Music: CHARLIE WATTS — ‘not your drummer.” Courtesy photo


I knew it, I just knew it. That when I acknowledged local activist Judy Abdo’s objection to putting LA Guns on my impromptu list of worst bands, suitable only for torture, because LAG is her nephew Tracii Gun’s band — I didn’t specifically hate LAG, I just lumped together a roster of hair/metal bands, which genre I do find to be torture — turns out, when I listened more to them that night I had to admit Abdo’s nephew is a pretty decent guitar player, though misdirecting his talent, I would say. So off the list goes LA Guns and on goes Skid Row.

I knew it. Of course I immediately heard from a few SR fans who complained, so convincingly, that Skid Row could never be a bad band because frontman Sebastian Bach is such a babe. Hard to argue with that critical thinking.


The original and only Rolling Stones drummer, since 1962, died at 80 the day I was turning in my NOTEWORTHY column last week. I wrote that I would try to say more about him this week, but so much has been said since then, and I have no personal stories.

I think the best one that people retold was from Keith Richards’ autobiography “Life.” where he recounted the time in 1984 in Amsterdam when Mick Jagger, returning with Richards to their hotel at 5 a.m. after a bender (“give Mick a couple of glasses, he’s gone”), said, “Let’s call Charlie.” No, it’s too late, Richards reasoned. But Jagger rang Watts’ room and yelled, “Where’s my drummer? Where’s my drummer!” No response.

Twenty minutes later there’s a knock at the door. Richards opens it and Watts, “Savile Row suit, perfectly dressed, I could smell the cologne” — 5 a.m. — walks straight past Richards and over to Jagger, picks him up by the lapels of his jacker, says, in an even voice, “Never call me your drummer again,” and clocks him, right hook to the jaw. Jagger falls back across a table and slides toward an open window.

“I was thinking, this is a good one,” Richards wrote, “and then I realized it was my wedding jacket [that he had loaned to Jagger for the night]. And I grabbed hold of it and caught Mick just before he slid into the Amsterdam canal.”

Richards called it “his drummer’s punch – a punch I’ve seen a couple of times and it’s lethal; it carries a lot of balance and timing. He has to be badly provoked.”


The only fitting tribute from his mates, I think, would be to call off their upcoming tour. To announce to the world, Charlie’s gone, and that means the Rolling Stones are no more.

I know, that would be a nightmare to undo, and a lot of people would lose a lot of money. But c’mon, Mick and Keith are worth nearly half a billion bucks each, they’re 78 and 77 respectively — don’t they have enough “Satisfaction”? They could both have a lot of larks in their remaining golden years just showing up where they wanted to and stepping on a stage with anyone. You think it wouldn’t make headlines every time?

Ronnie Wood (the new guitar player in the band) said in the 2003 documentary “Tip Of The Tongue”: “Charlie’s the engine. We don’t go anywhere without the engine.” Well?

When Led Zeppelin’s founding drummer John Bonham, arguably the best rock and roll has ever had, died in 1980, three weeks before their first tour in three years, the band, hardly a paragon of integrity in other areas, announced, that’s it, no John Bonham, no Led Zeppelin, and they disbanded, on the spot.

The opposite example is Who founders Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, even less associated with the word integrity, who didn’t miss a beat after founding drummer Keith Moon, a legend unto himself, died in 1978, and announced the same day that bassist John Enwhistle (in my book, unquestionably the best rock bassist ever) died in 2002 that no, they wouldn’t be playing in Vegas the next night but we’ll see you at the Hollywood Bowl in four days! John would have wanted it that way, they said. (And we would have lost millions if we canceled the tour.) Literally, the body was probably still warm. Lovely, Pete.


TONIGHT! HAMILTON — No, I haven;t seen it, dammit, but I think I can only go wrong by not recommending it, right? 6:30 p.m., $55-200.

Friday – 8 p.m., $55-225

Saturday – 2 p.m., $75-449; 8 p.m., $55-449

Sunday – 2 p.m., $55-449

Tues, Wed, next Thurs, 8 p.m.,$55-369

All performances at Pantages Theater, Hollywood

THEATRICUM BOTANICUM presents “THE LAST, BEST SMALL TOWN” — this moving, timely original with themes of racism, small town life, economic disparity, stereotypes, youthful rebellion, the value of education, family expectations and dynamics, tradition — in other words, the human condition. Sat 7:30 p.m.

SHAKESPEARE’S “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” — one of the best “AMND” I can recall (despite the flawed attempt to inject a little singing). Loved the inventive physical comedy and the fairies were really good; who could not be charmed by their little chirping sounds? Sun 4 p.m.,

SHAKESPEARE’S “JULIUS CAESAR” — Wordy (how did Shakespeare’s actors, mostly illiterate, ever memorize all those lines?), historically informative (and applicable to modern times, because people are people and politics…) and makes it come alive. In school Shakespeare’s dialog was often Greek to me (just one of the phrases he came up with in “JC” that infuses our language half a millennium later), but now every word shimmers, also due to the delivery by the TB thespians. Christopher W. Jones stood out as conflicted bad guy Brutus, as did Willow Geer as Portia, and special linguistic laurels go to Melora Marshall as Cassius, who was just made for this part, even those it is a mans part. So much distinction in her delivery, it brings you straight in to the moment. Mr. Schide, you would be proud: I complained no end when he made us memorize the entire funeral speech of Marc Antony in fifth grade, but 60 years later I could murmur right along. Sun 7:30 p.m.,

All performances TB. Topanga Canyon, #10-$26 general admission.

EM THE MASTER — I know, sounds pretentious… unless you can deliver and she does. I wrote a couple weeks ago about how knocked out I was by her show. Her original songs are excellent, the arrangements masterful, the band killer. She is a non-stop ball of frenetic but focused energy. Tues 9 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $10.

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at