After the March-April 1975 recording sessions at Musicland Studios, Munich, the basis for "Black And Blue", the upcoming new studio album, was there, but it could not be released in time for the so-called Tour Of The Americas, which was due to start in June. In April it was announced that Ron Wood, who was still a committed member of Faces and didn't intend to let his band down, had agreed to be the stand-in guitarist for the tour.
It seems that above all other guitarists that auditioned for Mick Taylor's vacant position, Ron Wood was most suited to the spare axe position and most at ease with the Stones' ambience. And he was British of course. Keith Richards: "It wasn't so much the playing, when it came down to it. It came down to the fact that Ronnie was English! Well, it's an English band, and we all felt we should retain the nationality of the band at the time".
Like before, Ian Stewart had his influence in the decision making process. Stu, when asked if Keith Richards and Ron Wood were already close prior to the US tour: "Oh sure, but in fact, less than a month before we came to Montauk, they were still arguing about who was going to be the guitar player. Keith was really not sure about Woody, because he felt that Woody played too much like him, and that it wouldn't sound good. But Mick and I wanted Woody. The other guys were rather undecided.
There was a fair amount of support for Wayne Perkins. Wayne is a lovely guy and all that, but it was difficult to imagine him onstage as part of the Rolling Stones. And I had been at that concert in Kilburn....you know, when Keith and Woody played together, and it was great actually. The feel was there, the approach was great and the 2-guitar thing was just fine. Eventually, Mick put his foot down and said, "Right, it's either going to be Woody or no tour!".
Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
Keith Richards, Life, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2010.
Lisa Robinson, Interview with Ian Stewart, Creem Magazine, June 1976 (http://www.rocksoff.org/Archives/12-24-2004/206121-1.html).