"I miss his laconic humour. His taste in music. His elegance. His don’t-care attitude": Mick Jagger is still mourning the loss of his friend Charlie Watts, and Keith Richards says he misses the drummer "every day"

Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards
(Image credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The new Rolling Stones album, Hackney Diamonds, may feature the late Charlie Watts on two songs, but his lifelong friends and former bandmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards freely admit that they are still mourning the drummer's passing, and miss him terribly.

In a recent interview with The Sun newspaper, Richards stated that Watts' death on August 24, 2021 "jolted" the band into making their first album of original material since 2005's A Bigger Bang, and he and Jagger have spoken emotionally about the loss of their friend, revealing that Watts is constantly in their thoughts.

"It’s a couple of years now, and I still think about Charlie a lot," Jagger states in a new interview with The Guardian. "I miss his laconic humour. His taste in music. His elegance. His don’t-care attitude – he didn’t get intense. Keith and I get a bit intense. But Charlie wouldn’t, and it rubs off a bit – I’m not as intense as I used to be. I think about him when I’m playing, and what he would have played; whether he’d have liked this song, because I’d always bounce things off him. I’d be playing him the silly pop songs of the moment, and he’d love all that."

"I hate to say this," Jagger added, "as you get older, a lot of your friends die."

For his part, Keith Richards says that Watts is in his thoughts daily.

"I miss Charlie every day man," the guitarist revealed in conversation on The Howard Stern Show. "As I come out of my bedroom, the first thing I see is a portrait of Charlie on the staircase - I always give him the salute on the way. Charlie Watts was a solid guy."

Speaking about what Watts brought to the band after joining in 1963, Richards said, “He had feel, he had intelligence, rock and roll doesn’t necessarily need the whole battery of drums, it’s got to do with when to not hit… if you’re making music, silence is your canvas.”

The guitarist says that the Stones "lucked out" when Watts joined the band.

"There was a feeling about Charlie, and a subtlety about how he played," he told Stern. "He would throw in ideas that you hadn’t really thought of... [and] at the same time, such a solid beat. I never had to worry about anything, which gives the rest of us the freedom to, like, fly."

You can watch Richards' salute to Watts below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.