METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich has paid tribute to late THE ROLLING STONES drummer Charlie Watts after his death at the age of 80 on Tuesday (Aug. 24).
The death of Watts “hits hard on many levels,” Ulrich tells Rolling Stone. “Obviously, as a Stones fan, it’s sort of the end of at least an era within that band, because he was the only drummer that ever recorded with them. He was such a significant part of their sound and an underrated part of their sound. In a band where the spotlight would go to especially Mick and Keith, a lot of people truly didn’t understand how valuable he was.”
The METALLICA drummer continued, “Charlie has always been that driving force. He could kick these songs and make them swing, make them swagger, still make them have that attitude, that pocket. Seeing him do that way deep into his seventies has been such a life-affirming thing. [Metallica are] a good 20, 25 years behind, but it’s given me a lot of faith in the possibilities of what it can continue to be — music, concerts, connecting to fans, connecting to each other as a band. There’s nobody above them on that pyramid, and there’s nobody above Charlie on that pyramid. Of course, there are a couple of incredible jazz drummers who played into their eighties, but there’s been nobody above Charlie in the rock ‘n’ roll pyramid in terms of being out there and doing it.”
Despite his death, THE ROLLING STONES will continue their scheduled 2021 U.S. tour, the band announced yesterday.
“They don’t need the money or exposure,” Lars adds, “so one can only imagine the reason [the Stones] kept going is because they loved what they were doing. And that has always been so relatable to me and to our band.”