Stewart is feeling a bit sentimental these days. At 78, Stewart, who is kicking off his upcoming North American tour with Cheap Trick June 14 at the Hollywood Bowl, opened his Vegas residency with a
cover of Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love" as a tribute to Palmer, "Who was a good mate of mine."
Stewart, who played the Queen's Jubilee in the U.K. this weekend, was also open to running into long time friend Elton John, with whom he has been publicly feuding for years.
haven't spoken with Elton for ages. We're not in contact with each other, but there could be a reunion, big hug and let's bury that hatchet type of thing. But whether I see him or not, it's such a
big festival," Stewart says. "There are three stages set up in front of Buckingham Palace. So security, as you can imagine, is gonna be unbelievable. But hopefully I'll get to see him and speak to
thing that Stewart is not feeling sentimental about right now is his incredible catalog of songs. When I meet with him for the first of two conversations at his L.A. rehearsals he discusses the fact
that his current world run could be the last time he plays his hits.
Elton, saying goodbye to his hits, the importance of band camaraderie, his kids, why he is a loyalist to the Queen — Rod Stewart has a lot to share over our two chats.
Steve Baltin: How did the Vegas shows feel to you?
Stewart: They were great. We changed a lot around, we put songs in and changed the running order, make it a bit different. We're getting ready for the Hollywood Bowl, which is a big one for me. So
I'm coming back on the weekend to do the Jubilee for our majesty the Queen, 70 years on the throne. So it's a big event in England. So it's a big party, I think Elton is doing it and Duran Duran, Ed
Sheeran, a lot of people are doing it.
Baltin: I am sure you have a long history with the Queen.
Stewart: I don't phone her up and ask for a cup of tea or something. But I've met her several times, wonderful lady and she has got a sense of humor. I know a lot of people won't believe that, but
Baltin: Do you still get that sense of awe that you are playing for the Queen?
Stewart: Oh yeah, say that again, mate, let alone being a knight. God almighty, coming from a council house in North London, my god. But it is a great privilege. I am a loyalist, I love the crown. I
love what they bring to the party, business for the U.K. She's a great woman, she really is. One thing the majesty and I have in common is we've had the same haircut for 60 years, which we have
Baltin: Does a show like this feel like this a reunion?
Stewart: I haven't spoken with Elton for ages. We're not in contact with each other, but there could be a reunion, big hug and let's bury that hatchet type of thing. But whether I see him or not,
it's such a big festival. There are three stages set up in front of Buckingham Palace. So security, as you can imagine, is gonna be unbelievable. But hopefully I'll get to see him and speak to
Baltin: It was actually Iggy Pop who explained this to me best. He said when he reunited with the Stooges all the fighting fades away and you
just remember what you built together.
Stewart: Yeah, he's spot on there. That's what it is. Strip away all the bulls**t and what you're left with — two human beings who share music and fun and laughter. A load of memories. I'll you know
Baltin: Did you miss touring?
Stewart: Oh, yeah. Did I miss it? It's not just for getting out there and performing for everybody. But I have a wonderful band that they're literally like my children. They're such great performers,
and we love each other socially. If you're in a band that doesn't get on well, touring is horrible.
Baltin: How long did it take to put this band together?
Stewart: Most of them have been together about 25 years. The girls have changed over the while. But most of them quite a long time.
Baltin: It's funny that you say that if you're in a band that doesn't get along it's horrible. Also too, as you get older your priorities
change so much and I am sure that is more important now.
Stewart: Yeah, of course they do. Especially with me, having gone through cancer, you really do. Your priorities change a great deal.
Baltin: So at what point did you realize that it was just as important to have a band that gets along as one that sounds good?
Stewart: Well, I've always believed that the band should get on well, but I've had a few of arseholes in bands before. And we get rid of them real quick.
Baltin: Where were you partying last night?
Stewart: We just we went down to Mr. Chow. Took over the room upstairs and just had a big sing song and a drink up.
Baltin: When you get together just to hang out and sing, what songs do you do?
Stewart: I can't remember what we were singing. Like we were making them up as we went along. Filthy songs, no doubt [laughter].
Baltin: A lot of musicians had a big adjustment being at home during COVID. How was it for you?
Stewart: Well, first of all, my family at home is I've got eight children. The children come and go. They live all around the place. Going through the COVID was pretty easy for me, because I got a
big house and sometimes I don't see my wife all day [chuckle]. So, it was a lot easier than it was for someone living in an apartment with six kids and two rooms. So, a lot easier. But I love my
family. I love my children. And that's the only difficult part, going on tour and not seeing them. But what I do is I work around their holidays. When they're on a holiday, I go on tour and then they
can come out and be with me. I miss doing the school run with my kids. Embarrassing them all, dropping them off in a Lamborghini [laughter].
Baltin: Is it embarrassing for them or for you?
Stewart: It's funny, the younger kids love it. But as they get a bit older, my 15-year-old son said, "Alright, dad. Drop me here. I'd rather walk the rest." They've all done that. They all love it
when they're really young. Dad's super cars. And then when they get older, they go, "No. Don't bring that around here."
Baltin: But that is every rock star parent. I have talked to so many people about this and no matter how successful or famous you are you will
never be cool to your own kids.
Stewart: No, they're absolutely right. I was talking to my youngest son when he was about six. "Yes, dad. Okay, dad, look forward. Okay, dad." And then he gave the phone to my wife and he said, It's
Rod Stewart on the phone [laughter].
Baltin: At what point did they start to realize what you do? And kids are the best litmus test for the songs. Are there new songs that they
Stewart: They're very much in love with today's music, hip hop and rap stuff. So I listen to a lot of it with them. A lot of it goes over my head, but some of it's really good. No, I wouldn't say
they would go out and buy my records, they're too young. They like coming to the concerts, they enjoy that bit.
Baltin: So did you get cool points then when you collaborated with A$AP Rocky?
Stewart: Oh, big time. Yeah.
Baltin: Who's their favorite?
Stewart: Tyler the Creator.
Baltin: Were there songs you missed doing COVID or that you got a chance to revisit and would want to being back into the set?
Stewart: No, none of them. I can't think of anything that is so old that I would bring back. Me and Ronnie [Wood] were working on the Faces album. We found some Faces tracks from the '70s. We dug 'em
up and we've been working on that. And if it's gonna come to fruition, hopefully it will. But otherwise. I do songs from way back anyway. I'm not a musician when I'm home.
Baltin: So what do you care about when you're home?
Stewart: My railway, my model railway. It's been going on for 26 [years]. Don't take the piss or I'll f**king hit you [laughter].
Baltin: I'm surprised though 'cause I thought you were going to say football as well.
Stewart: Well, I used to play football. I played football up until I was 60 something.
Baltin: Do you still follow it though?
Stewart: Oh Christ yes. It's an obsession. I follow Glasgow Celtics and go and visit all the games and everything. Yeah, it is an obsession, but it is for my family. All my kids watch football. We're
a football family. It's great.
Baltin: So you were your saying kids really introduce you to a lot of stuff?
Stewart: Yeah, they do. And I listen. I'm a big fan of George Ezra. I like him a lot. He's totally different to any other rock star that's came along. He's different voice, different songs. Songs are
different. Everything's different about him. The girls love him and he's not a typical-looking rock star. He just wears a jumper on stage and he's very good looking.
Baltin: Are there new songs that you're particularly excited to do for a first time and see how the audience responds to them?
Stewart: Yeah, we're starting the show with "Addicted To Love." And all the girls, we're gonna do the Robert Palmer video 'cause he was a good mate of mine and we're gonna do all the girls dressed
up. They all have the same outfits and red lipstick and their hair back and they play the guitars. I did love Robert. He was a hero of mine.
Baltin: Is it something for you that was special to be able to do the song and pay tribute to him?
Stewart: Yeah. I think it's my number one rock song. I know it is for a lot of people and especially the video was just so, so one major capture. It was so different. Actually, Robert and I confessed
one night, he said that "Hot Legs" inspired "Addicted To Love." And my song "Young Turks" I said was inspired by his "Johnny And Mary."
Baltin: So you're opening with "Addicted to Love." What about songs off the new album? Are there any in particular that you're really excited
Stewart: Yeah, I will do one of them, can't do too many people just want hear the same songs. There's so many of them that I could do. There was a track on the last album, which meant a lot to me
because it was about my father and his relationship with his three boys. My two brothers obviously, and the fact that we all played football and he was always on the touchline watching us and then
all sorts of Weather inspiring us and I've written a song about it. It's called "Touchline." I think that's one of my favorites. little heard song though.
Baltin: As you say, it's a little heard song but it's funny because a lot of the times the song takes time. Take for example, a song like "The
Killing of Georgie Part I and II," I feel like that's a song today that has more meaning now than it probably even did then at the time. Do you think people understood how significant it
Stewart: Only on reflection when people would come up to me and say, "Oh thank you for that song. It helped me through a bad time." And that really means a lot to me. It was 1976 when it came out and
it helped them through a dark time. That really makes it special.
Baltin: Is there music of yours that you can go back and listen to?
Stewart: Oh, I love listening to my Great American Songbook. I love that. Yeah.
Baltin: Is it because they weren't your songs or was it because it was just songs that have memories for you as a kid?
Stewart: Yes. And also because they, as a vocalist, they stretch you, the melodies stretch you and it's just lovely. You know, Jools Holland? I'm doing a swing album with him. We're halfway through
it and it's really great, but it's not the sort of Frank Sinatra swing, it's more like, I don't know, like "Rock Around The Clock." We play it rock and roll style. We've done "The Lullaby of
Broadway." So many songs we've done. It's so great. His band is amazing. And he records in a little studio, which is probably three times the size of this and he gets 18 musicians in there and they
all play live and all the solos are alive. No one overdubs, except for me when I do the vocals. So I think we've got a follow on and they're all fast numbers too. I played it to the band last night
before we went out to dinner and everyone was just rocking.
Baltin: And I imagine for you, it's the type of thing that just keeps things fresh, getting to mix it up.
Stewart: Yeah. I don't really work with a lot of other people. I don't know why. I'm a tad too shy to phone people up. [But] Jools Holland is a big model railroader as well. We talk about railroads
then we go, "No. Okay. We better talk about music now, getting this album done," but it is a real pleasure. Such a wonderful band.
Baltin: Is there a timeline for when that'll come out?
Stewart: I suppose September. We're gonna finish it off rest of it next week.
Baltin: Is there one song on the album that you're most excited about?
Stewart: My favorite is "Ain't Misbehavin'." Jools takes it into double time in the middle really.
Baltin: Will you be incorporating any of this into the tour?
Stewart: No, probably by the time next year's finished that will be it for me. I want to move on and just do the classics and the swing stuff, but I don't want to be singing "Hot Legs" when I'm 80.
I'm not retiring, but this will be the last time we do these songs in America. I just want to make a clean sweep. I want to go on tour with a big band and just play this stuff that I love, it's a
different entity to rock and roll, although that's where it all came from. The way we are doing these songs is with a back beat. I wish I could describe it. On '23 I'll go to Brazil and wrap it all