Credit: Ross HalfinRonnie Wood‘s recently published book, How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary, is a replica of a handwritten journal the longtime Rolling Stones guitarist kept in 1965 when, at age 17, he was a member of the British group The Birds. The book offers a candid look at Wood’s busy life as part of an enthusiastic young band toiling to make a name for itself while crossing paths with such legendary U.K. acts as The Who, The Yardbirds and many others.

“We never had a proper hit record, but we were rubbing shoulders with all the number-one acts at the time,” Ronnie tells ABC Radio. “And always in the back of my mind I wanted to be in The Stones anyway. I knew it was my first stepping stone…to get to The Stones. But it’s interesting for me to have the little window of the beginning of the adventure.”

Wood notes that the diary documents a time when he and The Birds were “just treading the boards of England, really, up and down the motorways and the small roads and little clubs and ballrooms. And just doing what every young musician in the ’60s did.”

The book features Wood’s comments about the many shows and events the band played, the gear and clothes he purchased, his attempts at songwriting, and the various adventures he had with his band mates, fellow musicians and friends, including his girlfriend Krissy, who went on to become his first wife.

To augment the book, Wood included some of the artwork he drew depicting various scenes from his life in 1965 and wrote some new commentary reflecting on various events at the time.

“I just spiced it up with some drawings that I did around the time or from memory of the times,” he notes. “But also, just to clue people in what was happening around the time, I did a few little addition paragraphs. But, basically, the diary is reproduced as is.”

Wood tells ABC Radio it was his manager, Sherry Daly, who suggested that he publish the journal.

“She said, ‘This is a lovely little gem. People would love this little glimpse into the life of this little 17-year-old musician climbing the ladder and working almost every night of the week,'” he explains.

Wood says that when he read the diary again, the memories it evoked seemed “like almost yesterday…and it was hard to believe it was 50 years ago. My head went right into the way I was feeling at the time.”

In conjunction with the book, Wood recorded a new track titled “How Can It Be?” inspired by a Birds tune with the same name that was the second song he ever wrote.

“I just thought I’d go in the studio and just do a one-take thing of all the instruments and just see how it would sound if I revisited it,” he says. “It was quite interesting.”

Fans who purchase a copy of How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary can download the track for free.

Wood reports that he may eventually release a follow-up to the book.

“I have a very small [journal] from 1966, which also contains some little gems of info,” he tells ABC Radio. “I think if this…diary goes over well, then there is a ’66 one I know for sure.”

For more information about How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary, visit GenesisPublications.com.

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