Ron Wood definitely sees an improvement in his playing since becoming sober. The Rolling Stones guitarist — who marked his 45th year with the band in 2020 — is also celebrating a decade of sobriety.
During a chat with Rock Cellar magazine, Wood talked honestly about what it's like to go from being one of the booziest guitar slingers to a rock n' roll teetotaler onstage: “(There's) a new clarity of approach, coming with my sobriety, I think. That’s an amazing plus for me, because I can play anything without a drink or dope.”
He added, “It’s a wonderful feeling to still feel excited about a show, but I don’t have to reach for false stimulants to get me through, y'know? That’s a big plus. It’s hard to explain until one does it. But there comes an even further depth of understanding of songs. It changes all the time. Just to keep up with it and keep grips with it and experiment. You still experiment. Amazing new things are coming out, but it’s out of a very focused place.”
A while back, Ron Wood spoke frankly about the highs and lows of his decades of heavy drug use: “I took the good things out of the acid experience, for instance, and I think I did the same with the cocaine — even though it took much longer to give up. The heroin was. . . I just used to smoke it in cigarettes and, like, phhh — unbelievable windows that that opened. And I always thought, if I'm in my late-'70s. . . (laughs) Keith (Richards) and I said, if we're in our late-'70s and in pain, we'll take that up again (laughs), y'know? It's the best painkiller there is. But it's all an illusion, really. But it's always damaging you, like cigarettes — they're the worst ones.”