When Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away on Monday at the age of 80 , several of New Jersey's rockers called my show Monday night to pay homage to one of the greatest drummers of all time.

Among those who called in was Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, who just got back with the band from playing in California over the weekend offering his thoughts on Watts.

Steve Trevelise photo.
Steve Trevelise photo.

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"He really was a musician who knew when not to play," Diken said. "And that's really important in a band situation when your role is to support the other guys in the band and set up the song. It's important to keep a groove and he injected so much swing and feel and I think feel is the operative word."

As for that "feel," Diken says:

"Everybody admired about Charlie his sense of feel, all the great drummers that many of us cut our teeth on if we learned anything from them like Ringo or Charlie it's about just playing with feel and technique os important but not as much as that swing and that feel and he had it in spades."

The Smithereens L-R Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, Marshall Crenshaw, Mike Mesaros

Dennis also talked about Watt's sense of class and style.

"Even though he was a big part of what the band was doing he was there in his own little world and he was kind of impenetrable back there."

Watts also had that "cool," as Diken says:

"He was the coolest guy too just to look at him and the way he dressed and the way he played and his body English and his nonchalance, everything about him."

Despite being in such an iconic band of superstars Charlie Watts maintained his individuality. Diken said:

"He was always himself, he never tried to be anything he wasn't."

attachment-The Smithereens L-R Mike Mesaros, Robin Wilson, Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken. Photo credit Luciano J. Bilotti

It helped bring the band to perfection.

"That's what makes great bands, classic bands what they are is when everybody compliments each other and what you bring to the whole and the totality of the situation is. That's your role, you stick with what you need to do and less is more sometimes and as long as you provide a good foundation and you're sympathetic to each other playing, that's what it's all about."

The Smithereens have some Jersey shows coming up;

Friday, 9/17 Concerts on the Green at Suneagles Golf Course, Eatontown, Presented by Count Basie (w/Marshall Crenshaw).

Saturday, 9/18 Downtown Washington, in Washington Twp. in Warren County, this is a free show (w/Marshall Crenshaw).

For more info, click here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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