From: Marc Wickert [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, 4 December 2007 9:40 AM
Subject: The Cuicoland Express
The Cuicoland Express
a newsletter dedicated to the Great JACK BRUCE
Below is an excerpt from an interview with Charlie Watts by Jas Orecht at the time of the Voodoo Lounge tour. Unfortunately, Charlie tries to introduce Jack Bruce into the conversation on three occasions, but each time Jas misses the lead.
JO: If you had a child...
CW: I do.
JO: Who wanted to become a professional rock drummer...
CW: I would say be a drummer, not a rock drummer. What the f**k's a rock drummer? I don't know what a rock drummer is.
LO: Bonham's one.
CW: Well, that's John Bonham playing with Led Zeppelin. Is that rock and roll?
LO: It's part of it, sure.
CW: What would I say to him? I wouldn't say anything.
LO: Would you suggest a course of study, people he or she should hear?
CW: Yeah. I would say learn to read music and listen to people other than John Bonham. Now you've got totally the wrong impression about what I just said - I can see it in your face. [Leans forward and speaks carefully.] John Bonham is the best at being John Bonham and doing what he does. Or did - unfortunately, he's dead. He was the best. There wasn't anyone better than John like that, and thank goodness we've got some records so that you can hear it. But there are a lot of other people.
Ginger Baker was a much better drummer than John Bonham, if you really want to know about drumming. Ginger Baker is the best drummer to emigrate out of England. Really, Ginger is. And the guy who Ginger idolized - whatever the word was - we all did - was a guy called Phil Seaman. And Ginger learned everything off Phil. But Ginger can read, you know. Ginger's not a fool. He can read music, he has wonderful chops, he has rudiments down. Having said all that, I don't. So I would say to anyone - not only my offspring, but anyone - that's what you should do, really. Otherwise, you're locked into doing what I do. Which is fine. It worked for me. And the most important thing of all of it is to be you. There's a load of people who play brilliant drums, but there's only one Billy Higgins. There's only one Elvin Jones. And the reason there's only one of them is their personality. Elvin is a huge black dynamo, you know. Naturally when you listen to him go, that's what he sounds like. And it doesn't have to be fast. It is this machine going. It's not a machine that's clicking regular; it's what Miles used to call "between the beats." It's African. It's what he is, man. Ginger is the same. Ginger is this skinny, huge white man who plays monstrous. But Ginger played like that when he was 20. I used to see him play.
LO: Before Cream?
CW: Yeah! God, he took over for me with a band in England, but I used to know him before that - 1960. I first heard Ginger play in '59, I think. And he was bloody good then. Don't mean good - I mean bloody good. Him and Jack Bruce used to play in one of the best - well, the most exciting, if it wasn't the best - jazz groups in London. And you don't get in those bands by being half good.
LO: Did you hear Ginger on the Masters Of Reality record?
CW: No. I kind of lost track of Ginger's recording career because he disappeared to Italy at one time. I wanted him to play in an orchestra I had, but I could never track him down.
LO: That might have been great.
CW: It would have been. I got another guy. I speak to Jack Bruce quite a bit.
Lo: Are you a fan of African drummers?
LO: When you were young, did you share Mick and Keith's enthusiasm for blues music?
CW: No. I learned the blues through a man called Cyril Davies, and Alexis Corner. From them two I met Brian first, and then Mick and Keith. I used to play in this band with Jack Bruce, and Keith and Mick used to sit in sometimes. Brian would come down. I used to play with a lot of other bands as well. When I joined the Rolling Stones I used to sit around, and Keith and Brian taught me Jimmy Reed...
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