Untitled Project Will Be Icon's First Album of Original Songs in 11 Years
After spending time with the Great American Songbook for the past nine years -- and with a new holiday album on the way -- Rod Stewart  is ready to rock again. Stewart tells Billboard that he's already recorded most of his first new rock album since 2006's "Still The Same...Great Rock Classics of Our Time" and his first to feature original material since 2001's "Human."
"It's all done mate," says Stewart, who's just published "Rod: The Autobiography" and releases "Merry Christmas, Baby"  on Oct. 30. "I produced it myself. It's all finished, mixed, everything...Just a good, old-fashioned Rod Stewart album (with) a lot of mandolin and acoustic (guitar) and fiddles and good storytelling, I believe, too."
Stewart says he has 10 tracks so far, while an 11th, "Love the Life You Live," is tentatively slated to be the set's title track, with a spring of 2013 release planned.
Stewart credits longtime cohort Jim Cregan with helping him get back into rock 'n' roll gear.
"About a year ago I was sitting at my house in England, and (Cregan) came around and said, 'Come on, let's try to write a song,' " Stewart recalls. "And I said, 'No, I can't be bothered. Those days are over.' But we sat down, I started humming a melody and he took it away and sent it back and said, 'Listen, this is pretty good,' so I wrote some words for it and ever since then it's been just flowing like a river. The songs just keep going. An issue which I thought had long past and which I'd given up, songwriting, has come back, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it."
But while the new songs do rock, Stewart says "the themes are a little more adult now. There's no 'Hot Legs' or 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy.' But they're, I think, songs people can relate to."
Stewart says he hopes to start playing the new songs during a planned tour of the U.S. east coast in February and March, with a European tour expected to follow. And is rocking whetting his appetite to finally get back with his mates in the Faces?
"Well, Woody (guitarist Ron Wood) goes quiet now; he's got a few gigs with the Stones, so you don't hear anything out of him," says Stewart, who came down sick in April when the Faces were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had to miss the ceremony. "That's the main reason we can't get 'round to doing it. I can't commit to it 'cause Woody will say, 'I've got to do this for the Stones' and I'll be, 'Hang on, Ronnie -- but I gave you eight months of this year for the Faces.' Until that lot pack up for good, and I don't think that'll be happening quite soon, I can't commit to (the Faces). But we're all good mates, and I swear on my life it'll happen one day. We might all be using Zimmer frames and wheelchairs, but we'll do it."
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