When Charlie Watts finally arrived in New York

“The engine” was the musicians ‘favorite expression to describe Mr. Watts’ role in the band. Also: its engine, its spine, its heart rate...


“The engine” was the musicians ‘favorite expression to describe Mr. Watts’ role in the band. Also: its engine, its spine, its heart rate, its scaffolding, its glue. Soft-spoken Mr. Watts, who died last Tuesday, was more modest, claiming that he had been “brought up on the theory that the drummer was an accompanist”. His job, he said, was to “keep the time and help other people do what they’re doing,” to give the music a little “swing and bounce” that would make people get up and dance.

When other drummers began to opt for bigger, more sophisticated kits, adorned with all manner of chimes and gongs, Mr. Watts stuck to a small four-piece drum set from 1957 and, unlike Keith Moon and Ginger Baker, he never opted for flash pyrotechnics. or showy solos. He loved performing on stage with his pals, but he hated the road life, hated leaving the house, hated the pitfalls of rock ‘n’ roll – parties, the press, screaming girls. As his group mates went out late at night getting into trouble, Mr Watts was often in his hotel room making sketches of the bed: he told interviewers he had drawn all the beds in the room. which he had slept on tour since 1967; in 2001, he said, he had completed 12 to 15 diaries.

Besides, Mr. Watts said he didn’t feel out of place in the whole rock’n’roll scene – “I live in the TCM world, Turner Classic Movies,” he told one. BBC radio show, explaining that he inherited his father’s love for 40s-style bespoke suits, and considered Fred Astaire “the ultimate in what you should be if you’re a professional.”

Indeed, Mr. Watts was a man of contradictions – a jazzman in the world’s greatest rock’n’roll group, an old-fashioned gentleman among pirates and bad boys, a homebody who spent much of the time. of his professional life on the road. It was also his contradictions – his loose, swinging style combined with his love of precision; his idiosyncratic technique combined with his remarkable versatility – this made him such an exceptional drummer and the perfect musical partner for Keith Richards in creating the Stones’ signature sound.

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Newsrust - US Top News: When Charlie Watts finally arrived in New York
When Charlie Watts finally arrived in New York
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