Sober and single, Stones rocker Ron Wood goes solo

Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:23pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones never have to worry about fading away as long as Ron Wood is around to keep them in the tabloids.

The 63-year-old guitarist has been adding a dose of hilarity to the band since 1975, the fan-friendly clown prince who defuses occasional tensions between the prickly pair of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

But with the band off the road for the past three years, Wood has been putting his talents to use in other areas: he squired a Russian teenager, got divorced by his second wife, suffered a drug and alcohol relapse, and went through a few more nubile gal pals.

His exploits were dutifully recorded in the media, rendering almost quaint the international incident he stirred up in 1977 after a dalliance with the estranged wife of Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

But Wood has also found time to record his seventh solo album, one more than the combined outings of Jagger and Richards. "I Feel Like Playing," his first release in nine years, comes out on Tuesday through Eagle Entertainment.

Needless to say, the recording sessions provided a welcome distraction as well as an emotional outlet.

"I didn't quite know what it was I wanted to say, but I knew that I had to not weaken under the strain of leaving home and starting a new life, really, at such a late age," he told Reuters with a wry laugh during a recent interview.

He considers the album a celebration of what he called his "newfound freedom" as a single man.   Continued...

<p>The Rolling Stones' Ron Wood (L) and Keith Richards perform during the band's "A Bigger Bang" European Tour in Bucharest, Romania July 17, 2007. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel</p>