Charlie Watts: It wouldn’t bother me if Rolling Stones split

Band’s 76-year-old drummer says he would be fine if they called it a day tomorrow

“I don’t know what I would do if I stopped”: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Photograph: PR company handout

“I don’t know what I would do if I stopped”: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Photograph: PR company handout

 

Charlie Watts, the 76-year-old Rolling Stones drummer who with his septuagenarian colleagues has announced the band’s first Irish dates since 2007, has admitted that if the band ended tomorrow that would be fine.

“I love playing the drums and I love playing with Mick and Keith and Charlie, I don’t know about the rest of it,” he said. “It wouldn’t bother me if the Rolling Stones said that’s it ... enough.”

The Stones have announced they will be playing playing Croke Park on May 17th as part of a European tour, which will also see the band play London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff in May and June. Given they formed 56 years ago and their combined ages are 294, that is somewhat remarkable.

“I don’t know what I would do if I stopped,” Watts told the Guardian. “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.”

Many musicians and artists of a certain age would now be considering their legacy but not Watts, admitting he was amazed at the reaction to David Bowie’s death.

“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.”

Watts said he had no idea if the current “No Filter” tour would be the last. “For me, I would like to be standing at the end of the show in Warsaw [on June 8th, the final concert of the tour]. That’s as far as I can see.”

The hard-living days are long over, said Watts, who has not drunk alcohol or smoked for some time, he said. “We are getting to that elderly period so it’s a good thing not to. 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.”

If the band were ever to call it a day he hopes it will be without rancour. “I would hate it to dissolve not amicably. 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.” – Guardian Service

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