Music Is Made' and you think: 'Yeah that's a good book, I have 50 years to spear'.(laughs)
Yeah… it's great. The ever-changing thing of learning is fabulous.
I look at your career now, your life, and… what's the secret?
I think it's a blind passion really. What you want inside, you must thrive towards. Don't let anyone put you off.
And just take the knocks. There's not that many knocks.
If you believe enough in what you're doing, if you're a guitar player or a drummer, singer, harmonica, whatever, just believe that you can do it and get to the top of your game. Sing with the heart.
Do you have any major regrets in your life?
Not really. Bum notes should be regrets but I enjoy bum notes as well. (laughs) Because you learn.
If it weren't for bum notes you wouldn't know what good ones were.
If you block the canvas for a while, accidentally you're gonna have to work through it.
So all you did when you were younger, do you believe that was all part of life experience? Was it all worth it?
Yeah, you know my favourite reading today was: "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is".
Always take the risk, I love that.
What surprises me the most is not that you keep singing, but that you keep doing all this – the press, the fans…
Do you sometimes go: 'Oh f*** off, I'm not doing that'.
No! I don't think we do enough press! I love the media. I think it's another thing that's ongoing and evolving. It's an adventure!
And touring, is there any aspect of it that you dislike now?
No, there's nothing… If you stop touring because there's a bummer involved than you won't have the incentive to carry on.
If you say yes to the tour than you're saying yes to paying attention at rehearsals and being there for sound checks, and wardrobe and makeup and all the things involved and all the cards, and security and people and aaaahhhh nerves, getting ready to go on stage, pleasing the audience, getting it right, remembering the arrangements, getting enough rest, enough nutrition…
I always forget to eat, you know? I always forget to eat. And drink water. I always forget to drink water.
Have you developed any weird special requests throughout your career?
No, my special requests are just let it go. Let it flow man, let it go on. I can't put any limits on things.
And finally… Is this going to be your last tour?
Is it going to be my last tour?! Yeah, for sure!!!
Who said that?? I'm lying!!! No, I don't know…
Can you keep going?
Yeah of course! What do you think?
Okay! I love it!
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:: The Rolling Stones will play at the London Stadium on 22 May, Manchester's Old Trafford football stadium on 5 June, Edinburgh's BT Murrayfield Stadium on 9 June and Cardiff's Principality Stadium on 15 June.
They will wrap up the UK leg of the tour at Twickenham Stadium on 19 June.