[UPDATE 8/24/21]: Charlie Watts, drummer for The Rolling Stones, has sadly passed away at the age of 80.
The Rolling Stones have announced that drummer Charlie Watts is “unlikely to be available” for the band’s upcoming No Filter tour. Steve Jordan will fill in for the 80-year-old drummer as he recovers from an unspecified surgery.
“Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation. With rehearsals starting in a couple of weeks it’s very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say no one saw this coming,” a spokesperson for the band said.
Though nobody can replace Watts—who hasn’t missed a Rolling Stones concert since the band formed in 1962—Jordan is up for the challenge. The accomplished rhythm maker already has experience with guitarist Keith Richards, touring with him as a member of X-Pensive Winos. Jordan’s resume also boasts time spent in both the Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman house bands, as well as a member of John Mayer‘s trio.
“It is an absolute honour and a privilege to be Charlie’s understudy and I am looking forward to rehearsing with Mick, Keith and Ronnie,” Jordan said. “No one will be happier than me to give up my seat on the drum-riser as soon as Charlie tells me he is good to go.”
Prior to the pandemic, The Rolling Stones’ 2019 North American tour was delayed by health problems after frontman Mick Jagger underwent successful heart valve surgery in spring of that year. The band completed a run of 17 North American tour dates before announcing the No Filter tour in 2020, just over a month before the iron curtain of the COVID-19 live music shutdown came crashing down. Now, with The Stones finally cleared to play stadiums across the continent, Watts has chosen to bow out in order to let the show go on.
“For once my timing has been a little off,” Watts wrote in a statement. “I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while. After all the fans’ suffering caused by Covid I really do not want the many RS fans who have been holding tickets for this Tour to be disappointed by another postponement or cancellation. I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me.”
The Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour is set to begin on September 26th at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, MO. For tickets and a full list of tour dates, head here. The band was recently added to the lineup for this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with a special Wednesday, October 13th performance.
[H/T Associated Press]