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ROD by Rod Stewart

ROD

The Autobiography

By Rod Stewart

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-98730-3
Publisher: Crown Archetype

In which Roderick David Stewart, aka Rod the Mod, bares all—not least the secrets of spiky hair.

If Keith Richards is the dangerous old man of rock ’n’ roll, Rod Stewart is the standards-crooning nice old geezer. Even in his down-and-dirty days—for example, snorting mounds of cocaine with pal Elton John—he was a nice guy, unless, perhaps, you were married to him. This memoir sails from one mostly amiable anecdote to another, quickly revealing an odd factoid: Like recent memoirist Neil Young, Stewart is a model-train fanatic (“In December 2010, I reached a major career milestone. I appeared on the cover of Model Railroader magazine for the second time. Getting on the front of Rolling Stone had nothing on this”). Unlike Young, Stewart is no motor geek. He admits to liking to drive cool cars without feeling the need to know anything about them, instead reserving his major store of passion for models (female, not railroads) and soccer. Stewart charts his rise from unwashed beatnik poet to lead singer with the Faces, a position fraught with politics and intrigue. He is surprisingly modest about the three great solo albums that marked his work in the early 1970s, though he does reveal the secret of how “Maggie May” came to be written, and he is nicely cheeky about his decline later in the decade (“I may have lost the thread a couple of times in that period”). Even so, he professes to being somewhat mystified by his being named the enemy of all things punk in the ’70s, since the likes of the Sex Pistols worshiped the Faces. He pulls off a nice and not too heavy-handed bit of comeuppance, though, even while compounding his enemy status with the runaway commercial success of his four albums of grandpa-era standards, which is perhaps forgivable in a man approaching 70.

A likable, mostly generous and well-written look back at the days of bedding starlets and destroying hotels.