A New Interview & Thoughts on Charlie Watts
Recently Kurt Mitzkakis of German Rock e. V.
did another interview with me for RockRadio
(not in English, though, but in German): we were talking about the future of Antichrisis and new ways of music publishing, and you can listen to this interview here
or download it from there
. So many thanks to Kurt for this really interesting and pleasant conversation.
In August 2021 Charlie Watts died at the age of 80, and although I seem to have a split relationship with the Rolling Stones (I really loved the early Stones from 1963 to 1967 and I could still get something out of them from 1968 to 1978, but from the 80s onwards they had lost me completely as they started to sound more and more like a third-class imitation of themselves to my ears), I always considered Charlie Watts - much like Ringo Starr - as one of the most underrated and yet best drummers in rock history.
He was not a berserker like Keith Moon or John Bonham; he refused to play - and there is the parallel to Ringo Starr again - any kind of drum solo. He was a minimalist in the best sense, according to the motto that the best notes are the ones you don't play. This gave not only his drumming but the whole sound of the Rolling Stones that laid-back feeling that characterises many of their best tracks.
Charlie Watts' style sometimes seemed a little behind the pace, but actually it never was. In fact it was the ideal match for Keith Richards' guitar riffs, which always seemed a bit sloppy.
There are probably hundreds of drummers who are technically superior to Charlie Watts, but only few play in such a song-oriented way that he did. And above all, there are only a few who manage to create such unique drum intros that let one immediately recognise the respective song: Charlie Watts succeeded in this with his opening drum groove to "Get Off Of My Cloud" as well as Ringo Starr with "Tomorrow Never Knows" or John Bonham with his intro to "Rock and Roll".
Charlie Watts was one of those drummers who never played himself to the fore, but nevertheless kept everything together and with whom every musician on this planet would have liked to jam at any given time. The big band up there in heaven has recruited another excellent drummer who will be sadly missed down here.