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Drummers: The Big Huerta And Charlie Watts: “Good Tonight Inn’t He?”

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Hate to break it to you Mr. Jagger…Charlie is good every night! Mr. Charlie Watts, the gentleman of rock. If rock music was hockey he would have 40 Lady Byng trophies. Charlie Watts is arguably one of the top drummers in rock. I won’t argue with that. Keep your Neil Peart’s, your Dale Bozzio’s, give me the dude that makes your head nod and your ears perk up when you hear the first snare hit of “Honky Tonk Women”. Some peeps out there do NOT grasp the greatness of Mr. Watts. A drummer has to come up with variations of basically the same style of beat on each new song that is brought into the practice room. Charlie has at least 10-20 memorable intros and fills alone. If a drummer gets through an entire career with just one memorable fill (Phil Collins) then all is well within the drum head. (Now I know there are Phil Collins supporters that will cringe and want to joust about this, tell you what, put down your Abacab box set and write your own column. I have a feeling these are the same people that think Ringo was pretty mediocre at Best! Get it Best???  Pete?? Crimony, and I am off coffee right now!) Dig, Charlie laid down some sweetness on “Satisfaction”, “Paint it Black”, freakin insane, great, militant rolls on “Ruby Tuesday” (that I still steal!), his hi-hat alone on “Angie” is genius…the strange time intro to ”Start Me Up”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” “Miss You”, “Bitch”, “Brown Sugar”…I haven’t even touched on his legacy.

Charlie is so cool too. He has been married to the same woman, Shirley, since 1964! He is always dressed impeccably. He loves jazz. In fact, I saw him play at The Palace in Los Angeles many years ago when he was touring on his Charlie Parker tribute LP. (I also ran into Ian McLagan (RIP) at that show and chided with him about The Faces and how they were super late to a gig in Anaheim. I bought him a drink and he signed a cocktail napkin for me. Great guy too!) But Charlie is also a homebody. “I hate leaving home. I love what I do but I’d love to go home every night.” Or “I wanted to play drums because I fell in love with the glitter and the lights, but it wasn’t about adulation. It was being up there playing.” So true Mr. Watts, so true. Plus, the absolute best thing is the story of how a drunken Mick Jagger called Charlie’s hotel room in the middle of the night and asked “Where’s my drummer?” Watts simply got up, shaved, put on a suit and tie, along with freshly shined shoes, knocked on Jagger’s door and punched Mick in the face, declaring: “Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my fucking singer!” God, I love Charlie Watts. Charlie is truly my darling!

I believe I painted this portrait in oil. I might have used some acrylic for his suit and sonic vibes. Not a whole lot to say about this one…Again, the man has always has the most style of any rock musician on the planet. Charlie has always brightened up my life and he fills the world with great drum sounds, vibrations, soul, rhythms and colors. He is truly in touch with his playing and his drumming patterns reverberate around us and will continue for a long time after he has finished here. Hats off to Charlie Watts…He is very good tonight, inn’t he????

2 Comments

  1. Ray Lemire on February 3, 2017 at 7:30 am

    I’ll agree that Charlie deserves to be considered as one of rock’s best drummers BUT (and I’m sorry if this bursts your bubble) he didn’t play the drums on ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. To quote Mr. Jagger, “It proved to be quite difficult to record because Charlie couldn’t play the groove and so Jimmy Miller had to play the drums.” Miller also played the drums on ‘Happy’, ‘Shine A Light’, ‘Tumbling Dice’, and he’s the guy playing the cowbell on the ‘Honky Tonk Women’ intro.

    And for the “record,” Kenney Jones (of Small Faces and The Who fame) played the drum track for ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)’

    It’s called “Research,” young man

  2. Sc on February 8, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Actually, Charlie Watts played the drums on Tumbling Dice. Jimmy Miller also plays the drums on Tumbling Dice with Charlie but only at the end of the song. During the making of Exile on Main Street, the songs were recorded at a Keith Richard’s mansion. Charlie was living about an hour away. Richards preferred to do much of his work well late into the night. Charlie was not at the mansion when Happy and Shine A Light were recorded. Regarding It’s Only Rock and Roll, Mick Jaggervand Ronnie Wood were orking on a rough take in a studio. Charlie was not in the studio so Wood called his good friend Kenne Jones to help out on It’s Only Rock and Roll.

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