Some Guys Have All The Luck! Rod Stewart gets spanked by Hoda Kotb before their public interview session in New York

 

He famously sang that Every Picture Tells A Story.

So it looks like Hoda Kotb wanted to assert her supremacy early by spanking Rod Stewart before their public interview session in New York on Thursday.

The Do Ya Think I'm Sexy singe looked like a naughty schoolboy as he bent over to receive his punishment from the Today Show host

And for Rod's sake, hopefully he did not have to find out for real whether the first cut truly is the deepest.

The 70-year-old Another Country star was looking sprightly for his age in a blazer, shirt, tie and jeans combo. He added a dash of his trademark Scottish flair to his look with tartan patterned leather shoes.

Hoda meanwhile looked every inch the harsh disciplinarian in a scarlet red dress and black stilettos.

The Hot Legs singer was going to talk about his career all the way from his mod beginnings to the current day.

One thing seems for certain though, it would surely not be long before the Anglo-Scot turned the conversation to his great passion in life - model trains


The rocker admits he is so attached to his model railway that he takes them on tour with him and even books a second hotel room so he can set them up.

The singer said he has even thought about buying himself a full-sized steam engine to continue his hobby.

Speaking on BBC Radio London, he said: ‘Trains are my life – not just model trains but real steam trains as well.

‘I’ve looked into buying a real one and it’s closer than you think. I’d love to own a steam engine and just sit on one.


 

Rod Stewart Talks About His New Album, "Another Country," on "The Tonight Show'

Rod dropped by The Tonight Show Wednesday night to plug his latest studio album, Another Country, available now.

Another Country, like Stewart’s previous his previous album, Time, marks a return to songwriting for the 70-year-old British rocker. He co-wrote 10 of the songs, including the lullaby, “Batman Superman Spider-Man,” inspired by the youngest of his eight children, Aiden Patrick Stewart.

“He would always say, ‘Dad, read me a story,”” and I’d go, “Well, what about?'” recalls Stewart. “And he’d say, ‘Batman, Superman or Spider-Man.'” I said, ‘All right, [I’ve got] a song here.”

When Fallon asked the the “Maggie May” singer if he thought his career would last this long, he replied, “Not when I started out, obviously I didn’t. It has it’s ups and downs. You sell a lot of albums one week and not the next, so you’ve just got to keep piling through it.”

Adds Rod, “But the most important thing is I enjoy it, and I think it shows.”

Rod and his longtime pal, Elton John, sang a duet together onstage at the inaugural Brits Icon Award in 2013.  Rod told ABC News back then that they’d be performing a lot more together if he had his way, and told Fallon during the interview he still feels the same.

So far, Elton hasn’t been as keen on launching a full-blown tour, and Rod thinks he knows why: “I think he gets worried ’cause he’s stationary, he’s at the piano. He knows I can still jump about,” he jokes. “But if he can get over that little hump, he’ll be okay.”

However, there’s still a glimmer of hope, according to Stewart. “In the last week we’ve emailed each other every day. It’s quite extraordinary,” he says. “I don’t know why, but we all love each other again and we’re paly-waly.”

Later, Rod performed “Please,” from Another Country.

Rod to perform Way Back Home on Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance

Rod Stewart: Designer brands are overrated

Rod Stewart loves finding gorgeous clothes for a discount price.

 

Rod Stewart hasn’t shopped at a Dolce & Gabbana boutique “for donkey’s years” because he doesn’t feel the need to spend a huge amount of money on clothes.

The 70-year-old music legend, who is father to eight children, has a purported net worth of $220 million, but you won’t see him spending his fortune on loads of expensive outfits.

“I love Zara,” he told Q magazine. “I went into the one in Rio in Brazil and bought four pairs of trousers, three shirts and couple of jackets - 220 bucks.

“There’s nothing wrong with the high street at all. I haven’t been into Dolce & Gabbana for donkey’s years.”

Rod cannot seem to pass his love of thriftiness on to his children, however.

During the same Brazilian shopping trip, his offspring couldn’t help but walk into a high-end boutique.

"My son, he goes down to Ralph Lauren and buys a pair of shoes for 600 bucks,” Rod recalled. “I say, ‘Go to Zara! What’s wrong with you?’ I’ve got a load of Topman stuff, too.”

Rod’s 36-year-old daughter Kimberly Stewart, who is a model, has also argued with her dad in the past on matters of physical upkeep.

She remembers being literally barred from exercise because Rod disagreed with her fitness methods.

"I work out like a crazy person,” she told British magazine Hello! “My favourite workout is Tracy Anderson's. I do it in the gym with the heat on - 85 degrees.

"Your pour sweat and it's amazing. My dad thinks I'm crazy, he put a lock on the heat panel in the gym so I couldn't get into it. So I went and bought nine portable heaters, but they short-circuited the power. It was like gym wars."

But she and father Rod are sometimes in agreement on matters of style.

Kimberly collaborated with Jess Morris of label Rockins on a line of scarves, which has a rock 'n' roll vibe and was in part inspired by Rod.

"Dad always wore skinny scarves in the 1970s and he made them look so cool,” she said. “Today he showed up in flannel shorts and one of my skinny scarves and he still looked good."

A Quietus Interview

Sing It Again: Rod Stewart Interviewed

After five decades at the top, Rod Stewart finds himself telling Chris Roberts about stage-fright and swagger, recovery from illness, disco fever, wearing too much make-up and missing his shin pads

I’m going to assume you know who Rod Stewart is.

He’s the singer of whom an American magazine infamously wrote, “Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent; rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely. Once the most compassionate presence in music, he has become a bilious self-parody. And sells more records than ever.”

 

I guess those losers just weren’t feeling 'Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?'

 

Oh Rod, with your five decades of enduring success and your place in the twenty best-selling artists of all time and your eight children by five different mothers and your estimated fortune of well over £120 million and your collections of Ferraris and Pre-Raphaelite art: where did it all go wrong?

 

There’s a TV interview he did in the States not long ago with Katie Couric where, almost before he’d sat down, she opened with, “Rod, this is your life”, and a giant screen showed a tacky collage of every known ex-girlfriend and wife of his, 99% of them blonde. I ask him if that was awkward.

 

“Aaawk-waaard!!” he says, in the exaggerated, spoof manner in which we the people of 2015 say “awkward”. He swears he didn’t know it was coming and they sprang it on him. I say I don’t believe him because the history of Rod as serial seducer is one of the bullet points of his mythology, but he’s adamant. “Aw, I was sort of flattered in a way. Y’know, I’ve done pretty well with women. Basically I’m an old softie romantic. I like to think so anyway. I haven’t made too many enemies along the road, I don’t think. Britt Ekland I might have, but that’s all right, she never has a good word to say about me. Don’t ask me why.”

 

It’s her birthday today.

 

“Is it? 74?”

 

73, it says in the paper.

 

“Huh. OK. She used to make me wear so much make-up that the band would call me 'Avon Calling'. 'Ding dong, here he comes, our singer, The Avon Lady…'”

 

This was after you made your mid-Seventies Atlantic crossing, and the rock fraternity who’d previously loved you turned against you because you’d gone a bit camp?

“Yeah. 'Rod Goes Hollywood.' A bit camp? It was certainly camp! It was meant to be somewhat camp, ha ha! I think I got influenced by the girlfriend at the time, Britt. She made me wear too much eye shadow and things like that. Frilly shirts. Rotten trousers. I mean, glam had been around long before, but I think I may have taken it just a step too far…”

 

How did you react to the flak? Did it put you off your stride?

 

“Yeah it did, it hurt. Because inside I was still just the same North London guy, y’know, and young – nothing had changed. I’d just moved locations. Because in those days taxation was ridiculously high. And I didn’t know how long my career was gonna last. It was the Wilson government, I think, and that chancellor… Dennis Healey… he just died, didn’t he? So, we were paying 98% in the pound. A lot of musicians left around that time. But I was tricked into it too. My then manager said: 'Look, you just go out there for a couple of months, I’ve got you an apartment, maybe write some songs.' But when I got there, he said: 'Right, here’s the deal, you’ve got to stay here for a solid year and you can’t go back to the UK.'

 

“But then I got used to it, and I met Britt, and the rest is history, and my kids are still growing up there. I loved it, still do. I’m a sunshine boy. I can’t deal with rain.”

Rod’s got a new album out, Another Country, his 29th, some 46 years after his first, An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down. It’s been a wildly buoyant career, refusing to lie down despite mockery, illness, frequent irrelevance and near-constant glorious absurdity. At seventy, Rod Stewart -a CBE, just like Philip Larkin - is held in affection as a survivor, a light entertainer, a symbol, a cartoon, a bona fide old-school superstar, a man who doesn’t pretend not to love the things most heterosexual men love, and a God-given voice which often elevates his material to heights it has little right to reach. He now, having sold an insane number of records, simultaneously straddles two demographic postcodes like a colossus: the lucrative Strictly/Loose Women/ Buble/ Groban market, and the credible Faces reunion heritage-rock terrain.

The recent reissues of his old albums have rightly drawn high praise. His autobiography, Rod, was a candid, irreverent blast, and to begrudge him these golden years of his schtick, you’d have to be either a music journalist or perversely proud of that stick up your butt. Anyway, the man has lived life to full, and has stories to tell.

Meeting him in person after buying Sing It Again Rod as a 12 year old is both strange and not. He doesn’t saunter in wearing a kilt, playing keepie-ups with a football and swinging his dick like a lasso, but otherwise he is Totally Rod. Full Rod. Peak Rod. Smart leather jacket, black tie, cockerel hair. Looks twenty years younger than he is. Just like you’d expect, he puts you instantly at ease, affects no airs and graces, calls you “mate”, and takes offence at nothing. Sits on the sofa, rubs his knee. Chats away like you’re just two guys chatting away, about the important things in life: women, booze, football, music.

Actually that’s glib: he’s given up half of those and is a sentimental family man (his second eldest, Kimberley, has a four-year old daughter with Benicio Del Toro, so Rod’s a grandad). With hindsight maybe it was me that kept bringing the conversation back to women, booze, football and music. Because it’s Rod Stewart. Looking at his spectacular life, it’d be a dereliction of duty not to. Fans were never jealous of Rod’s roister-doistering ways; he was so upfront and so evidently, gleefully pleased about it all. He was the cat that got the cream, but disarmingly said, “Wow, look! Cream! Fantastic! How lucky am I? Isn’t life brilliant?”

 

So we talk about his life and career in chaotic order for an allocated half an hour, just two regular blokes, in a swanky London hotel that makes me feel my best shoes are cheap (they are), but which Rod could probably buy in a blink. He’s as unguarded as anyone of that stature could be. Sometimes he hangs himself. Sometimes he redeems himself. Always, he’s Rod Stewart.

 

“Ah, Sing It Again Rod, yeah, that had the whisky-glass cover. They don’t do sleeves like that any longer.”

 

They don’t make them like Rod any longer.

 

So you wrote most of this new album having regained your confidence with 2013’s Time, your first UK number one in 37 years? (That was a record gap in itself: his last number one was 1976’s A Night On The Town, the one with 'Tonight’s The Night', the single that stopped 'God Save The Queen' going to number one, 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' and 'The Killing Of Georgie'.)

 

“Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. Time got this tremendous response from fans, and that gave me encouragement. I was a little hesitant – it’d been a while, what would I write about? But I thought: be as honest as you can, and that’ll see you through. There’s a song about growing up in London after the war, and one about putting my kids to bed, and one about football, and even a reggae song.”

 

Do you ever think you’ve been too honest?

 

“Nah, my life is an open book. Always has been. I mean, everything’s in the autobiography – have you read it?”

 

It’s very funny. A lot of rock stars’ memoirs are cautious and boring. That one isn’t.

“Yeah, also I managed to sort out a lot of the half-truths and out-and-out lies that have been written about me. I was never a grave-digger, I just worked measuring plots. I never played for Brentford. I never had throat cancer. I didn’t! I had a nodule, a cyst, on my thyroid. And they went in and ripped it out. Now it could have been cancerous, but it was benign. Thankfully. But the press… pffft. Admittedly in my early days I might have gilded the lily, true. Might have said I was a professional footballer when in fact I just went for trials at Brentford and wasn’t good enough but I didn’t have the guts to say that to journalists. So I told them I’d decided to be a singer instead. So far from the truth!”

 

But the “cancer scare” in 2000 must have worried you…

 

“Oh I was worried, yeah. I didn’t know how it was gonna go. But see, the thyroid is nothing to do with the vocal cords, it’s a little below them I think. The only reason my voice suffered after the operation was because when they put the tubes down there it damages the vocal cords, and there’s a certain amount of memory loss when you undergo something as traumatic as that. So you have to pretty much teach your voice how to do it, all over again. Reawaken the muscle memory. I mean, it took me six months. When I got back, I got me band in the garage and belted songs out every day. One day I’d be able to go, “Wake up Maggie…”, the next day I’d manage, “Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you…”, and so on until I’d got the whole song. You have no idea the amount of water I have to drink to look after the voice. If I’m doing, say, three shows in three nights, I certainly can’t do interviews. The voice is closed down and you don’t talk for the whole day. You write things down on bits of paper. My kids understand it’s one of the days not to talk to Daddy.”

 

You appear to be in fine fettle. Age has changed. Seventy used to be crooked, grey pensioners playing bingo. Now it’s Rod Stewart looking exactly like Rod Stewart and energetically promoting a new album.

 

“Yeah, but I swear that’s the music business. Maybe having two young kids keeps me young and fit too. But this is a great business to be in – it occupies you, engages a good part of your mind. Just doing interviews is great – keeps me remembering stuff. And writing songs too. I think it’s when you close down the mind, that’s when the ageing process bashes you round the head.”

 

Funny to think rock & roll was supposed to kill off its beloved young. Now it’s the elixir of eternal adolescence…

 

“Ha, it’s working for me, I think. But also I am a genuine fitness fanatic. I’ve had a full-time trainer for fifteen years. I take it seriously. Only stopped playing football when I was sixty eight… sixty eight and a half, in fact.”

 

I love the male pride Rod takes in emphasising that extra half.

 

“About a year and a half ago. Aw man I miss it so much. The preparation, a good night’s sleep on Saturday nights cos I played Sunday mornings. [I miss] just getting my kit all ready. And my boots. MY SHIN PADS. Towards the end I was down to playing 35 minutes, cos my knee, after operations, was so painful. And then of course I’d have to do a concert in the evening, in Las Vegas. And I’d limp onto the stage. Literally, limp. Couldn’t get out of the dressing room. So – it had to go. Good innings though.”

 

Since you stopped playing, do you find watching it isn’t as much fun? Like there’s a glass wall between you and your enjoyment of it?

 

“Er, yeah. Sometimes I can’t even be bothered to watch my mates play. Then they’re all in the dressing room after, going, 'You shoulda done this, you shoulda done that' to each other and I feel totally out of it. And the beer comes out but you don’t wanna have a beer, do you, cos you haven’t earned it.”

You have 'The Drinking Song', a catalogue of past reckless frolics, on your new album. But you never were as much of a hedonist as people think, were you?

 

“Well, I drank a bit, but…”

 

You were never a druggie?

 

“I never bought any drugs. Never. We did some coke sometimes, but it was never important to me. The main reason being, again, that I was playing football twice a week, and you just can’t go on the field the morning after a skinfull of that. Well, I couldn’t, personally. I’ve just never been a real druggie person. But I still like my wine every evening.”

 

Every evening, still?

 

“Every night. I’ll have two glasses, maybe three. I can’t have a glass of water or a Coca Cola with my food. It’s a European thing, ha ha!”

 

Back in The Faces’ touring days you drank like a fish though, right?

 

“Yeah we all did. Basically we were a band with no confidence, that’s why we turned to the alcohol. It was the booze that made us do it.”

 

It gave you your swagger?

 

“There was a lot of swagger going on in the dressing room beforehand. We all used to drink Mateus Rose. I think we put that on the map, with that funny-shaped bottle, y’know? We’d see how drunk we could get, routinely, because we wouldn’t have been able to play otherwise. There’d be an unspoken limit. 'Are we all jolly now? Yes? We’re all quite jolly? Right, let’s go on.' And the audience took that on board as well, they were on the same level.”

 

So the song is true?

 

“Every line. Except about getting tattoos: in fact I got my tattoos done when my dad passed on. I got a Scottish lion and a Scottish thistle in remembrance of him – I wasn’t drunk. But a lot of mates have got regrettable tattoos while drunk, like you do. And yeah the bit about all of us walking into a hotel in our underpants is true. Well we’d just done a gig in Paris and were getting changed on the bus afterwards and thought: let’s see what happens if we all just walk through the lobby like this.”

Luckily people didn’t have camera-phones then.

 

“I wish they did, mate. I’d have liked to have seen what it looked like.”

 

Does Beverly Hills feel like home now? Or does a part of you pine for (his birthplace) Highgate? (I’m being funny, his big UK house is in Epping. He’s too much of a showbiz pro to diss our island.)

 

“LA and here are both home. Y’know, my children are in LA and that’s the centre of activities, I guess. But I come here on holidays, or in this case to promote this album…”

 

Now and again Rod makes game attempts to get us back onto the new album. I’m too wilfully obtuse to pick that up. I don’t want to talk about his reggae song. He isn’t that bothered. He asks me if I’ve got kids, and when I say no, he mutters, reflectively rather than unkindly, “Ah, so you wouldn’t understand…” He describes how the new song 'Batman Superman Spiderman' is about tucking his youngest son into bed and telling him bedtime stories. I remark that you can trace the evolution of his lyrics across his career from party animal to (another new song) 'Can We Stay Home Tonight?'

 

“Yeah, well, that’s progression for you”, he shrugs. I am being schooled in growing up with dignity by Rod Stewart.

 

I guess your fans have grown up in parallel to you, graduating from carefree irresponsibility to what’s generally referred to as something meaningful.

 

“That’s the best way. If you can do it. I just like to write stories, with a beginning a middle and an end. When I sing the Great American Songbook, I’m riding on someone else’s extremely broad shoulders. But writing honestly about my life, I’m my own guide. There’s no comparison.”

 

Do you think your fans (unlike, say, Bowie’s) think: He's an Everyman, he’s not that different to me?

 

“Maybe. I mean, c’mon, I don’t write particularly complicated lyrics. They’re pretty easy to understand and to get. But then the voice I’m fortunate enough to be given is what probably makes them sound more important than they are.”

 

It does give them a gravitas.

 

“Gravitas”, he echoes, amused. For some reason he finds this word mildly hilarious.

Do you ever ponder how different your life would have been without what Leonard Cohen called the gift of a golden voice?

 

“Not a day goes by”, he says, suddenly serious. “Not a day goes by. And the single act of being in the right place at the right time, sitting there playing harmonica on Twickenham railway station when Long John (Baldry) discovered me and gave me my first job. Y’know, if I’d got the train before or after that one, who knows?”

 

Is it true that you had terrible stage fright early on, with The Jeff Beck Group?

 

“Yeah, yeah, well, the reason was I’d never been to the Americas. So in my young mind New York City and LA were full of cool black people who all had really great voices and could sing me under the carpet. So when we were supporting The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East, the first show with that group, I said, 'I cannot go out there. I feel like I’m a pretender. An imposter.' They all said, 'C’mon, c’mon…' So the curtain went up and I started singing crouching behind the amps. Eventually I stuck my head over the parapet, over the top of the amps, and thought: 'Shit! They’re all hippies!' Ha ha, well it was a Grateful Dead crowd. So that was it, I strolled out and sang away.”

And you hated music lessons at school, didn’t you?

 

“I’d had a teacher called Mr. Wainwright, who’d pick on me. 'Stewart! Come up here and sing a hymn!' And he’d hit people. It was terrible, he was terrifying to me at that age. So I’d get out of music lessons by being sick, or pretending to be sick by making fake sick in a dish with my mate and showing it to the teachers. It’s funny how I remember his name still. Bully must’ve left a big impression. Y’know those big blackboard dusters? He used to throw them at me. And bits of chalk, from twenty feet away. He could’ve blinded me! Couldn’t get away with that now. They can’t touch kids any more, can they?”

I try to get Rod talking about some of his best old lyrics. I quote the couplet from 'The Killing Of Georgie' which goes, “Youth’s a mask and it don’t last/ Live it long and live it fast”. He joins in halfway through, which is something I enjoy. I say: That’s a great line, that’s like the very essence of the “rock lifestyle”. Then I say: It’s like Oscar Wilde! Rod makes a noise indicating modesty that goes, “Tchah.”

 

“True story, that”, he adds, deflecting.

 

It was quite bold for its day, too.

 

“Ooh, bold!” he says, in a fruity Dick Emery voice. I don’t know why he does that. “Yeah it was. The BBC refused to play it because it had the word “gay” in it. And yet there I was a few weeks ago, singing it at Hyde Park, on the BBC. Ha ha. Funny old life.”

 

My other favourite is the finale of 'I Was Only Joking' (from 1977’s Footloose And Fancy Free), which goes, “Quietly now while I turn the page/ Act One is over without costume change/ The principal would like to leave the stage/ The crowd don’t understand.” That seemed so powerfully out of character for you then, as if you were confessing dissatisfaction with the carousel of fame, with the effort of Being Rod Stewart.

 

Again, Rod, being male, being Rod, deflects. “HE’S IN PAIN!!!” he wails, in a mock over-the-top Brian Blessed voice.

 

I have to scale this back. I’m not talking to Morrissey. So you were just having a bad day?

 

“No no no, you’re [just] looking for a bit of poignancy in a song, I guess. So, I mean, that was a good day! You don’t have to be miserable to write sad songs, and you don’t have to be in love to write a love song. I just try to connect with that frame of mind.

 

“We did 'I Was Only Joking' as the last song at Hyde Park. So it ended with that 'leave the stage' line, which was spot on. Jim Cregan my old mate came up to play the solo on it, then we both got down on our knees for that ending. As I was singing that line, I thought: Christ, I’d better help him up, he’s an old age pensioner, ha ha. This was a few weeks ago. There were sixty thousand there.”

 

I’m now rambling about 'You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything', and Rod talks about playing that at the recent Faces reunion. I’m pressing him on individual couplets like a nerd. He’s trying his best, but, y’know.

 

“I can’t remember specific [details]. I mean, at that time if I was writing lyrics, I’d be racing, let’s get this done, because I had to do so many other things. I didn’t want to be locked in a room too long writing lyrics.”

 

I say the wrong thing. So you’re telling me one of the great moments of rock that swings was a rush job?

 

“No no no – not a rush job. No mate. Lyrics would never get used if they weren’t as good as I thought I could get them. It’s just that the others were all out having a good time, and I’d be stuck at home or in a hotel room writing these lyrics. It didn’t seem fair!”

 

While your solo career was taking off and The Faces were ongoing, you had a hell of a work load.

 

“I did. I was making two albums a year. That was probably what started the break-up of The Faces, yeah. When I joined the band I’d just signed a solo deal with Mercury, which I made the band fully aware of. And they were perfectly OK with that. Until 'Maggie May' became a hit, and then of course it became 'Rod Stewart And The Faces', which pissed some of ‘em off. Well, it pissed me off as well. I’ve said this a million times – I would’ve stayed in the band forever.”

But it was changing beyond your control anyway.

“Yeah, we’d lost the soul of the band when Ronnie Lane left to go and do his gypsy tour around Britain. And once we lost Ronnie, then I think the other Ronnie (Wood) was always gonna join The Stones eventually. But hey, they were five hilarious years.”

 

And the recent reunion was fun?

 

“It was good. There’s something about The Faces – even though there’s only three of us left, it still exists. Which means its heart must be located between the drums and the guitars. It floats along, never too sure if it’s gonna sink or swim. We started one number and it was all out of time so I made them stop because, y’know, people have paid good money here. Ronnie said, “Well OK, we will start it again, but it’ll be exactly the same.” And that was the spirit of The Faces.”

 

Briefly, you were also the spirit of disco. 'Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?' got more stick than even you were used to circa ’78 and the Blondes Have More Fun album. But today it is recalled by most with nothing but love.

 

“That and a few other songs seem to sum up that whole disco era now. People love it. I do it every night. They absolutely love it, so I had the last laugh. It’s not about me. It’s a character in a story.”

 

Were you into the disco scene at the time? Did you go dancing?

 

“Yeah! Who wasn’t? I mean the Bee Gees made that great hot album. What was it called?”

 

Saturday Night Fever? (Main Course is better, but I’m guessing Rod’s thinking of this one).

 

“Yeah. Amazing. And 'Native New Yorker' by Odyssey, and Chic - [both] great bands. A period of music that was wonderful. Disco, punk. '[The idea that] you can’t like both.' Why not? Nothing wrong with liking both.”

It was a phoney war.

“Punk was good for all of us though. People in the audience thought: 'Oh I could do that! Bloke up there’s only got two chords, I can do that.' It made it accessible. I like to think people thought that with The Faces as well. Regular guys thought: I could be in that band. They’re not doing anything I can’t do.”

 

On the subject of his covers of Tom Waits’ 'Downtown Train' and 'Tom Traubert’s Blues', Rod says, “Tom says I put a swimming pool in his house with those.”

 

When you interpret other songs, do you study the original, or just do your thing?

 

“I never study the original, no. When I first heard 'Downtown Train' I knew there was a melody there that he nearly had. That he didn’t quite get. So I just pushed the melody.” (If this sounds arrogant, it’s also entirely accurate.) “It’s a great song. Tom’s one of the all-time wonderful lyricists, he really is. Wow, so clever. Paints vivid pictures with his words. That’s something I don’t do, I’m just an everyday story-teller.”

 

We talk more about football – he’s genuinely knowledgeable about the Scotland team (“Strachan’s a good mate of mine”) – and when I laugh that we should change the subject, he goes, “No, it’s good mate, I love it." Somehow I find myself telling him that, as kids, my friends and I thought that, as “playboy” role models went, George Best and Rod Stewart were much cooler than James Bond.

 

“Pffft”, he chuckles. “Oh George though, what a player. What a sweetheart. Found some great pictures of him the other day, cos I’m moving house in the UK. Y’know how you find stuff that’s been in drawers and boxes for years? Some wonderful pictures of me and him, kicking around together when I first went to LA in ’75.”

You mean knocking about together, or kicking a ball around?

 

“Yeah, kicking a ball around, yeah.”

Were you drinking buddies?

“No, no, not at all. Any time I was with George I was never in a pub with him. He came to concerts, I went to games…”

 

Your paths from there went dramatically different ways. Yours happily, his tragically…

 

“Yes. They did. Well I think I was always more in control of my life than he was of his. Sadly as an athlete you’re only as good as your body is. Whereas I can keep going and going and going. As long as I look after my voice. Which I do.”

Rod Stewart claps his hands and shifts in his seat to signify that our bonding session has run its course. “All right mate”, he says. “Better get on. One more and I’m done for the day.” I tell him his hair looks great.

 

“It’s still in place. It’s still there.”

 

Do you keep it like that now because you like it, or because you kind of have to?

 

“Well I keep it because I don’t want to be bald. Ha ha, that’s a funny question, you should listen to that back afterwards. But it won’t lay down now, it’s there for the rest of my life. To my dying day, it’ll still be sticking up in the air.”

Rod Stewart will be meeting fans and signing copies of his new album 'Another Country' at: HMV 363 Oxford Street

Click the link for info http://www.hmv.com/hmvlive/rod-stewart

'Sheikh Stewart': Rod Stewart's wife Instagrams photo of him wearing the garb of an Arab Sheikh in Dubai

WIFE Penny has a similar sense of humour after posting the photo to social media app Instagram.

WE all thought Rod Stewart was a Celtic fan - but it turns out he’s an Arab.

The crooner proved he’s still game for a laugh in Dubai, where he posed in the garb of an Arab sheikh, sitting on a throne to perfect the image.

The flowing robes - donned in jest by Dundee United fans to celebrate their Arabs nickname - were loaned during a trip this week.

Wife Penny took the photo and posted it on social media under the caption “Sheikh Stewart”.

Rod Stewart on the Making of ‘Maggie May’

Rod Stewart releases his 30th solo studio album, “Another Country,” on Oct. 23. The 70-year-old singer and songwriter recalls recording ‘Maggie May,’ the 1971 hit that made him a star.

By

Rod Stewart’s new album, “Another Country,” due Friday, marks his 30th solo studio album and second in the past two years to feature mostly original material. Though Mr. Stewart began his singing career in London in 1963 and was lead singer in the Jeff Beck Group in 1967 and then the Faces starting in 1969, he didn’t become a household name until “Maggie May” in 1971.

Initially, there were low expectations for the song. Written by Mr. Stewart and guitarist Martin Quittenton, “Maggie May” was added to Mr. Stewart’s third solo album at the last minute and then placed on the B-side of a single. After radio DJs discovered the flip side in the summer of ’71, ”Maggie May” climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s pop chart that October, where it remained for five weeks.

After “Maggie May’s” release, Mr. Stewart had three additional #1 hit singles while his five-album songbook series in the 2000s helped make him one of the most successful contemporary interpreters of the genre. Mr. Stewart, 70, recently talked about writing and recording “Maggie May.” Edited from an interview:

Rod Stewart:

In July 1961, a few of my mates and I went off to the south of England to camp out at the Beaulieu Jazz Festival. The concert was held on the lawns of an estate owned by Lord Montagu, who was a big jazz fan. I was 16 and just coming out of my beatnik phase, wondering whether I should become a Mod. It was a transitional period for me with days of much confusion.

At the time, I was into mainstream jazz—not Dixieland or modern but guys like [saxophonists] Tubby Hayes and Johnny Dankworth. A year earlier, there had been a riot at the jazz festival, so going there in ’61 came with a bit of intrigue.

That afternoon, we snuck into the festival through a large runoff pipe and eventually made our way to a beer tent. There, I met an older woman who was something of a sexual predator. One thing led to the next, and we ended up nearby on a secluded patch of lawn.

I was a virgin, and all I could think is, ‘This is it, Rod Stewart, you’d better put on a good performance here or else your reputation will be ruined all over North London.” But it was all over in a few seconds. Her name wasn’t Maggie May, but the experience I had with her would influence the writing of the song 10 years later.

In 1971, I was both the lead singer in the Faces and I was signed to Mercury as a solo artist. I was planning to record my third solo album, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” when I met Martin Quittenton, a guitarist and songwriter who had been in a blues-rock band called Steamhammer.

Martin seemed like a very sophisticated, educated guy, and I was looking for good acoustic musicians for my upcoming album. I invited Martin over to my house in Muswell Hill, which had a beautiful view of North London. As we sat and talked in my sitting room, Martin took out his guitar and started running through an old Bob Dylan song. It may have been Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” but I can’t recall.

Then Martin began playing chords to a song he had written. I rather liked them. I told him, “You strum and I’ll sing.” I still write like this today. I’ll work with a guitarist, and when I hear a lovely set of chords, I’ll start humming and adding words to see what comes of it.

As Martin played, I started singing “Maggie Mae,” an old Liverpudlian folk song about a prostitute. The Beatles had included it on “Let It Be” a year earlier. As I sang, the idea of a hooker popped into my head, then the jazz festival when I was 16 and then losing my virginity. It all flooded back as Martin and I got into it and I started coming up with words.

But I didn’t write anything down. I merely created a vocal sketch in my mind of the song by humming along and improvising lines here and there to match Martin’s melody. Lyrics weren’t important at that point, only the feel. As with any song I eventually record, I first wanted to develop an emotional connection.

Martin and I kept at it until we were both satisfied with what we had. When we finished, I said, “Right, we have enough of a line here to bring it into the studio. Let me book drums and bass and we’ll produce it all there.”

We recorded a rough instrumental track at Morgan Sound Studios in Willesden, London. I sang abstract lines on top of the music to remind me later of the feel I wanted. [Mr. Stewart hums “Maggie May’s” melody, singing words here and there, such as “since you’ve been away it’s been so long” and “just because of you, all my nights are blue.”] When we were done, I took the tape home to write the lyrics.

Even today, I always want the melody line first. Then I put the words and music together later like a jigsaw puzzle. With “Maggie May,” I listened back a few times to the demo tape we had made and paused, saying to myself, “Right, what have I got here?” It’s sort of like sizing up the music to help determine the story I want to tell. I began thinking back on that day at the jazz festival and I came up with a song about a young guy who has been with an older woman and the aftermath going through his head.

I still have the black notebook with red binding down the back that I used to write all the lyrics. My scribbling for “Maggie May” filled about 20 pages. What was unusual about the words is that they turned out to be more of a story than a traditional song that circles back to a sing-along chorus. That was my fault, really. Telling stories is what I’m best at. I also didn’t use “Maggie May” in the lyrics—just the name “Maggie.” “May” just popped onto the end of “Maggie” in the title at some point.

When it was time to record, we didn’t rehearse. That’s the beauty of what we did back then. I just got together with the five musicians on the session [guitarist/bassist Ronnie Wood, guitarist Martin Quittenton, organist Ian McLagan, mandolinist Ray Jackson and drummer Micky Waller] and told them what I wanted to do with the music and where in the song I wanted things to happen. Both Ronnie and Mac [Ian McLagan] were in the Faces with me. I didn’t have a clue about the technical aspects of music, but I could feel it. If you can feel it, you can speak it. That’s the innocent beauty of what we did. But we had a problem.

Micky, a studio drummer then, had showed up without a full drum kit. He had forgotten his cymbals, so all he had were his drums. I was relatively unknown then and couldn’t really afford to cancel the session, pay the musicians and pay them again for another session just so Micky could grab all his gear.

College Tour...

Recorded in Croydon, UK for Dutch TV. Broadcast 16th October in Holland on NPO3 at 20.30...

Viagra? ‘Not my cup of tea really and not necessary. My wife turns me on very nicely': Rod Stewart on money, music, Madonna and sex at 70

Rod Stewart has it all: a stunning wife, £350m in the bank and a fleet of supercars. And at 70 he’s still got hilariously frank views on everything from Justin Bieber to IS, as Event’s Adrian Deevoy found out during three fascinating encounters with rock’s most outspoken star

Rod Stewart recently posted a photograph on Twitter of himself, his wife Penny Lancaster and the heir to the throne all cracking up with laughter. 

Here, reclining on a rehearsal studio sofa in south London, he explains why.

‘We went to his house up in Scotland for a Prince’s Trust dinner Charles was throwing,’ says Stewart. 

‘Penny and I were shown to the toilet and we both went in the men’s together because we couldn’t find the women’s.

‘I was astonished to see that he had an original Crapper toilet with the cistern, date on it and everything,’ he raves, referring to the siphonic flush model from the 1880s. 

‘Absolutely lovely lavatory!

‘So I went back and told Charles that there was no way I was going to pass up on the chance to pee in an original Crapper. I said to him, “I didn’t even need a pee!” and that really made him laugh. 

‘He’s a very funny guy, so approachable and you can talk about anything with him. I’m a real big fan.’

Stewart, who had his 70th birthday in January, will also talk about anything, as Event discovered during a series of free, frank and often surprising conversations.

Prince Charles is not the only Royal who enjoys spending time with the legendary singer. His mother, too, is partial to Rod’s musical company. 

Two years ago, Stewart performed at a Royal National Institute Of Blind People gala show in St James’s Palace, where the Queen had secured a ringside seat.

‘She was maybe ten feet away from me,’ he recalls. ‘She was sitting in her throne with all her fundraisers around her, so I did three or four standards, looking directly into her eyes.’ 

He shrugs helplessly. ‘I’m singing the songs to her – where else am I going to look?’ 

Did Her Majesty have any requests – ‘One would love to hear Maggie May’?

‘No, Her Majesty did not,’ deadpans Stewart, plainly tickled by the notion.

Surely, such a close relationship with the Royal family must qualify Stewart for a knighthood in the near future. Does his heart skip a beat when he imagines receiving such an honour?

‘I’d love to have one,’ he croons. ‘But I can’t think about it too much. I’m honoured to be a CBE, although I don’t know what you get for being a CBE. You don’t get a tax break or anything.’ 

He’s right, although he enjoys ‘wearing the medal to confuse the locals in LA’ – otherwise, it hangs ‘proudly next to my toothbrush rack in the bathroom’.

It’s a glorious late summer morning in Essex and I’ve come down to Stewart’s house for a coffee and a catch-up.

As I pass through the electronic gates to his Essex estate, the lord of the manor is lying flat on his back on the forecourt pretending to be dead. The man is a natural comedian.

‘I was almost gone there,’ he grins, sitting up and graciously accepting his bespoke breakfast cappuccino (extra cream, three lumps, two stirrers, two cups, don’t ask).

The morning sun, when it’s in his face, reveals Stewart to be remarkably well preserved, lightly lined with gentle cross-hatching around the eyes, but he’s still one of the more youthful septuagenarians you’ll meet.

Stewart’s personal trainer and PA, Gary O’Connor, boasts that his boss has the body of a man 20 years his junior, explaining that Stewart has completed a circuit of rowing, cycling and weights already today.

‘Three-quarters of an hour of high-end cardio,’ Stewart nods. ‘I’m told it does me good.’

After a hearty handshake and a manly hug, he settles on the flagstone steps in the courtyard of Wood House, taking the weight off his tartan desert boots. 

The light glints off the small ruby set into his belt buckle and the diamond bracelet on his right wrist. A Ferrari in a champagne finish sits before us on the drive.

He is in fine form both physically and artistically. With a down-home, heartfelt new album of personal songs written mostly by Stewart, Another Country, and a nationwide UK stadium tour selling out, his stock is higher than it’s been since the feather-cut Seventies.

The most successful homegrown solo star of all time, worth upwards of £350 million, Stewart has enjoyed 31 hit singles, a dozen of which, including Maggie May, You’re In My Heart, Sailing, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?, Baby Jane and The First Cut Is The Deepest, are incontestable classics.

He also found time to date a bevy of invariably blonde beauties, marry three of them and father eight children with five mothers.

His third wife is Penny Lancaster, the statuesque 44-year-old photographer and panellist on ITV’s Loose Women. 

They have been together for 19 years and have two young sons, Alastair, nine, and Aiden, four, who get on famously with Stewart’s older offspring Sarah, 51, Kimberly, 36, Sean, 35, Ruby, 28, Renee, 23 and Liam, 21.

With homes in Beverly Hills, the Cote D’Azur, Palm Beach, Florida and Essex, Stewart has paid for these comfortably by selling over 100 million albums.

He has owned his picturesque English country pile since 1986 but is about to put the opulent property on the market and will move ‘only 15 minutes up the road’.

So it is with slight sadness, on this golden morning, that he gazes down on his full-sized soccer pitch, swimming pool, tennis courts and manicured lawns for the last time.

‘This place is lovely from the outside but it doesn’t have a great entrance and we don’t use all the rooms properly – it “doesn’t walk well” as the mother-in-law says.’

Durrington House, his new English home, has a croquet lawn rather than a football field. Does this suggest a shift in sporting interests? 

‘Certainly not,’ Stewart, a Celtic obsessive, harrumphs. ‘How dare you? Actually, I’ve just got permission to build a five-a-side pitch at the new place.’

His ‘three score and ten years on this planet’, he says with a characteristic combination of cheek, charm and good-natured north London profanity ‘have been f****** wonderful’. But a month earlier, the easy-going troubadour was beside himself with anxiety.

As the sun sets backstage at Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Surrey, at the first official Faces reunion in 40 years with surviving members Kenney Jones – who just happens to own the venue – and guitarist Ronnie Wood, moonlighting from his day job with the Rolling Stones, Stewart is having a pre-show panic.

He can’t warm his voice up, feeling too inhibited by the ‘shouting kids and barking bloody dogs’ outside his makeshift dressing room to perform his usual routine. Also ‘all the expectation’ is weighing heavily upon him.

As is common in such situations, Penny comes to the rescue. What, she asks her husband, did he used to do before a Faces show? Drink, Rod replies. 

‘The Faces drank a lot,’ he adds. 

Penny pours him a large rum and coke, and the singer soon stops fretting.

Later, having performed a short but rapturously received set with The Faces, featuring such delightfully ramshackle sing-alongs as Stay With Me, Ooh La La and Sweet Little Rock ’n’ Roller, Stewart says: ‘I think it’s healthy that I still get nervous, there’s a certain humility to it.’

Of The Faces’ music in 2015, he marvels: ‘It was so loose. I was thinking, “If this is what it’s like when we’re all relatively sober what must it have been like when we were completely p*****?”

‘If Ronnie Wood and I can find a window, I’d love to do a couple of festivals with The Faces in the UK or the U.S.. I think that’d be the best way to go.’

As the concert that had reunited The Faces had been a prostate cancer benefit, it seems an appropriate time to ask Stewart if he gets regularly checked.

‘I must go about three times a year for a finger up the bum,’ he says quite seriously, despite the non-medical jargon. 

‘Men traditionally don’t want to go to the doctor unless something major has gone wrong but you have to pre-empt these things and get checked out.’

In 2000, Stewart had a cancerous growth removed from his thyroid gland and subsequently re-learned how to sing. 

‘My cancer wasn’t quite as bad as it was made out to be,’ he says now. 

‘It was benign and had to be cut out, but what was scary for me was that where they cut was so close to the vocal cords. One slip of the knife and that would have been it for the voice forever.’

Back at the unglamorous rehearsal space, breathing in the rock ’n’ roll air, Stewart remains infatuated with music, as evidenced by the stirring, folky soul songs on Another Country. 

Yet he has no patience with some of today’s young pretenders.

‘Harry Styles is a good lad, I like him,’ Stewart concedes. ‘But there are some people in the music business that try so hard to be different and rebellious. 

'Like Justin Bieber – he wants so much to be a bad, bad rock star. But you either are or you’re not – you can’t fake it. He tries too hard.

‘The public have seen it all before and they’re tired of rock stars behaving badly. It’s passé. The Who and The Faces did it all before they were born.

Equally, he isn’t interested in singers who don’t move him; Madonna being a case in point. 

‘Good luck to Madonna,’ he allows. ‘She’s made a bloody fortune with a minimal voice. You can’t knock it – any girl who can make that sort of dough has to be admired. 

'But give me Adele any day. And we lost the best one of the lot – Amy Winehouse. What a voice that was.’

On the topic of great voices, I ask Stewart if he and Penny have a special karaoke song. He feigns righteous indignation. 

‘I’m a professional singer!’ he explodes. ‘That’s what I do. I don’t do karaoke.

‘Actually, Penny sings along to everything. And she’s the best dancer – seriously sexy. Does it for me every time.’

Perhaps needlessly, I enquire if he has ever required Viagra.

‘Probably about 20 years ago,’ he confesses. ‘Not my cup of tea really and not really that necessary. My wife turns me on very nicely.’

A young Rod makes a brief cameo in Chrissie Hynde’s Reckless autobiography, he and Ronnie Wood innocently entertaining Hynde and her girlfriend in Ohio in the Sixties, by playing silly word games and acting the eccentric English gentleman.

What did Stewart make of Hynde’s claim, in the same book, that women should take responsibility for their actions lest they attract unwanted sexual attention? 

‘I think a woman should be able to do and wear what she wants without feeling that she’s going to be attacked,’ says Stewart. 

‘I don’t go along with that saying, “She was asking for it.” Not at all.’

In between interviews with Event, Stewart heads to Brazil, to entertain 82,000 fans on a double-bill with his old friend and sparring partner Sir Elton John, at Rock In Rio.

Had he and Elton taken the opportunity to discuss his forthcoming dialogue with Vladimir Putin? 

Following a hoax call from pranksters, the real Russian premier had contacted the musician with a view to a meeting. 

‘So Elton had the last laugh there,’ Stewart sniffs. ‘But Elton’s making the effort so I admire him for that – maybe it’ll bring gay rights to the Russian public’s attention. Someone needs to.’

During the long evenings the two showmen used to spend together in the Seventies, did Elton ever try to convince Rod that he too might be gay?

‘Oh, all the time,’ Stewart laughs, removing his sunglasses. ‘But he never tried it on with me, even though I was quite fanciable back then. But God, we had some great, late nights. You’ve never laughed so much. Or drank so much.’

Stewart has never made a secret of the fact that he enjoys a drink. Yet he seems surprised to be asked if he has ever stopped for any respectable period.

‘No, never,’ he says, aghast. ‘Only when I’m sick, I have to stop then and I don’t want to have a drink anyway. But that’s not very often.

‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an alcoholic, I just can’t have a good meal with a glass of lemonade. I enjoy my wine and I deserve it. And I don’t have more than three glasses.

‘The last time I was falling over drunk was the Scottish cup final, Celtic against Dundee, about ten years ago. I wasn’t sick at the ground but on the plane coming home – everything was spinning. Not nice at all.

And what had the bon viveur been drinking?

‘Too much,’ he says soberly.

Stewart has no intention of moving back to Britain permanently. His heart, he claims, is in California. 

But like any adopted son of Scotland, he enjoys a fiery political debate, although he won’t be drawn on Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP. 

‘I don’t really want to go down that street,’ he demurs, before adding, cryptically: ‘I would like to stay neutral… for the moment.’ 

Then his mood turns unexpectedly apocalyptic. 

‘I can’t think of anything in the last 70 years that has been more scary than Islamic State,’ he frowns. 

‘We’re going to have to go in and fight them or else it’s going to go on and on. Sooner or later we’re going to have to face the music.

‘But the public have got no taste for it, especially in America. They don’t want to see any more boxes coming home with flags on the top.'

Will Stewart be opening the doors of his home to migrants like Bob Geldof?

‘I’d need to have a word with the missus about that...’ he says slyly.

A fortnight earlier in the dusty car park the Bermondsey warehouse complex where Stewart has been preparing for a solo show in Hyde Park, a Lamborghini Aventador in pearlescent yellow purrs into view. 

Its owner should be inside singing with his band, but instead he is outside singing the praises of his latest purchase.

‘That leaves most cars standing, trust me,’ Stewart says, opening up his inner Clarkson. 

‘But it’s a bit of a monster – you’ve got to get used to it because it feels like it wants to go somewhere without you. But it’s the best car I’ve ever had, and there have been a few.’

How much did it cost? 

‘About £280,000,’ he squints. ‘Maybe a little more.’

Stewart once offered me a late-night lift in his Ferrari Enzo from his house high in the hills above Nice to my hotel some miles below, a journey that involved negotiating perilously narrow mountain roads while attempting to sing all of Bob Dylan’s first album, in order. 

Stewart would occasionally bark, “Am I OK on your side?” as the ketchup-coloured paintwork coasted inches from the raw rock face.

‘I sold the Enzo to Chris Evans,’ Stewart says of Event’s own motoring correspondent.

‘The wife hated it. She’s a tall girl and she’d be sitting there with her legs up round her neck. 

'She actually said, “Why don’t you just keep it as an investment because there were only 401 of them made?” It would have been worth a million by now.’

Stewart once told me that in terms of earnings, Premier League footballers ‘don’t get anything near what I get’.

He qualifies this by saying, ‘I deserve every penny. I get up on stage on my own. I can’t get substituted, I’m rarely injured and I haven’t received a ban yet.’

He admires Wayne Rooney (‘although he’s going to pile on the suet when he retires’), loves Luis Suarez (‘up there with Messi for me’) yet he’s in two minds about Machiavellian Chelsea ban-magnet Diego Costa.

‘I agree with Mourinho in that people pay their money and like the drama of it,’ Stewart expounds. 

‘But I disagree because it’s the dark arts of the game and I don’t want my son to see it. So I’m split down the middle. But would I want Costa in my side? Yeah, you kidding me? But he’s really, really dark art-ed.’

Stewart is now in full flow, munching on a tuna sandwich, gamely tackling any question thrown at him. Does he want his own children, their privileged start in life notwithstanding, to be financially independent?

‘Absolutely,’ he enthuses through a wholemeal mouthful. ‘I’ve had run-ins with a couple of them because I tell them that they’ve got to give back to society – there’s no free ride. 

'I’ll help you a little bit but I ain’t going to help that much.

‘I don’t want to enable them to be idle.’

Would it be nice to see another wage packet coming into the house?

‘From your lips to God’s ears,’ he sighs, rolling his eyes heavenwards.

Rod’s eldest daughter is Sarah Streeter, who Stewart and his then girlfriend Susannah Boffey put up for adoption in 1963, the teenagers financially unable to support a child. 

Father and daughter weren’t reconnected until the early Eighties and the relationship was initially tentative.

‘That is going very well now,’ he says happily. ‘There was a time when it was difficult because I never changed her nappies or took her to school and it was very hard to call yourself “Dad” and “Daughter”, but we’ve overcome that.

‘She looked very punk when I first met her, all earrings and safety pins, and she had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, which was completely understandable. But it’s great now. 

'She just texted me today actually – wants a load of concert tickets off me. That’s my girl!’

It’s late September and Rod Stewart really should be back at school, picking his boys up.

‘They had a big fire there this morning, so they gave them all the day off,’ he reports. ‘Hope my lads had nothing to do with it – the youngest one only started there this week.

‘I remember my first day at Highgate Primary,’ he recollects. 

‘My mum walking away down the hill and me crying my eyes out. Sobbing I was.’

I notice that Stewart has taken to wearing a crucifix, even on the cover of Another Country (in a shot taken by his wife). Have you found God, Rod?

‘It’s merely an ornament,’ he declares airily. ‘I have my own religion. I think there’s God in everybody, your own god. That’s what I teach my kids: be good and do good, that’s all you can do on this Earth.’

He catches himself before he starts to sound like ‘some bleeding spiritual guru’ and reverts to his default setting: brash British rock star.

‘Here,’ he caws, rummaging in his jeans for some spare car keys. 

‘Do you want to borrow the Ferrari for the weekend?’ 

Rod Stewart’s new album ‘Another Country’ is out on Oct 30. 

He tours the UK next June. rodstewart.com

SO, ROD WHAT'S IT TO BE? 

Red or white?

‘Two glasses of white with dinner and I finish off with a nice red. And I’m as happy as a policeman.’

 

Takeaway curry or a health shake? 

‘I don’t see any reason why you can’t have both.’ 

 

Downton Abbey or House Of Cards?

‘Downton. I think it’s an accurate portrayal of that time, whether it’s the furniture or the art or the costumes. I’m very well-versed in those departments for a north London working-class boy.’ 

 

DVD or computer game? 

‘Neither. I prefer to play the Couch Game where the whole family sits on a sofa and – one, two, three – you all tip it over backwards. Hours of fun.’ 

 

PJs or birthday suit? 

‘I haven’t worn PJs for a while. But when I was in Canada recently I did put on those skin-tight things you wear for running. I was so cold in bed.’

 

I can’t get through the weekend without… 

'The football. When the season is over my weekends are sometimes pointless. I crave it.’ 

Rod to appear on Graham Norton show Friday 16th Oct on BBC1

 Rod Stewart spotted in Croydon

Superstar Rod Stewart has made a flying visit to Croydon today (Friday).

The singer was spotted at Fairfield Halls, which he is believed to have been visiting for an interview with a Dutch television station.

It isn't clear why the station chose the venue as the ideal location for the interview.

He arrived at Fairfield Halls through a stage door at the back of the venue.

He looked happy to chat to fans who had spotted him making the unlikely appearance.

Rod, 70, who is married to model Penny Lancaster-Stewart and has eight children, has sold over 100 million records worldwide throughout a glittering career.

Rod Stewart calls for The Faces to play Glasto

Rod Stewart wants The Faces to perform at Glastonbury and has called on festival bosses to get in touch.

The 70-year-old singer has called on the festival's founder Michael Eavis to get in touch with the band - which recently reformed with remaining members Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones - because it's the one gig they never got to do.

Rod pleaded: ''I just wish someone would phone us up from Glastonbury and ask us to do that. They have never done it. We would be up for it. There are only three of us standing now.''

The 'Stay With Me' hitmakers tried to reform for a string of dates in 2010 and 2011 but chose to go with Simply Red's Mick Hucknall on lead vocals instead of Rod.

And Ronnie previously blamed Rod's management for the delay in making the full reunion happen.

The 'Ooh La La' crooners - whose bassist Ronnie Lane passed away in 1997 - were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 where they were set to reunite but Rod pulled out of the performance due to illness.

The rockers finally reunited last month, but Rod admitted it went by in a flash.

He told BBC Radio London: ''It is like sex sometimes. It goes by too fast.''

Rod Stewart tour 'to feature rarely played early tracks'

ROCKER Rod Stewart has revealed his concert at Hull’s KC Stadium next year could feature a clutch of rarely-performed songs from his early career.

The veteran singer will play what is thought to be his first ever show in the city on June 14 next summer as part of a UK tour.

Interviewed on today’s Steve Wright show on Radio 2, he said he was looking forward to the tour, which follows a two-week residency in Las Vegas.

“I will be doing a lot of the older songs we did at Hyde Park which we don’t do very often. I like to call them benchwarmers,” he said.

During his headline appearance at last month’s Hyde Park concert, the 70-year-old rolled back the years by singing several early classics from his back catalogue, including Gasoline Alley and three Faces’ songs I’m Losing You, Angel and You Can Make Me Dance.

“It won’t just be the hits and there will be some songs from the new album (Another Country) too,” he said.

The singer said support from his fans was the main inspiration behind his new album.

“I know it sounds corny but I made this album for the fans,” he said.

Asked if he thought he was the same person as the Rod Stewart in the 60s and 70s, he added: “I dread to think I’m the same person as I was back then. I’m more chilled and relaxed now, hopefully because I’m a better Dad, a better husband, a better singer and a better showman.”

Some guys have all the bucks..thrifty Rod slashes cost of new album to make more cash

THE rocker spent just £85,000 on his 30th solo album, which he recorded in the library of his Los Angeles mansion to cut cost of overheads.

ROD STEWART has revealed he spent just £85,000 on his new homemade album.

The rocker recorded his 30th solo album, which will be released next month, in the library of his Los Angeles mansion.

The 70-year-old star, who has a reputation as one of pop’s most thrifty artists, said in a US interview that the home recording helped to cut overheads.

He said: “Another Country cost just £85,000. In the old days, that was a week in the studio.”

The album will be available in either a 12-track or 15-track deluxe version.

Father-of-eight Rod has always denied being stingy.

He said recently: “Because of my pride in my Scottish heritage, I used to say things like, ‘I don’t mind buying a round of drinks but I don’t buy two.’

“It was something I joked about which has come back to bite me on the ****.

“I’m shrewd about money…but it’s in my nature to be generous.”

Rod’s last self-penned album, 2013’s Time, was his first No1 in the UK since A Night on the Town in 1976.

But the singer, who has sold more than 200million albums, claimed he still lacks confidence in his abilities.

Win tickets to see Rod in Plymouth

Radio Plymouth are delighted to announce Rod Stewart is coming to Plymouth Argyle Stadium on Tuesday 7th June with his Greatest Hits Tour!

With a career spanning over 50 years, 100 million albums sold worldwide and one of the best-selling artists of all time - Rod Stewart is coming to Plymouth and you could be there!

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 2nd October and you can book them HERE

We are also giving you the chance to get your hands on tickets to be at the concert in Home Park on 7th June 2016.

Find Radio Plymouth's Jemma THIS FRIDAY at Home Park between 4pm and 5pm. Register your details with her and you will go into the draw to win a pair of tickets

Also join Tim Manns on Drive time all next week where he will be giving you the chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to see Rod Stewart playing all the hits from an incredible 50 year career. Each day a randomly selected caller will go into the draw at the end of the week to win the VIP tickets. Be listening out for a classic Rod Stewart track then call the studio when Tim opens the lines and before he lets you know they are closed to be in with a chance of winning!

There's also a chance to win a pair of tickets by entering your details below. Entry closes at midnight on Friday 9th October. A winner will be selected at random from the entries received and announced on Tim Manns Drive Show on Monday 12th October 2015.

Click here for more details and fill in form on the page http://www.radioplymouth.com/win/rod-stewart/

Win tickets to see Rod at the Ageas Bowl

Rod Stewart: I saw Jagger perform and thought 'I could do that'

As a new film examines the importance of Eel Pie Island on the British music scene, the singer recalls his first disastrous audition and being impressed there by The Rolling Stones

ROD STEWART has been famous for nearly 50 years. He has sold more than 200 million records, still tours the world to sell-out stadiums and lives the lavish lifestyle of a rock 'n' roll multi-millionaire. But his first cut as a 19-year-old unknown really was the deepest.

"Nothing compared to the thrill of going from nothing to being able to make my living as a musician," he says. "That was a dream and none of us at the time thought we would last."

Stewart, 70, has been reflecting on his early years for a new documentary film called Rock 'n' Roll Island, rediscovering Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, London, in the early 1960s. The run-down hotel on the island hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Who, Elton John, David Bowie and Pink Floyd before any of them became well known. It was also a regular gig for Rod Stewart in the days when he was failing rather than Sailing.

"Eel Pie Island was a big hang-out for me, an ancient, damp ballroom stuck in the middle of the River Thames and reached by a rickety wooden footbridge," he says. "But you felt that you were heading somewhere truly exotic."

When film-makers Cheryl Robson and Helen Walker decided to make the documentary they were surprised at the affection major stars had for the old place. Some were willing to deliver warm recollections of their early lives, including Rod.

"There was a feeling that anything could happen," he says. "I was 18 and going out with a girl called Sue Boffey. She had a friend called Chrissie who wanted us to go and see her boyfriend's band.

"Chrissie's second name was Shrimpton (the younger sister of model Jean) and her boyfriend was Mick Jagger. The night we saw Mick with The Rolling Stones, they all sat on stools, wearing cardigans, singing blues numbers.

"The singer could hold the room's attention and I remember thinking that the band was great. But I had the nagging feeling that I could do that. I could draw a few people around with a guitar on the beach so why couldn't I take it up a level and enthral an audience on stage?

Stewart had by then earned a living from a succession of modestly paid jobs, including as a screen printer for the Shand Kydd wallpaper company in London's Kentish Town, and as a picture framer. He also had a Saturday job measuring plots for graves at Highgate Cemetery and marking them out with string.

"The report that I was once a grave digger is a popular myth," he writes in his autobiography. "You learn a lot about yourself doing physical work and what I learned is that I didn't like doing physical work."

So instead, he would be playing his guitar for friends and dreaming of better things. If he was between jobs his father Bob, a retired plumber who had bought a newsagents, would have him up at the crack of dawn organising delivery of the morning papers.

Eel Pie Island offered him an outlet. "I went there as a paying customer at first - riding the Tube down to Waterloo and changing on to the overground train to Twickenham," he says

"That was a pretty lengthy journey from Archway where I lived. It was worth the effort. When you dressed up in your finery and carefully arranged your hair and set off for Eel Pie Island, you had a palmtingling sense of anticipation.

"It was densely populated with music nuts, art students and pretty girls in short dresses. George Melly once said, 'You could see sex rising from Eel Pie Island like steam from a kettle.' For me, it was the place I began to understand the power of rhythm and blues."

But when Stewart tried to deliver what he'd learned at an audition he failed. It was organised by the late Joe Meek, best remembered for writing and producing Telstar by the Tornadoes, which in 1962 became the first record by a British group to reach number one in the American charts.

Rod says: "Meek was an intimidating bloke in a suit and tie who sported a magnificent rock 'n' roll quiff and had a studio in a three-storey apartment above a leather goods shop on the Holloway Road.

"When I had finished playing and singing, Joe came out, did not say a word, looked me directly in the eye and blew a long raspberry. I got my coat. That was my first official review."

His luck turned after another visit to Eel Pie Island as he sat at Twickenham railway station on the way home. He was playing his harmonica on the platform - "the riff from Howlin' Wolf's Smokestack Lightnin', a blues number" - when one of the budding stars of the day, Long John Baldry, introduced himself.

"The story about how he discovered me on a bench on the railway station is perfectly true," says Stewart. "He was the one who said I could play and turned me in to a singer and performer.

"We travelled on the train and he told me that he was proposing to relaunch his band as Long John Baldry And The Hoochie Coochie Men. He wanted me to join at £35 a week, a fortune in those days.

"One moment you're at a loose end waiting for a train and the next you're being offered drop-dead money as a professional musician. So did I leap at it? No. I did what any good boy of 19 would have done at that point in the early 1960s. I told him I would have to ask my mum first."

Baldry - known as Long John because he was 6ft 7in tall - turned up at Stewart's parents' shop in Archway. "Long John might have been a big name on the British live blues circuit but my parents didn't know him from Adam," he says

"He was beautifully spoken and well turned out, answering all the key questions. He said to my mum Elsie: 'Don't worry, Mrs Stewart. I'll look after your Roddy.' And just like that I had a job in a band."

The band toured the country but were regular show-stoppers at Eel Pie Island, which in the 1920s had been used for ballroom dancing. The sprung floor meant that when the audience danced on one side of the hall, the other side bounced up of its own accord.

The band became Stewart's big stepping stone to success. Even Baldry, who died aged 64 in 2005 - "my hero, I still carry a photograph" - began to introduce him on stage as Rod The Mod Stewart.

I first met Rod in 1976 when he was promoting his album A Night On The Town for which he was dressed on the cover in a boater while holding a glass of champagne. He had already made a giant stride away from his poor background.

But to still be surviving as a solo artist at the very top after 40 years takes something special. He announced this week a new British tour for 2016 which includes football stadiums - he's not doing things by halves.

He now has eight children with five mothers, three of whom he married: actress Alana Hamilton and models Rachel Hunter and Penny Lancaster.

He lives between mansions in LA and Epping Forest on the edge of London and looks set for more success with his new album Another Country, released this month.

"I've been lucky," he says. "But one of my biggest slices of luck was being at Eel Pie Island in the early 1960s - the right time and the right place."

Rock 'n' Roll Island is released today. Rod Stewart's album Another Country is released on October 23. Rod The Autobiography is published by Arrow at £7.99.

On a tiny island on the River Thames, the Eel Pie Island Club began in a rundown hotel which had seen better days, and passed into music folklore as one of the great venues for bands to play in the Sixties.

The musicians who performed on Eel Pie Island between 1962 and 1967 read like a Whos Who of the R&B movement: Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men were regulars, and the bands of veterans Cyril Davies, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Alexis Korner and John Mayall whose roots lay in traditional jazz and skiffle groups, provided inspiration and a showcase for the talents of Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Eric Clapton, all of whom performed regularly on Eel Pie.

A thriving centre for rhythm and blues, with its sprung dance floor and less than salubrious decor, when you arrived at Eel Pie Island, you entered another world. There was nowhere else like it ' not then, not now. It was the epicentre for a new musical explosion which emerged in the '60s, a true cornerstone of UK Rock history.

Rock N Roll Island, written, produced and directed by Cheryl Robson and Helen Walker, with a commentary by former island resident, actor Nigel Planer, boasts exclusive footage and stills from the era, as well as interviews with diehard fans ' whose memories are ever vivid - and legendary musicians including Steve Hackett (Genesis) , Mick Avory (The Kinks) , Top Topham (The Yardbirds) , Phil May (The Pretty Things), Paul Stewart (The Others), Don Craine and Keith Grant (The Downliners' Sect) Derek Griffiths (The Artwoods), Geoff Cole (Ken Colyer Band), Bob Dwyer (Steve Lane's Southern Stompers), Blaine Harris (The Mystery Jets), and Rod Stewart.

All the greats of the rock and roll years cut their teeth at the island including The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie, Elton John, Rod Stewart, The Yardbirds and Pink Floyd, during its '50s and '60s heyday.

Rock 'n' Roll Island will have its UK Premiere at VUE Cinema, Piccadilly on Saturday 3rd October (Provisional date) and will be screening in the Shorts Programme showcasing blues orientated short films titled PREACHIN' THE BLUES

Rod Stewart Leaves the ITV Studios

Singer Rod Stewart is pictured leaving the ITV studios following a guest appearance on 'This Morning'. (Oct. 2, 2015 - Source: Bauer Griffin

Rod Stewart didn't want to give up soccer

Rod Stewart refused to give up playing soccer until it became ''absolute misery'' to continue playing.

The 70-year-old rocker ignored doctors' orders to give up his passion for over a decade, but had to quit the sport in 2013 after suffering a knee injury and still misses it ''desperately''.

He said: ''I miss it desperately. For 13 years, I had doctors telling me I had to stop immediately. I did it until it became absolute misery.''

And though he no longer plays full matches anymore, the 'Maggie May' hitmaker - who has eight children from various relationships - still can't resist a kickabout at home with his young sons Alistair, nine, and Aiden, four, who he has with wife Penny Lancaster.

Explaining a recently-completed workout involving a 30-minute bike ride and a lengthy swim, he added to Rolling Stone magazine: ''I thought afterward, I'd just have a nice little sit in the sun.

''Then Alastair came down with his Celtic soccer ball and said, 'Come on, Dad. Let's go in the pitch!' I said, 'Oh, f**k, OK. Go and get me cleats, son. I'll be right there.' ''

Rod never expected to have more children late in life, but is glad he did and is incredibly happy with 44-year-old Penny, who he married in 1999.

He said: ''Having kids at my age was the last thing on my mind. But when you get married, women generally want babies. We're madly in love. Life is good.''

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