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:
Robert Plant Talks Led Zeppelin 50th Anniversary Celebration- Jimi Hendrix Previously-Unreleased Track Streaming- Foo Fighters Brit Awards Performance Streaming Online- more

Recap: Eagles Add More New Dates To North American Tour- Billy Corgan Reveals New Smashing Pumpkins' Song Details- Foreigner Announce Live Orchestra Tour Dates- more

Recap: KISS Spark Retirement Speculation With The End Of The Road Move- Slipknot Star Says He Will Never Go Back On Tour Again- Foreigner Announce Very Special Release- more

Stone Temple Pilots Stream New Song The Art Of Letting Go- Judas Priest Preview New Song Traitors Gate- The Monkees Stars Reuniting For Tour- Halestorm, In This Moment Tour- more

Day in Pop:
Quincy Jones Apologizes for Shocking Interview Comments- Ed Sheeran Addresses Secret Marriage Rumors- Maroon 5 Headlining NFL Hall of Fame Legends Concert- more

Page Too Rewind: Migos, Arcade Fire, James Bay Going 'Saturday Night Live'- Rihanna Looks Back And Thanks Mother As She Turns 30- Carrie Underwood Donates $10K To Injured Police Officer- more

Page Too Rewind: Drake's Generous Money Giveaway All Part Of 'God's Plan'- Troy Gentry's Widow Sues Over Husband's Death- The Chainsmokers Release 'You Owe Me' Video- Demi Lovato Unplugs- more

advertisement


Reviews

• Hot In The City: Pistoleros - Silver

• The Blues: Ladies Play the Blues

• RockPile: Vexes, Jay Katana and Perfect Defect

• Billion Dollar Babies - First Ever Live Show - Flint 1977

• TBT: Phil Vassar The New Piano Man

• Dolly Spartans - Time Sides With No One

• Saxon - Thunderbolt

• Channel Dark - El Wire Pacifier

• Straw Family - Family Matters

• Junkyardfieldtrip - Self-titled

• Joe Perry - Sweetzerland Manifesto

• Ten Ton Man - Dangerous Women & A Desperate Man

• Cindy Wilson - Change

• Luca Bash - Keys of Mine

• Terror Universal - Make Them Bleed

• Road Trip: Springfield, MO's Route 66 Car Museum

• Travel News, Trips and Tips: Spotlight on Branson, MO

• Duran Duran - Girls on Film 1979 Demo

• Arthur Fowler - Here I Am Again

• MorleyView: Micki Free

• John 5 and the Creatures - It's Alive!

• iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour 2017

• Black Sabbath - The End (5 Stars) • more

Rock News Stories

• Neil Young Reveals Classic Live Album Details

• Rolling Stones Have Fun With Keith Richards' Favorite Dish

• Eagles Add More New Dates To North American Tour (top story)

• Billy Corgan Reveals New Smashing Pumpkins' Song Details (top story)

• Foreigner Announce Live Orchestra Tour Dates (top story)

• Radiohead Announce North American Summer Tour (top story)

• Singled Out: Off Road Minivan's Spiral Gaze (top story)

• Liam Gallagher Too Busy For Foo Fighters Collaboration (top story)

• Kurt Cobain Remembered By Courtney Love On His 51st Birthday (top story)

• The Melvins Stream New Song 'Stop Moving To Florida' (top story)

• Metallica Release Video For Cover Of Classic Song (top story)

• Halestorm And In This Moment Announce Spring Tour (top story)

• The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism Moving To Music City (top story)

• Singled Out: Ethan Brosh's Tomb Of The Gods (top story)

• Imagine Dragons Stream New Song 'Next to Me' Announce Tour (top story)

• Metallica Release Live Video From Bologna Concert (top story)

• My Bloody Valentine Surprise Fans With Special Release (top story)

• The Who Celebrating Landmark Shows Anniversary With Release (top story)

• Portugal. The Man Rock 'Live In The Moment' On 'Colbert' (top story)

• Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan Talks Reunion Tour (top story)

• The Doors Release Video Of Classic Live Performance (top story)

• Pete Townshend Expands Who Came First For Reissue (top story)

• Liam Gallagher's Godlike Genius Acceptance and Performance Goes Online (top story)

• Frances Bean Cobain Remembers Her Father Nirvana's Kurt Cobain (top story)

• Singled Out: Ignore The Sign's Behind The Wall (top story)

• Bon Jovi To Receive The iHeartRadio Icon Award (top story)

• Metallica Teams Up With Vans Again (top story)

• Steel Panther Animated For 'Wrong Side Of The Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills)' (top story)

• The National's Matt Berninger Creating TV Comedy About His Life (top story)

• Blink 182 Star Says Face Tattoos Are Off Limits For Teen Son (top story)

• Oasis' Liam Gallagher Gets Interviewed By Kids (top story)

• Alex Di Leo Releases 'Brooklyn Bridge Video (top story)

• Robert Plant Talks Led Zeppelin 50th Anniversary Celebration (top story)

• Jimi Hendrix Previously-Unreleased Track Streaming (top story)

• Foo Fighters Brit Awards Performance Streaming Online (top story)

• Concert For George Harrison Hitting Movie Theaters (top story)

• Metallica Release Live Video From Mannheim Show (top story)

• Liam Gallagher Rocks Late Night Television (top story)

• 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Trailer Features Beastie Boys Classic (top story)

• 5 Seconds of Summer Debut New Song And Announce Tour Dates (top story)

• Stone Temple Pilots Stream New Song The Art Of Letting Go (top story)

• Judas Priest Preview New Song Traitors Gate (top story)

• The Monkees Stars Reuniting For Tour (top story)

• more

B-Side Stories
• Migos, Arcade Fire and James Bay Going 'Saturday Night Live' (top story)

• Rihanna Looks Back And Thanks Mother As She Turns 30 (top story)

• Carrie Underwood Donates $10K To Injured Police Officer (top story)

• Sade Set Returning With 'Flower of the Universe' For 'Wrinkle in Time' (top story)

• Lil Yachty Announces New Studio Album 'Lil Boat 2' (top story)

• Rae Sremmurd And ESPN Team For 'Sremmlife' NBA Series (top story)

• Miley And Noah Cyrus Meet 'The Lizzie McGuire Movie' Star (top story)

• Sam Hunt Headlining Indy 500 Legends Day Concert (top story)

• The Weeknd Saved Oprah at Ellen's 60th Birthday Party (top story)

• Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brantley Gilbert Lead Watershed Lineup (top story)

• Janelle Monae Streams New Single 'Make Me Feel' (top story)

• Miranda Lambert Shares What She Is Doing On Tour Break With Fans (top story)

• Miley Cyrus Hangs Out With Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White (top story)

• Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo Share First Photo of New Baby (top story)

• Jake Owen Shares Photo Of His Daughter and Dog (top story)

• Quincy Jones Apologizes for Shocking Interview Comments (top story)

• Ed Sheeran Addresses Secret Marriage Rumors (top story)

• Maroon 5 Headlining NFL Hall of Fame Legends Concert (top story)

• Austin Mahone Holding Benefit For School Shooting Survivors (top story)

• Aaron Carter Discusses Rehab And What's Next (top story)

• Carrie Underwood Pays Tribute To Billy Graham (top story)

• Kesha Releases 'Praying' and 'We R Who We R' Live Videos (top story)

• Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake Highlight Brit Awards (top story)

• 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.