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Charlie Is My Darling
April 7, 2013 4:19 AM   Subscribe

The Rolling Stones are playing at Glastonbury this summer. (Here's the full line up of the acts). Sold out. Followed by another open-air show in Hyde Park, London. On July 6. Also sold out. "So Charlie, the Stones are playing Glastonbury! Excited?"

"I don't want to do it. Everyone else does. I don't like playing outdoors, and I certainly don't like festivals. I've always thought they're nothing to do with playing. Playing is what I'm doing at the weekend (1). That's how I was brought up. But that's me, personally. When you're a band … you do anything and everything. But Glastonbury, it's old hat really. I never liked the hippy thing to start with. It's not what I'd like to do for a weekend, I can tell you."

Rest of what is a great interview, here.

Also, even though it's from a few years back, I think this is still worth a listen: Charlie on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Disc. Listen on-line or download, here.
posted by Mister Bijou (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm always astonished when people of my age (late 50's) tell me that they're going to Glastonbury.

Why anyone younger would want to do it is even more mysterious.

Also, the Stones last decent album was Exile on Main Street. Again, why anyone would still want to go and see them after about 74 or 75 I have no idea whatsoever.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:43 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


People go to Glasto or the Stones because it's fun.

Even when they're young and it's something their parents might have done (or still do) as well. That great age segregation of music audiences, where only young people are supposed to be into rock and pop hasn't been true for decades.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:11 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, the Stones last decent album was Exile on Main Street. Again, why anyone would still want to go and see them after about 74 or 75 I have no idea whatsoever.

I have never been much of a 'Stones fan, their loosish R&B shtick left me wondering what all the fuss was about. I'm old enough to bear musical grudges, and my days were lived in the '70s, so i grew up with Mick and the boys as one of those super groups. maybe it had something to do with Bill Wyman being the world's most boring bassist.

But then I saw the documentary Crossfire Hurricane - and fuck me they were a good band. The doco left them - sans Bill - playing a gig in their dotage, and they would be worth seeing.

I also saw years ago an interview with Charlie Watts who, when asked what the "last 25 years had been like" said, "twenty years of waiting around and five years of playing"
posted by the noob at 5:43 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I, too, have never understood the appeal of outdoor rock festivals. Not even when I was young. For me it's a thoroughly miserable way to experience live music.

I have a sneaking fondness for "Tattoo You", PeterMcDermott. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.
posted by Decani at 5:47 AM on April 7, 2013


Charlie Watts has more style, taste and dignity than all the other Stones out together. Of all the solo albums/side projects various members of that band have been involved in, his are by far the best. Go and buy some.
posted by Paul Slade at 6:30 AM on April 7, 2013


No need for shame...Tattoo You is a good album, better than anything else after Exile, I'd say.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:40 AM on April 7, 2013


Charlie Watts as a person is someone who I think is really cool and worthy of admiration and respect. Charlie Watts as a drummer is someone who rushes his fills like crazy and who for years has insisted on doing that "I don't hit my hi-hat and my snare at the same time" thing which is totally weird and which results in stiff beats. In the same way that PeterMcDermott has no idea whatsoever why anyone would go see the Stones at this point, I am mystified at the legions of people who think Watts is a great drummer.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:55 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not much of a stones fan, but i'd love to see them play for two reasons: one, they're rock legends and i'd like to be able to say i'd done it, and two, I think it's cute and sad and epically cool that someone that old is still rockin'.

I'd like to go to the glastonbury festival for similar reasons, and also because I like to be places where I can go around barefoot and be myself for a little while. I'm a natural-born hugger and play-in-the-mudder, and music festivals are awesome for that stuff.
posted by windykites at 7:13 AM on April 7, 2013


The reason for going to see the Stones after 74 or 75, for me, is that I was an infant in 74 and thus didn't have much of a chance to see them play then, my parents not being the type to drag a newborn to a rock concert and all, damn them for their sensibility.

I can't see many bands in their prime, because they hit their prime before I was old enough. But that should not and does not prevent me from liking and appreciating their music. Which is why I caught a couple of Stones shows in college, and that Page-Plant tour, and Dylan in 2003... Hell, even the Alice Cooper show I scored free tickets to was fun, who cares how long ago the hits were so long as the artist is still having fun presenting it and it hasn't become sad like Elvis's latter years or Sinatra's refusal to retire when it was clear to everyone he was losing it? The Stones still put on a great show when I caught them in '95. Did they do better 30 years before? Probably. But I couldn't damn well have seen that show, could I? It's as close as I am going to get.

(£300 though? Glad I caught them in '95, because those tickets were significantly cheaper. I loved the shows I saw but can't imagine dropping that much per ticket.)
posted by caution live frogs at 7:24 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not much of a stones fan, but i'd love to see them play for two reasons: one, they're rock legends and i'd like to be able to say i'd done it...

I dunno. I was of a similar mind when I managed to catch a late-career Miles Davis appearance, and came away utterly bored and unimpressed to the point of begrudging the cost of the ticket. I was never much of a Stones fan, but still would have probably enjoyed them in their heyday, but there's no way in hell you'd get me to go see them now simply because they're legends.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:25 AM on April 7, 2013


I'm not much of a stones fan, but i'd love to see them play for two reasons: one, they're rock legends and i'd like to be able to say i'd done it, and two, I think it's cute and sad and epically cool that someone that old is still rockin'.

These are much the same reasons I saw them, but all these things were equally true then, in 1989. (Oh, in my case I also took my parents, who had managed to see them several times in about 1965, so there was that.)

I am puzzled looking at the lineup at the Glastonbury link; I am not much of a connoisseur of outdoor rock festivals either, but based on what I have seen of the posters, the promoters tend to want to list the big draws up front, so they catch your eye. The Stones are listed a very creditable second among the dozens of acts, after... The Arctic Monkeys?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:36 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


why anyone would still want to go and see them after about 74 or 75 I have no idea whatsoever.

Ha - I swear to you, my first reading of this was "they can't really be that old, can they?"
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:46 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The reason Tattoo You is such a good album is because most of the tracks were leftovers/reworks from previous 70's studio sessions.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 7:48 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


They're all there, Bill Wyman's in the Acoustic Tent. But really, apart from one or two names the lineup is a veritable galaxy of "Who's that?" with a smattering of "Are they still alives?" Yes, I'm probably too old for this sort of thing (saw them in the Goat's Head Soup tour).
posted by epo at 7:50 AM on April 7, 2013


I love the Stones. I've seen them twice and they are a lot of fun to watch. They're playing Toronto twice in the coming months and I'd go see them again if my budget wasn't already spoken for. I enjoyed Keith's book, too. Such a great story-teller, and insightful, and informative. If you haven't seen the YouTube interviews he did to promote the book, have a look. I had no idea the guy was so funny.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:01 AM on April 7, 2013


That is a fun interview - and man, 74 or 75 is closer than I thought. He says he'll be 73 by the end of the current tour? I'm sorry to harp on the age thing but it is really a striking thing - not just with the Stones (there are a bunch of stars of their generation still going it) but they may be the canonical case. It's like watching them live out a Borges story or a Twilight Zone episode - what if you achieved fame and fortune, but then you were condemned to play the same songs, go on the same tours with the same pace etc, for the rest of your life.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:15 AM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love 70's era Stones, but they blew it. They could have been the perfect long life band if they'd only acted their age and wrote from the perspective of men in their 50's and 60's. A late career album similar in tone to Beggar's Banquet (heavily acoustic, slow, bluesy and edgy) would have redeemed them artistically. They aren't artists anymore, simply performers.
posted by davebush at 8:51 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some Girls is a great album, y'all.
posted by saul wright at 9:43 AM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I love Charlie Watts.

And this is as good a place as any to drop this article from the Daily Mail: "Jagger fury as Bavarian Prince who worked as band's financial adviser for 40 years reveals truth about Rolling Stones' millions"
posted by chavenet at 10:10 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love 70's era Stones, but they blew it. They could have been the perfect long life band if they'd only acted their age and wrote from the perspective of men in their 50's and 60's. A late career album similar in tone to Beggar's Banquet (heavily acoustic, slow, bluesy and edgy) would have redeemed them artistically. They aren't artists anymore, simply performers.
posted by davebush at 8:51 AM on April 7 [+] [!]


Seconded. What I'd really love to hear is a Jagger/Richards/Watts acoustic blues album with the same honest approach to song-writing Dylan's offered in his last few albums. Dylan sings from the unashamed perspective of a man in his seventies, packing his lyrics with the insight and resignation a young man could scarcely imagine. Blues, like Dylan's folk music, offers a proven medium for mature songs like these, but when's the last time Jagger wrote a lyric that didn't boil down to "I can still get it up, you know"?

At their peak (Beggers' Banquet, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street), the Stones were truly magnificent. But that was 40 years ago, and they're not a tenth of that band today.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:15 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't want to get into a "Charlie is/isn't a great drummer" war, but I don't believe any other drummer would work in the context of the Stones.

Anyway, here's "Monkey Man" from several years back with "Select-A-Stone" set to Charlie. I can't imagine anyone else playing this better - this video is one of my favorite things on the Internet.
posted by quartzcity at 11:48 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love 70's era Stones, but they blew it.

I've generally argued that they should have released It's Only Rock And Roll, then promptly disappeared, retired to private islands, killed themselves onstage (like the song suggests), or otherwise just vanished. Yeah, there were still a few good records to come, but nothing that would ever be NECESSARY again, and then post about 1980, nothing worth releasing at all. But somehow, I suspect the deal they cut with the Devil didn't allow for that -- their growing old in public is in the fine print.

To which I should add -- some of the recent live stuff I've seen/heard isn't bad at all. They remain a kickass blues based r+r band. It's just that the recorded stuff has been so resolutely unnecessary for so very long, it's become a joke.
posted by philip-random at 12:01 PM on April 7, 2013


They're coming to Toronto and tickets are $200 to $700. I can't help thinking that anyone who goes to see them... well, it's the equivalent of seeing Lawrence Welk in 1963 when the Stones are playing down the street for a buck and a half.
posted by dobbs at 12:02 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


dobbs, people love what they love. There are lots of current bands I'd like to see too, but I'd still like to see the Stones again. They're just so good live. Side note: I'm the only person I know who loves the album Steel Wheels (most people can't even recall it), but I do love it.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:17 PM on April 7, 2013


(Chavenet: Whenever I go the Daily Mail site, I draw a breath. My worst fear is that fate might strike me dead, and my poor relatives might find me stiff and cold in front of a warm laptop with a screen quietly refreshing pictures of Kim Kardashian, and celebrity beach bodies.)
posted by marvin at 12:37 PM on April 7, 2013


In the days when I did, I didn't got to Glastonbury for the music. Think I've been five or six times, and can only remember five or six artists. Of those, only Underworld and The Cure really stand out (and the Cure were aided by playing at sunset as the acid kicked in...)

There really aren't many bands who justify their continued existence past a decade or so, and those that do aren't prolific (Boards of Canada, if you're reading this, you are trying my patience. Sorely) or have re-invented themselves significantly at least once along the way and lost fanbase as a result. I'm as glad as anyone that old troopers such as PiL and Gary Numan are still putting in the hours, but the albums I buy are almost always from new artists or dead composers. People with something to say. The Stones haven't had anything to say for decades.
posted by Devonian at 12:51 PM on April 7, 2013


They're great (at least some of the time) in that Martin Scorcese movie -- Shine A Light. But that's a small theater, very intimate. The atmosphere at the festivals will be akin to a different planet.
posted by philip-random at 1:06 PM on April 7, 2013


I would see the Stones and be completely thrilled to see them. Of course, I live somewhere that most acts never visit, so the odds of that ever happening are slim to nil. How I envy those of you who are in a position to choose *not* to see shows.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:16 PM on April 7, 2013


The Stones are listed a very creditable second among the dozens of acts, after... The Arctic Monkeys?

Very rational. You don't need to PR the Rolling Stones - people will go on to places like Metafilter and do your PR for you. Save that PR for acts that need it!

I'd be interested to see the Rolling Stones - you'd have to be some sort of inhuman monster ;-) not to - even though I haven't playing a Rolling Stones song in my personal music stream for years. (I'd actually be happy if my missing copies of "Their Satanic Majesties" or "It's Only Rock And Roll" re-appeared one day in my disks...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:25 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, here's "Monkey Man" from several years back yt with "Select-A-Stone" set to Charlie. I can't imagine anyone else playing this better - this video is one of my favorite things on the Internet.

What I like about that clip is Watt's drum kit. I'm happy it's so economical. I don't think I've ever seen a more diminutive one, outside of weird noise shows, other than seeing Cramps.
posted by alex_skazat at 2:33 PM on April 7, 2013


Just a wee anecdote from an oldie.

Never seen the Stones in action. As in on-stage n that.
But I did meet them all at an impromptu party after their first gig in Stockholm. Must have been around 1964. A low-key affair, out in the countryside a few miles from town. I vaguely knew Glyn Johns, their sound man, as we both had had skiffle groups back in England and played at the same tech colleges. We only had one bottle of whiskey for the whole crowd. We were perhaps 30 people all told. Mick disappeared with the lady of the house. The rest of us chatted about chord changes and such.

The only remarkable thing that happened really was that Boz Scaggs, who was busking in Stockholm then and staying in my attic, asked me to introduce him to Glyn. I was amazed. Seemed so old-worldly somehow. I mean - why not just go up to the guy and start talking.
But I did anyway. Charlie was unobtrusive.

I miss the sixties - it was so much easier then
posted by jan murray at 3:35 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Talking of missing the sixties. There was this, but by then it was 1970.
posted by jan murray at 3:41 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mick was really amazing on SNL this winter (host and musical act, playing with Arcade Fire and Foo Fighters) Unlike a lot of recent hosts, he had memorized his lines, was exuberant and charming and really just charismatic as all get out. I hated the stones when I was younger and it was cool to hate them, but now I'd really like to see them live..
posted by dustjacket at 5:58 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm annoyed because all the rumors were that the big annoncement would be an Australian tour, and The Rolling Stones are one of the few bands I haven't seen live. I will see them.

I, too, have never understood the appeal of outdoor rock festivals. Not even when I was young. For me it's a thoroughly miserable way to experience live music.

You get to see lots of bands for cheaper than a single ticket (or free if you have a review ticket) and get out in the sun. Plus if you go to a sideshow too you can see the same band twice in a few days.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:04 PM on April 7, 2013


Midnight Rambler - 1972

nuf said.
posted by philip-random at 12:13 AM on April 8, 2013


Thought the interview with Charlie Watts was great. All the Stones are great interviews actually, They're mordantly witty and often hilarious, and it's clear that all of them (including Mick) know that it's long past the time when they were "artistes" and that it's just a circus act at this stage in their lives that they drag out every three or four years to fatten their bank accounts.
posted by blucevalo at 8:43 AM on April 8, 2013


Fatten their bank accounts? No, I think Mick does it because he loves to perform. Charlie loves to play. Keith loves to do both.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:30 AM on April 8, 2013


The Stones have long been considered one of the most important rock bands to come from London.
posted by Birchpear at 11:43 PM on April 8, 2013


I haven't playing a Rolling Stones song in my personal music stream for years.

row, row, row your boat
gently down your personal music stream
merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a personal music dream
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:06 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


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