Matt Cameron Honors Charlie Watts + the ‘Swagger’ He Brought to Drumming
Grunge icon Matt Cameron, the veteran drummer who's propelled rock acts such as Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, paid tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones stickman Charlie Watts on Wednesday (Aug. 25). Watts, at age 80, died the day before.
As remembrances of the Stones legend poured in, Spin asked Cameron to contribute a little something in writing in honor of Watts. Cameron did just that, sharing a short paean to the rocker that touches on the late Rolling Stones member's rhythmic prowess.
Read the full letter down toward the bottom of this post.
Watts "had a beautifully greasy swagger in his drumming that was completely his own thing," Cameron writes, going on to cite some performers outside of guitar music who influenced Watt's drumming style.
"I always admired the jazz sensibilities in Charlie's playing," he continues. "He refused to be defined as merely a rock drummer — he was so much more than that."
Cameron adds, "I was fortunate to see Charlie and the Stones completely rock the house in 2019. Charlie was 78 at the time and sounded amazing!"
Plenty of other rock and metal musicians have joined the Soundgarden drummer in paying their respects to Watts. That includes surviving Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, who each shared a social media tribute to the late drummer this week.
It was on Tuesday (Aug. 24) that Watts' publicist, Bernard Doherty, announced via the Stones, "It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts."
The statement continued, "Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather, and also, as a member of The Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation. We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time."
Watts joined The Rolling Stones in 1963 and remained their drummer for over five decades. He was the only member besides Jagger and Richards to have played on all of the band's studio albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the group in 1989.
He had a beautifully greasy swagger in his drumming that was completely his own thing. He gave the Stones an authentic swing that partly came from his love of African American Be-Bop masters like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. I always admired the jazz sensibilities in Charlie's playing, he refused to be defined as merely a rock drummer, he was so much more than that.
I was fortunate to see Charlie and the Stones completely ROCK the house in 2019. Charlie was 78 at the time and sounded amazing!
Thank you Charlie Watts.