From The Mouth of Charlie Watts

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Charlie Watts "If It Ain't Got That Swing"

There's very few drummers like that. Everybody thinks Mick and Keith are the Rolling Stones. If Charlie wasn't doing what he's doing on drums, that wouldn't be true at all. I don't know how the hell that old sucker got to be so good. He'd be the last one to agree, but to me he's THE drummer. There's not many rock and roll drummers that actually swing. It's the difference between something that trundles down the highway and never takes off and something that actually FLIES. It's got nothing to do with the technicalities and the flash fills and the solos and the power - although, I'll tell you, I would hate to be on the end of his fist.

And like all good players he's a modest, self-effacing person. Like Stu Ian Stewart.

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The good ones don't need to be flash. They don't need to blow their own trumpet. Only people who are unsure of themselves mouth off. Charlie never says anything.

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From the Mouth of Charlie Watts by Kelly Watts (2012, Paperback)

He just stands there with his arms folded, holding his cup of coffee. If you ask him what he thinks of something, he'll just say, I don't know. And when the time comes, he's right there. There's nothing forced about Charlie, least of all his modesty. He cannot understand what people see in his drumming. Charlie, after 20 years, still can't stand the thought of having to do even the slightest thing that strikes a false note, like smiling at somebody if you don't want to. He'd rather give them a scowl, so at least it's honest.

Charlie is incredibly honest, brutally honest. Lying bores him. He just sees right through you to start with. And he's not even that interested in knowing, he just does. That's Charlie Watts. He just knows you immediately. If he likes you, he'll tell you things, give you things, and you'll leave feeling like you've been talking to Jesus Christ.

They say he's a dying breed, but with people like Charlie, they must always have been rare. Genuinely eccentric in the sense of having his own way of doing things. Just to put it on a very physical plane: At the end of the show, he'll leave the stage, and the sirens will be going, limousines waiting, and Charlie will walk back to his drumkit and change the position of his drumsticks by 2 millimeters.

Then he'll look at it. Then if it looks good, he'll leave. He has this preoccupation with aesthetics, this vision of how things should be that nobody will ever know about except Charlie. The drums are about to be stripped down and put in the back of a truck, and he CANNOT leave if he's got it in his mind that he's left his sticks in a displeasing way. It's so Zen. So you see what I mean about who the hell can I possibly play with after this guy with such a sense of space and touch.

The only word I can use for Charlie is deep. The only time I love attention is when I walk onstage, but when I walk off, I don't want it. For the band, I want everyone to love us and go crazy, but when I walk off, I don't want it.


  1. To the Batpole: An Essay/Parody on Batman!
  2. I DREAM THAT ONE DAY.
  3. The Kiss.
  4. Charlie Watts.
  5. C.R.O.W. (The Union Series Book 1);
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I guess I want both worlds. I never could deal with it and still can't.

From the Mouth of Charlie Watts

I collect anything, not only drums. I collect anything.

I don't sleep on tours, 'cause I got no one to sleep with. So I talk to people - and I draw. I get bored anywhere. The only time I'm not bored is when I'm drawing, playing the drums or talking. I talk a lot, about nothing usually, and all contradictory. Shirley always accuses me of having no beliefs. Maybe that's why I can talk to anyone.

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