Long-suffering rock-’n’-roll wife spills the dirt on life inside the world’s longest-running musical circus.
When Pamela Des Barres, the world’s most famous groupie, published her tell-some biography I’m With The Band in 1987, it opened the floodgates on a spate of titillating autobiographies from the likes of Bebe Buell, Pattie Boyd and Angela Bowie. The problem—in this case, the world of the Rolling Stones—is that plying these kinds of name-droppers against serious tomes like Stanley Booth’s fantastic The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones (1985) or even Keith Richards’ superb autobiography Life (2010) can be more than revealing about their true intent. This time, we hear from former model and entrepreneur Jo Wood, who recounts 30-odd years as the girlfriend and subsequent wife of Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. Wood keeps it light for the first half of the book, describing the enormity of the Stones in their heyday and the gossamer madness of living inside the world’s biggest band. Sure, there are a few groaners: “It’s no wonder that sex and rock 'n’ roll go together like Jack Daniel’s and coke.” But her descriptions of the drug abuse she both suffered and enabled are startling graphic—e.g., the moment the author describes seeing the sun shining through Ronnie’s deviated septum. The guitarist, unsurprisingly, comes off as a grade-A narcissist who cheated on his wife with a bevy of beauties that included Kelly LeBrock and Ekaterina Ivanova. As the author began to build success with her own organic products, she made a breakthrough decades in the making: “In Ronnie’s eyes, I think there was room for just one star in the family—and that was Ronnie Wood.” There are a few gems here for Stones completists, but Wood’s story lacks the pathos of similar autobiographies like Marianne Faithfull’s.
Yet another point of view on the long saga of the Stones, this memoir reads like it has an agenda to tick off.