Drummer who said no to the Stones

Now he's at Wembley - selling burgers, says Russell Newmark

THE Rolling Stones' tour reaches Wembley Stadium in August, a poignant choice of venue for Sixties drummer Carlo Little.

Carlo played a few shows with the Stones before Charlie Watts arrived on the scene - but decided there were better prospects working with Screaming Lord Sutch.

Nowadays Carlo, who is 59, sells hot dogs and burgers from a catering trailer in the shadow of Wembley Stadium.

But the man who once gave the young Keith Moon some drumming lessons just before he sprang to fame with The Who, remains philosophical about his split with the Stones. "It was the right thing to do at the time," says Carlo, who was a military drummer during his National Service period.

Carlo came to the fore as a founder member of Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages. He later reached further prominence with Cyril Davies and his Rhythm and Blues All-Stars. But, right at the end of 1962, he was invited to play three or four dates with a new group calling themselves The Rolling Stones.

"People came up to me and said `what the hell are you doing playing with this mob?'," he recalls. "They were seeing me - the pro-drummer, well- respected - playing with young lads who, at that time, didn't really know what they were doing."

Carlo remembers turning down an offer to stay on for some more dates - seeing a chance to return to the Sutch band as a better option. "More gigs were coming in with Sutch, and the money was about three times as much. I suggested that they have a look at a drummer called Charlie Watts. I said `try Charles - because I can't do it'. And that was the most stupid thing I've ever said!"

Since early 1963, the nearest Carlo has come to any of the Rolling Stones was the time he saw Mick Jagger backstage at a Wembley show in the Seventies. He was too embarrassed to go up to him and say hello.

There has been much in the way of irony in the Carlo Little story. It was after a Sutch gig at Wembley Town Hall that a local youngster called Keith Moon approached him and asked for some drumming lessons. Carlo remembers Keith coming round to his home nearby for about half a dozen two-hour lessons at 10 shillings (50p) a time.

"I never saw him again until I caught him on the telly with The Who and they were in the charts. I went `bloody hell - I'm still farting about and they're on the telly and in the charts'."

Meanwhile Carlo became a delivery driver and then a telephone engineer, before running a greengrocer's shop with Nick Simper, who'd left Deep Purple after three albums. Eventually Carlo spent 15 years as a bread salesman, getting up in the early hours to drive a bakery van.

Carlo still keeps his drums, packed in their cases, in a six-bedroom, detached house at Wembley Park, and he admits he does have a few regrets.

"I'm a little bit sorry about it, because I know I was well- regarded as a drummer among musicians. It comes a little hard, and you think `if I was that well-respected, how come I never got anywhere?' How do you think I feel when I see Charlie up there tapping away?"

But Keith Moon is dead, and many others have fallen victim to rock and roll excesses. Carlo says: "That's one thing about all this. I've got a nice life, I don't want for anything, and I'm alive. I'm happy with my life."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery assistants required across Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

SEN 1:1 Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...

SEN Teachers and Support Staff

£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week