1111 R.I.P. Charlie Watts

He was the oldest Rolling Stone, born 1941, six years older than me.

I have an essay THE ROLLING STONES

I never saw the Stones in concert, but once I had the surprise of my life.

I was visiting in my home-town of Essen and I went to a concert at my local art gallery, the Folkwang Museum. It must have been the mid seventies. Every once in a while there would be a Jazz concert. I went to a concert with a German Jazz drummer, Klaus Weiss. He had been to Africa and was inspired to produce an album: Niagara … just drums and percussion.

At the time I was not so much a jazz fan, but I had been really into blues and the Rolling Stones … but hey, I was also into drums, so I went, since it was my local.

It was a small audience, maybe fifty/sixty or so people, in a rather small room, which was filled with a lot of percussion instruments and - unusually - two drum kits. The band came, took up their places and the last person to walk in was the second drummer: none less that Charlie Watts! I nearly fell off my chair.

click here for a YouTube interview from 1993

Soul Strut: Niagara's debut is one of crate digger folk lore. Formed by German drummer extraordinaire Klaus Weiss in 1970, the band was a juggernaut of drums adopting a mix of afrobeat, rock, and jazz. Niagara's primitive approach was embodied by an album cover adorning a dripping, sweat-drenched breast. Their debut contains only two songs which are all percussion and beautifully hypnotic, weaving through different tempos and styles. The most well known of the tracks is "Sangandongo", a tribal drum-a-thon that drops into a frenzied b-boy open drum groove at about the 8 minute mark and does not let up.