Ronnie Wood, the dude from The Rolling Stones who looks like a bathwater-wrinkled finger that isn’t Mick Jagger or Keith Richards, recently spoke to The Daily Mail’s Sunday Event magazine to promote his art book Ronnie Wood: Artist. The big conversation was about how life caught up to him in the form of a lung cancer diagnosis. But don’t worry, Ronnie is fine now thanks to surgery. But not chemotherapy. Oh no, not that. Ronnie passed on chemo because he didn’t want to lose that thick hunk of hair on his head.
Ronnie starts out by saying that he didn’t think he’d live to see 70, and that 50 years of chain-smoking kind of prepared him for the news his doctor gave him back in May. He says all the Stones were required to undergo a doctor’s exam before they went on the No Filter Tour. Appropriate, since their doctor discovered that years of filtering hardcore quantities of tar and chemicals caused Ronnie’s left lung to develop cancer. Ronnie quit smoking before his twins were born last year, but the damage was done.
There were tests done to see if the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes (not a good sign). It turns out it hadn’t spread. Of course it didn’t. Ronnie Wood has done so many drugs and boozed for so many years that the inside of his body probably looks like a haunted abandoned amusement park. The cancer probably took one step outside of his lungs and thought “Oh no fucking way am I dumb enough to venture into that.”
So Ronnie told his doctor to get a scalpel and cut the cancer out. And it’s a good thing surgery took care of that cancer, because there was no Plan B.
“I was prepared for bad news but I also had faith it would be OK. Apart from the doctors, we didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want to put anyone else though the hell we were going through. But I made up my mind that if it had spread I wasn’t going to go through chemo, I wasn’t going to use that bayonet in my body.”
Was he concerned that the chemo wouldn’t work? “No. It’s more I wasn’t going to lose my hair. This hair wasn’t going anywhere. I said, ‘No way.’ And I just kept the faith it would be all right. A week later they came back with the news that it hadn’t spread and I said, ‘Let’s get it out now.’ Just before I closed my eyes for the operation I looked at the doctor and said, ‘Let battle commence.'”
Ronnie says he’s good now, but he’ll need check-ups every three months.
I’ll admit that Ronnie’s chemo confession surprised me. Not because some old men are so damn vain about their hair and will make a deal with the Follicular Devil in an attempt to keep from going bald. I’m surprised because I always thought Ronnie Wood’s hair was fake. If he says it’s real, then fine, it’s real. But I can’t deny that haircut he’s working often makes him look like the picture that comes stapled to the bag of a busted Halloween wig.