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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's a rolling stone, 13 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Ronnie: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
As Ronnie Wood says himself, he is the "new boy" of the Rolling Stones -- meaning he's only been a member for more than thirty years.

But he certainly isn't lacking interesting stories. In fact, "Ronnie: The Autobiography" is crammed with good-natured recountings of the wild world of rock'n'roll's golden age. Wood has a mellow, nostalgic style, loaded down with plenty of humour and artwork.

Wood was born to a quirky family of water gypsies, won attention as a child for his artwork, and when he was grown, immersed himself in the rising tide of rock'n'roll. He performed with Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, and nearly became part of Led Zeppelin -- and after the Faces broke up, he was asked to join the Rolling Stones as a replacement for Mick Taylor.

And that was only the beginning -- Wood became part of a tight-knit, well-oiled machine of friends and colleagues, who were soaked in drugs, sex and classic rock'n'roll. He recounts weddings, funerals, divorce, births, drug arrests in Arkansas, exploding septic tanks, cocaine, Monty Python, and lots and lots of music-making...

Reading "Ronnie: the Authobiography" is a little like sitting down with a grizzled rock veteran, having a beer, and listening to him reminisce about his wilder days. Wood seems to have had a relatively stable life compared to his bandmates Jaggger and Richards, but by no means a boring one -- it gets more interesting as soon as he joins up.

As well as art and music, Wood has a knack for words -- he has a pleasant, conversational style, and he puts in all kinds of shriekingly funny stories (and unnerving ones, like Keith chasing him with a knife) in an arch, deadpan manner. He doesn't make excuses for any bad behavior, but just owns up to it and relates it in the most amusing way possible.

What's even more striking about him is that he hasn't really got a bad word to say about anyone. He praises most of the people in this book, but if someone is nasty (like his ex-wife berating him after she drove into a storefront) he simply lets it pass. And he's perfectly willing to make fun of himself, such as smoking meringues and asking Kylie Minogue if she needed to find her parents.

And there are a LOT of people in this book -- Beatles, Stones, Clapton, the guys of Monty Python ("My mum wants you to go!"), Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi, and countless others. Not to mention some homage shout-outs to the greats of blues -- Muddy Waters makes an appearance, only to mistake Ronnie for Keith.

Oh, and the book is sprinkled with artwork by Wood -- very good ones too, with a sort of fragmented sensual quality. Even if, say, it's of Keith passed out.

"Ronnie: The Autobiography" is a warm, nostalgic book of a very crazy time in rock history, with plenty of stories that fans will eat up. A great read for rock'n'roll fans.
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