Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith has shared his memories of an “unbelievable” experience meeting the late Rolling Stones drummer, Charlie Watts.
In a recent interview with NME, Smith elaborates on his admiration for the Stones, and shares what it was like to meet the “incredible musician” in person.
“They’re still going man, still wheeling around,” he explains. “I think because they were there in the very beginning of rock and roll or modern rock and roll anyway. They’re the last of the Mohicans, they’re still going somehow.”
Detailing the moment he first met the iconic percussionist, Smith says the meeting took place while the Chili Peppers were scheduled to play a show at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California in 1994. During sound check, Smith noticed Watts standing to the side of his drum tech, watching him play.
“It was August and there he is in a full suit, standing there at 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the sun looking and watching us soundcheck,” the drummer says. “I’m like ‘fucking Charlie Watts is watching me fucking play. Unbelievable!’”
Revealing what he thought about the Rolling Stones drummer after spending time with him, Smith continues, “He was such a big jazz guy – he wanted to know what kit I had. He was very sweet and I got to spend a day with him.
“We had the same drum company called DW Drums and he was out here and we toured the factory together and he was so interested in all the different plies and what kind of wood and how it was put together. He was super cool and nice to everybody and just a real gentleman.”
Going on to discuss Watt’s love for jazz, Smith says, “He’d say ‘I have some watches from Gene Krupa and he says ‘I’m not gonna wear them but I look at them and it’s like, ‘hey, Gene wore those when he went out to dinner.’ He really appreciated those kinds of things. He was a real fan.
“When he spoke, all he wanted to talk about was jazz. I couldn’t get two words in about the Stones or anything. He just wanted to talk about everything jazz.
“I know some, but not to his extensive [knowledge], so I just nodded. You probably know people that go off on a tangent about something that you sort of don’t really know, you’re just kind of ‘Mmmm yes, Gerry Mulligan in 1946 oh wow really?’ But he was super sweet and nice and obviously what an incredible musician.”
Charlie Watts passed away last year in August, aged 80.