The Passing Of Charlie Watts And The Art Of Drumming

“Sometime, somewhere in the not too distant future, the Stones will be on stage, in the middle of the show when Mick will turn around and see Charlie is not there. It will be like a punch in the gut!” That’s Martin Atkins on the devastating blow the passing of Charlie Watts will have on the band he joined in 1963. For Martin, losing a friend, a bandmate, and the pillar-of-strength that held the Stones together for over half a century has to be unimaginable. Unlike Mr. Watts, Mr. Atkins is widely known for his crazy antics behind his kit. Yet, although Martin has pounded out the beat for a litany of raucous bands including, Brian Brain, PiL, Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke, and more, his appreciation for the understated style of Watts is almost devotional. Atkins, a drummer since the age of nine, knows what the art of drumming means, “Charlie was as close as you could want to a drum machine, for precision. And, as far away from a drum machine for organic engagement and appeal.” On the thought that the death of Charlie Watts also signals the end of an era, Martin Atkins has a lot to say about the importance of legacy. For a moment, he takes a slight tangent to report he faces this head-on with the determination to not leave the memories (legacy) of his participation in rock and roll for anyone else to interpret, including his children. “I’ve created The Museum Of Post Punk & Industrial Music, he says. Martin’s unbridled enthusiasm for everything he does, always shines through, as does his obvious sadness that a giant in the art of drumming has passed.  

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