Monday, January 14, 2013

Charlie Watts "The A, B, C & D Of Boogie Woogie"

I was watching the Hurricane Sandy Benefit show and when the Rolling Stones came on, it make me think of my Grandfather.

I know that sounds like a cheap "The Rolling Stones are OLD!" joke.  But I'm actually sincere here.

I was looking at Charlie Watts and something about him, a few things about him, reminded me of my Grandfather.

Let me say that Charlie Watts and my late Grampa would never have been mistaken for one another.  Charlie Watts is fair and English and pencil-thin mustachioed. My Grandpa was olive and Sicilian and clean-shaven.

But seeing Charlie Watts on stage during the televised concert, somehow made me think of Grampa.

Part of it simply had to do with age.  Watts is now 71, near the same age that Grampa was when he died.

My clearest image of my Grandfather is a picture of him (which I couldn't find, but enjoy this photo of him in a tie, hold me as a baby), in a plain white t-shirt, looking like he had worked up a sweat that day (he had; he'd built a cabinet for my Mom on a hot July day). 

And Watts, in his plain t-shirt (see above), cuts much the same figure---wiry and strong.

My grampa was, shall we say, economical with his words.  So is Charlie Watts.  Enjoy the video below that begins with interviewer Jules Holland dragging answers out of Watts, a single word at a time.

And they both had/have these knowing smiles.  The kind that let you know they may only say a few words, but they have a lot entertaining thoughts going through their head.

As a drew these comparisons, I remembered a story about Watts, and a half-remembered story about my Grampa.

Perhaps the most famous story about Charlie Watts, is this one:
"A famous anecdote relates that during the mid-1980s, an intoxicated Jagger phoned Watts' hotel room in the middle of the night asking "Where's my drummer?" Watts reportedly got up, shaved, dressed in a suit, put on a tie and freshly shined shoes, descended the stairs, and punched Jagger in the face, saying: "Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're my fucking singer!" 
(I've read that story a number of places, but this quote comes from Wikipedia)

There was a fuzzy recollection of a story about my Grampa, and I asked around to my Mom and my cousins.  It was Uncle Joe who remembered.

My Grampa was a quiet man and a gentle man.  But he was also a hard-working man, who, though he didn't look like he weighed 100 pounds, was wiry and powerful from years of construction and mechanic work.

Uncle Joe related an occasion when he was working in the same garage as my Grampa.  There was a loud-mouth co-worker---older than Uncle Joe, but much younger than my Grandfather---who was cussing, cussing, cussing at Grampa.  Grampa chose to walk away, but the co-worker did not relent and in fact followed him.  Pushed to his limit, Grampa turned and hit the guy with a single uppercut, lifting him the younger man up off his feet and laying him out flat.  No words.  No bullshit.

So yeah, it IS a cheap shot to say "The Rolling Stones remind me of my Grampa!" but when your Grampa was kind of a quiet badass, I guess it's not really a cheap shot.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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