Rock Reads: Rod By Rod Stewart

.
Any rock biography that dedicates an entire chapter to one's hair is might as well donate all existing copies to firing ranges. Why would anyone waste time on something as ridiculous and superficial as one's hair when many other more attention-grabbing aspects of a career will go unnoticed? Then again, not everyone is Rod Stewart, whose new autobiography Rod may take the award for the year's most entertaining rock biography. Over the last few months, I have had more books sent to me than I can read. Despite a deluge of incredible biographies by Neil Young, Pete Townshend and the first approved Springsteen biography in a quarter of a century Rod should not stand a chance, and in an odd twist of fate, it may be the best of the bunch. Comparing these four books against one another is criminal as they all take different tones and approaches, but Stewart's is the best written of the bunch and the most brilliantly sardonic. The only time I was not smiling with this book was when he spoke of the love of his children, his wives and their lives together and during these passages, my heart grew. He can be scandalous but comes off as equally sweet.

Rod Stewart may be the rock era's greatest interpreter of songs and yet, he has embraced so many types and genres of music, that he has left a discomforting feeling with many. There is three distinct Rod Stewart's people love and all of these personas get significant screen time in Rod. The first being the bluesy rock n' roller who recorded with Jeff Beck and the Faces in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the second being the pop star of the late 70's through the early 90's and lastly the "Great American Songbook" crooner. His early career with Jeff Beck, Ron Wood and the Faces is spoken of with not just fondness but with insightful particulars including one time where Little Walter, the great American harmonica player, pulled a knife on Stewart. He speaks movingly and affectionately of his times with Jeff Beck and the Faces. He confesses that he has attempted to do a blues standard record with Beck in recent years but the two of them cannot seem to find middle ground to make it a reality. He also speaks about how he wishes the Faces had never broken up and it was only when Ronnie Wood took a job with the Rolling Stones that he felt the band was finished. While his earlier career will hold the most interest for music aficionados, the peaks of his solo career are equally engrossing. We learn stores behind "Maggie May", "Do You Think I'm Sexy", "Forever Young" and "Downtown Train". He speaks of his incapacity to write new material further he views himself as a great interpreter of songs. Surprisingly, I come away from the book with a better understanding for why he tackled the "Great American Songbooks" for the better part of a decade, an idea he initially pitched to his manager in 1983 (that is not a typo). I took away his immense love of music and that he made these records not just for financial gain, but because he is at his best when interpreting and why not tackle the greatest songs ever composed? Lastly, he ends the book with a chapter of his new record, all of which he wrote coming out in 2013. He speaks honestly about finding his muse and how over the course of a year, it flowed out of him. I do not think I have been this excited for a Rod Stewart record in two decades. If it is half as good as Rod then it may be his best record in decades.

There are several chapters dedicated to his obsessions with cars, model trains, women and soccer. I cannot blame him for writing so keenly about his hobbies because it is evident these items make him who he is. He speaks fondly of his friendship with Elton John throughout and one particular passage where they exchange gifts for Christmas one year will make you laugh aloud. He does discuss the overindulgence and pitfalls of the later 1970s. He gets divorced, abdicates the UK for the US, breaks up with the Faces, becomes addicted to cocaine and steroids, embraces disco, reunited with Jeff Beck only to part ways again and meets several women of his dreams only to screw it up time and time again with his philandering. Despite these dalliances, Stewart always finds a way to bring it back to the music. His memory is fertile, full of wit and remorse but above all else, he has a keen awareness of the gaffes he has made and looks back in detestation at some of the things he did. Rumor is that the British journalist Giles Smith assisted Stewart with his memoirs. I hope he is being handsomely rewarded because he has elevated this book to heights few could have foreseen. Telling a tale with a wry smile and open heart is not as easy as one would think and Smith and Stewart find a serendipitous balance here. Even clichιd pitfalls contain such zest you do not cringe when reading them.

Rod made me fall back in love with not just his underrated catalog, but with the man himself in a surprising, charming, cheeky and humorous look into his entire life. He doesn't feel like an elusive rock star out of touch with reality (even though he is just a bit) but by infusing the narrative with great humor, capricious prose and a beating heart, he's written not just one of the best rock n' roll autobiographies of the last ten years, but possibly the most entertaining one as well. There are artists with more admiration and critical acclaim with books out at this time that may overshadow Stewart's but none are as well written or evoke a tremor of glee the way Rod does. A must read for all music fans.


Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMUSIC Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter


Rock Reads: Rod By Rod Stewart
Rating:

Share this article
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

More articles for this artist .



advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
Gene Simmons Apologizes To Fox News For Bizarre Behavior- AC/DC Legend Malcolm Young's Funeral Details Revealed- Linkin Park Reportedly Kicked Out Of AMAs- more

Guns N' Roses Rock AC/DC Classics In Tribute To Malcolm Young- Eagles Announce North American Spring Tour- Paul Stanley Slams Marilyn Manson For Charles Manson Cover- more

Black Sabbath Legend Bill Ward Hospitalized- Van Halen Calls Out Alleged Online Imposter- AC/DC Frontman Brian Johnson Tributes Malcolm Young- Stone Temple Pilots- more

Day in Pop:
Backstreet Boys Nick Carter Denies Rape Allegations- Partridge Family Star David Cassidy Dead At 67- Khalid Groped By a Fan- Garth Brooks Discusses CMA Lip Sync Controversy- more

Taylor Swift Has Already Sold 1.2 Million Copies of 'Reputation'- Selena Gomez Opens Up About Her Kidney Transplant Recovery- Pink Recruits Channing Tatum For Video- more

Morrissey Has Different View Of Kevin Spacey Controversy- Selena Gomez Releases 'Wolves' Music Video- Beyonce Tops Taylor Swift As Highest-Paid Woman In Music- more

advertisement


Reviews

• Bob Seger - I Knew You When (5 Star)

• Root 66: Professor Louie and the Crowmatix - The Lost Band Tracks

• Santa's Jukebox: Tav Falco - A Tav Falco Christmas

• Guns N' Roses Week: Chinese Democracy

• Guns N' Roses Week: Our Greatest Arena Band (Live Nov 2017)

• Guns N' Roses Week: Use Your Illusion I and II

• Guns N' Roses Week: Defiant and Deconstructed

• Paul Maged - Light Years Away

• Sites and Sounds: Phoenix Concert Calendar For November

• San Francisco String Trio - May I Introduce to You

• Noise Ratio - Songs on Fire

• Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre - 5 Minutes to Live: A Tribute to Johnny Cash

• Coral the Merknight vs. SEARANTULA - It Weaves a Web of Metal

• Michael Jackson - Scream

• Sites and Sounds: Monster of Rock Cruise 2018

• Powerman 5000 - New Wave

• Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul Live In Chicago

• Rock Reads: We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women from the 1970s & 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene

• Chris Barron - Angels and One-Armed Jugglers

• Road Trip: Dublin By Bicycle: It's Electric!

• Road Trip: Explore Ancient Ireland at the Kerry Bog Village

• Steve Miller Band - Ultimate Hits (5 Star) • more

Rock News Stories
• Gene Simmons Apologizes To Fox News For Bizarre Behavior

• AC/DC Legend Malcolm Young's Funeral Details Revealed

• Linkin Park Reportedly Kicked Out Of AMAs After Winning Award

• Steely Dan's Donald Fagen Sueing Walter Becker's Estate

• Black Sabbath Release Video Of Final 'Iron Man' Performance

• Bob Seger Talks Health Issues And New Glenn Frey Inspired Album

• Rolling Stones Stream Performance Of Rock and Roll Classic

• Death Cab for Cutie Release First-Ever Live Show For 20th Anniversary

• Pearl Jam Stream Live Video For New Concert Film

• Dallas Gets New Alternative Rock Station ALT 103.7

• more

B-Side Stories
• Backstreet Boys Nick Carter Denies Rape Allegations

• Partridge Family Star David Cassidy Dead At 67

• Khalid Details Recent Groping By a Fan

• Garth Brooks Discusses CMA Lip Sync Controversy

• Macklemore Is Very Proud Of His Naked Justin Bieber Painting

• Luis Fonsi And Demi Lovato Release 'Echame La Culpa' Video

• Meek Mill Continues Thanksgiving Tradition From Prison

• Keith Urban Song Is The Most Played At Waffle House

• Diana Ross Receivers Lifetime Achievement AMAs Honor

• Pink Performs Gravity-Defying 'Beautiful Trauma' in Downtown L.A.

• Selena Gomez Goes Blonde For AMAs 'Wolves' Performance

• Jay Z Pens Op-Ed About Meek Mill's Probation Sentence

• John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Are Expecting

• Post Malone 'Bentleys and Beerbongs' Album Coming Very Soon

• Blake Shelton's Friends React To 'Sexiest Man Alive' Honor

• Taylor Swift Used In TV Traffic Report

• more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.