Charlie Watts Time Meter

giansanity

Junior Member
Drummers,

I am looking to see if a story I heard about Charlie Watts was true. I heard this in the mid 1990's, so I imagine it took place around that time or slightly before. The story was at a gathering of notable drummers a time meter challenge was presented to all of them. The drummer and audience would hear the metronome. The drummer would start playing to the metronome. After the drummer was locked in to the meter the metronome was removed from the drummer. The audience would hear both the metronome and the drummer. When the drummer was finally off meter from the original speed he would be stopped. The best drummer obviously was the one who could play the longest after the metronome was removed. Two notable things happened in this story I was told: 1) Neil Peart failed within seconds of the metronome being removed (to the shock of everyone) and 2) Charlie Watts played so long that he got a standing ovation from the audience and was eventually just told to stop. (clearly he would have played until exhaustion.)

What I am looking for is:

1) Is this story true, false or a variation of the real event?
2) If true what was the drum gathering titled?
3) Is there video for this event?

Thanks,

Jeffry
 

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
not true

99.9999% of music listeners dont care whether the drummer played to a metronome.

In my observation, the number of Tom Toms and flashy theatrical chops that Peart and Watts uses in playing is inversely proportional to the fame and money that they make. :)
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
Seems clear to me, that Charlie has a very good timing.

But can't imagine a place in the world in the 90's, where Neil, Charlie and some more great drummers are sitting in a room with audience and participate at such a contest.


Bernhard
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Neil has spoken of meeting Charlie Watts for the first time at a SARS benefit in Toronto in 2003, so that puts the kibosh on it if you heard about it in the 90's.

Interestingly, the DVD documenting the benefit concert (Toronto Rocks) has the Rolling Stones playing "Rock Me Baby" with several of the other artists joining them, and the tempo is all over the place. Still great, though!
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
I'd say that's a total myth. Why would these drummers even take part in this? What could possibly be the setting? And who was in the audience? They definitely wouldn't have been average concert goers; the place must have been filled with musicians (or even just drummers) for such an event to even generate the slightest of interest.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Hadn't heard this story before, although it sounds unlikely. Precious few celebrity drummers compete in things like this, even for fun. And when you see a bunch of players get together in front of an audience, it's for something like Burning For Buddy, where it's not a competition. Or going back a few years, Rich Vs. Roach, and the like. It was all about the performance and the show, not about being ranked or hung out to dry like Peart supposedly was. And with the exception of Mike Mangini, you never saw name drummers doing WFD, either.

The reason is, nobody wants to be shown up in front or among their peers. It's not necessarily that they don't like losing, they just don't want their reputation tarnished. There are probably a couple of drummers who would gleefully accept such challenges, but Peart and Watts wouldn't be among them.

Bermuda
 

giansanity

Junior Member
The guy that told me this back in the 95 was pretty credible, but then again he could have been lying or misinformed. This topic came up recently and I started searching for this mythological unicorn of an event. I found no video. I went through a ton of interviews of Charlie and there was no mention of it either. To me this would be something, if it was real, that most drummers would know about. It would be as iconic as Charlie dressing up in full suit to punch Jagger (and tell him "He is his singer".) If you add to the fact that Charlie and Neil did not meet until 2003 then that about does it. I suppose theoretically they could have played on the same stage and never met.

Thanks for your quick response everyone!
 

B-squared

Silver Member
I am giving up trying to find this on the "Search" feature. Maybe somebody can help me with this, but somebody posted a site that graphically graphs and scores songs for tempo consistency. Aside from Michael Jackson-type stuff, where click tracks were used, Stones songs scored consistently greater than 90 percent, which shows the skills of Charlie Watts.

That is a really cool site. I should have bookmarked it. Anyway, the site showed how good Charlie is at keeping tempo.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I am giving up trying to find this on the "Search" feature. Maybe somebody can help me with this, but somebody posted a site that graphically graphs and scores songs for tempo consistency. Aside from Michael Jackson-type stuff, where click tracks were used, Stones songs scored consistently greater than 90 percent, which shows the skills of Charlie Watts.

That is a really cool site. I should have bookmarked it. Anyway, the site showed how good Charlie is at keeping tempo.
Right here: http://labs.echonest.com/click/
 

drstrangefunk

Senior Member
Drummers,

I am looking to see if a story I heard about Charlie Watts was true. I heard this in the mid 1990's, so I imagine it took place around that time or slightly before. The story was at a gathering of notable drummers a time meter challenge was presented to all of them. The drummer and audience would hear the metronome. The drummer would start playing to the metronome. After the drummer was locked in to the meter the metronome was removed from the drummer. The audience would hear both the metronome and the drummer. When the drummer was finally off meter from the original speed he would be stopped. The best drummer obviously was the one who could play the longest after the metronome was removed. Two notable things happened in this story I was told: 1) Neil Peart failed within seconds of the metronome being removed (to the shock of everyone) and 2) Charlie Watts played so long that he got a standing ovation from the audience and was eventually just told to stop. (clearly he would have played until exhaustion.)

What I am looking for is:

1) Is this story true, false or a variation of the real event?
2) If true what was the drum gathering titled?
3) Is there video for this event?

Thanks,

Jeffry
that's a good one. that's even better than Q: "Jimi Hendrix, are you the greatest guitar player in the world ?" A: "I don't know, ask Phil Keaggy".
 
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