Sunday, July 17, 2011

....and a drummer

Right from the start, Spring 1962, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, and Ian Stewart all were into Charlie Watts, Blues Incorporated's drummer. Keith Richards: "God, we'd love that Charlie Watts if we could afford him" - because we all thought Charlie Watts was a god-given drummer - and Stu put the feelers out. And Charlie said I'd love any gigs I can get, but I need money to hump these drums on the tube. He said if you can come back to me and say you've got a couple of solid gigs a week, I'm in".

At the end of 1962, Charlie was finding that playing so regularly with Blues Incorporated was affecting his day job and so he left and started to play occasionally with Brian Knight's Blues By Six. Knowing that Charlie was on the side-lines, The Rolling Stones sacked Tony Chapman, early in January 1963. And so at the end of January 1963 the line-up of the Rolling Stones was established. Charlie Watts was in.

Oh, one more thing, at a gig in January, Mick Jagger advertised to the crowd that there was a spare bed going at Edith Grove for anyone willing to rent. After the band were packing up, James Phelge agreed to move in. And so the scene was set for the greatest motion adventure for which anyone could care to wish or dream. The constellation would take many shapes and images over the years.

Keith Richards: the turning point was our getting a regular gig at the Crawdaddy Club, in Richmond, from which everything sprinkled out. Fame in six weeks. To me, Charlie Watts was the essence of the whole thing. And that went back to Ian Stewart - "We have to have Charlie Watts" - and all the skullduggery that went down in order to get Charlie. We starved ourselves to pay for him!

Charlie Watts has always been the bed I lie on musically, but like Stu Charlie had come to rhythm and blues because of its jazz connection. Back then I used to rag Stu and Charlie wicked about jazz. We were supposed to be getting the blues down, and sometimes I'd catch Stu and Charlie listening to jazz on the sly.
"Stop that shit!" I was just trying to beak their habits, trying to put a band together, for Christ's sake. "You've got to listen to blues. You've got to listen to fucking Muddy". I wouldn't even let them listen to Armstrong, and I love Armstrong".

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
Keith Richards, Life, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010.

Note: to put things in place, despite Keith's early attempts both Stu and Charlie never stopped listening to (and practicing of) jazz related music...thank god!

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