Keith Richards: Charlie Watts Keeps Stones Grounded

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
Keith Richards: Charlie Watts Keeps Stones Grounded



Vic Garbarini: [How] does a band like the Stones...keep grounded?

Keith Richards: Maybe the answer is in the nature of the band itself.., that each person in the band in some way grounds the others. If there's anything that's stopped us from blowing our loudspeakers, it's probably each other....

VG: I would imagine that Charlie and Bill [Wyman] are a key element in that anchoring mechanism.

KR: Yeah, in that they're both incredibly down-to-earth sort of people. Charlie, after twenty 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. Bill and Charlie are very similar in that they keep you grounded because you can't really be around people like them and strike any false notes musically or personally, because you'll instantly get locked out of the room. I imagine that if we'd had a couple of totally different guys in their places, we could have collapsed in a very short time.

Source: Keith Richards: The Heart of the Stones, by Vic Garbarini, Musician December 1983.

Photo Credit of Charlie Watts

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Keith once said when asked about the Stones playing live " Charlie is the bed that I lie on" No greater complement for a drummer.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
Hasn't Keith Richards also said "Charlie IS the rolling stones"? I think I remember reading that somewhere.

As a younger guy I wasn't impressed with Charlie Watts but as I got older and listened more closely, I fell in love with THAT FEEL. However it's defined. Herky-Jerky? Uneven? Push-Pull? Even slightly loose and sloppy, but in a "good" way? Not hitting the hi-hat on 2 & 4? Whatever it is, I love the feel and have tried to emulate it when I've been in bands that played "Honky Tonk Women", "Jumping Jack Flash", "Start Me Up" and so on.

There's so much I love, with my favorite stuff being on the Tattoo You album. In particular, "Slave", and "Start Me Up". LOVE the sound of his drums and the way he does his fills.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
I don't get it, CW has got to be the luckiest mediocre drummer on this planet.

Lousy technique and his groove reminds me of somebody trying to drive a car with a clutch for the first time.

Comparing him with one of his contemporaries (Dave Clark),there is no comparison.

But nobody even mentions him anymore.

I doubt if CW could do a proper roll.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Lousy technique and his groove reminds me of somebody trying to drive a car with a clutch for the first time. Comparing him with one of his contemporaries (Dave Clark),there is no comparison.
I doubt if CW could do a proper roll.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I71cY9Ysy5U

c'mon seriously?
Charlie is modest enough and might agree with part of what you say, but oodles of technique doesn't earn him his cookies in the Rolling Stones.....And he's got more cookies than any of us here.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I don't get it, CW has got to be the luckiest mediocre drummer on this planet.

Lousy technique and his groove reminds me of somebody trying to drive a car with a clutch for the first time.

Comparing him with one of his contemporaries (Dave Clark),there is no comparison.

But nobody even mentions him anymore.

I doubt if CW could do a proper roll.
Yeah - if the rest of the Stones ever read this thread they'll be onto him and then he'll be out of a job.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I don't get it, CW has got to be the luckiest mediocre drummer on this planet.

Lousy technique and his groove reminds me of somebody trying to drive a car with a clutch for the first time.

Comparing him with one of his contemporaries (Dave Clark),there is no comparison.

But nobody even mentions him anymore.

I doubt if CW could do a proper roll.

Funny! Watts could groove reggae and Jazz way better than John Bonham and a lot of other rock drummers. Charlie Watts is still alive too.
 

Attachments

FreDrummer

Silver Member
He actually released a big band album back in the 80's or 90's, as that was his first love, drumming-wise. I owned the LP, but as I downsized my vinyl collection I let it go.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I don't get it, CW has got to be the luckiest mediocre drummer on this planet.

Lousy technique and his groove reminds me of somebody trying to drive a car with a clutch for the first time.

Comparing him with one of his contemporaries (Dave Clark),there is no comparison.

But nobody even mentions him anymore.

I doubt if CW could do a proper roll.
Good one. Ha ha. Using the great DC as a comparison.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
To be fair, Dave Clark is super underrated in retrospect. Dave Clark Five never adapted to the times and played the same music all throughout the 60's, so they were forgotten about. At the time, though, DC5 were highly regarded, moreso than the Stones if we're talking 1964-65.

Even Buddy Rich liked him. That says something.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
To be fair, Dave Clark is super underrated in retrospect. Dave Clark Five never adapted to the times and played the same music all throughout the 60's, so they were forgotten about.
That says something too. I guess he kept the Dave Clark Five 'grounded'.
But he did do well as a stuntman though.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
To be fair, Dave Clark is super underrated in retrospect. Dave Clark Five never adapted to the times and played the same music all throughout the 60's, so they were forgotten about. At the time, though, DC5 were highly regarded, moreso than the Stones if we're talking 1964-65.

Even Buddy Rich liked him. That says something.
DC5 back in the day topped the charts over the Beatles and Stones more often than not.
They were THE band out out of England during their time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4Exx7JQW-8
 

mikel

Platinum Member
To be fair Dave Clark wasn't playing, he was knocking nails in. Some good songs though. No where near the drummer Charlie was/is though.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
To be fair, Dave Clark is super underrated in retrospect. Dave Clark Five never adapted to the times and played the same music all throughout the 60's, so they were forgotten about. At the time, though, DC5 were highly regarded, moreso than the Stones if we're talking 1964-65.

Even Buddy Rich liked him. That says something.
Buddy Rich's retort on the Dick Cavett show after he mentioned CW can twirl his sticks, "Yeah,but I can play".

I guess Buddy didn't get it either.
 

Pylot

Senior Member
I am no authority but have seen on more than one documentary that said while the Stones were reaping the wind that Charlie retired to his room and remained faithful to his wife. If that is true then the man is truly grounded. It sure seems believable.

I have often wondered how anyone in their 20's could possibly survive unlimited access to absolutely anything. Many of them did not survive and a lot of them that did survive died early. The rock n roll life takes its toll and my brother and I lament the passing of our favorites as they occur. 65 turns out to be an old rocker.

Charlie is one of my favorite drummers and I love trying to cover Stones music on my drums. Success takes many forms and its really hard to argue with or legitimately criticize those who define that exclusive club.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Charlie Watts has jazz (swing) skills that are pretty good too. But he also is very aware concerning which side of the bread is butter is on.
 
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basset52

Senior Member
Thanks for posting the CW interview. Really enjoyed the insight into the man and how he views his playing and drumming in general. Seemed like he had a really honest assessment of his playing. Is he the best in the business? Does it matter?Not in my view.
Cheers
 
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