Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has expressed concerns about the process of TV talent shows like The X Factor or The Voice, stating that he thinks the pressures of the formats could be damaging to untested musicians.
“I think it’s a bit of a stiff thing to ask a brand-new artist,” the musician told the crowd this weekend at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, while noting that he “loved” performing on the X Factor with One Direction last year (below).
“I mean, apart from being nervous and playing in front of a panel, they play in front of millions and millions of people.”
“It’s bad for their ego if they don’t make it, or if they make a mistake, I mean it’s magnified so much more. I’m amazed more people don’t commit suicide, do you know what I mean?”
Earlier in the session, which focused on Wood’s diaries from his early career in bands such as The Birds and the Faces, the guitarist also suggested that talent shows’ quick route to stardom could be unhelpful to a band just starting out.
Wood performing Where Do Broken Hearts Go with One Direction in the 2014 X Factor final
“Today’s bands – instead of suddenly appearing on the X Factor or something, it’s nice to have the groundwork of, I don’t know, however many years we’ve been doing this, many years,” he said.
“It seemed like you were beating your head against a brick wall trying to make an impression, but you didn’t give up. And you kept your ambition.
“Going ‘I can make it one day, keep trying, stick in there.’ That’s what we were doing in those days.”
“In a way that’s what I’m still doing today,” he concluded. “I’m always trying to come up with a new riff, like you’d do back then. Little’s changed.”
The X Factor is on ITV this Sunday (3rd October) at 7:00pm