Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones
Charlie Watts is one of the most famous drummers in history. His decades with The Rolling Stones have made him the longest standing drummer in rock.
He is also one of the hardest to emulate. Charlie's rrlrrrlr hi hat/snare playing is very difficult to groove well. He sounds great, but I don't know of anyone else who tries that technique. The important thing is to take in his sence of musicality.
Charlie Watts and Rolling Stones DVDs, Books, and Collectibles
Charlie's drums are 1956-7 Gretch Round Badge
He is known to use these cymbals: 18" UFIP Natural Series Fast China - UFIP Rough Series China with Rivets - A very old UFIP Flat Ride - An Avedis Swish - And an unknown very old set of Hi Hats.
Charlie Watts was born to a lorry driver for a precursor of British Rail and his wife Jessica Mort Watts at University College Hospital, London, England, and raised in Islington and Wembley boroughs. The family moved to Pilgrims Way Wembley in the late 1940's. Charlie has a sister named Linda. Between 1952 and 1956, he attended Tylers Croft Secondary Modern School. After that, he went to Harrow Art School. He was talented at football while at Secondary School. In 1960, he was working with a local band when he met Alexis Korner, who convinced him to join his own band, Blues Incorporated.
Shortly afterwards, Watts left Blues Incorporated, citing its hectic schedule. A trained commercial artist, Watts found work at the advertising firm of Charles Hobson and Grey. However, in late 1962, Watts was persuaded to join the Rolling Stones as a drummer. Watts kept his day job until the Stones secured a long-term gig at the Crawdaddy Club near London. In January 1963 he quit his job to join the group officially and devote his life to music. Watts remains a member of the Stones to this day.
Watts has been involved in many activities outside his high-profile life as a member of The Rolling Stones. In 1964, he published a cartoon tribute to Charlie Parker entitled Ode to a High Flying Bird. Although he has made his name in rock, his personal tastes focus on jazz; in the late 70s, he joined fellow Stone Ian "Stu" Stewart in the back-to-the-roots boogie-woogie fun band Rocket 88, which featured many of the UK's top jazz, rock and R&B musicians. In the 1980s, he toured worldwide with a big band that included such names as Evan Parker, Courtney Pine, and Jack Bruce, who was also a member of Rocket 88. In 1991, he organized a jazz quintet as another tribute to Charlie Parker. 1993 saw the release of Warm And Tender, by the Charlie Watts Quintet, which included vocalist Bernard Fowler. This same group then released Long Ago And Far Away in 1996. Both records included a collection of Great American Songbook standards. After a successful collaboration with Jim Keltner on The Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon, Charlie and Jim released a techno/instrumental album called simply Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project. Featuring the names of his favorite jazz drummers, Charlie stated that even though the tracks bore such names as the "Elvin Suite" in honor of the late Elvin Jones, Max Roach and Roy Haynes, they weren't copying their style of drumming, but rather, capturing a feeling by those artists. Watts' latest solo outing has been released in 2004. Watts At Scott's was recorded with his group, The Charlie Watts Tentet, at the famous jazz club in London, Ronnie Scott's.
With The Rolling Stones
Besides his musical creativity, he contributed graphic art to early records such as the Between the Buttons record sleeve and was responsible for the famous 1975 tour announcement press conference in New York City. The band surprised the throng of waiting reporters by driving and playing "Brown Sugar" on the back of a flatbed truck in the middle of Manhattan traffic; a gimmick AC/DC copied later the same year, Status Quo repeated the trick for the 1984 video to "The Wanderer" and U2 would later emulate it in the 2004 video for "All Because of You". Watts remembered this was a common way for New Orleans jazz bands to promote upcoming dates. Moreover, with Jagger, he designed the elaborate stages for tours, first contributing to the lotus flower shaped design of that 1975 Tour of the Americas, as well as the 1989–1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour.
There are many instances where Jagger and Richards have lauded Watts as the key member of The Rolling Stones. Richards went so far as to say in a 2005 Guitar Player magazine interview that the Rolling Stones would not be, or could not continue as, the Rolling Stones without Watts. An example of Watts' importance was demonstrated in 1991 when Bill Wyman left the band after years of deliberation. After auditioning several bassists, Jagger and Richards asked Watts to choose the new bass player; he selected the respected session musician Darryl Jones, who was a sideman to both Miles Davis and Sting. In business, Watts, along with Richards and Jagger, owns a piece of The Rolling Stones corporate entities, something that does not apply to Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood or even Bill Wyman.
During the four decades of performing with The Rolling Stones, and despite his modesty, Watts has proven to be one of the most influential drummers in popular music. A gifted and powerful drummer, he is often cited by many younger drummers as a seminal influence on their own style.
In 1989, The Rolling Stones, including Watts, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also, in the July 2006 issue of Modern Drummer, Charlie Watts was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, along with the likes of Steve Gadd, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich and other greats. He now lives in Dolton, a rural village in Devon and owns an Arabian Horse Stud Farm.
Private life and public image
On 14 October 1964, Watts married Shirley Ann Shepherd, whom he had met before the band had its first big hit; they are still together. They had one daughter, Seraphina Watts, born on 18 March 1968.
Charlie Watts has expressed a love-hate relationship to touring. In Canada's Macleans magazine, he told interviewer Brian Johnson that he has had a compulsive habit for decades of actually sketching every new hotel room he occupies – and its furnishings – immediately upon entering it. He stated he keeps every sketch, but still doesn't know why he feels the compulsion to do this.
Watts' personal life has outwardly appeared to be substantially quieter than those of his bandmates and many of his rock and roll colleagues. Although he is often thought to be a reserved and steady influence on The Rolling Stones, he has suffered from a variety of touring life hazards. Published anecdotes from Bill Wyman and Keith Richards have described Watts in the 1970s passing out after being awake for several days from too much good cheer, falling into a full spaghetti dinner. A famous anecdote has him punching a drunken Mick Jagger in a hotel in the mid-1980s. After a full night of partying, Jagger phoned Watts' hotel room early in the morning asking where "his drummer" was. Watts reportedly got up, shaved, got dressed in a custom-made suit, put on a crisply knotted tie and freshly shined shoes, came downstairs, and punched him, saying "Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're my fucking singer!" 
Ever faithful to his wife Shirley, Charlie Watts consistently refused sexual favors from groupies on the road and discussed his regular bouts of insomnia incurred from not sharing his bed with his wife in Robert Greenfield's STP: A Journey through America with The Rolling Stones, a document of their 1972 American Tour. When the group held court at the Playboy Mansion during that tour, Watts famously took advantage of Hugh Hefner's renowned game room rather than frolic with the women. Since the late 1980s his wife, daughter and granddaughter have frequently joined him for parts of tours.
Charlie Watts has spoken openly about a period in the mid-1980s when his previously-moderate use of alcohol and drugs became problematic: "[My drug and alcohol problems were] my way of dealing with [family problems] ... Looking back on it, I think it was a mid-life crisis. All I know is that I became totally another person around 1983 and came out of it about 1986. I nearly lost my wife and everything over my behaviour."
Since the 1990s, he has admitted to another addiction - this one less damaging: shopping in high-fashion stores. His personal wardrobe has attracted so much attention, the British newspaper The Telegraph named him one of the World's Best Dressed. In 2006 Vanity Fair elected Charlie Watts into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, joining his style icon, Fred Astaire.
In June 2004, Charlie Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer, and underwent a course of radiotherapy. The cancer has since gone into remission and he is once again recording and touring with the Stones.
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