LAWRENCE — The late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts was a crucial member of a band of unique talents, leaving space in his rhythmic patterns for the others to famously fill.
So says Brandon Draper, drummer and University of Kansas associate professor of music.
“What is unique about Charlie Watts is that he didn’t play the high-hat cymbal at the same time as he played the snare drum,” Draper said today, when it was announced that Watts had died at age 80. “Most drum beats came down on the 2 and the 4 (of each measure), and the high-hat and the snare are played together. He changed up his pattern so that it left more space for the rest of the band. It’s a subtle thing, but nobody ever did that before him.”
Draper contrasted Watts’ self-effacing technique against his more bombastic peers, Keith Moon and John Bonham, saying Watts was always “serving the song,” rather than his ego.
Draper predicted fans of the Stones would be listening to Watts' parts carefully this week, “And they’ll be asking themselves, ‘What did he do? I never really listened to him.’ That’s what he did.”
Journalists are welcome to use Draper's comments or contact Rick Hellman, KU News Service public affairs officer to speak with Draper.