Relevant secures Rolling Stone in tribute to the Legendary Drummer Charlie Watts

Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer Chad Smith: My Day With Charlie Watts

Smith got a lesson in curiosity, humility, and class when he spent a day with Watts in 2018.

In the fall of 1994, Chad Smith was in the middle of a soundcheck at the Rose Bowl, where the Red Hot Chili Peppers were about to open for the Rolling Stones, when his drum tech started gesturing to him with his head. “I look over and he was giving me one of those [motions], like, ‘Hey, look over here,’ and I look by the monitor desk and Charlie Watts was standing there. It was a warm Los Angeles afternoon, and he’s in a perfect suit. I’m like, [mock-sheepishly] ‘Ah, shit, Charlie fuckin’ Watts is watching me …’ “

As it turned out, the Stones drummer wasn’t there to offer any kind of critique. He just wanted to talk drums. “I finish, I go over: ‘Charlie, nice to meet you.’ [Imitating soft English accent] ‘Oh, man, you sound great.’ ‘Oh, wow, thank you.’ And I had a green-sparkle drum set at the time. He says, ‘Oh, is that a new one?’ And I said, ‘No, the company makes them.’ And he goes, ‘I’ve got one; [jazz drummer] Mel Lewis has one like that.’ That was his thing; he connected with the color of the drums.”