Charlie Watts talks jazz, Stones plans

Get the weekly rundown
Sign up to receive THE FUN never stops!, our weekly A&E newsletter

Even though he's played in the same rock 'n' roll band for nearly 50 years, Charlie Watts still prefers playing jazz.

The Rolling Stones drummer learned how to play it by imitating his favorite jazz players as a teenager.

So during his breaks with the Stones, Watts has played jazz, not rock, and that legacy continues with his latest venture, The A, B, C, and D of Boogie Woogie. The quartet recently released "Live in Paris" from one of their shows during a recent 10-show run at the club Duc des Lombards.

Watts recently spoke to The Associated Press about the project, as well as what's being planned for the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary next year.

AP: Tell me about the comfort level of this band.

Watts: I've known Dave (Green) for 65 years. We've lived next door to each other. He's always in bands that I've been in besides the Rolling Stones. Axel (Zwingenberger) I've known since '80-something. And Ben (Waters) I've known for three years, but I've known of him from many years before that because he's a progeny - his aunt and uncle were friends of a guy called Ian Stewart who used to play piano with us. And I used to play in one of Stew's bands in this county called Dorcet. That's how I know his aunt and uncle. And I know of Ben because he loved Stew and tried to emulate his playing.

AP: Is there a big difference in playing drums in a jazz band from playing in a rock band?

Watts: I don't play power drums; they just turn the knobs up now. Yes, it's much more physical to play rock 'n' roll, especially with the volume that you play at - that they play at, they being guitar players as opposed to playing this with a tenor saxophone player or trumpet player. The volume is all the same, particularly with the A, B, C, and D of Boogie Woogie, obviously two are piano players. To play well with a piano player, you have to be able to play - there's a lot of control needed. And you're playing almost acoustically.

AP: So what's next for you?

Watts: I think we're going to be doing a lot of 50th anniversary stuff, we, the Rolling Stones.

AP: Like a tour or an album?

Watts: No, just other things. Fifty years of things. A documentary, well, they haven't approved it yet. I haven't seen it, but we worked on that earlier this year. Books and things like that. There will be other things that the 50 years mean. And touring, we haven't gotten that far. We're still talking about the color of the back page of the book, so we'll see what happens.

AP: Fifty years? Marriages don't often last that long.

Watts: Actually mine lasted 49 years. ... When I joined the Rolling Stones ... I thought it would last a few months, because that's what bands last. I'd been in a lot of bands up until then that last two or three months. Then it became three years. I thought that's it, it won't last.

We're very fortunate. One of the ways that it lasted so long is because we have a huge fan base, and I don't mean that in a conceited way, but it is that. ... With the Rolling Stones it's people saying, "It's the fans," people saying, "Yes, you should."

And indeed it's us saying, "We'll play New Haven," and if people come, you know, that keeps it going on and on.

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

Lynyrd Skynyrd's final tour stops at Sun Arena Friday

Who's that guy front and center with founding guitarist Gary Rossington at the Lynyrd Skynyrd show? Why, it's Death! Whoops, not so fast. That's just lead guitarist Ricky Medlocke, looking as old as I feel. But Death is never far away in the classic rock biz these days. Hell,...


Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen to shred The Kate Friday

I once applied for a job with Swedish shred-guitar warlock Yngwie Malmsteen — and, by the way, that's Swedish for "Hector Tarver." Of course it's not! It's Swedish for, ah, Yngwie, which is pronounced "Ing-vay," and Malmsteen is like it's...


Anderson .Paak hits Sun Arena Thursday

If you're a computer, and the brainiacs who manufactured you have programmed auto-spell or that intuitive algorithm that makes you provide the next word before the human can type it — even if that's not the word the human wanted — you were probably happier when there...


Jonatha Brooke sings at The Kate Thursday

Jonatha Brooke is like a music machine where the on/off switch broke and tunes just keep pouring out. That wouldn't work so well with Bret Michaels but, with Brooke, it's a treasure trove that keeps on giving. The Fountain of Brooke has produced over a dozen albums, soundtrack tunes for...

TRENDING

PODCASTS