Book Review: Ronnie: The Autobiography, by Ron Wood
Reviewed by Bruce Rhodes
February 1, 2008
Man, did Ron, Keith and the others get into some outrageous mischief! It's amazing they weren't jailed forever or buried decades ago. I especially enjoyed Ron's portrayal of their misadventure while driving through Arkansas, when he and Keith ended up in the county courthouse, causing mayhem, and Ron sat in the judge's chair, hammering the gavel and yelling "order in the court". Priceless.
The other great tale involved Charlie, while dressed in a suit and tie, punching out Mick at 3 a.m. - yes, this actually happened.
The reader gains great insights into all of the members of the Stones as well as other renowned artists - Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan - and the hangers-on of the band, including numerous unsavory drug dealers.
Keith went everywhere with either a pistol or a knife. Bill Wyman stood on stage scouting the audience for attractive women. Ron lived through many waves of financial feast or famine: being an employee of the band, rather than an equity partner, Ron got huge windfalls after each concert tour, and then usually blew the lot on mansions, trips, dubious business ventures, and recreational pharmaceuticals (on one occasion, Ron found himself in a room with a dealer who had so much cocaine, he used a garden spade to shovel it into a bag).
I highly recommend this book. I spent a lot of time laughing out loud, and shaking my head in disbelief, as I read about what Ron saw and did. Ron seems to me to be the nicest guy among the Stones, although Bill (whom I've met at two of his book signings) might come in a close second. Ron would be the one with whom you'd enjoy sitting down and having a drink. I've also read, and recommend, "Stone Alone" by Bill, which chronicles the earlier years of the band, something "Ronnie" cannot do, as Ron joined the Stones in the mid-70s. Another great Stones bio is "Dancing with the Devil", by Stanley Booth.
I hope Ron stays sober, and hangs on to his money for a change!