{Time Is On My Side} ~ Charlie Watts

Charcoal drawing of Charlie Watts, drummer for the self-proclaimed "Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World", the Rolling Stones, on this, his birthday

Watts was a Graphic Designer for an Advertising company before being drummer for the Rolling Stones.  This artistic bent manifests itself within his rock and roll life: he and Mick Jagger design the stages for Rolling Stones tours and an idiosyncrasy Watts maintains while on tour is the habit of drawing every hotel room he stays in.

Though he started out a Jazz drummer who segued into Rhythm and Blues and Rock {Watts thought Rhythm and Blues was 'Charlie Parker played slow'} he has become renowned for his sang froid, rock - steady drumming.  Ringo Starr said 'Watts was the only drummer he knew who could resist doing 'fills' more than he could'.  He meant it as a compliment.

For Watts, and Starr, 'servicing the song' was paramount and he conceived the drummer's role to be that of an accompanist not a soloist.  For Watts and those who admire his philosophy towards the drums, it's all about the groove and dance-ability.  He consciously seeks the 'Philadelphia sound, the Motown sound' when he is playing rock and roll, where it is all about the 'swing and groove'.   He hates drum solos. 

Watts is a jazz aficionado, which may surprise some, but hints of this passion were there in his playing for the Stones in songs like "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" during the long musical interlude that completes the song and his subtle accenting on his cymbal playing on other Stones classics like "Angie".  He has put together a Jazz band during down times with the Stones and toured.

He looks and acts the perfect English gentleman [he even breeds horses] being inducted into Vanity Fair's International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, but looks can be deceiving.  A well known story involves Mick Jagger phoning Watts' hotel room demanding to know "Where's my drummer?' whereupon Watts shaved, dressed in his suit and tie and shined shoes, descended the stairs, and punched Jagger in the face, stating: "Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're my fucking singer!"  You can't always get what you want.

He was diagnosed with throat cancer, but was successfully treated and is back drumming and touring with the Stones.


  1. A brilliant capture, Mr. Sebastian. Love it!!!!!!

  2. Replies
    1. I like where he punches Jagger in the face too :)


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