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Ronnie Wood

The South Bank Show takes an exclusive look behind the public image of rock icon Ronnie Wood to see how he deals with fame by combining his two passions: music and painting.

On a tour of his homes and private music and art studios, Ronnie talks candidly about his life and ongoing battle with alcohol, his work and the drug fuelled lifestyle of the 60’s and 70’s, and the importance of his hobbies and how he balances his riotous rock world with the solitary pastime of painting.

"There is such an adrenalin that comes from playing live to people and then when you get the feedback, it’s hard to drop it", says Ronnie.

"Painting to me is very important because it’s something I can do on my own and the music is a group effort. It’s very interesting and quite an eye opener to see what people do actually like of my art".

Ronnie has been a rock star for over forty years.

He shot to fame with Rod Stewart and The Faces in the 60’s with hits such as Maggie May before joining what many consider the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world - The Rolling Stones.

Since then, he has been swept up in the roller coaster success and substance spree of the classic rock superstar.

"I never used to like a needle”, says Ronnie. "I think if I had been a needle person, I probably wouldn’t be around to tell the story today. The amount of people you just saw dropping like flies… it was very hard to survive that time. I enjoyed myself but I always knew my limits… I think".

Ronnie’s artistic flair was unearthed at an early age and he promptly followed his two elder brothers, Ted and Art, to Ealing Art School.

The three boys, who were also passionate about music, formed separate bands – Ted played traditional jazz, Art favoured rhythm and blues and Ronnie was seduced by rock n’ roll.

His ambition to be a Rolling Stone stems from his college days when as a student he vowed "I’m going to be in that band".

Now, most famous for his dexterity with a guitar, on every tour he takes a travel case of painting and drawing equipment and sketches as much as possible.

He thrives on capturing moments in others' lives.

Ronnie's portfolio contains an impressive array of portraits and figurative works, including countless studies of the great and the good from the music world.

Today, prints of his most popular work sell for thousands of pounds with the originals selling for significantly more, qualifying this rock legend as an accomplished painter in his own right.

Additional contributors include his brother Art Wood, wife Jo Wood, Rod Stewart, Jools Holland, Keith Richards and Jimmy White.

Produced and directed by Daniel Wiles, edited and presented by Melvyn Bragg

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