This one hit pretty hard. It was unexpected, for one thing, and for another he was one of the founding fathers of my musical development. After The Beatles, there were The Stones, as every schoolboy knows. The Stones were bluesier, dirtier, nastier, and a lot rougher around those edges that the Beatles had smoothed down to harmonious perfection. So much rougher that it would take something very strong and steady to hold together the maniacal energy of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones. It would take Charlie Watts.
I love the American drummers Benny Benjamin, Clyde Stubblefield, Al Jackson Jr., Hal Blaine, and the twin-drumming threats of the Allman Brothers Jamoe & Butch Trucks, and the Dead’s Mickey Hart & Bob Kreutzmann, as well as more recent rock drummers like DJ Bonebrake, Chad Smith, and Tre Cool but that little island off the coast of Europe, in the 1960s, did something miraculous when it produced five of rock’s greatest drummers: Ringo, Moonie, Bonzo, Mick Avory (yes, Mick fucking Avory!), and Charlie Watts.
Sitting in the back of the bus on the way to high school, I would pull out my box and pop in a cassette that I hoped would make the day ahead a little easier to bear. Sometimes it was Quadrophenia, and other times it was Animals, but as often as not it was Hot Rocks.
There are times, like the one we’re living through, when the collective agonies of grinding through a pandemic, a war, and a culture determined to tear itself apart, can overwhelm even the heartiest souls. It is reassuring to know that other times have faced the same, and worse, and somehow come through it. Sometimes all it takes is knowing there are others who feel the same, who want to see the whole world painted black.
I see a red door And I want it painted black No colors anymore I want them to turn black I see the girls walk by Dressed in their summer clothes I have to turn my head Until my darkness goes I see a line of cars And they're all painted black With flowers and my love Both never to come back I've seen people turn their heads And quickly look away Like a newborn baby It just happens everyday I look inside myself And see my heart is black I see my red door I must have it painted black Maybe then, I'll fade away And not have to face the facts It's not easy facing up When your whole world is black No more will my green sea Go turn a deeper blue I could not foresee this thing Happening to you If I look hard enough Into the setting sun My love will laugh with me Before the morning comes