Rush is a Band

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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Sun, Sep 19, 2021

Rush comments on the passing of legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts

Tue, Aug 24, 2021@10:33PM | comments

The sad news broke earlier today that legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has passed away at the age of 80. Watts was a huge influence on multiple generations of drummers, including Rush's Neil Peart. Peart once met Watts backstage at the 2003 SARS benefit show in Toronto and described the experience in his 2004 book Traveling Music:

... A short, older man stepped up to me, sticking out his hand and saying something I couldn't hear. Thinking "Now who's THIS?" I took out one of my ear monitors and said "Sorry, I couldn't hear you."

He spoke again, smiling, "Hello, I'm Charlie Watts."

"Oh!" I said, taken aback, "Hello." And I shook his hand.

He asked if we were going on soon, and I said yes, any minute, and he said, with a twinkle, "I'm going to watch you!"

I suppose if I could have felt more pressured, that might have done it, but I was already at maximum intensity - there was no time to think of Charlie Watts and the Rolling Stones, watching them on The T.A.M.I Show or Ed Sullivan when I was twelve-and-a-half, hearing Satisfaction snarling down the midway at Lakeside Park, Gimme Shelter at the cinema in London, listening to Charlie's beautiful solo album, Warm and Tender, so many times late at night in Quebec, or any of the other million times Charlie Watts and his band had been part of my life.

Geddy e-mailed me later and mentioned that scene:

"BTW, I will never forget that moment before we went onstage when Charlie Watts came over to shake your hand (at the worst possible moment!) and watching your face go through all the motions of... a. who is this old guy? b. what does he want? c. oh for god's sake it's Charlie Watts!" ...

There's a short video snippet of this encounter included in the Toronto Rocks documentary which you can watch below or on YouTube here:

Rush also posted a photo of the above-described experience to their official Instagram earlier today with the following caption:

Sad day for rock and roll...RIP Charlie Watts. He was much loved. ...

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