Charlie Watts: No Difference in Jazz & Rock Rhythm Sections

Discussion in 'General' started by Scott K Fish, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. Scott K Fish

    Scott K Fish Very well Known Member

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    Charlie Watts: No Difference in Jazz & Rock Rhythm Sections

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    SKF NOTE: This excerpt is from my interview with Charlie Watts. It took place in Charlie's New York City hotel room in 1982 or 1983. The Rolling Stones were on tour in America. Tina Turner was their opening act.

    Two years before, as a freelance writer for Modern Drummer, I called Rolling Stones Records to set up an interview with Charlie Watts. The woman answering the phone told me, very matter of fact, "Charlie Watts does not do interviews."

    Fast foward. I am Managing Editor of Modern Drummer and I have established trust and friendship with drummers -- including Jim Keltner. It was Keltner's stamp of approval that prompted Charlie to agree to the interview.

    I invited Max Weinberg to go with me, which he did, and Max and I were both listed as interviewers when MD published Charlie's interview.

    It was a tense interview at the start. My expectation -- and I think it was Max Weinberg's expectation -- that we would interview Charlie as I had interviewed Max and every other drummer.

    Max and I sat at a table in Charlie's hotel room while Charlie wandered around the room. We were waiting for him to take a seat at the table. But, standing away from the table and not looking at us, Charlie announced, "Listen, I don't do interviews. That's what I told that girl whose name I've forgotten."

    "Robyn [Flans]?" I asked. Reading the transcript just now I have no recollection of Robyn Flans trying to interview Charlie.

    "Right," said Charlie. I don't do interviews. I mean, you can talk to me." And then Charlie said something that remains unsettled. He was standing far enough from the tape recorder that it was hard to hear what Charlie was saying -- even when listening back to the tape. I thought Charlie said, "I mean, you've got ten minutes and then I have to be out." And I think Max thought the same.

    I started this interview thinking, what are the top two questions I can ask Charlie in the ten minutes we have? But since the actual interview lasted hours, Charlie either said, "I mean, you haven't got ten minutes and then I have to be out," or he changed his mind once our interview got underway.

    My intention for this interview, from when I first called Rolling Stones Records years before, was to interview Charlie as a drummer, a musician. I had zero interest in any Rolling Stones sensationalism.

    Scott K Fish: [Your] transition from wanting to play jazz to playing rock -- was that a tough thing?

    Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals: Click Here to Read this Complete Post
     
  2. psalty

    psalty Very well Known Member

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    Interesting and brief. That was the end of the interview?
     
  3. Scott K Fish

    Scott K Fish Very well Known Member

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    No, not the end of the interview. It is a piece of the full transcript (47 typewritten pages) that was edited and published in Modern Drummer.

    Best,
    skf
     
  4. yetanotherdrummer

    yetanotherdrummer DFO Veteran

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    Reading this leads me to a question, is there a famous drummer that you never got the chance to interview, for whatever reason?
     
  5. Scott K Fish

    Scott K Fish Very well Known Member

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    yetanotherdrummer - I was blessed to have interview many drummers. And, yes, there were many drummers I would love to have interviewed but didn't.

    Best,
    skf
     
  6. Chunkaway

    Chunkaway DFO Master

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    I would love to read the rest of this interview. Any idea about how I could do that?
     
  7. gezz

    gezz DFO Master

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    I spoke to Charlie at Heathrow Airport.. He was sitting reading a book and was unsettled and got up and walked down a few times in the lounge.
    I was sitting with 2 friends and my daughter on the flight to Chicago.. He was at the snack bar and commented that he hoped my cymbal bag didn't contain anything I cherished " too much" ... followed by " I hate this place"
    I said " well I'm sure you have seen more of these places than most people on the planet" to which he wittingly replied "and I'm sure god willing ill see a few more"... He wasnt shy nor reserved but was definitely not relaxed.. He seemed a very genuine and articulate person.
    I'll never forget his immaculate suit and shoes but with a black t shirt instead of his sharp usual shirt and tie.. Even with the casual twist his dress sense was impeccable..

    Gerry
     

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