You want the wild times? There are more than 360 pages of them in “Rod: The Autobiography.”
But on this night, the one before last week’s concert at the O2 Arena in London, Rod Stewart is watching “Tooth Fairy” with his 8-year-old (he confirms the title after consulting the lad).
So then, he’s saving the party for Las Vegas? The 68-year-old rock legend returns for three weekends of shows starting Saturday and Sunday, so let the good times roll, right?
“There are many reasons why I enjoy it,” he says of his periodic shows in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. “The first is the beautiful acoustics. They treat me like I’m Elvis, and it’s easy for me to get home (via private jet to Beverly Hills) every night. I’m in bed by half past 11, and see my kids in the morning.”
Did we mention there’s a book?
That’s where Stewart spares no detail about celebrity-filled parties, boozing with the Faces, “technically two-timing a Playboy model with another Playboy model,” and an all-night, cocaine-fueled argument with Elton John over which of them had the most money in the bank.
But those stories are part of a bigger picture that’s often as wistful as it is funny, moods that happen to be perfectly captured in a companion album called “Time.”
It’s Stewart’s first album of new material since 2001 and his first songwriting in 20 years.
“One inspired the other,” he says. “I started on the book. You get together with friends you haven’t seen for a while. We gathered my two brothers and my sister around for conferences on what we can remember and what we can’t.
“The stories they came up with about my mom and dad encouraged me to write more personal songs.”
The book follows other high-profile British rock-god autobiographies by the likes of Keith Richards and Pete Townshend. But this is the only one so directly tied to something you can listen to while you read.
“Brighton Beach,” for instance, reminisces about Stewart’s first serious love at age 17 (“You were Greta Garbo and I was Kerouac. ... We played so hard and we loved so hard, seemed we never ever slept”).
The song leaves with that warm nostalgia. But you can keep reading the book to learn those nights under the stars ended up with his girlfriend pregnant, and later putting up for adoption the daughter Stewart would not meet until she showed up at his door in 1982.
“As far as fans in this country are concerned, it’s the best I’ve done since ‘Every Picture Tells a Story,’ ” Stewart says, agreeing the book collaboration with journalist Giles Smith must have awakened his long-dormant songwriting skills.
“I think it was a combination of the right co-producer, Kevin Savigar, the right amount of ideas he came up with and the ideas I came up with. Everything came together tremendously well. The right musicians. I was in the right state of mind, I was very happy.
“Recording’s not like it was in the old days when you’d go into a studio and spend $10,000 just getting a drum sound, and you’re in the pub for three weeks thinking about what you’re going to do,” he adds.
“It’s easy now. ... You can do it in your front room now. It’s so much easier and so much more enjoyable and less expensive.”
The album hails back to vintage ’70s albums such as “A Night on the Town.” “It’s not an enormous step forward in the musical sense. But that’s the kind of music I’ve always loved making, slightly folk-tinged, mandolins and violins. I just brought myself back to square one.”
Although star showcases at the Colosseum are marketed as greatest hits affairs, Stewart thinks he can get away with putting two or three of the “Time” songs into the set list this weekend.
“I tell ’em we’re going to sing a new song, and they have to stay seated or in the auditorium, and they have to give it a big round of applause,” he says with a laugh.
He hopes the album’s reception in the United States catches up to its popularity in Europe. “I can’t see myself writing another one like that. There’s only so many times you can write about your dad and your children,” he says. That said, “I’m encouraged that I should keep on writing songs. We’re thinking about the next one.”
Either way, it sounds like he will be singing the hits at the Colosseum for another 18 months at least.
“I’ve screamed it from the highest positions that Vegas really is one of my favorite places to play,” he says. “It’s just so comfortable. And a good audience coming in with a great attitude.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.