If you thought you were the number one Australian fan of the Rolling Stones, think again.
- John Abbott has seen the Rolling Stones perform 50 times
- The 72-year-old truck driver has decorated his prime movers and trailers with portraits of the Rolling Stones
- Mr Abbott says, with Charlie Watts’ death, the Stones should retire
Not only is John Abbott a self-confessed superfan — who says he has seen the band play live about 50 times — the well-known long-distance truck driver also commissioned an artist to paint three of his prime movers and a trailer with portraits of all the band members.
Mr Abbott told ABC Radio Melbourne that decorating one truck alone had cost him $25,000.
“On the driver’s side was Keith Richards on the passenger door, Ronnie Wood [was] on the bed, [on] the windbreaker was Mick Jagger — and the whole back of the [cabin] was Charlie Watts and his drum kit,” he said.
The truck driver spoke to ABC Radio Melbourne this week following the death of Stones drummer Charlie Watts .
Fan from young
Brisbane-based Mr Abbott — who now drives trucks up and down Australia’s east coast — has fond memories of seeing the Rolling Stones live.
His obsession started after he saw them at London’s Finsbury Park in 1964, around the time he met his wife, Chrissy.
The 72-year-old saw them play again and again and planned overseas holidays around their tour dates.
However, Mr Abbott said a highlight was driving trucks for the band across Australia as part of the 40 Licks Tour in early 2000.
“I got to see them perform night after night for seven weeks,” he said.
Mr Abbott said Watts was a “humble” man in conversation, and on the drums.
“It’s not [Watts’s] game [to do drum solos]. His job [was] to create the beat for the rest of the boys,” he said.
“It’s amazing what that man [did] with just four drums.”
‘Best in music’
Mr Abbott said his favourite song was It’s All Over Now — which, he said, would be the first song played at his funeral – followed by Start Me Up, Sympathy for the Devil, Brown Sugar and Honky Tonk Woman.
While it is believed the band will still perform without its original drummer, Mr Abbott said he would like to see them stop making music, despite his love for them.
“I hope the Stones hang their boots [up] and leave it to the wonderful 61 years they gave,” he said. “They’re the best in music without a doubt and always will be.”
Melbourne fans share love for Watts
ABC Radio Melbourne listeners also shared their love for the Rolling Stones and their memories of Watts.
James from Inverloch said he spent Wednesday morning listening to the Charlie Watts Jim Keltner Project record and reminisced about seeing the Rolling Stones play at Kooyong Stadium in the ’70s.
Another listener, Michael, said he was fortunate enough to be part of the cabin crew on the band’s Los Angeles-to-Sydney flight, ahead of the 40 Licks Tour, and observed Watts to be “a quiet, unassuming man”.
Annette from Lara said Watts was in the school jazz band with her brother, who got to meet and practise with him in their lounge room a couple of times.
Listener Simon celebrated Watts as “one of the most sartorial men in rock”, while another listener, Brent, said, “I’ve always loved that Charlie provided the beat and Keith provided the Watts.”
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