The new documentary Somebody Up There Likes Me traces the career of Ron Wood, from his days as the bassist in the Jeff Beck Band, through his brief and boozy tenure in the Faces with life-long friend Rod Stewart, to his long run in the Rolling Stones.
The film features new interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charle Watts and Rod Stewart, along with Wood himself. It’s available now as a Virtual Cinema release on the movie’s official website and will arrive on DVD/Blu-ray on October 9th.
In this exclusive clip, Wood explains why he finally quit drugs and alcohol after decades of abusing his body. “Nothing was working,” he says. “The coke wasn’t working. The drink wasn’t working. [I] tried one more to see if I could cut through it and I turned into this sour person. I thought, ‘This is not me.’ Took the brave move again, but this time for myself, to try and abstain and clean up my act.”
Jagger has seen several bandmates go through this journey. “It’s really hard to do,” he says. “But he knew that he wanted to do it, which is obviously part of the thing. If you don’t want to do it, it’s really impossible. But he wanted to do it and found it really difficult to do.”
The film, which was directed by Mike Figgis, takes its title from an offhand comment that Wood gave about undergoing cancer surgery after years of cigarette use. “When they operated on my cancer, they took away my emphysema,” he said. “They said my lungs were as if I’d never smoked. I thought: ‘How’s that for a Get Out of Jail Free card?’ Somebody up there likes me, and somebody down here likes me, too.”
Elsewhere in the movie, Wood demonstrates how he creates his paintings and plays a handful of tunes, including the 1973 Faces song “Oh La La” and “Breathe On Me” from his 1975 solo LP New Look.
Wood was supposed to spend the summer of 2020 on tour in North America with the Rolling Stones, but the pandemic forced them to cancel the shows.
“In Europe, we’ve had small-scale concerts,” Jagger recently told Rolling Stone. “We’ve had socially distanced concerts. You can see [concerts] starting in some parts of the world, New Zealand, Australia, so on. But as far as the U.S. is concerned, we don’t really know what the future holds. So many people [are] out of work, losing money. Is it ever going to be the same again? Will it be always different? We just don’t know.”