Rolling Stones Guitarist Ronnie Wood Talks Sobriety, Mick Jagger’s Surgery

By Maggie Ethridge 06/27/19

"I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. I’m just seeing it a bit more sensibly now. I’m high enough and I’m grateful of that," Woods says.

Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood, the famous Rolling Stone guitarist, gave an interview with The Sun in the wake of Mick Jagger’s heart surgery and the band’s No Filter tour.

Jagger had been told by his doctors that he would eventually need heart surgery; the infamous headliner thought he had plenty of time to complete the band’s tour before being sidelined with heart surgery. 

The Rolling Stones' Hotel Room Meeting

Three weeks before the U.S. leg of their tour was to begin with 17 separate shows, Mick (72), Keith Richards (75), Charlie Watts (78), and Wood (72) all met in a hotel room. 

Wood shared with The Sun, “He called us to his room and said, ‘I’ve got to do this now.’ He felt so bad about it. We said, ‘Don’t feel bad, if it’s got to be done, do it, then we can carry on rocking.’ And now we are ready to rock - luckily.”

“The doctor’s said they’ve never operated on an athlete at 75 before - we had a really good laugh about that. He’s just so fit, he sets aside three hours a day to do exercise and that’s done him plenty of favours in later life. He’s superhuman really.”

On Jagger’s current condition, Wood remarked, “Oh God, he’s even harder to stop now. It’s like, ‘Mick, come here, I want to talk to you, and he’s like all over the place. He’s in really good form.”

Wood, like Mick Jagger, has a big family with many children, the youngest being toddlers. Wood has two-year-old twin girls, Grace and Alice, while Jagger’s youngest is Deveraux, also two-years-old. Deveraux is Jagger’s son with 32-year-old ballerina Melanie Hamrick. Wood points out his hair is still grey-free despite his age and the demands of parenting and the road. 

Sobriety Gave Woods a Second Chance at Life

Wood feels he had a new start late in life with sobriety. He told The Sun, “Since my sobriety, it’s like having a second chance at life, seeing everything with clarify, gratitude. It’s unbelievable. I feel so good. And I have these little blessings is the icing on the cake.”

Woods continued, “With the momentum of youth, you were always chasing a high. The music was high anyway and you want to get higher and higher, so you have a drink, or whatever. You never used to think about it - it was like keeping the high going. But now I can sit back and go, ‘My body is going to collapse if I keep piling it on and do it like you used to.’ I’m still very happy. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. I’m just seeing it a bit more sensibly now. I’m high enough and I’m grateful of that.’

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Maggie May Ethridge is the author of Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes From a Marriage (Shebooks, 2014) and the recently completed novel, Agitate My Heart. She is a freelance writer published in Rolling Stone, VOX, Washington Post, The Guardian and many others. Find her at her blog Flux Capacitor or on LinkedIn or Twitter.