Mick Jagger Opens Up About Missing Charlie Watts
via DJ Gerry from Starlight Music/ Youtube
Influential rock band The Rolling Stones has recently released a new album, Hackney Diamonds, the first collection of original music in 18 years (though the 24th of their storied career).
During a press conference on September 6, 2023, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood officially announced their triumphant return to the recording studio and unveiled the invigorating lead track, “Angry”.
One very obvious (and saddening) absence in this endeavor is their former drummer, Charlie Watts, who tragically passed away in 2021.
In an interview with the Guardian to promote the new album, a wistful Jagger opened up about missing his friend and bandmate. “It’s a couple of years now, and I still think about Charlie a lot,” the frontman shared.
“I miss his laconic humor. His taste in music.”
Although Watts, who was the band’s longest-standing member following Mick and Keith Richards, had passed away, he lives on in some tracks on the band’s latest album, having recorded various drum segments before his departure.
In the Guardian interview, Jagger opened up about Charlie’s enduring influence and paid a heartfelt tribute to the late musical legend.
The Stones’ lead singer said, “I still think about Charlie a lot… I miss his laconic humor. His taste in music. His elegance. His don’t-care attitude – he didn’t get intense. Keith and I get a bit intense.”
There was a period in the ’80s when tensions ran high between Mick and Keith, with Richards humorously referring to Jagger as “Brenda” and “Her Majesty”. Tensions flared again after Richards’ candid 2010 memoir, which didn’t spare any criticism, including remarks about Jagger’s physical attributes.
“It doesn’t get easier at all.”
“But I hate to say this: as you get older, a lot of your friends die,” Jagger continued. When asked by Guardian if the pain of losing someone ever becomes more bearable, the frontman answered, “No, it doesn’t get easier at all. There’s a lot of people around your age, they’re dying all the time.”
Jagger related that he lacked friends older than himself, and that, beyond his bandmates, all of his friends were notably younger. He playfully remarked that this arrangement was “easier that way” paired with a somewhat dark chuckle.
The rock singer certainly missed Watts, who has always been the one cooling the beans of the infamously hotheaded Jagger-Richards pair.
“I think about him when I’m playing, and what he would have played; whether he’d have liked this song, because I’d always bounce things off him. I’d be playing him the silly pop songs of the moment, and he’d love all that,” Jagger shared.
Charlie Watts had a succession plan
Keith Richards had revealed during the September 6 press conference that the late Charlie Watts personally chose a new younger drummer to continue working with the Stones in his absence. And his name is Steve Jordan.
“Ever since Charlie’s gone, it’s different. He’s number four. Of course, he’s missed incredibly,” Richards stated. “Thanks to Charlie Watts, we have Steve Jordan, who was Charlie’s recommendation. If anything should happen to him, Steve Jordan is your man.”
Richards, who had a long-standing partnership with Jordan through his side project, the X-Pensive Winos, disclosed that Watts had made this decision “way, way, way back”. The guitarist further shared, “He’s been a friend of ours. I’ve worked with Steve. So it was a natural progression. It would’ve been harder without Charlie’s blessing on that.”
Jagger, on the other hand, also confirmed that among the 12 tracks on Hackney Diamonds, two of them, “Live by the Sword” and “Mess It Up”, were recorded with Watts on drums before his passing.
The best Stones record in decades
Hackney Diamonds was released on October 20th to universal acclaim, with most music critics and music blogs giving the new Stones record high scores.
The album, which some reviewers hailed as the band’s best offering in decades, includes notable guest appearances by Elton John, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and former Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman.
With Hackney Diamonds as an announcement to the world, the Rolling Stones, often heralded as The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, show no signs of relinquishing their title. With a musical legacy spanning six decades, they are injecting new life into the genre with their latest offering.
As Mark Beaumont of The Independent aptly said in his review, the album’s rejuvenated and energetic guitars and the inclusion of established guest stars from the world of pop music lend a certain “sense of career closure”, bringing the Stones’ illustrious careers to a fulfilling end.
Of course, if it ends. Mick Jagger though has other thoughts, as he warns in “Whole Wide World”, “And you think the party is over / But it’s only just, only just begun.”