I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts today.
I've always had great respect for him as a drummer. He had a side line to the Stones in that he ran a jazz big band, a sort of hobby project but one which was clearly close to his heart. He dressed immaculately and looked more like a jazz musician than a rock n' roll drummer, but his rock solid backbeat and economical style was the perfect compliment to the Stones more flamboyant front line. I just can't imagine the band with any other person in the drum chair other than Charlie Watts.
Strangely, many years ago in the very early Be Bop Deluxe days, I was apparently being considered as a second guitarist in the Rolling Stones, at least according to a New Musical Express or Melody Maker news item back then. I don't think for one minute I would have fitted the band, but playing alongside Charlie would have been an honour. And in more recent years, bizarrely, he requested to become one of my Facebook 'friends', though we never communicated.
Yet again, it's deeply depressing to lose another musician of this caliber. These things are inevitable as the years melt away, but I don't have to like it. Accepting it is so hard, but we have no choice in the matter. Consciousness of our own ultimate demise carries a cruelty that is inexhaustible and inescapable.