By Scott T. Sterling
Charlie Watts is ready to call it a day.
The Rolling Stones’ 76-year-old drummer has revealed that after more than 50 years manning the kit for “the greatest rock and roll band in the world,” he won’t shed a tear when the group is no longer together.
“I love playing the drums and I love playing with Mick and Keith and Ronnie, I don’t know about the rest of it,” Watts told The Guardian. “It wouldn’t bother me if the Rolling Stones said that’s it … enough.”
While Watts is prepared to say goodbye, he admits to not exactly having a packed itinerary after the fact.
“I don’t know what I would do if I stopped,” he said. “Keith is a great one for saying once you’re going, keep going. The big worry for me is being well enough. We don’t work like we used to fortunately. There are huge gaps between each show.”
The sober drummer goes on to echo the sentiments found in on his band’s 1974 album, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll: “Time Waits for No One.”
“We are getting to that elderly period, so it’s a good thing not to,” he said regarding vices like cigarettes and alcohol. “When you’re 40 and you’ve got a hangover you get up and have another drink and you’re off again. I don’t think we could do it nowadays … at this age. Smoking and drinking are not like they were in the ’50s. In the ’40s and ’50s every film star smoked. You’d never see a film star now drinking or smoking, it’s not fashionable, I’m glad to say. In another way it has ruined jazz clubs … they are totally unlike what I would consider a club. They have become very clinical.”
Watts’ only stipulation is that the band walk away on good terms.
“I would hate it to dissolve not amicably,” the drummer explained. “I would like Mick to say, or me or Keith or whoever … I don’t want to do it any more, for whatever reason, and we just say that’s it. I wouldn’t want it to be an argument or whatever.”
While the Stones continue to roll on as younger rock legends pass away, Watts stopped to reflect on the death of David Bowie in his own inimitable way (this is, after all, the man famous for putting on a suit at 5 a.m. to punch Mick Jagger square in the face for referring to him as “my drummer”): “I thought people would have been very sad obviously, and he was a lovely guy and he wrote a couple of good songs. But for me, he wasn’t this musical genius.”