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Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: floodonthepage ()
Date: October 4, 2021 20:56

I just now finally read the Sam Cutler article on Charlie that was posted a couple pages back. I guess I'm processing through things rather slowly.

What a great tribute. I really wish I could have met Charlie to thank him in person.

I work with a guy who did much of the video work on the Licks tour, and as such he spent a year and a half on the road with Charlie. He has told me some fun and interesting stories, but above all else what I love to hear is that it's all true what they say about Charlie. He really IS that guy that Sam describes. There's simply too many people who have had the same kind of experiences with him for it to be unique treatment for a chosen few. Charlie treated everyone with respect.

God Bless You, Charlie.

P.S. In other news, I just learned yesterday that the drum track on Charlie's video tribute before the shows on this current tour is taken from Can't You Hear Me Knocking, and I feel like an idiot. How did I not pick up on that, considering that it's my favorite Stones track. The iso track has such a crack to it that at first I thought it was Steve sitting in the darkness playing along to the video...sacrilege, I know. Now I hear it and of course it's so obviously Charlie, with not only that crack but that almighty swing.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: October 6, 2021 14:51

The Rolling Stones’ producer Chris Kimsey on Charlie Watts: “It’s all in the style”

The longtime Stones producer and engineer remembers a “gentleman”

By Chris Kimsey
4th October 2021

“Charlie [Watts] never changed over the years. When I first worked with the Stones, on Sticky Fingers, I wasn’t really noticing the individual personalities in the band. They just struck me as strong, innovative characters, searching for something in their sound and their groove. But as I got to know them, I realised that Charlie was just a wonderful, wonderful person.

“After many years I could never figure out why he was in the band, because he was not like the others. The rest of them were all frontmen, as it were – though I’m sure Mick wouldn’t agree. Even Bill had this persona. Charlie was just this quiet man at the back, but he was the one holding it all together.

“His energy was intense. I’ve worked with drummers who go through their drum heads after one session, because they hit them so hard. But while Charlie was not a heavy hitter – his touch was lighter because his background was in jazz – he had this ability to hit them the way they should be and get a very loud tone.

“Most drummers hit the hi-hat at the same time as the snare, which is a very normal thing to do. But Charlie would always lift his hand off the hi-hat, so there would just be the snare beat alone. Nothing around it, which was a dream to record. That, in itself, made his drums sound louder and more powerful. I didn’t figure that out until I was working on Some Girls with them, but it was terrific to discover.

“Excuse the pun, but he was so in tune with his drums. There was one session when I got there before anyone arrived. I was sitting down at his drumkit and decided to tune the snare up a little, so I literally did a half turn on two of the lugs. When Charlie came in that night, he sat down and hit his snare drum. And after the first hit he just stopped and looked up in shock. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘Someone’s touched my drums!’ It was such a minimal thing, but he knew the response so well. It was amazing that he could immediately pick up on such a small change.

“Charlie was No 1 when it comes to drummers. What he did for the Stones’ music, no-one else could do that. That’s why Steve Jordan is in the band now, because he just emulated Charlie. He learned how to play by watching and listening to him. A lot of drummers I’ve worked with have said, ‘I want to sound like Charlie Watts.’ And I’d say, ‘Well, good luck there, mate. You don’t sound anything like him.’ It’s all in the style. They think they have it, but Charlie had so many subtleties that made such a difference when it came to the big picture. Coming from a jazz background, his playing had dynamics in it. It wasn’t just thump-thump-thump. He was extraordinary.”

As told to Rob Hughes

[www.uncut.co.uk]

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: witterings ()
Date: October 13, 2021 20:29



Is this a staged shooting? If so, he is doing it pretty well.
Never heard him playing the sax.

It`s nice to be here, .....

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Rollin92 ()
Date: October 13, 2021 23:06

One of the newspapers mentioned at the time of Charlie’s death that there were plans afoot to celebrate Charlie’s life in the U.K. later this year. Any word on this?

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: October 14, 2021 13:11

Quote
bye bye johnny
The Rolling Stones’ producer Chris Kimsey on Charlie Watts: “It’s all in the style”

The longtime Stones producer and engineer remembers a “gentleman”

By Chris Kimsey
4th October 2021

“Charlie [Watts] never changed over the years. When I first worked with the Stones, on Sticky Fingers, I wasn’t really noticing the individual personalities in the band. They just struck me as strong, innovative characters, searching for something in their sound and their groove. But as I got to know them, I realised that Charlie was just a wonderful, wonderful person.

“After many years I could never figure out why he was in the band, because he was not like the others. The rest of them were all frontmen, as it were – though I’m sure Mick wouldn’t agree. Even Bill had this persona. Charlie was just this quiet man at the back, but he was the one holding it all together.

“His energy was intense. I’ve worked with drummers who go through their drum heads after one session, because they hit them so hard. But while Charlie was not a heavy hitter – his touch was lighter because his background was in jazz – he had this ability to hit them the way they should be and get a very loud tone.

“Most drummers hit the hi-hat at the same time as the snare, which is a very normal thing to do. But Charlie would always lift his hand off the hi-hat, so there would just be the snare beat alone. Nothing around it, which was a dream to record. That, in itself, made his drums sound louder and more powerful. I didn’t figure that out until I was working on Some Girls with them, but it was terrific to discover.

“Excuse the pun, but he was so in tune with his drums. There was one session when I got there before anyone arrived. I was sitting down at his drumkit and decided to tune the snare up a little, so I literally did a half turn on two of the lugs. When Charlie came in that night, he sat down and hit his snare drum. And after the first hit he just stopped and looked up in shock. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘Someone’s touched my drums!’ It was such a minimal thing, but he knew the response so well. It was amazing that he could immediately pick up on such a small change.

“Charlie was No 1 when it comes to drummers. What he did for the Stones’ music, no-one else could do that. That’s why Steve Jordan is in the band now, because he just emulated Charlie. He learned how to play by watching and listening to him. A lot of drummers I’ve worked with have said, ‘I want to sound like Charlie Watts.’ And I’d say, ‘Well, good luck there, mate. You don’t sound anything like him.’ It’s all in the style. They think they have it, but Charlie had so many subtleties that made such a difference when it came to the big picture. Coming from a jazz background, his playing had dynamics in it. It wasn’t just thump-thump-thump. He was extraordinary.”

As told to Rob Hughes

[www.uncut.co.uk]

Great insider review about Charlie! Charlie, the times I experienced him, always radiates a human touch, which, with all those "maniac" fans around, isn't easy at all. In 2002 I was in Boston (for the three different concerts) and was at the "Stones" hotel a couple of times in connection with merchandising issues. One day I came back from the park opposite the hotel and ran into Charlie on the pedestrian crossing. He was on his way for a walk in the park. He appeared to recognize me (Ronnie Scott's ... 2001) when we looked at eachother. He nodded his head with a friendly smile and so did I. Not a moment came up in my head to bother him with whatever questions I might have had, even when editing for a fanzine. With Charlie you simply don't do that. cool smiley

My eyes get wet ... it still hurts talking about him ...

I'm a GHOST living in a ghost town

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: October 21, 2021 17:20

Quote
Rollin92

One of the newspapers mentioned at the time of Charlie’s death that there were plans afoot to celebrate Charlie’s life in the U.K. later this year. Any word on this?

"Charlie Watts tribute show in London show in December or early next year. The Rolling Stones will be there but it won't be exclusively a Stones gig." - [iorr.org] .

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: MisterDDDD ()
Date: November 1, 2021 00:40

Charlie honored in the "In Memoriam" segment of the Rock and Roll HOF induction ceremony last night.
Very touching to see.

Only video I could find of it.. in the link.

[twitter.com]
(lots of other clips as well)

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: JadedFaded ()
Date: November 5, 2021 19:04

Has anybody seen this incredible child’s tribute to Charlie? What a talented kid Nandi Bushell is and what great taste in music she has!!

[www.iheart.com]

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: SomeTorontoGirl ()
Date: November 5, 2021 22:28

Quote
JadedFaded
Has anybody seen this incredible child’s tribute to Charlie? What a talented kid Nandi Bushell is and what great taste in music she has!!

[www.iheart.com]

Nandi is simply amazing. I love that so many excellent musicians are mentoring her, from Dave Grohl and Lenny Kravitz to (I learn) Ringo. I do hope the Stones reach out to her and show her some love.


Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: MAF ()
Date: November 6, 2021 02:17

Quote
SomeTorontoGirl
Quote
JadedFaded
Has anybody seen this incredible child’s tribute to Charlie? What a talented kid Nandi Bushell is and what great taste in music she has!!

[www.iheart.com]

Nandi is simply amazing. I love that so many excellent musicians are mentoring her, from Dave Grohl and Lenny Kravitz to (I learn) Ringo. I do hope the Stones reach out to her and show her some love.

What a great talent! And she did a live performance with the Foo Fighters at the Forum LA.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Freebird1959 ()
Date: November 6, 2021 12:11

Quote
MAF
Quote
SomeTorontoGirl
Quote
JadedFaded
Has anybody seen this incredible child’s tribute to Charlie? What a talented kid Nandi Bushell is and what great taste in music she has!!

[www.iheart.com]

Nandi is simply amazing. I love that so many excellent musicians are mentoring her, from Dave Grohl and Lenny Kravitz to (I learn) Ringo. I do hope the Stones reach out to her and show her some love.

What a great talent! And she did a live performance with the Foo Fighters at the Forum LA.

What a multi-talent! This sweet girl is fanatic in a good way.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: November 9, 2021 18:21

The Rock Hall Induction Cut a Charlie Watts All-Star Tribute for Time

By Devon Ivie
Nov. 8, 2021

Despite Paul McCartney and Foo Fighters somewhat reviving the tradition of an “all-star jam” at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony (two is better than nothing, but still …) fans were seemingly deprived of a bigger and more poignant way to close out the evening’s festivities. According to Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine, who was inducted with the rest of her pop-punk sisterhood at the ceremony, the original plan was to perform “Tumbling Dice” as a tribute to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died unexpectedly earlier this year at the age of 80. “It ended up not happening, due to the show length and union issue I am fairly certain,” Valentine wrote on her website. “It was not the Rock Hall’s fault, that’s for certain. Anyway, rehearsing the song was a highlight for sure and this was where I ended up feeling totally comfortable with our place in the whole she-bang.” Valentine shared a photograph of the tribute’s rehearsal, which would’ve mixed the talents of the Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, Mickey Guyton, Brandi Carlile, Jennifer Hudson, and H.E.R.

The touchstones of the performance, Valentine continued, were that Belinda Carlisle, Brandi Carlile, and Jennifer Hudson would’ve traded “Tumbling Dice” vocal duties with each verse, while Dave Grohl and H.E.R. shredded the guitar solos together. “Everyone was so supportive and mutually fanning on each other, it was just incredible,” she added. “It was a great way to end the night before the induction ceremony.” Vulture has reached out to the Rock Hall for comment and clarification about what could’ve been. Until then, you can all “Get Back” and demand that they release the Dice Cut.

[www.vulture.com]

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: November 15, 2021 00:40

2 decades with the Rolling Stones: Michigan-bred Tim Ries salutes friend Charlie Watts

Brian McCollum
November 14, 2021


The night before the Rolling Stones hit Comerica Park in 2015, saxophonist Tim Ries headed to a cozy Detroit music spot to play some jazz with friends.

At one point, he joked to the small crowd that he wanted to introduce a young drummer looking for a break in the biz. And so up came his Stones pal Charlie Watts, the rocker with the striking silver hair and graceful touch at the drum kit, to join Ries’ ensemble for a pair of numbers.

One of the songs they performed together that evening at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, with Watts playing brushes, was poignant in retrospect — a rendition of a 1930s standard with a famous opening line: “For all we know, we may never meet again.”

For Ries, a Tecumseh native who has been part of the Rolling Stones’ touring band for more than two decades, it was the latest in a slew of memorable nights with Watts, a friendship forged through a shared love of jazz. Beyond the bright lights and packed stadiums onstage with the Stones, they’d done dozens of these small gigs together.

Watts died in August at age 80, two years to the week after his final concert. It had already been announced the ailing drummer would be replaced by Steve Jordan for the band’s soon-to-resume No Filter Tour, which will bring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and company to Ford Field on Monday.

Ries remembers Watts as an encyclopedia when it came to the vintage stuff — the Duke Ellingtons, Charlie Parkers, Elvin Joneses. When an old song’s name eluded the sax player, he could bang out a few notes and Watts would pipe up with the title. For Watts, ever eager to get tuned into the latest great players, the younger Ries was an entree to the newer stuff on the scene.

Ries, a University of Michigan grad raised in a musical family, wasn’t a rock 'n' roll guy when he got the Stones call-up in ’98, having been recommended to the band by a horn-player friend.

“I’m a person who grew up playing mostly jazz,” says Ries. “And being from Michigan, I loved Motown and soul music. Aretha and Stevie are heroes. Of course Duke Ellington and Coltrane. And that’s the music Charlie loved as well. That was his passion since he was a kid.”

It didn’t take long for Ries to pick up on Watts’ jazz stylings — the traditional stick grip, the lilting swing he lent to the rhythms, the elegant fills. It wasn’t a conventional rock approach, but it made the Stones’ music distinctive and unique

“I was noticing how he played,” Ries recalls. “There’s a certain way a jazz drummer hits the instrument. You never saw Charlie bashing the drums.”

Eventually they got to talking about musicians, and by 2002 — after catching a Kenny Garrett show together in Chicago — they were regularly heading out for late nights in the clubs. Watts always got a seat near the drummer and made it a point to go backstage to meet the musicians. He and Ries were often the last to leave.

“He was always wanting to go hear music,” says Ries. “Charlie was such a sweetheart, such a nice human being, like this hip uncle everybody wishes they had. He was a super famous guy, but never came off like that. It wasn’t ‘Charlie Watts, the star drummer of the Stones.’ He was there to watch the bands.”

Watts’ jazzy touches with the Stones inspired Ries to embark on his own take on the band’s music: The two-part “Rolling Stones Project” — featuring jazz arrangements of hits and including guests such as Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones — was released in 2005 and 2008.

Ries also began setting up his own little jazz gigs while on the road with the Stones. He estimates he did about 50 of them over the years — nearly all of them attended by Watts, who invariably hopped onstage for cameo spots.

'Every night is inspiring'

The saxophonist has pulled the plug for now on his side performances while out on the No Filter Tour. Amid the pandemic, the Stones’ 200-person touring crew is operating very much in a restrictive bubble, getting tested weekly and traveling with a doctor and nurse. Ries said he won’t even get to see his sisters during this week’s Detroit visit, and he hasn’t eaten in a restaurant in months.

Still, after a year-plus of downtime that prompted him to write a couple of hundred songs on the piano at home (and “I’ve never practiced more saxophone since I was in my 20s”), he’s thrilled to be back at it. And he says the Rolling Stones are playing at a stunningly high level.

“The audience can feel that — they can sense we’re having a good time,” Ries says. “You look at Mick Jagger, who’s almost 80 and running around like a 20-year-old, the consummate entertainer who makes the person in the last row feel like he’s connecting with them. I’m in my 60s and I couldn’t do that if you paid me a million dollars. Seeing that every night is inspiring.”

“It was perfect Charlie,” Ries says. “Sitting there smiling and having a wonderful time playing jazz.”

For now, Detroit is the third-to-last stop on the No Filter schedule. But 2022 is the Rolling Stones’ 60th anniversary, and while there’s no word yet, Ries says his sense is “they would love to tour.”

“People have been asking me since my first Stones tour, ‘Is this the last one?’” Ries says. “But musicians play until they die. And why not? We got into it for the love, not money. Your thing is putting an instrument in your hands and creating sounds. And that energy creates a buzz for the audience. This great shared thing we have with live music is unlike anything else. You’re around people all feeling that same energy and that collective joy.”

Ries’ versatile body of work most recently included the 2019 album “Life Changes” and the film “How Far the Stars,” chronicling his work with a group of Roma players in Budapest. Just before the pandemic, he and L.A. director Jordan Walker-Pearlman embarked on a documentary titled “The Jazz Griots: Liberty in Cadence,” capturing the living elders in African American jazz.

Jazz is the music running through his veins, but Reis says his tenure with the Stones has informed his own work over time.

“It’s not that their songs are simplistic, but there’s something about having a song that people retain in their minds 60 years later. That’s something they don’t teach you in university,” he says. “There’s something in popular music, this thing where you remember for the rest of your life. That’s influenced me, too. Not that I’m trying to write a hit, but trying to write something that appeals to me and hopefully translates to others.”

And Ries certainly isn't taking the experience for granted. He has, after all, become a fixture in the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band.

“I look out every night, still kind of amazed. It’s wonderful to be part of this living history,” he says. “With the passing of Charlie, you really realize how special it is. Because it won’t be forever. Twenty years from now, it would be a miracle if I’m still touring with the Rolling Stones. But you never know. I mean, Keith is so strong. Mick is so great.

“But I’m not thinking about that. I’m just enjoying this time, and with Charlie’s passing, it means that much more. We’re playing this music and missing him like crazy, but we’re still appreciative we’re doing it.”

[www.freep.com]

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Naturalust ()
Date: November 21, 2021 04:27

Quote
swiss
Quote
Naturalust

swiss~!!

Naturalust!! smiling bouncing smiley

I miss you girl! Get in touch, we can have a Charlie cry and catch up. So much goin' on here. I miss you girl!

(I miss you sandwich above, take a bite...)

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: December 6, 2021 19:50

14-Sep-2021: "For the first time ever the Boisdale Music Awards (Canary Wharf, London, UK) featured the all new Charlie Watts Award in honour of the legendary Rolling Stones sticksman and to recognise incredible rock and roll drummers and legendary musical talent such as Kenney Jones of the Small Faces and the Who who collected the award on the night." - [www.TheJazzMann.com] .

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Paddy ()
Date: December 6, 2021 21:54

No matter what I’ve read that’s been written, and there’s been numerous interviews like Tim’s I have read, all articles on Charlie contained the word “Gentleman”
Not surprising, but glad to see it acknowledged by all. Charlie was a gentle soul.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: peoplewitheyes ()
Date: December 11, 2021 18:08


Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: December 11, 2021 18:18


Thanks! A beautiful piece by Dave Green, his friend from 5 years old. And a wonderful photo of Charlie from 1959. He really had a style already then.

- Doxa



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-12-11 18:20 by Doxa.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: MisterDDDD ()
Date: December 11, 2021 19:59

Quote
Doxa

Thanks! A beautiful piece by Dave Green, his friend from 5 years old. And a wonderful photo of Charlie from 1959. He really had a style already then.

- Doxa

Great read! Thanks.

Hadn't realized he spent nine weeks in the hospital prior to passing.
Must have been very hard for the family and the band.

Agree Doxa, great pic of Charlie from '59 (an outstanding year winking smiley)


Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: December 11, 2021 20:21


Thanks peoplewitheyes, that was very nice...and poignant.

"But even though he blended in, he was a very strong presence in the Stones.
I always felt like I couldn’t imagine the Stones without Charlie".
- Dave Green


RIP Charlie

_____________________________________________________________
Rip this joint, gonna save your soul, round and round and round we go......

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: December 11, 2021 22:26

Charlie Watts remembered by Dave Green

Great read. Thanks, peoplewitheyes.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: windmelody ()
Date: December 11, 2021 23:24

A very beautiful obituary by Mr. Dave Green!

George Thorogood on Charlie Watts
Posted by: bitusa2012 ()
Date: December 5, 2021 13:12

Question from an interview in the Herald Tribune - apologies in advance if posted elsewhere.

Q. The year before that show, you and the Destroyers opened for the Rolling Stones. Of course, Charlie Watts sadly passed away earlier this year. Do you have any memories of Watts from your time performing with him?

A. How about this one; you ready? I was fortunate enough to meet the Rolling Stones before I ever saw them play. How do you like that? The first thing one of the Rolling Stones said to me, the very first thing, was one of the Rolling Stones walked up to me with my album and said, “George, may I have your autograph?” And it was Charlie Watts. Can you top that rock and roll story? I don’t think so!

Rod



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-12-05 17:53 by bitusa2012.

Re: George Thorogood on Charlie Watts
Posted by: Spodlumt ()
Date: December 12, 2021 19:26

I do not believe this story one bit.

Re: George Thorogood on Charlie Watts
Posted by: Nikkei ()
Date: December 12, 2021 19:33

its the tone that makes the music

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: TrulyMicks1 ()
Date: December 13, 2021 21:41

Quote
bye bye johnny
The Rock Hall Induction Cut a Charlie Watts All-Star Tribute for Time

By Devon Ivie
Nov. 8, 2021

Despite Paul McCartney and Foo Fighters somewhat reviving the tradition of an “all-star jam” at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony (two is better than nothing, but still …) fans were seemingly deprived of a bigger and more poignant way to close out the evening’s festivities. According to Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine, who was inducted with the rest of her pop-punk sisterhood at the ceremony, the original plan was to perform “Tumbling Dice” as a tribute to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died unexpectedly earlier this year at the age of 80. “It ended up not happening, due to the show length and union issue I am fairly certain,” Valentine wrote on her website. “It was not the Rock Hall’s fault, that’s for certain. Anyway, rehearsing the song was a highlight for sure and this was where I ended up feeling totally comfortable with our place in the whole she-bang.” Valentine shared a photograph of the tribute’s rehearsal, which would’ve mixed the talents of the Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, Mickey Guyton, Brandi Carlile, Jennifer Hudson, and H.E.R.

The touchstones of the performance, Valentine continued, were that Belinda Carlisle, Brandi Carlile, and Jennifer Hudson would’ve traded “Tumbling Dice” vocal duties with each verse, while Dave Grohl and H.E.R. shredded the guitar solos together. “Everyone was so supportive and mutually fanning on each other, it was just incredible,” she added. “It was a great way to end the night before the induction ceremony.” Vulture has reached out to the Rock Hall for comment and clarification about what could’ve been. Until then, you can all “Get Back” and demand that they release the Dice Cut.

[www.vulture.com]

What a shame. They should’ve made Charlie’s tribute a priority.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: spikenyc ()
Date: December 13, 2021 23:09

Sweet tribute to Charlie from his old friend.
Thanks for posting.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: December 18, 2021 13:07

2021 Took Charlie Watts, But His Beat Goes On

Our 2021 Annual Report continues with a look at one of music's biggest losses this year



Gary Graff
December 15, 2021

During most of the band’s nearly 60 years, a Rolling Stones concert began with Keith Richards playing one of those famous guitar licks. But that changed on the fall leg of the group’s continuing ”No Filter Tour.”

It had to.

The first sound audiences heard this time out was Charlie Watts playing the drums, and the first image they saw was Watts on the video screen, larger than life (but not reputation), before any of The Stones walked on the stage. Emerging to open with “Tumbling Dice,” the band dedicated each show to the late drummer. It was an appropriate, and necessary, homage to the man Mick Jagger said was “the rock the rest of it was built around.”

Watts’ passing on August 24th, at the age of 80 — just three weeks after announcing he would be sitting out a tour for his first time during his tenure with The Stones — shook the world in a way that few have before. It was a death in the family, a cause for universal mourning even beyond the music world. Network news programs reported on it. Tributes poured in from all corners of the world. There was a genuine recognition that a legend had left our midst, and that both The Rolling Stones and rock ‘n’ roll as a whole would never be the same.

“Charlie was a great guy, a lot of fun — and he had a harder band to keep together!” the Beatles’ Ringo Starr recalled a few weeks later. “We’ll miss Charlie. He was a beautiful human being. He was, like, the quiet man.”

Quiet, perhaps, but with an impact that was as loud as anybody who sat behind a drum kit during — or even before — the rock era. His passing created an opportunity for the world to acknowledge and, in many cases, learn about how important and special Watts really was.

Drumming discussions seldom mentioned Watts in the company of The Who’s Keith Moon, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, or many of his other hard-hitting, nimble-limbed colleagues. But those who knew considered Watts a leader in the field, a first among equals, a man of taste (and wealth, due to The Rolling Stones’ iconic success) who played with a jazzman’s touch for staying in the pocket and just enough behind the beat to keep the song on track, providing a foundation for his bandmates’ sometimes unpredictable musical excursions.

Watts was the dependable, workmanlike rock The Stones were built on — “the engine room,” as Richards often referred to him — subtly clever and swinging, picking his spots to stand out only when it was called for.

“A most vital part of being in this band was that Charlie Watts was my bed,” Richards said before the “No Filter Tour” began. “I could lay on there, and I know that not only would I have a good sleep, but I’d wake up and it’d still be rocking. It was something I’ve had since I was 19. I never doubted it. I never even thought about it.”

Jagger added that Watts “held the band together for so long, musically, because he was always there, always played beautifully and was always willing to discuss what to do about it — how he could make it better.”

Some years earlier, bassist Bill Wyman, who played with Watts in The Rolling Stones from ’63 to ’92, identified his rhythm section partner as “an economist… I look at all these drummers that have all these pieces on [their kits] to band around on, and Charlie has, like, seven. And he gets as much out of what he has as they do — maybe more — just ’cause he’s such a great player.”

During The Stones’ 1978 tour, Watts — a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame — explained the sensibility to writer Chet Flippo: “Rock swings with a heavy backbeat. It’s supposed to be fun, and that’s why I like it. It’s dance music… Heavy backbeat, that’s what it is.”

Raised in the northwest London district of Kingsbury, Watts played soccer and cricket as a youth but became enamored with jazz early on, buying 78 RPM releases by Charlie Parker, Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, and others. Starting out playing banjo, Watts was inspired by Gerry Mulligan’s drummer Chico Hamilton to put his banjo head on a stand and use it as a snare drum.

Watts’ parents bought him his first proper drum kit in 1955, and he began playing with the Jo Jones All Stars in clubs and coffee houses. All the while, he was studying at Harrow Art School and eventually working as a graphic designer for Charles Daniels Studios.

Watts had taken a job in Denmark when Alexis Korner asked him to join his band Blues Incorporated in 1961. The drummer returned to London, where he worked days at another advertising company, before meeting Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ian Stewart as they entered Korner’s orbit. They began courting him to join The Rolling Stones when they formed the band in 1962, and Watts finally agreed in January of 1963.

“I thought it would be good fun, and I liked [the other band members],” Watts once said. “I did not at all think it would be a lifetime job. How could I?” In fact, two years after joining the group, Watts published an illustrated book about Charlie Parker, Ode to a High Flying Bird, he’d written during his art school days.

In addition to playing drums, Watts also lent his graphic skills to the band early on. He helped design the covers for albums such as Between the Buttons, as well as tour stages, logos, and posters.

While maintaining an unassuming presence on stage, where his playing did the talking, Watts certainly understood his value within the band. He was also, for the most part, the Rolling Stone least affected by the group’s iconic success. In his book STP: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones, Robert Greenfield recounted that during The Stones’ 1972 North American tour, Watts spent a visit to the Playboy Mansion playing billiards rather than cavorting with women.

“Being a Rolling Stone has almost passed [Watts] by,” Wyman wrote in his memoir, Stone Alone. “He has never courted fame or sought pop stardom. Inside a band of powerful personalities he remains a true British eccentric.”

But not one without an ego of his own. Perhaps the most famous bit of Watts lore was when he received a late-night drunken phone call from Jagger, who was asking, “Where’s my drummer?” Watts responded by shaving, putting on a suit and tie, going to the singer’s hotel room, knocking on the door and punching him. “Never call me ‘your drummer’ again,” he told Jagger.

Outside of The Stones, Watts released a selection of albums with side projects, starting with Live at Fulham Town Hall with his own Charlie Watts Orchestra in 1986. He also formed a quintet and a tentet, recorded a collaborative project with fellow drummer Jim Keltner in 2000, and a 2010 live recording with the Danish Radio Big Band was released in 2017. He periodically played with touring Rolling Stones member Tim Ries at the saxophonist’s solo jazz shows and, while in various towns, was known to frequent clubs and other local venues that he favored.

Meanwhile, Watts was known outside of music for his sartorial style. He was once named one of the World’s Best Dressed Men by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, while Vanity Fair chose him for its International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 2006. “Charlie was Mr. Style, man,” Richards said in September after Watts’ passing. “His joy was to go to Savile Row and have these suits made. It was his playground. His tailor could tell you more about him than I could.” Watts and his wife, Shirley, also owned an Arabian horse stud farm, and he was once president of the North Wales Sheepdog Society.

Despite his seemingly reserved demeanor, Watts grappled with alcohol and drug abuse, including heroin, during the early and mid-’80s. Fitting for his personality, he quietly worked his way through them on his own. The health issues didn’t end there, as he was diagnosed with throat cancer in June of 2004. “We were scared,” Richards said shortly Watts had battled the illness into submission. “We’ve had other people come and go in the band… but if there’s no Charlie, there’s no Stones.”

The band has changed its tune about that in the wake of Watts’ death. There is Rolling Stones music he recorded on that may see the light of day, and Steve Jordan has won kudos as an able replacement on the road. “It’s a very pleasant thing, being carried on the waves — with Charlie’s blessing,” Wood said prior to the tour’s start.

Richards also notes that “Charlie was prepared for us to go ahead.” Jagger added that “anything could happen… if things are good next year and everyone’s feeling good about touring, I’m sure we’ll do shows.”

And you can bet that those shows will still likely be marching to the beat Watts established over all those years with the band.

[consequence.net]

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: bisonvodka ()
Date: December 18, 2021 23:26

Thank you for sharing. Charlie and Dave give us so many great music. Very touching words from Dave.

Re: Charlie Watts Dies at 80
Posted by: CaptainCorella ()
Date: December 27, 2021 11:34

Spotted in another thread (the Covid one).

Totally brilliant remark.

"The James Watt telescope (they could have renamed it to Charlie Watts telescope, though) has finally made it into space!"

Is it too late to start the campaign?

--
Captain Corella
50+ Years a Fan

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