Once upon a time parents locked their daughters indoors rather than risk them attending Rolling Stones concerts — 50-plus years on, their lead guitarist promises family fun for all. During a new chat with The Chicago Sun-Times, the great Ron Wood offered up the once-bad boys of rock's message to their fans, explaining, "Unity for the enjoyment of the people, because this world is so full of bad news. We just want to put a smile on people’s faces. Come out, bring your kids and have a great time. Just get lost in the music. (Laughs) We have at least three generations of fans out there now!"
When pressed as to what keeps the Stones an ongoing concern on the road, Wood explained, "The secret is we keep raising the bar. Every time we go into rehearsal a new high is being created and a new bar is being raised. By the time we get on stage in front of that audience again all your aches and pains go out the window. You’ve got to be in top form. You’ve go to step out there and get it together. I love it. It keeps you young."
Wood was asked about the band's extremely lax, modern day schedule taking in just 15 concerts over eight weeks: "(It's) a lot of work! (Laughs) We've been in this kind of mode since 2014, doing 14 shows and such. We’ve got Christmas coming up and pretty soon it will be April (when the new tour kicks off). Yeah, we’re not getting any younger! It’s quite demanding to do this every three or four days considering all the traveling and hotels and wardrobe (fittings) and interviews and moving around the family, and meet-and-greets. But it's great. I love it."
Regarding the Stones' ever shifting setlist, Wood revealed, "I think at rehearsals, that’s where we get the scope of what’s to come. We’ll get out the big, big book that (Stones music director and keyboardist) Chuck Leavell has where it shows what songs and what territories we’ve played and what year it was and what the musical climate was at the time, and do we want to introduce a new phase of songs into that particular area. The New York area or Chicago area or L.A., wherever we are, there’s a different flavor we’re going to convey. We’re gonna raise the bar, which I think we’ve been doing over the last few years. I’m sure the playing got better and I’m just enjoying it even more."
When asked about a particular favorite Stones tune he loves playing, Wood said, "''Gimme Shelter' live is always a really beautiful, moving song. And so is 'You Can’t Always Get What You Want.' That takes on a sort of different atmosphere all the time. People love those atmospheric songs."
Although Ron Wood first started recording with the Stones as far back as late-1973 and touring with them in '75, it took until 1992 for him to actually become a full partner in the Rolling Stones organization, and until then was paid as a salaried employee: ["Well, after an apprenticeship of 17 years, it just went by like that. Although it wasn't a labeled apprenticeship, I felt that out of respect I would seep in by osmosis into the Stones' world."] SOUNDCUE (:12 OC: . . . he Stones world)
Ron Wood told us that at this point — with well over 50 years of classic songs and dozens of tours under their belt — the Stones are clearly sailing in uncharted waters: ["We notice that we're cutting new ground, y'know, in that no bunch of guys have ever stuck together this long in the rock n' roll field."] SOUNDCUE (:08 OC: . . . rock n' roll field)