Life Advice From Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart
Frank Hoensch / Contributor/ Getty Images

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
From me dad, who said, “To be properly contented, son, a man needs three things: a job, a sport, and a hobby.” So in my case, my job is singer, my sport is football, my hobby is model railroading.


What should a man know about women?
A man who can make a woman laugh is halfway home, so to speak. Never argue before going to bed. That’s a no-no. And never let a glass of wine affect your serious discussions. My wife, Penny, and I talk a great deal, but not after we’ve had a glass of wine. We’ll wait until the next morning. But these things you learn as the years go by. Marriage is a union of two people, so to be successful, you have to listen. I wasn’t always a good listener, but now there’s communication and courtesy.

How should a man handle heartbreak?
It’s only happened to me once, when Rachel [Hunter] left. I understand why they call it heartbreak now — because you can actually feel it in your heart. I took to holding a hot-water bottle against my chest. I was distracted almost to the point of madness. When you’re in the thick of it, just know there’s no way around or through it. Time is the only healer.

What adventure changed your life?
Going to France and Spain when I was 17, which I’d recommend to any kid who wants to discover the world. I mean, that was discovering the world for me at the time. I was busking on the streets of the Left Bank of Paris, and that’s where I learned to play guitar. It was a really good period for me. I met some interesting people, learned some great songs, and then Bob Dylan’s first album came out, and that absolutely moved my whole world.

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What has fatherhood taught you?
In a nutshell, it’s surely the most fulfilling thing I could possibly do. I love writing songs, but if there’s an eternal fountain of youth, I would say it’s bringing a couple of kids into the world — it keeps a smile on my face all day. But I always have to be a father with eight hats because they’re all so different in age. Obviously I’ve made mistakes. Kids have to learn their own way. It’s no good lecturing because they’ll just throw it back in me face. All I can advise is: Be careful! If you try and stop them, they’ll do it anyway, 10 times worse. I’m lucky because my kids invite me to go clubbing with them!

How did you manage all the excesses of the rock & roll life?
The moderation came with time. We were always well and truly hammered, especially with the Faces. I was never really a druggy-type person, because I played soccer all me life and I was always very aware of keeping myself fit. But I did like a drink, and I still like a drink. You know, I drink every evening. I drink two glasses of white wine, a glass of red wine, and I sleep very, very well. Moderation! But it hasn’t always been like that. I’m surrounded by good people. I haven’t blown myself up with drugs and alcohol, and I just kept going.

With three marriages, eight children, a solo career, and a band, there’s a lot of opportunity for conflict. What’s your secret to keeping the peace?
I think you could call it just going with the flow. I’m very good friends with my exes and the four other mothers who’ve given birth to my brood. And I’ve never been in a band where there was really any animosity. All the bands I’ve had since the Faces, I’ve been the band leader, and you don’t get in the band unless you’ve got a good sense of humor! It’s very important when you’re doing long tours that you don’t have some oddball who is antisocial. I make sure we all get along with each other.

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