Watch The Moment Neil Peart Meets Charlie Watts
via Cristobal Domínguez / Youtube
It Was Quite A Surprise
The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts influenced and inspired the next generation of rock drummers, one of them was Rush’s Neil Peart. And in 2003, they finally met. On July 30, the Rolling Stones headlined Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto and played in front of 400,000 fans. Others on the bill included AC/DC, the Guess Who, and Rush.
“A short, older man stepped up to me, sticking out his hand and saying something I couldn’t hear,” Peart wrote in his book Traveling Music : The Soundtrack to My Life and Times. “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.’”
Even though Peart already knew that Watts was there, he was still surprised when they he saw him backstage.
“‘Oh!’ I said, taken aback, ‘Hello.’ And I shook his hand,” the Rush drummer recalled. “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,” Peart explained. “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,” he added.
Geddy Lee recalled the most unforgettable moment of the whole encounter.
“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!),” Lee told Peart in an email, “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!”