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Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Hound Dog ()
Date: January 3, 2005 20:23

I just picked up the new Faces box set, I have never really listened to them before and I must say that Ronnie's guitar playing is great, much better than the stuff he has done with the Stones. These seem to be his prime years as a guitarist and I think he probably gets knocked for his skills too much here. Perhaps if he were with the Stones during this time in his life people would have really heard the best Ronnie has to offer playing with the Stones. Its too bad that Rod Stewart plays songs that Ronnie wrote when he performs live now and Ronnie doesn't have the kind of songwriting freedom like he used to with the Faces.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: R ()
Date: January 3, 2005 20:27

His playing had character then. He's just been Keith's foil since 1975.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: john r ()
Date: January 3, 2005 21:00

I agree - and the whole niche (Brian, Mick T, RW) seems somehow doomed. All these guys have imo made great contributions to the RS, but substance abuse got in the way of all 3, & the band structure/dynamic, & as I see RW doing good work w/the RS in th past decade (meaning since Bill left, or since VL) (I played the MTV 10-Spot show recently, very good, inc RW)I hope it's the addiction problem rather than something worse, & that if he stays clean he'll kick ass next album/tour. I recommend that Faces box to any Stones fan.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: T&A ()
Date: January 3, 2005 21:30

It's not just a matter of RW cleaning up - I think he's as clean as he's gonna get. Somewhere along the way he just lost his chops - it happens to some, and it usually has something to do with chemical dependency. One of the worst instances was Hilton Valentine (Animals guitarist). He completely forgot how to play even the most basic stuff by the time of the reunion in '83. So sad to see. He was clean, but unable to play. Same thing has happened to our Woodman, I'm afraid.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Hound Dog ()
Date: January 3, 2005 21:44

I feel like Ronnie could have been a bit depressed that the best songs he wrote Rod Stewart was going around playing as his own and since joining the Stones he did not have the chance to do different things since he was now a small part of the Jagger/Richards songwriting team. All of this could have led to him having more of a problem with drugs. I guess it also doesn't help hanging out with Keith who was taking more heroin than anyone at the time and Mick who was all coked up and I am sure doing other things.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: john r ()
Date: January 3, 2005 22:37

It's possible to lose one's chops, agree, but I think RW had some strong moments on the last tour (US leg, anyway). I HOPE a year or 2 of sobriety helps. As I recall, he was newly sober when the RS started the tour (last rehab 2002 Spring?, then again around June 2004, if memory serves). I dont claim to be an expert on RW's personality, but as someone who works with addicts/alcoholics, (& was one) awareness of cost/benefit (losing families, $, lovers, careers, health, etc vs temporary relief, pleasure, escape, etc) does not equal readiness/ability to stop. As an example: I had a guy in my group who worked at Harvard U. over 25 years, very accomplished/respected as scholar, prof, Dean, dept head, etc - was allowed to get sober on leave, went back to work, slipped for a few weeks & was fired. Then, he finally got some sober time starting around a year ago to the present. For sure he knew the risks of drinking on the job intellectually! I can imagine doing a big tour (even w/family support, $$$$, & theoretically one's dream band) shortly after rehab might be very stressful, in terms of having used drugs/alcohol most of one's adult life, feeling 'raw' emotionally, like you cant perform w/out the chemicals (even when clear-minded analysis shows one can no longer perform WITH them), feeling marginalized in the band (or unable to socialize, w/Keith, as RW stated in interviews), or not feeling able to 'be ones self', & of course total availability of whatever one wants, & the common illusion that you can 'get away with it' once, if you keep it to a limit.....relapse would be no surprise!.So, if RW's chops are impaired, as it is possible, - I want the chance to see him clear & sober & trying, & am willing to give benefit of the doubt. Jimmy Page was able to do it w/ the Black Crowes (playing, not creating something new, admittedly)after 20 years of evidently having 'lost it' - thinking of the utterly feeble Firm albums, & JP Jones' domination of Zep's last album 'Out Door'. I know there were problems with the recent Charlatans gig, but the fact RW paid $50,000 to go overtime indicates a renewed willingness/caring to get it right!For that matter, Billy Prestons long MIA period, & recent fully capable performances w/Clapton also come to mind. With the Stones, I always try to remain an optimist, because it has frequently paid off. (Who would have thought, watching Bob Dylan in that execrable movie "Hearts Of Fire" or hearing "Saved" & "Down In the Groove" & "Dylan & the Dead" he'd put out a classic in 1997?) Finally, when I saw Mick Taylor's debut tour in '87, the first time 'solo' since the Columbia album in '79, he was utterly unrehearsed, played no original material (all blues standards, uninspired both song-wise & in execution), was stiff, his playing intermittent & not fluid, depended heavily on a fat bassist frontman/vocalist & a 2nd lead guitarist - since then in the ensuing years I have seen him do superb gigs (and heard great live performances on disc, like the Carla Olsson/MT live set).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2005-01-03 22:43 by john r.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: john r ()
Date: January 3, 2005 22:48

to ____________, from my group, who I described in my above post - if you're a Stones fanatic & see this, I didnt use your name or the dept you headed etc!!

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: T&A ()
Date: January 3, 2005 23:32

MT has good and bad days/nights - but I don't think I could ever say he just "lost his chops." I've seen him many times over the years, and the chops (if not always the inspiration to play them!) was ALWAYS there.

In RW's case - and I've seen him very upfront and close and personal, including three times point-blank range on LICKS tour - the chops haven't been there since the '81/'82 tour. They ARE GONE! Now, I know he was sober during the LICKS tour, so that wasn't the immediate issue. And, yes, you could argue his playing was more inspired than on other recent (since 89) tour. But, why I saw/heard was a man who was trying to re-invent himself - and, why? Obvious, I think - he couldn't play what he used to play in his sleep. So, he had to try something new. I give him credit for that, too. But, the brilliance he demonstrated in his salad days with Rod & Co and the Stones in the 70's was clearly gone and gone forever.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2005-01-04 00:46 by T&A.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: KeithRichards ()
Date: January 3, 2005 23:37

I really fear that you might be right with Ronnie losing his chops.
This also happened to the one piano player, I forgot his name. He is really popular, playing jazz piano. He lost his skills, can't remember why and had to learn everything again, from the very start.
So, this can really happen... That would actually explain a lot.



Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: RankOutsider ()
Date: January 4, 2005 00:35

You lose your chops if and when you lose your heart. Ronnie is not happy. If Rod Stewart wasn't such a .unt , (doing @#$%& show tunes/crooner ballads now?) The Faces would still be together.

I ain't stupid, I'm just guitarded.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2005-01-04 00:47 by RankOutsider.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: T&A ()
Date: January 4, 2005 00:48

Can't agree with you there, Rank. You can lose your heart and keep your chops. And, I disagree - I think Woody is as happy as he's ever been. He just can't play anymore (at least the way he could when the Stones seized upon him).

And good point about the jazz piano player. The point is that "it" can happen to anyone, anywhere and for any number of reasons. Whatever your gift/craft - you can definitely lose it....happens all the time. So, it's not so shocking really. But, it must be something of a personal hell for Woody - to reach down and not be able to pull something out that was "a given" for so many years. I feel for him.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2005-01-04 00:51 by T&A.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: RankOutsider ()
Date: January 4, 2005 00:59

You don't lose something you're connected to emotionally. Nuff said.

I ain't stupid, I'm just guitarded.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: john r ()
Date: January 4, 2005 02:01

I don't know how happy he is. He sounded rather emotionally vulnerable in the interview I accessed thru this site (?) earlier this year (cant recall original source, the one where he said he hasn't visited KR's room during the tour), whereas MJ/KR are always like politicians - not dishonest, but totally in control in interviews.
I still hope for more consistency & confidence next album/tour. He has made it a point to keep busy with the countless guest shots over the past year. He WANTS to play.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: SatanicFlowers ()
Date: January 4, 2005 02:26

As you know, I've been tough on Ronnie
feeling his best work was in 1975 and
slowing declining each and every year.
Little glimpses of his former self
occasionally slipping out like his inspired
pedal steel guitar solo for LIV at Staples.

BUT.....today I picked up the
"Five Guys walked into Bar" box set
AND I'M BLOWN AWAY! No wonder Mick and
Keith wanted him! Just the first CD has
songs (written by Ron) that kick ass...
Listen carefully and you'll here STones
style Rock and Roll. Wish I had
known more about the Faces (I think Rod
Stewart turned me off...)

Obviously, Ron is playing WAY below his
potential. I'm praying it is NOT LOSING
HIS CHOPS...but that he is somehow
smothered in his current role as stage clown!

May he return on the next album & tour
and make me and the other MT guys eat our
words...THE STONES NEED WOODY BACK!!!!!!!!





- Thru our past darkly...

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: ChrisM ()
Date: January 4, 2005 03:05

I think Ronnie's playing with The Faces ranks amongst some of the best Rock 'n Roll guitar playing ever and his playing during the '75 tour was phenominal, considering the shoes he had to fill. And during the '78 and '81 tours he and Keith meshed as to be one guitarist, but these days it seems to me that he has indeed lost his chops, which I hope he can find again for the benefit of all of us!

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: StonesTod ()
Date: January 4, 2005 03:11

If my theory (I'm T&A, btw) isn't right - then wouldn't it make sense that we would have heard a least a glimmer of his former greatness sometime during the last 15 years? And, yet, there hasn't even been one solo that has even approached some of the more complex work he did in '81 and prior. Not a one.

so, there you have it - and, Rank - it has nothing to do with desire. We cannot all attain what we want, no matter how much we want it.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Bärs ()
Date: January 4, 2005 10:01

How is it possible to just forget something you have been doing for years? I mean, simple stuff like playing a blues scale? How does it happen?

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: roby ()
Date: January 4, 2005 10:14

Another question : why did Mick & Keith keep him in the band ? I was listening Munich 73 show yesterday, Jagger punctuate, accompanies the Tay solos by small intonations of voice... Under the charm. Never heard that concerning the playing of Ronnie...

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Hound Dog ()
Date: January 4, 2005 16:13

SatanicFlowers, I felt the same way for a while, I never got into the Faces before because I don't like Rod Stewart. But I said screw it and got the box set and I am glad I did because its some great rock n' roll. Can't think of the name of the song of the top of my head but I love the second track on disc 4, Ronnie's slide is so good. Sounds like the White Stripes were very influenced by this music as well as a few other bands.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Stikkyfinger ()
Date: January 4, 2005 18:12

Ronnies playing with the Faces?

I thought he'd joined a band called the Rolling Stones.......

Regards,

Ian.

Rolling Stones Tribute

Play Rolling Stones

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Rocky Dijon ()
Date: January 4, 2005 19:34

Ronnie's playing with The Faces and the contemporaneous Rod solo albums were definitely his musical peak. His work with The Stones live 1975-1976 showed him trying to reach Taylor's dizzying heights with varying degrees of success (similar to his playing on the Licks World Tour). His best early studio work with Keith can be found on Woody's first two solo albums where they click much better than anywhere on Black and Blue. His best days with The Stones are unquestionably Some Girls and the resulting tour where his influence colored every song just as much as Brian did in the mid-60's but without ever upstaging Keith as Taylor regularly did from 69-73. Ronnie's Gimme Some Neck and The New Barbarians tour show he and Keith also blending well (although the Barbarians were anything but consisent). Emotional Rescue, Tattoo You, the coke-drenched 1,2,3,4 solo album and the 81 and 82 tours continued this trend. Ronnie clearly falls down with the Glimmers on Undercover. His songwriting creativity also seems to have dried up around this time. Despite trying to assert himself on the Dirty Work sessions, what's there is not Ronnie at his best anymore than it is the Glimmers and his mid-80's solo sessions for the abandoned Automatic LP are pretty poor. Surprisingly, Ronnie returned to form on most nights with The Gunslingers tour with Bo Diddley and Live at the Ritz is a nice document of the period. Sadly, the re-shaped live Stones of the past fifteen years (with Chuck Leavell responsible for making everyone adhere to Jimmy Rip's arrangements from Jagger's 88 solo rehearsals) left little room for creativity or even any real interplay with Keith on the 89-90. 94-95, and 97-99 tours. From that perspective, the Licks tour was a welcome change of pace. If Ronnie didn't entirely return to form, he was at least varied and that certainly makes a change from boring. There were moments of brilliance and that may be more than we have a right to expect from the band live these days. In the studio, I was disappointed with Ronnie's minimal contributions to Steel Wheels (hiring out session help for "Blinded by Love" was unthinkable), but his Bernard Fowler-top heavy solo album and tour in the early 90's showed he still had his chops and his slide work throughout the Voodoo Lounge sessions is exemplary. Sadly, the tour was just a replay of 89-90 despite some shining moments in Europe 95 (witness the Stripped non-LP B-sides). What was undeniable by the mid-90's was that the partnership with Keith which both still plug in interviews was dead. I saw very little weaving in the past decade (the last example is Highwire on Flashpoint). Ronnie's contributions to Bridges to Babylon also appear as unremarkable as Steel Wheels and the four new Licks in 2002 were too minor to register (although the Mike Campbell-style solo on Stealing My Heart was unexpected as much as it was underwhelming). In between, I found Not For Beginners and the brief UK tour with Slash to be Ronnie's absolute nadir. I don't think it's impossible for him to return to form for the new album but for the Stones to play live with the same consistency they might manage in the studio seems unlikely (the Voodoo Lounge album and tour being the perfect example of the apparent disconnect). I don't think it's so much a question of ability as it is willingness. They largely play it safe when it comes to arrangements so the days of a tour retaining the same "feel" as the studio album they're promoting are likely over. The best I expect are a few great shows and shining moments which will hopefully be captured in soundboard quality.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: StonesTod ()
Date: January 5, 2005 01:16

Nice little thesis, there, Rocky. I think you are basically agreeing with my premise, but not entirely. I can't agree with the "willingness" being the problem. If the will were all it took - then we'd have heard something (one friggin' solo) from Woody in the last 15 years that even for a moment harkened to his glory days. We haven't.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: john r ()
Date: January 5, 2005 19:56

T & A we must have gone to different shows & listened with very different ears. RW has had lots of strong moments live, from Sister Morphine & Out of Control to Midnight Rambler, You Got Me Rocking, CYHMK, just for starters. What is obvious is he's an addict who needs to stay clean to play, and that (or from this perspective--not knowing them, observing what comes thru in public) the Keith/Ron collaboration seems to be missing. K barely looks at RW during the shows, or even in the studio footage on the dvd - during the latter RW clearly is watching KR, for cues on when to play, where to support or give K space. My point has been largely that if RW stays sober, the excuse for marginalization will be more transparent - the dynamic may change, or not. As with a family, in this band addiction gives those interested in control ammunition (true even between Mick & Keith, more notably when K sort of 'cleaned up')as has been widely reported). And tho I think RW's 1234 is a coked out, hard to listen to mess, Not for Beginners is warm, bittersweet, organic-sounding, & honest - if one doent mind R's husk of a voice (no youthful 'Ooh La La' lead vocs here).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2005-01-05 20:14 by john r.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Elmo Lewis ()
Date: March 27, 2018 19:30

Quote
ChrisM
I think Ronnie's playing with The Faces ranks amongst some of the best Rock 'n Roll guitar playing ever and his playing during the '75 tour was phenominal, considering the shoes he had to fill.

thumbs up

"No Anchovies, Please"

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: laertisflash ()
Date: March 27, 2018 20:20

Folks, these are 18 + years old posts, except the last one (Elmo's). Before I realized this, I was somewhere near the complete madness...
Now Ronnie seems sober and his contribution to band's performances is really priceless. That's what I saw and heard during 2014 and 2017 rounds.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: Elmo Lewis ()
Date: March 27, 2018 21:58

Quote
laertisflash
Folks, these are 18 + years old posts, except the last one (Elmo's). Before I realized this, I was somewhere near the complete madness...
Now Ronnie seems sober and his contribution to band's performances is really priceless. That's what I saw and heard during 2014 and 2017 rounds.

thumbs up

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: donvis ()
Date: March 28, 2018 05:46

You mean 13 year old posts.
Quote
laertisflash
Folks, these are 18 + years old posts, except the last one (Elmo's). Before I realized this, I was somewhere near the complete madness...
Now Ronnie seems sober and his contribution to band's performances is really priceless. That's what I saw and heard during 2014 and 2017 rounds.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: hopkins ()
Date: March 28, 2018 07:40

Tremendous great style and original approach. Melodic, funky, soulful; great touch, feel and power. very versatile too. Gorgeous sounds.

------------------------------
------------------------------
'I'm a monkey! I'm a monkey! Monkey! monkey! monkey!......."
M. Jagger/K. Richards



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018-03-28 08:01 by hopkins.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Date: March 28, 2018 10:12

Yes they are old posts (all you have to do is look at the names of posters). But I still think Rocky's essay really sums up Ronnie up to 2004/5. I usually see eye to eye with Rocky; but I completely disagree re. "Not for Beginners" album. At time of its release it came as a downer, but time has re-colored that album for me.

No matter if posts are old or not - the topic is really interesting. What did happen to Ron's playing? A combination of it all?

Sound - In the Faces he had a unique sound. This buzzing, very ballsy grind, coupled with a healthy dose of Open D/E and Slide.

Material - one thing that is easily overlooked is that the Faces were not primarily a Blues based band. Stones are so deeply rooted in the Blues that it shapes everything they do. And these major key songs from the two Ronnies and Rod had fallen along the wayside. Wood isn't near the Bluesman that Mick and Keith are.

Drugs - By the time he joined the Stones the drugs must have multiplied tremendously. Yes, that first tour must have been a blast, but no one, no one lasts long on a major coke diet. It will hollow out your creativity. Add alcohol. Then rehab, relapse, rehab etc. Your focus drifts.

Keith - This is IMO one area that has been unhealthy for Ron. No matter what they say, all this best friends, twins, weaving talk. I think this relationship with Keith has not been good for his playing. It has taken him years aND Years to get out from under Keith's spell and rule. Keith does not like to share; you add all the drug dynamics which are always twisted, and you must have had an almost textbook dysfunctional friendship.

Time - as it moves on and on, and age advances your reflexes change up on you. Memory banks are sending missives to the wrong department. Fingers slowing up. Hearing might go a bit.
Add to this
Artist - any musician is going to stay in constant movement. Well, any decent one. What wENT in '76 is not valid in 2006. Your guitars have changed; your amps, your taste. Who knows? You have entered a Country period...you only play acoustic guitar now.
In Ronnie's case he is also a painter. That had to figure in it all quite a lot too. (There is another thorn in Keith's side). I could easily see where he may have gotten a lot of gratification from that kind of art; and not even needed music so much.
The 'Window' - I do believe that an artist gets a window of opportunity. It may vary in length, and intensity, and outcome, but basically you do your best creative work in that initial blast of 15 years. There are rebirths, and late stunners ("Blackstar" or Bach or Picasso) but I would venture to say that these are either a conscious push; i.e. genius by force of will, or a freak late afterbirth from the initial birth.

Ronnie Wood seems to have dealt with all of this. But it is hard to understand, or excuse those paltry showings from the late 90's tours. Those were exciting years. That was the beginning of the Net, the big boot market; when everyone was trading. Ronnie always got a huge ovation but he really was nowhere in the mix; literally.

Re: Ronnie's playing with the Faces
Posted by: laertisflash ()
Date: March 28, 2018 11:45

Yes Donvis, I mean 13 year old posts. That's what happens, when I'm tired...

As for the thread: Ronnie sounds really good in my ears, in the last years. He had some serious problems on the European leg of Licks Tour (maybe health problems, after all) and partly during ABB as well, but, hey,no complaints since 2012. Not at all.

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