Details: What brought the crisis to a close?
Charlie Watts: I was booked to appear at Ronnie Scott's and I broke my ankle drunk and I just said, "That's it." I stopped everything—drinking, smoking, everything.
Details: Details is a men's style magazine, so . . .
Charlie Watts: Well, you have a tough time now. There isn't a great deal of style going around in this day and age.
Details: What happened to it?
Charlie Watts: I think people can't be bothered. If you really want to get into it, you need the time, you need a certain amount of money, and you have to be bothered. I don't mean dressing up. Just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans are fabulous, if it's the right T-shirt and the right pair of jeans. But it's certainly not a thing that people bother with now—you've only got to look at 90 percent of film stars. I mean, they look dreadful when they're not on the red carpet.
Details: I get the impression that you're a man who might have a favorite tailor on Savile Row.
Charlie Watts: I've two. I've one I've been going to for—well, he's dead now, but Mick introduced me to Tommy Nutter. Two people that used to work there, I stayed with, at Chittleborough & Morgan in Savile Row, and Huntsman in Savile Row. I love going into any tailors—my tailors, particularly, because I know them—and I spend the morning talking about nothing and looking at fabric, and then I choose something to be made up.
Details: How many suits do you estimate you have?
Charlie Watts: I have no idea. I have an awful lot. I do. It's one of the luxuries of my days, choosing what to wear. Sometimes it's nice, and sometimes my wife will say, "I'm not going out with you in that." But it's one of the joys that I'll have. I have a lot of shoes, and I'll choose a pair of shoes—for me, it's fun. Now most people can't be bothered, you see. But I suppose that was true in the thirties—not everyone was Fred Astaire, were they?
Details: Sadly, no. When you wake up in the morning, do you devote time to, say, shining your shoes?
Charlie Watts: My shoemaker tells me I don't polish them enough.
Details: You have a shoemaker?
Charlie Watts: In London. It's the name of a very beautiful shoemaker, George Cleverly, and he's no longer with us, but his apprentices have started a shop. Do you come to London? It's on Royal Arcade, off of Bond Street. Lovely.
Details: How crucial was visual style to the impact of the Stones?
Charlie Watts: Keith has had a style of his own all his life. I suppose everybody looks good at 40—there was a period there where he used to look fantastic in the maddest stuff. It was a terrible period for me, because I hated all those Afghani belts and all that, but they looked great on Keith. He used to look like an Afghan warrior. And Mick's great at getting his stuff together on stage. He has the most incredible outfits—he's like Nijinsky.
Details: When the Rolling Stones recruited you in the early 1960s, you were working as a graphic designer at an advertising agency. What was your work like there?
Charlie Watts: I was very lucky because I went to a very good agency that just employed some of the best, best American designers. A guy who was with us, who was a big influence—and I still see him now in New York—is a man called Bob Gill. Bob brought all these people over, and it was so exciting working with him. It's still exciting to see him now. We would go to lectures with another guy that came over, Robert Brownjohn, he's the one who did—I forgot the name of the record. You know, the one with the cake on it . . .