Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Things You Need to Know About Charlie Waters

October 27, 2014
   Still beaming at the wonderful turnout for Charlie Waters' memorial last Saturday in Kingman. Learned a bunch about my best friend from all of his other friends.
The program for the Charles. R. Waters, Jr. memorial service

• Charlie was voted by the surviving Class of '65 "girls" as one of the two best dancers (Paul Torres being the other). Charlie's older sister Sara taught him how to jitterbug and she was good. I remember seeing her on American Bandstand in Philadelphia. Granted, she was in the bleachers, but we were so proud of her. Everyone in the Waters house was jumping up and down: "It's Sara and she's on American Bandstand!"

• Charlie is in the Arizona Journalism Hall of Fame. In the early 1980s he was the youngest publisher in Arizona, at age 25, when he took over the Prescott Courier and turned it around financially and made it into an award winning newspaper.

• Charlie advised me not to buy True West magazine. He told me "Don't buy yourself a job." When I didn't listen to him and we bought the magazine and started to lose $30k a month, I called him and asked for his help. He never once said, "I told you so," and he immediately told me how to turn it around. We talked on the phone almost every night and he not only gave me the advice I needed to hear in order to stay focused, he gave me the secrets to keeping the doors open, while dodging creditors and keeping writers happy (not always an easy task). I thought so much of his experience and positive motivation I flew him into Phoenix and had him give a pep talk to our staff. He was my consigliere (The consigliere is a close, trusted friend and confidant, the mob's version of an elder statesman).

• Charlie edited my 200 page manuscript on "Geronimo" in 1994, which I never got around to publishing. He also edited "The 66 Kid" while going through chemo. He would never accept a penny in payment, and only asked that I keep it quiet, lest I ruin his good name (he was joking of course).

• Although we were both rockers and enjoyed the same music we often clashed on songs to play in the Exits. He loved "Stagger Lee" and I hated it. He hated "Desperado" and I think it's one of the best songs ever. We never let a chance go by to rib each other about the other's "crappy taste in music."

The Exits get down to business on New Year's Eve, 1964. Left to right, Wendell Havatone, Terry Mitchell, Charlie Waters, BBB and Wayne Rutschman.

"It's only rock and roll, but I like it."
—The Stones