The media reported that Ronnie wants to make sure he's in good shape when he and his mates hit the stage on their next tour.
I saw the Rolling Stones in 1994 at Three Rivers Stadium. I'd never seen them live, and I guess my preconception was that it was going to be fun but a sloppy presentation, given the reputation of the Stones as the perennial bad boys of rock.
People who live like these guys are lucky they can stand up, let alone put on a decent two-hour show. Boy, was I wrong.
The thing that has stuck with me ever since is what pros these guys are. The Stones have lasted 35 years in a business in which careers are often measured in months. Love 'em or hate 'em, there are reasons they have been successful that go beyond their penchant for turning three-chord ditties into million-seller classics or Mick Jagger's androgynous prancing on stage.
Quite simply, it's been good business sense, and entrepreneurs could learn some lessons from the Stones. Here are a few:
Vision. The Rolling Stones could set up their gear in any stadium in the world, charge $100 a ticket, fill the seats and walk away with lots of cash. But for some of their more recent tours, they decided to go with some lavish and expensive sets that took a couple of days to set up in each city.
As I recall, it cost $1 million a week to keep the Voodoo Lounge tour on the road. With the huge overhead, I'm sure they couldn't make too many mistakes before the profits would begin to dry up.
Planning. Appearing in 50 or so cities and making sure there are hotel accommodations for the crew, security for the performers and adequate advance publicity poses a logistical challenge. And the Stones' organization hired a big-time British agency to promote not only a recent tour, but the Rolling Stones brand as well.
Execution. This is the step that really counts when it comes to performers and entrepreneurs -- and where the wheels can fall off, even if everything else goes well. It was clear that, no matter what kind of shenanigans these perennial adolescents where engaging in behind the scenes, the Stones weren't about to let things go along haphazardly on stage.
The act was carefully choreographed to appear spontaneous. They played their oldest hits with the freshest enthusiasm. Keith Richards played his signature licks flawlessly, Charley Watts beat his drum kit with digital precision and Mick Jagger traversed with the energy and intensity of an Olympic athlete.
All of the hype, massive stage riggings and fancy costumes would have been for naught had the Stones simply gone through the motions.
Please the customer. It was plain to see that the Stones weren't content to simply rest on their laurels. They acknowledged and thanked the audience, something that too many performers, some of whom prefer to display body parts or spit on people in the front row, don't seem to think is "cool" anymore.
Maybe Wood made a unilateral decision to dry out, but I wouldn't be surprised if he got some pressure from the Stones' organization to clean up his act before they went on with theirs. They're not likely to let anyone, even one of their own, get in the way of their satisfaction. Ray Marano (firstname.lastname@example.org) may not prance around the publication office with androgynous enthusiasm, but as associate editor of SBN magazine, he gets his satisfaction turning the likes of rock 'n' roll ditties into motivational lessons for entrepreneurs.