"Charlie Watts lays it down, and the others follow. He is the Law. This book explains why." -- Clem Burke, Blondie
"Required reading for any Stones fan." -- Bun E. Carlos
"The most colorfully graphic and, arguably, the most accurate description extant of the Rolling Stones at the absolute pinnacle of their career."-- All About Jazz
"[Edison] shoots from the hip from the first line to the last in this extremely entertaining celebration... Edison's frenzied, gunned up prose repeatedly reminds one and all of exactly why Charlie Watts Matters... Stones fans and jazzers, bluesers and rockers alike all owe Mike Edison a massive thank you." ★★★★ -- Shindig
"Sympathy thankfully is not a ponderous academic treatise, and while Edison occasionally leans into gonzo flights of fancy, he takes the reader on a grand tour of forty years of Watts' contributions to the Rolling Stones... As Keith Richards has said, "No Charlie, no Stones," and Edison wrote the book to prove it."-- Modern Drummer
"Sympathy for the Drummer is so much more than an incisive appreciation of Charlie Watts, it is an effusively infectious tribute to art in all of its myriad forms. Edison's insights into the Rolling Stones are backed up by a fluent scope of cultural historicity, and peppered with an array of no-nonsense broadsides. Compelling evidence to convince even the most non-partisan reader that Charlie is indeed the WORLD'S GREATEST ROCK'N'ROLL DRUMMER!" -- Jim Sclavunos, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
"It's not hard to fathom why a former editor of both Screw and High Times magazines would find writing about the Rolling Stones, one of the most dissolute champions of sex and drugs, right in his conceptual wheelhouse. But Edison takes a unique approach by focusing his investigation on Charlie Watts, the woefully underappreciated lynchpin of the Stones sound. This book is a delightful look at the Stones through the eyes and the beats of their most reticent member. Finally someone gave this drummer some." -- Larry "Ratso" Sloman, author On the Road with Bob Dylan
"A great voice of authority and knowledge, dispensed with free-wheeling fluidity. Super entertaining, and right on." -- Katherine Turman, coauthor, Louder Than Hell: The Complete Oral History of Heavy Metal
"A wild ride through six-plus decades of music history... An illuminating and massively entertaining book." -- Dan Epstein, author Big Hair and Plastic Grass
Sympathy for the Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters is both a gonzo rush—capturing the bristling energy of the Rolling Stones and the times in which they lived—and a wide-eyed reflection on why the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World needed the world's greatest rock 'n' roll drummer.
Across five decades, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has had the best seat in the house. Charlie Watts, the anti-rock star—an urbane jazz fan with a dry wit and little taste for the limelight—was witness to the most savage years in rock history, and emerged a hero, a warrior poet. With his easy swing and often loping, uneven fills, he found nuance in a music that often had little room for it, and along with his greatest ally, Keith Richards, he gave the Stones their swaggering beat. While others battled their drums, Charlie played his modest kit with finesse and humility, and yet his relentless grooves on the nastiest hard-rock numbers of the era ("Gimme Shelter," "Street Fighting Man," "Brown Sugar," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," etc.) delivered a dangerous authenticity to a band that on their best nights should have been put in jail.
Author Mike Edison, himself a notorious raconteur and accomplished drummer, tells a tale of respect and satisfaction that goes far beyond drums, drumming, and the Rolling Stones, ripping apart the history of rock'n'roll, and celebrating sixty years of cultural upheaval. He tears the sheets off of the myths of music making, shredding the phonies and the frauds, and unifies the frayed edges of disco, punk, blues, country, soul, jazz, and R&B—the soundtrack of our lives.
Highly opinionated, fearless, and often hilarious, Sympathy is as an unexpected treat for music fans and pop culture mavens, as edgy and ribald as the Rolling Stones at their finest, never losing sight of the sex and magic that puts the roll in the rock —the beat, that crazy beat!—and the man who drove the band, their true engine, the utterly irreplaceable Charlie Watts.