This year, British guitarist Ronnie Wood (1947) has been with the Rolling Stones for 45 years, succeeding Mick Taylor. Wood is a colorful figure, especially thanks to his past as an alcoholic and drug user. He was in a rehabilitation clinic several times. The anecdotes follow each other quickly in the documentary that director Mike Figgis made about Wood.
Figgis does the interviews himself, but doesn’t dig very deeply. Besides attention for his musical career in successively The Birds, the Jeff Beck Group, The Faces, the Stones and as a solo artist, attention is also paid to his visual art – Wood is a not without merit painter. He is friends with Damien Hirst, who is in Somebody Up There Likes Me high on Wood’s qualities as an artist.
Figgis also interviews Rod Stewart (lead vocalist for The Faces), and Stones members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. For Stones fans it is all cut cake, although the archive material of his period before he joined the Rolling Stones is the richest.
Despite his copious drug and alcohol use, there is nothing wrong with Wood’s memory: he talks about his youth and musical preferences, especially the blues that inspired so many British musicians in the 1960s.
A version of this article also appeared in the NRC Handelsblad from 1 July 2020
A version of this article also appeared in nrc.next from July 1, 2020