While the 60s was a time of great musical and cultural innovation, most of the stars of the time, who are still working, are content to appear on
package tours and relive those great memories.
A product of those times, Rod Stewart cut his teeth with Steampacket and The Jeff Beck Group before making his big breakthrough with The Faces and a
parallel solo career in the 70s. After 50+ years in the business many would be content to sit back, put their feet up and reflect on a glorious career, but not Sir Rod.
HAD A GREAT CAREER AND I CAN’T ASK FOR MUCH MORE THAN THAT
another number one album under his belt, Rod Stewart has embarked on his biggest UK tour to date with outdoor summer dates.
“I enjoy it,
that’s what it comes down to,” says Rod. “And most of my peers are dead, not retired! There will be a time, I’m sure, for retirement and I’m closer than I was years ago. To me, retirement is not a
lovely word. People always talk about ‘looking forward to retiring’ but for me that’s an awful thought. I’m lucky I have a brilliant job that I love and, as long as I enjoy it and people are coming
out in their droves to the shows, then I will go on.”
Rod had a
long apprenticeship before the big break came, in 1971, with the classic anthem Maggie May. Could he ever have thought he would still be selling out football stadiums into his mid-70s?
“When I first came into the business, I thought ‘I’ll be happy if this lasts a couple of months’. I don’t know what the secret is to still being here, though. Maybe I put on a good
show, have a distinctive voice, an army of songs and some very loyal fans. As long as people still want to hear them, I’m going to be there!
“It’s always lovely when you have a sunny evening, it’s the weekend and the audience are out for a drink and a laugh. Starting out in the day light or dusk and going through the
magical phase as the light goes and it gets dark – then the fun really begins.”
Besides an incredible back catalogue from which to choose for his shows, Rod now has a new collection of songs from his chart topping album Blood Red Roses. Released last year, the album saw Rod return to recording original material, much to the delight of his army of fans. So what brought about this change
“Writing my book, Rod: The Autobiography, sparked in me the realisation that I still had stories to tell, about my early beginnings, my
dad, and that book spawned the writing, it came back to me. I had thought it had gone and left me, but it doesn’t really, it’s not a physical thing, you just have to put your mind to it. I teamed up
again with Kevin Savigar, my co-writer and producer now, and he brought it out of me again.
“There was a point I didn’t want to go into the studio. I couldn’t bear the thought of going into the dark studio space. But again, it was Kevin who got me back. He came along and
is my co-producer and we started doing it on our computers. He would write a tune, send it to me, I’d ‘la-di-diddly-dah’ over it and send it back. We’d add drum machines, or whatever, and see how it
sounded. Then if we felt it needed a drummer, we would get a drummer in and embellish it with real musician. And all the while, I’d be seeing daylight and enjoying fresh air! What we do, rock and
roll, is such an innocent form of music, using the same chords and themes time and time again, but it stays fresh.
“The album was number one in the UK chart, and that was the best feeling! We had a big celebration when that news came through. I have had a great career and I can’t ask for much
more than that.”
Among the reflections included in Blood Red Roses, Farewell looks back at the carefree life young Rod enjoyed in the swinging
60s, Honey Gold reminisces about a mysterious lady from Rod’s past while the moving Celtic ballad Grace tells the story of a tragic love affair cut short by the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin.
The album also features Julia, a track co-written by Rod with Jon McLaughlin, frontman with Johnny Mac And The Faithful who will be
supporting Rod on the summer leg of the tour.
“Johnny supplies all the music for Celtic Football Club and is a big supporter, like I am, and I think they’re brilliant,” Rod enthuses. “It’s a very Irish-orientated sound, and I
really like the music. It’s real party music, just what you need to warm up the audience, but they are a very, very flexible band and very talented. I wanted to give him a chance.
“I’d heard them play over the years but never knew anything about who they were. And one time I was watching footage of the players training on Celtic’s TV channel, and I loved the
background music which was being used. I looked all over the place to find out what it was. I thought it was a band from Australia and we’d tracked it down… But it turned out it was Johnny, and they
were on the doorstep. I instantly had lyrics to go with the music, and that led to us co-writing Julia.”
The summer leg of his tour closes at the Lytham Festival celebrating its 10th anniversary on 13th July, and sure to be a special night.
“The last show on a tour is always a celebration for us,” says Rod, “even if the audience don’t realise, although we’ve got a lot more on once the summer shows have finished; Las
Vegas and the Hollywood Bowl in September, then back to the UK for the indoor shows.”
What life is like when your dad’s Rod Stewart
When her father first tried it he fell into a fireplace, but yoga helped Renee Stewart deal with her celebrity upbringing
It was in the pool on family holidays that Renee Stewart began to do the maths. Once they went to Palm Beach in Florida. Another time it was Hawaii.
There could be up to seven children in the water and, in the evenings, phone calls from their various mums. Presiding over it all would be dad Rod. Expansive after a couple of glasses of wine, he
would call the children “the fruit of my loins”.
“They were, and are still, amazing get-togethers. It’s like a tribe gathering. But of course my mum wasn’t there and neither were the other ex-wives. It was just Dad and Penny
[Lancaster]. Sometimes I’d look at all us children and think, ‘Dad has had quite a life.’”
26-year-old Renee laughs you see it: her father’s almond eyes and snaggle-toothed grin. When she stands, it’s all about her mother, the former
model Rachel Hunter; she’s easily 6ft in flat-heeled brogues.
However, the laughs are tightly controlled. She is wary of talking about her family. Putting distance between their achievements and her aspirations is
really why we are here. “It’s just not cool to talk about your parents. When I was at school in LA, if people asked me what my dad did I’d say, ‘Oh he’s in entertainment.’ No disrespect to him, but
you want to make your own life. You want to be your own person. Trading off it can really screw you up and it kind of makes people cringe.”
She’s not wrong. In his twenties, Sean Stewart, Renee’s half-brother and Rod’s son by Alana Hamilton, descended into drink and drug addiction before ending up in jail for assault.
He has called being the son of Rod the “rock’n’roll royalty curse”.
The karma around Renee today is completely different. It’s a bank holiday and we’re in the bar of a hotel near her home in Shoreditch, London. No one clocks her in zero make-up, mum
jeans and a loose-fitting linen blouse. People are ordering early cocktails. I’m hoping we might join them, chat for a bit, then head off to belt out Maggie May in a nearby karaoke bar. Renee sits with her hands in her lap and asks for tap water. “I try to be mindful in all I do,” she says. “Is that
It turns out that being mindful and attending to the nuances of what she calls your “inner solar system” is how you follow a parental double act like Rod’n’Rachel. Two weeks ago
Renee got back from Rishikesh in northern India where she qualified as a yoga teacher after 200 hours of breathing, bending and meditating at a yoga school. Yes, Rishikesh is where the Beatles went
to practise transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. John Lennon thought the food was lousy. Renee doesn’t exactly gush about the ayurvedic diet herself.
“It was a little bland,” she says carefully. “I had to sneak into town a couple of times to get peanut butter and avocado for my porridge. But if you’re focusing on the work, then
the food isn’t an issue because there is so much else to think about.”
She’s not kidding. Renee gives a vivid account of a monkey attack. “One got into my room. Yoga is supposed to centre you, but I must admit I nearly freaked out. It took an apple and
I shooed it away.”
The yoga training regimen sounds tough. Meditation outdoors at 6am followed by an hour of “breath work”, classroom lessons from a guru. After lunch there were hours of asanas (yoga
poses) and mudras (hand gestures). The day finished at 8pm.
The point is, the girl named by her father after the Four Tops song Walk Away Renée, has the tools to heal what sounds like
a previously confusing life. “Before yoga I was creating this existence for myself based on fear, waiting for this or that to happen before I felt my life had begun. My teacher [in Rishikesh] did a
lot of work about the idea of living in life’s waiting room. I didn’t want to feel like that any more. Yoga gives you control over mind and body — and that is really all you’ve
It’s tough being a celebrity child, but it’s an arduous scramble to the top as well. We discuss a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary made by Gordon Ramsay in which his son Jack and
other celebrity offspring attempt to survive the lives their parents did before making it. Could Renee have hacked it as a young Rod?
“Oh, Dad lived through an amazing time in music. He has worked so hard. And of course at some point you open your mouth and wonder if a soulful rasping voice will come out. My
sister Ruby [by the model Kelly Emberg] was lucky. She has the voice and is in a band [the Sisterhood], but I don’t have it.
“In terms of a music career, I actually think it might be harder to make it in music these days. I don’t think the next Rolling Stones or Naomi Campbell would stand a chance of
making it now because there are literally millions of people on social media launching careers. As for my mother, she’d already moved to New York, got married and had me by the time she was 25. I am
in awe of her being a mother so young.”
Rod Stewart, aged 45, had admired the 21-year-old Hunter’s performance in a Sports Illustrated fitness video before
they met in an Los Angeles night club. He then proceeded to imitate her video workout on the dancefloor before inviting her back to his room. All this despite him having chartered a plane to pull a
banner bearing a wedding proposal for his girlfriend Emberg across the city’s skyline the next morning.
Three months later Hunter and Stewart were married, with the almost incontinently promiscuous Stewart telling the press: “I’ve put my last banana in the fruit bowl.” It was a pretty
wild start, I say to Renee. “Pretty wild,” she murmurs, sipping her tap water.
Some children compensate for extrovert parents by turning inward. Her mum was a Playboy centrefold and Renee grew up
opposed to the profession. Eventually she tried it, walking for Dolce & Gabbana, but she hates the term “model”. “I prefer being called ‘a creative’,” she says.
Was she embarrassed by her mum being a centrefold? “A what?” A centrefold model. “What’s that? It’s not something I know about.” She looks unhappy when I tell her it involves being
naked. “Oh my God, that is not something I can imagine a model of my generation doing. I definitely wouldn’t do that. I think this generation of young women thinks totally
Interestingly Hunter has become something of a yogi, having rebuilt her life after the end of the marriage. After eight years, two children (Liam, 24, followed Renee) she left
Stewart, sounding very unhappy. “I’d become so cosseted I was too scared to do anything for myself,” she has said. “Like lots of women who marry young and find themselves mothers by the time they’re
25 I felt I no longer had an identity. I was just nothing.”
In his 2012 autobiography Stewart describes lying on a sofa for months being “distracted almost to the point of madness” by Hunter’s departure. He also took up yoga in an attempt to
mend his broken heart. “As I was attempting to master a beginner’s level ‘balancing table’ position, I fell over into the fireplace,” he writes.
“Well I think he might be ready to try yoga again now,” Renee says. “He loved my photos from Rishikesh and he has asked me to lead a family yoga session. He’s the sort of dad who’ll
buy all the gear and get into it.”
By contrast, Hunter is now an expert who teaches yoga at retreats across India. “Oh her journey has been amazing. And she was always very clear with me and Liam: find what you love
and do it.”
Renee shows me some of the mudra hand gestures her mother has taught her. One looks like the thumb and forefinger gesture for “OK”. Others look like gang signs. All are simple ways
of channelling your energy during a quiet moment. “You can whip them out anytime and anywhere you feel the need to re-focus,” she enthuses.
Renee has just moved house with her rescue chihuahua, Jagger (“I’ve explained to Dad, he’s a rescue dog and came with that name”). She talks passionately about mastering the “eight
limbs” of yoga and basing her life and those of her future children around them.
Does that mean her future partner will have to be a yogi? “I’m not going to talk about yoga any more if you’re going to be sarcastic. I don’t sit there on a cushion all day
meditating,” she snaps.
I apologise. I hadn’t intended sarcasm. I only meant that if you are a dedicated practitioner it would be hard to live with someone who wasn’t. “I’m sorry, but it is weird how some
people think you’re just this hippy sitting there twiddling beads all day. I still go out for drinks. I still eat fries at McDonald’s.”
Her dad is a male icon from a culturally different age. Stewart famously has never cooked a meal in his life. As a millennial, she will surely not stand for such domestic
incompetence? “Dad had to look after me and Ruby once and he tried to make us eggs on toast and I must admit I could see a certain fear in his eyes, but he is unusual. Most people these days can get
by in the kitchen.”
She’s thinking about advertising her first yoga class on Instagram. She’s unsure what to charge as her hourly rate. And she is also concerned that millennials don’t appreciate what
yoga actually is. “In the West it’s become corrupted and used simply as a keep-fit exercise,” she complains. “Its thousand-year-old roots are ignored by those wanting a quick fix.” I think of her dad
toppling into the fireplace.
“There’s a lot of shallowness and emptiness in modern life,” she goes on. “Yoga is your way out of it
Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter's son joins Queenstown hockey side
The son of rocker Rod Stewart and Kiwi supermodel Rachel Hunter has signed with the Queenstown Stampede ice hockey team for the 2019 season.
Liam Stewart, 24, is expected to arrive at the South Island lake resort within the next fortnight.
British-born Stewart, a forward, holds a New Zealand passport through his mother, and will use it to play as a "local" in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.
SkyCity Stampede manager Niel Frear said securing Stewart had been the work of team member Mike McRae. "I actually don't really know how we did it.
"Mike's been working on it for a while ... We talked to [Stewart] about the opportunity to come back to New Zealand and play and I guess it just fitted in with his personal
preferences, so he's just going to come to Queenstown and see how he goes."
Stewart spent four years with Washington's Spokane Chiefs in the US Western Hockey League, and a season with the Quad City Mallards and Alaska Aces.
On his move to Britain, he played a season for Coventry Blaze and most recently Surrey's Guildford Flames in the Elite Ice Hockey League.
He also took to the ice for Great Britain at the world championships (Division 1B) in 2017, scoring twice to help it win gold.
Last year, he was to have played for the Sheffield Steelers but sustained a concussion in mid-January and his symptoms returned mid-year, halting the deal.
"As far as we understand he's healthy and he's coming at us ready to play," Frear said. "It's going to be huge."
HAVE I TOLD YOU EIGHTLY
Celtic-daft Rod Stewart all smiles
as he poses with Hoops clad women as he ‘celebrates eight-in-a-row’
The rocker took to Instagram to show his support to the newly crowned Scottish champions
CELTIC-daft Rod Stewart was all smiles as he posed with Hoops-clad women to celebrate his team's eighth league title in a row.
The veteran rocker took to social media to share his "celebrations" after Neil Lennon's men clinched the title on Saturday.
And fans were quick to praise the star after he shared the pic on Instagram.
Standing in front of a huge Celtic flag, Rod was flanked by six beauties all wearing Hoops kits.
He said: "We are all smiles in Hamburg during the first week of our summer tour celebrating @CelticFC’s 8 in a row.
"#CelticFC #8InARow #Bhoys #BlondesHaveMoreFun"
The pic proved popular with Rod's fans - racking up over 17,400 likes in a few hours.
On the day of Billy McNeill’s funeral Rod Steward paid a special tribute to Celtic’s greatest ever team while on tour in
The audience would have anticipated some references to the singer’s footballing affection and were greeted by a backdrop completely devoted to the Lisbon
Rod Stewart sells his mansion where Celtic players trained to Premier League star
West Ham United forward Andy Carroll and his fiancee Billi Mucklow have bought the house for £4.1million
Sir Rod Stewart has sold
his mansion to a Premier League footballer after a three-year search for a buyer.
The rock star put the six-bedroom Wood House property in
Essex on the market back in 2016 for £7.5million.
The Celtic-mad singer, who has had Celtic players use his football pitch, failed to find a buyer which resulted in him dropping the asking
price by millions.
In March this year, the Daily Record told how the Celtic-daft star took a £3million
hit on the mansion after reducing the asking price to £4.725m.
mansion in Essex also boasts a football pitch and a swimming pool
The six-bedroom manor home has a boating lake, tennis courts, a swimming pool and huge gardens.
The grade-II listed property also has a full-sized football pitch, which players from Celtic, Newcastle United and Liverpool have trained
Rod Stewart rocks Southend's Cliffs Pavilion
ROCKSTAR Rod Stewart performed at a Southend theatre and lauded the praise onto his fans.
Sir Rod treated the town to some of his classics as part of his warm-up shows before his worldwide tour which begins in Berlin
He took to the stage at Cliffs Pavilion and stayed at the Seven Hotel in Southend.
Javed Rashid, 65, director of Seven Hotels, said: “It was very good, a great success.
“Rod was an excellent man, he stayed for dinner at the hotel with his wife and both were very nice.”
The star tweeted last night after his performance: “I’ve been lucky enough to play most of the major venues in the world- Madison Square
Garden, the O2- but it was a total great experience the energy, intimacy and sheer excitement of playing Southend on Sea.”
“What a night – one I’ll never forget.”
Fans who attended the gig also tweeted: “Last night was one of my best ever nights with you Sir Rodders”.
Another fan tweeted: “I’ve seen you perform in arenas but last night was the best, thank you.”
Stewart is visiting countries including Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Spain and the United States, as
part of his tour.
He is also performing in cities across the UK, showcasing his talent in Leeds, Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton,
Newcastle, Sheffield, Bolton, Aberdeen, Bristol, Nottingham, York, Southampton, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Ipswich and Wolverhampton.