Metallica rocker Lars Ulrich has reflected on the influence of late Rolling Stones legend Charlie Watts, who died on August 24 at the age of 80.

A spokesperson for Watts confirmed the news of his passing at the time with a statement that read: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier [Tuesday] surrounded by his family.”

Following the sad news, several artists have since paid tribute to Watts – including Metallica drummer Ulrich, who spoke to Rolling Stone about his fondness for the Stones drummer.

“It hits hard on many levels,” Ulrich told the publication.

“Obviously, as a Stones fan, it’s sort of the end of at least an era within that band, because he was the only drummer that ever recorded with them.

“He was such a significant part of their sound, and an underrated part of their sound.”

Ulrich continued, “In a band where the spotlight would go to especially Mick and Keith, a lot of people truly didn’t understand how valuable he was. And from that side, as a Stones fan, it’s a great loss.”

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Lars added that he always looked up to the band as a lesson in achieving longevity in music.

“They don’t need the money or exposure, so one can only imagine the reason they kept going is because they loved what they were doing,” he said. “And that has always been so relatable to me and to our band.

“Charlie has always been that driving force,” Ulrich continued.

“He could kick these songs and make them swing, make them swagger, still make them have that attitude, that pocket.

“Seeing him do that way deep into his seventies has been such a life-affirming thing. [Metallica are] a good 20, 25 years behind, but it’s given me a lot of faith in the possibilities of what it can continue to be — music, concerts, connecting to fans, connecting to each other as a band.

“There’s nobody above them on that pyramid, and there’s nobody above Charlie on that pyramid. Of course, there are a couple of incredible jazz drummers who played into their eighties, but there’s been nobody above Charlie in the rock & roll pyramid in terms of being out there and doing it.”

For more on this topic, head over to the Classic Rock Observer.