Rod Stewart Breaks Down His New Album 'Blood Red Roses' - Rolling Stone
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Rod Stewart Breaks Down His ‘Age-Appropriate’ New Album, ‘Blood Red Roses’

“I’m not that bothered if it doesn’t sell 10 million copies,” the singer says of his 30th studio LP. “I’m making albums now for me and a few friends”

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Rod Stewart discusses what inspired his new album 'Blood Red Roses,' and why he's driven to keep writing songs.


Rod Stewart knew exactly what he didn’t want to do when he began penning songs for his new album, Blood Red Roses, which landed in stores on September 28th. “I didn’t want to write songs like ‘Stay With Me,’ ‘Hot Legs,’ and ‘Tonight’s the Night,’ ” he says. “I wanted to attempt to do something a little bit more age-appropriate, and hopefully I’ve succeeded.”

The album is part of a creative renaissance for the 73-year-old that began with his 2013 LP Time and continued in 2015 with Another Country. Up until those albums, he’d put songwriting on hold for well over a decade to concentrate on his Great American Songbook series along with other covers projects, but then the itch to compose his own material returned. He says that writing his 2012 memoir, Rod: The Autobiography, played a big role in that process, along with the realization that creating a new album no longer required endless late nights in dark studios. “I was always locked in the studio for months on end,” he says. “We’d spend two hours getting a drum sound. I’d never even see daylight. It became laborious.”

But modern technology has allowed him to simply record music in hotel rooms while on tour, and that’s easier than ever now that Kevin Savigar, his producer and primary songwriting partner, doubles as his touring keyboardist. “Now I get to see daylight a lot more than I did before,” says Stewart. “Kevin and I just start using samples and we kick around a few ideas, and everything just goes from there.”

Lead single “Didn’t I” was born one day when Stewart spontaneously came up with the lines “Didn’t I do the best for you, try to make you stay in school, didn’t I?” It quickly turned into a sorrowful tale of a father confronting his daughter’s severe drug addiction. “I didn’t sit right down and intend to write that sort of a song,” he says. “But the way I write songs now is I do a ‘la-dee de-dee-dee’ over a track and sing whatever comes into my mind. It’s exactly the same way that I wrote ‘Maggie May’ all those years ago.”

Another sad song is “Farewell,” a tribute to one of Stewart’s dearest old friends. “We grew up with each other through the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties, and the Nineties,” he says. “So he saw me from when I had absolutely nothing and totally unknown, all the way through to the success I had later in life. The idea was to try and just be as honest and personable as I could on that song. It’s a love song.”

“Cold Old London,” meanwhile, looks back on a rough time in his life right before he married model Rachel Hunter in 1990. “All this shagging and drinking was leading me nowhere,” he says. “I wasn’t particularly happy, and I was getting a hold of girls who were getting younger. The song is a reflection of that period in my life.”

A few weeks back, “Didn’t I” became Stewart’s first original composition to enter the Top 10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts since 1999. But he still has realistic expectations for the album and doesn’t expect it to be topping the charts alongside Cardi B and Drake’s recent works. “I always think I’ve got a lot of friends out there that have followed my career for many, many years,” he says. “They turn up at concerts all over the globe, and if 10 percent of that wonderful audience that I play to buy the album, I’m happy. I’ve had tremendous success in selling millions and millions of albums, so I’m not that bothered if it doesn’t sell 10 million. Everybody else can do that. I’ve had my shot at it. I’m making albums for me and a few friends.”

He’s already begun work on the next one. “I don’t know what the themes of the new songs are gonna be yet,” he says. “But in 18 months I should have 15 or so good songs.”

In This Article: Rod Stewart


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