Private jets used like taxis. Heroin for breakfast. Drunk-driving round Paris in a Bentley… Ronnie Wood’s ex-wife Jo saw the Stones at their most excessive while taking thousands of photos.
In her new book she opens up her unseen archive to show the band as you’ve never seen them before.
by Jo Wood – to read the full article click the link – excerpt from dailymail
“I’d only been seeing Ronnie for a couple of weeks when he went off to New York with the Rolling Stones in 1977. I wasn’t sure if that was the end of our affair, but then he called from America and invited me to Paris. I managed to get there and find the hotel, only to be told that there was no Mr Wood in residence and, in any case, they were fully booked for Prêt-à-Porter Fashion Week.
I must have looked desperate, because the man on reception eventually took pity on me and said I could stay in one of the maids’ rooms. I had no money, so I lay there all night wondering how I was going to get out of there the next day without getting caught.
At 6am I got a phone call from reception.
‘Yes. I mean, oui.’
‘We ’ave a Monsieur Wood down ’ere asking for you. Shall I send him up?’
‘Yes, that would be wonderful.’
I put on my sarong and, before I knew it, there was Ronnie at the door with a big smile on his face, telling me he was sorry. Concorde had blown an engine and they’d had to make a landing in Ireland.
While he’s saying that, some other bloke shoves past us into the room. He didn’t even look at me, just sat on the floor at the end of the bed, rummaging in a doctor’s bag.
He pulled out a silver spoon, a bottle of pills and a lighter. In a few seconds he’d filled a syringe and injected himself straight through his jacket. There was a tiny pause while the drugs hit his system and then he looked up at me and said, ‘How very nice to meet you, my dear. I’ve heard such a lot about you.’
And that’s the story of how I met Keith Richards for the first time.
Not long after we started going out, Ronnie bought me a ‘proper’ camera, and I took so many pictures that he started to call me the Shutterbug. I felt a bit sorry for Mick as I think he had his photo taken so often he could live without the attention, but the rest of the Stones never minded.
I used to drag carrier bags full of film canisters to the developers whenever we got off tour. I can imagine them printing those pictures, expecting them to be somebody’s boring holiday snaps and then suddenly realising they were looking at the Rolling Stones and their mates. I made sure I used photographic shops that I trusted because, obviously, there was all sorts of stuff going on in the pics.
I’d been in front of the camera as a model, so it was fun to be the one taking the photos. When I first met Ronnie in 1977, I was 22 and living in London during the week, running around doing auditions and shoots while my mum looked after my little boy Jamie back home in Essex.
There was friction between Mick and Keith in the Eighties, but Ronnie finally got the two of them to talk to each other and that proved to be a breakthrough. He was on the phone to Keith and then to Mick, encouraging them both to speak to each other, and the next thing I knew they were rehearsing together. Suddenly there was going to be an album, called Steel Wheels, and we were going back on the road, this time with all the kids. Whenever they had a summer holiday, it was nearly always touring the world.
Being on the road from 1989 onwards was amazing compared to when we’d last toured in 82. Back then it was rock ’n’ roll madness, and Ronnie would wander on stage wearing whatever I’d brought to the gig. One time we were woken by security because we were late for a show. The band were four hours late going on stage that night and I was amazed that people waited so long to see them.