Music Interviews
4:52 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Ron Wood's Funky Contribution To The Stones Canon

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:55 am

In honor of The Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary, All Things Considered has been talking to the members of the band about standout songs from their catalog. Earlier this week, Keith Richards discussed what gives "Street Fighting Man" its distinctive guitar sound, while Charlie Watts gave context to his drum part in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

For his pick, guitarist Ron Wood skipped ahead in the band's history, settling on the funky, disco-inflected "Dance (Pt. 1)" from the 1980 album Emotional Rescue. The choice, he tells NPR's Melissa Block, was personal.

"I stuck up for myself, 'cause I picked a song that I wrote," Wood says. "I thought, 'No one's gonna mention that.' But I think people, when they hear that song, they love it — because it's really up, and it gets everyone dancing."

Wood says he composed the main guitar parts, then let his band mates flesh the song out.

"They followed my lead, really," he says. "I had the whole riff, and I had an instrumental in mind, just to get the groove and the funk going. And then Mick jumped over it and he just ... we didn't have to talk much. He more or less said, 'Let me loose on this,' you know? 'And I'll set it on fire.' "

Wood says the song was designed "for the clubs — a place that [someone] would go after hours." Mick Jagger's words, he says, intensified his original vision by setting the scene.

"I just love the way Mick turned the whole thing into a New York City shout-out — you know, it's a bit like a little trip around the city," Wood says, adding, "It's the groove that gets me, really. The words are instrumental, in a quirky kind of way."

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The third day of our Rolling Stones adventure continues now. We heard Charlie Watts talking about "Satisfaction." Keith Richards chose "Street Fighting Man." And today...

RONNIE WOOD: Hi. This is Ronnie Wood, and I'm with The Rolling Stones.

BLOCK: Guitarist Ronnie Wood, who joined The Stones in 1975.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

WOOD: I stuck up for myself because I picked a song that I wrote. And it's a Jagger-Richards-Wood song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Hey, what am I doing standing here on the corner of West 8th Street and 6th Avenue and - ah, skip it. Nothing. Keith, what are you, what are you doing? Oh, I think the time has come to get out, get out. Get up, get out...

WOOD: "Dance (Part 1)," I thought no one's going to mention that. But I think people, when they hear that song, they love it because it's really up and it gets everyone dancing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Get up, get out, into something new.

BLOCK: Ron, talk us through this song. What's going on?

WOOD: I was behind the riff, you know, putting the licks in and being kicked on by Charlie. And then I just love the way Mick turned the whole thing into a New York City shout-out. You know, it's a bit like a little trip around the city. It's the groove that gets me, really. The words are instrumental, you know, in a quirky kind of way.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Ooh, and it's got me moving.

BLOCK: And where are you in the song?

WOOD: All over it, like a bag of fleas, yeah, in all the different guitar parts. Keeping on weaving once again. (Humming) That's me. (Humming).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my, my, my, my, my, my.

BLOCK: So in terms of writing the song, who did what?

WOOD: Well, they followed my lead, really, because I had the whole riff. And I had an instrumental in mind just to get the groove and the funk going. And then Mick jumped over it and, you know, and he just - we didn't have to talk much. He just more or less said, let me loose on this, you know?

BLOCK: Ha.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Poor man eyes a rich man, denigrates his property. A rich man eyes a poor man and envies his simplicity.

WOOD: And then set it on fire, you know, the background vocals, yeah. And when we - we had played it live a few times, and it moves, you know? It brings the house alive.

BLOCK: I bet it does.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Get up, get out, into something new. Ooh, and it's got me moving.

BLOCK: The beat here, the kind of shuffle-ly beat, reminds me a whole lot of "Miss You."

WOOD: Yeah, it's a dance track. I kind of designed it for the clubs. I play it when we go on after hours. And sometimes on tour, I'd like to go with Mick because as we know, on stage, he gets people dancing. And in little clubs, he's great because he's a magnet for the dancing and the girls. We all had fun. And if we're not making it out, signaling to each other above a sea of dancing people. And I imagine that kind of scenario on listening to "Dance." And, you know, I think it kind of works because it gets me going when I just - it plays loud.

BLOCK: Absolutely. What's the signal? You said you're signaling to each other above the crowd.

WOOD: Oh, it's kind of aren't we having fun? Look what - we're making fools of ourselves here, yeah, but we're having fun doing it.

BLOCK: That's great. Well, Ron Woods, thanks so much. It's been great to talk to you.

WOOD: Great to talk to you, Melissa. Thank you.

BLOCK: And you can find our other Stones interviews at nprmusic.org. Tomorrow, the Stone who needs no introduction but will give us one anyway.

MICK JAGGER: Hi. This is Mick Jagger here. Nice to be on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

BLOCK: And his song? Well, here's a clue.

JAGGER: It's been used a lot to evoke natural disaster.

BLOCK: Mick Jagger coming up tomorrow on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DANCE - PART 1")

THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) Get up, get out, get up, get out, into something new. Yeah. Get up, up. Get up, get up. Don't stand accused, baby. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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