final vocal, and stuff. It’s just like the layers
of tracks in the studio.
Do you get into a rhythm that affects your
brushstrokes when you’re painting to music?
Yeah, I get into a rhythm when I’m painting.
This is pure expressionism.
Which musicians or artists are inspiring
you right now?
Very few, actually. There’s this girl singer,
Russian girl, called Regina Spektor. She’s
very simple, but very classical. She’s coming
to London in October, actually, and I got in
touch with her record company and I said,
“Can I do something with her,” something
musically. I’ve never actually met the girl and
I don’t really know what she looks like or
anything, but I just like the way she sings.
Wood and I discuss his latest album, I Feel Like Playing, at the New York Palace Hotel on September 23, 2010. Photo by Joe Coffey
Lewis, Fats Domino, Muddy Waters, and
Howlin’ Wolf —all that kind of thing—and I
was thinking, “I’m going to meet these guys
one day. I’m going to play with them.” And
I did. Every one of them. Bo Diddley turned
out to be one of my greatest pals.
did three shows, because Mick’s out with
Simply Red, putting that band to bed now.
But there was also something about
a tour next year, right?
How old were you at that point?
Yeah, probably in January we will come
Is that in the works?
No, but I’m going to hijack her when she
comes to England.
You’re going to harass her until she says yes.
Yeah, I’m going to say, “Come on, let’s do
something together.” She might say, “Sod
off.” I don’t know. But that’s the way I always
work. I approach the unapproachable. I go up
to Bob Dylan and say, “Come on, let’s play.”
Everybody. I’ve done that with Bob Marley.
With Zeppelin. I just go and play with them.
You never get anywhere unless you try, right?
Exactly, and most of the time all of these
unapproachable things or people turn out to
be really down to earth. Like Prince. His band
members are the nicest bunch of guys in the
world. He’s hard to get through to, but when
you’re actually playing with him, he’s like a
humorous, really down-to-earth, clever guy.
Robert Plant was recently interviewed
on NPR, and he was talking about being
a kid and listening to James Brown and
Smokey Robinson on American radio stations, and then saving up money from his
newspaper delivery job to buy albums
from King Records in Cincinnati. Do you
have a similar memory of when you were
first hooked on music?
I was 14 or something. Before then, I was listening to Big Bill Broonzy at about the age of
7 or 9, and playing guitar shuffles and stuff.
At what point did you think, “I’m going to
do this for the rest of my life”?
Oh, ever since I picked up a guitar. And ever
since I picked up a brush. I knew I was going
to do it. Right from an early age. From 4—
my earliest memories.
If there were one bit of wisdom you could
distill for the average guitar player to take
to heart, what would it be?
Well, I always go in the deep end. I always
try the impossible. Never think that something is too much of a challenge. Never
think, “Oh, I’m not going to do that—I
wouldn’t be right for it.” Always think,
“Yeah, I can do that.” Nine times out of 10
it works. I have done that all my life. When
I was at school, I knew I was going to be in
the Stones. I knew I was going to be in that
band, no two ways about it. So, here I am 35
years later, and still the new boy. [Laughs.]
You announced in May there would be
a Faces reunion tour.
Yeah, we did that with [Simply Red singer]
Mick Hucknall. He sang like Rod [Stewart]
did in the ’70s—he was incredible. We only
And will that also be with . . .
That will be with Mick Hucknall. But I’m having
dinner with Rod Stewart next week. The whole
thing has his blessing, and he likes the way
that Mick is very respectful of his singing—and
the other way around. If it weren’t for Rod’s
red tape and his management, we’d have him
doing it. But Rod also self-admits that he can’t
sing in those keys anymore, like in the early
’70s. Mick Hucknall can, but even after the three
shows, Mick went, “My god, I don’t know how
Rod kept this up for all those years. My voice is
in shreds!” Because we did them all in the original keys. “Too Bad” and “Miss Judy’s Farm”
and “Pool Hall Richard” and “Stay with Me.”
Mick would say to me, “That’s so high to sing!”
You’re doing quite a bit of publicity for
your new album, I Feel Like Playing . . .
And the President of the United States calls!
And they will be here any minute.
That’s gonna be fun!
You’re just hobnobbing with so many . . .
well, I guess that’s your life, right?
Oh, man. There you go—there you go, kids:
You can end up in the president’s company
if you want! [Laughs.]
154 PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2010
Yeah, I remember when I was a kid in short
pants or I had just gotten out of short trousers. I had a little record player in my room
and I was playing Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee
Click here to watch video excerpts of this
interview online at premierguitar.com/nov2010