As tributes for Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts pour in, Questlove weighed in on the man’s impact in a statement to Rolling Stone.
In a new piece for Rolling Stone Magazine, The Roots drummer Questlove paid an emotional tribute to Watts, detailing the impact the latter had on his artistry from a young age.
“I know a lot has been debated on, “What’s the perfect bracket between the Stones’ work: Where did it start and where does it end?” But in my opinion, [Charlie Watts has] always been a solid foundational drummer.” Questlove told Rolling Stone of Watts’ approach to most of Stones’ music.
“He was the anti-drummer. He wasn’t performative to let you know how hard he was fucking working. He gave you the basic foundation.” he said.
Recalling Watts’ famously stoic and humble persona, Questlove remarked how Watts’ absolute mastery of his art distilled into a quiet confidence, one that Questlove himself tried to emulate.
“I came to the world in a time where the temptation to show off was at a high, and it’s a mighty task to check your ego at the door when you’re a drummer, to not beg for attention or to do anything to distract from the team mentality,” he said.
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“And I will say that those first five to six years in the Roots, to maintain that discipline, especially in a genre that wanted complete flash and trickery, my motivation in the back of my mind was always that Watts became a legend not because of who he was associated with, but because he’s providing the foundation.”
In fact, Watts’ unorthodox way of drumming — of not hitting the hi-hat when he hit the snare — impacted Questlove’s own approach to his art.
“The average amateur or newbie will probably think, ‘The less that I do, the more it will reveal that I’m not as skilled as the next person.'” he explained.
“And that’s absolutely, positively not the case of Charlie Watts. His level of drumming, especially the fact that it was so unorthodox, I definitely could hear a difference in my drumming.” he recalled.
“Only real drummers know the value of Charlie Watts and the fact that he was the world’s greatest metronome.” Questlove stated.
“His serious drumming and stoic drumming was kind of my blueprint with the Roots. Because Charlie did less, that made him more.” he continued.
Read Questlove’s entire statement here.
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