The Ronnie Wood Show

Ronnie Wood has a TV show; it's called The Ronnie Wood Show. It was a radio show and now it's a TV show too, the TV component being simultaneously a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the radio show and a highlight reel.

It will start screening on Sky's Arts Channel from Sunday, July 15, at 8.30pm.

The folk at Sky flicked me a screener - so I checked out one episode. In it Ronnie Wood is played, presumably, by Jeff Beck-impersonating-Rod Stewart. And his guest for the show was Alice Cooper; though it was quite possible he was being played by Steve Carell (I didn't check the credits).

Here's a clip of Ronnie/Jeff/Rod and Alice/Steve reminiscing.

Ronnie's idea of chemistry has been well documented (see various drug and alcohol problems) so we're left to the natural charisma of Alice.

Now this is something that the man born Vincent Damon Furnier (or Steve Carell) has in spades. But it's hard for him to get anywhere when on an extended drive down (and round) the conversational cul-de-sac that is an interview with Ron Wood.

Cooper says that he loves Chuck Berry, considers him a great lyricist. Wood answers by deciding it's time to play Louis Prima's Just a Gigolo. Suddenly aware again that this is something of a talk-show and he has a guest, he tells Cooper, "I really love Louis Prima!"

They get to riffing about The Everly Brothers and Alice talks about the various sibling-pairings that seem to battle on and off the field when making music. He names Oasis and The Kinks as obvious examples. Wood giggles and says that Mick and Keith are like brothers.

This does at least allow Cooper to do a pretty decent impersonation - he says Keef asked him once how long he had been sober. He replied that he had been about 20 years without a drink. Cooper-as-Richards, "It does beg the question: Why?"

This is at a point in the show where Alice reminisces about his time opening for The Rolling Stones. It was the Steel Wheels tour. It looks like it's news to Ronnie.

He looks genuinely baffled. As he does for most of the show. And so the 22-minute running time (without ads) creaks by.

There are some songs played by Wood as DJ and his guest gets to choose a few. We hear snippets and see Wood hamming along on his guitar.

Cooper is introduced by the song Feed My Frankenstein. Ronnie asks Alice if he still plays the song live. Alice says "yes". Ron decides to slide a giggle into a guffaw. Alice says that both Steve Vai and Joe Satriani play guitar on the tune. Dead air.

Then Cooper picks his favourite Stones song, Brown Sugar. He considers it the best thing the band did.

They play My Generation and gasbag for a bit about The Who. Ronnie reminds you that he has a great knowledge of music - and is capable of picking some gems - by playing Donnie Elbert's A Little Piece of Leather.

And on it crawls. Some giggling. Often far too much. Alice Cooper has very shiny teeth.

Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... this is not.

But do you know what - it just might be appointment viewing.

There were several cringe-making moments where this felt just like the time your father and his best mate (who you grew up calling "uncle" so still do) dug out all the old band photos after drinking a bottle of Drambuie and decided it was worth telling everybody about the success they could have had.

This was in fact quite cripplingly awful. And brilliantly comical.

I loved the awkwardness. It was real. It was warts and all (just wait until Lemmy is a guest).

And though I feel that Ron Wood just might be the world's worst music TV host/radio DJ, I do think he's had a bad rap over the years. People forget his great playing with The Jeff Beck Group, perhaps particularly with The Faces and then with The Stones. He's a great feel-player, intuitive and understated. He can burn when he needs to. But he allows the song its time and proper place on the stage.

He no doubt has a heap of stories and knowledge and some more quirky choices as a DJ. And if he doesn't I'm happy to see him die another death in this role.

I think that The Ronnie Wood Show just might be a regular Sunday night treat.

What do you think? Will you be watching? Have you seen some of the series already?

And if you can't see yourself as a fan of The Ronnie Wood Show then which musician would you like to see in this sort of role? There are several well-known musicians with radio shows - who would you like to see on the screen playing favourites and interviewing friends and heroes?

If we ever got a show like this off the ground in New Zealand my vote is Jordan Luck. I would love that show. The man has great knowledge when it comes to music - he's a passionate fan, he has great stories and his own successes as a writer and performer.

But who would you like to see in the role that Ron Wood has?

Postscript: Wellington readers - if you're interested I'll be playing some records this Friday after work at Meow from around 5.30 till 9pm. All sorts, come and say hi, make a request. I promise not to interview anyone - but I can't promise I won't play any Louis Prima. 

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