Charlie Watts Talk Drum Heroes

Rolling Stone on his inspiration
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Legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has spoken about his boyhood heroes.

Charlie Watts is an extremely distinctive drummer. At a time when lengthy solos were the order of the day, his disciplined 'less is more' philosophy helped The Rolling Stones develop their classic sound.

A hugely important member of the band's songwriting process, his jazz influences add subtle nuances to those cranking blues driven riffs. Speaking to ClashMusic, Charlie Watts recalled his teenage years on the London jazz scene.

"I was watching them because a) I liked jazz, and b) I went to see jazz players play, and I learned to play from watching television and that. And in those days, as they say, we didn’t have DVDs and that, so you couldn’t watch Elvis - I never saw DJ Fontana [Elvis’ drummer] until I met him. I never saw him play. So the guys I saw were Phil Seaman, London-based people: Tony Kinsey, Allan Ganley."

Continuing, Charlie Watts revealed that he used to go to infamous London jazz hang out The Flamingo. "I used to go to The Flamingo, which was a club in Soho, an all-nighter - I was about sixteen - and they used to have Phil Seaman on before, and nearly always it would be Georgie Fame.

"I used to love the drummer he had with him" the Rolling Stones legend continued. "It was a completely spaced-out band, really, but I used to love the style the drummer played. It was a guy called Red Reece."

"Red was the first guy I ever saw play rock ‘n’ roll properly. He used to play like black rhythm and blues players, so I used to love watching him play. He had a great sound."

Asked about his own unique style, Charlie Watts replied simply: "My style? I didn’t know I had one. Well, I just emulated all the people I liked."

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