Why Charlie Watts Blamed Led Zeppelin, His Official Biography Details

Charlie Watts‘s unfortunate death greatly affected his family, bandmates, and the Rolling Stones audience. Mick Jagger had previously stated how much he missed him, but the late drummer’s memory will be kept alive for those who miss him. His official biography will hit the shelves on October 11, and an exclusive excerpt from the book where Watts targeted Led Zeppelin was shared by Billboard.

While Watts was discussing the durability of the Rolling Stones during two-hour shows, the topic drifted toward Led Zeppelin. The drummer explained that the Stones would perform for twenty minutes in clubs in their early days. Yet, with their growing popularity, the band went from twenty-minute shows to performing two sets in a single night.

The drummer pointed at Led Zeppelin’s influence, as they were quite well-known for their eccentric and extended stage shows, and said their performances also started to last longer because of Zep. Watts ironically thanked the band and explained that if you were Jimmy Page or John Bonham, known for his twenty-minute-long drum solos, you could do that. However, the case was different with the Rolling Stones.

The late musician said he didn’t like doing extended drum solos on stage. For Watts, Led Zeppelin’s long shows featuring long solos required a lot of physical work as the monitors weren’t that good, and to be heard by the audience, drummers had to play at full volume.

Nonetheless, with today’s improved musical equipment, it has become easier for drummers or generally musicians to perform for long hours. Charlie Watts remarked that he would just play at the volume he wanted and wouldn’t have any issues regarding being heard. Technology had fixed that issue for him.

The exclusive excerpt from Charlie Watts’ biography on playing for long hours and Led Zeppelin’s influence on the matter:

“The Stones are very easy to play with. In this day and age, it’s very easy to play, because… Let’s see… I blame Led Zeppelin for the two-hour-long show. Now, you see, we jumped in a few years from doing 20 minutes, all the hits and off. We went from doing club dates which are two sets a night, which was great fun to doing 20-minute shows to doing, thanks to Led Zeppelin, this two-hour long show.

If you’re Jimmy Page, you can do that, and [with] Bonham’s 20-minute drum solo. It wasn’t about that with us, it was a different thing. I don’t like doing drum solos, period. I don’t hear things like that. When Zep, we call ’em, used to do that, that was hard work physically, because the monitors weren’t so good, and the volume you played at. As a drummer, I’m talking about.

But now the sound equipment is so sophisticated. The hardest thing with a drummer on those big stages is to be heard. Now, it’s done for you, virtually. The amplification is there, so I just play naturally, at the volume I feel like playing, in this little cage I live in, and they adjust the volume of it.”

Performing for long hours required physical stamina back in the day, as there were no advanced speakers and equipment. That made things especially hard for drummers since it could be said that drum solos require maximum energy and durability. Charlie Watts was pretty honest when stating his dislike of performing without improved equipment and blamed Led Zeppelin for extending the show’s time.