The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is “unlikely” to join Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood during the band’s fall U.S. tour. Watts, 80, recently had an undisclosed medical procedure that was successful, but his doctors believe he needs more time to rest. The 2020 No Filter tour stadium tour was finally rescheduled late last month and will start on Sept. 26 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis.
On Thursday, Watts’ spokesman said he had a “completely successful” procedure, but “I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation.” Rehearsals for the tour were supposed to start in a few weeks, so the news is “very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say no one saw this coming,” his rep said. Steve Jordan, who has performed with Richards in the past, has signed on to replace Watts if he is unable to tour.
We’re sure you’ll all join us in wishing Charlie a speedy recovery.
All 2021 tour dates will go ahead as planned. pic.twitter.com/8OgOIEwHWq
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) August 5, 2021
“For once my timing has been a little off,” Watts said 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 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.
Jordan called it an “absolute honor and a privilege” to serve as Watts’ understudy. “No one will be happier than me to give up my seat on the drum-rise as soon as Charlie tells me he is good to go,” Jordan said. Jordan has also performed with Bruce Springsteen, B.B. King, Neil Young, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Rod Stewart, and many more.
Watts began performing with The Rolling Stones in 1962 and officially joined the group in January 1963. Aside from Jagger and Richards, he is the only other member of the band to appear on every single Rolling Stones album. He has also stayed remarkably healthy throughout his career, facing substance abuse during the 1980s and beating throat cancer in 2004. Watts and the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
“We really look forward to welcoming Charlie back as soon as he is fully recovered,” Jagger tweeted. “Thank you to our friend Steve Jordan for stepping in, so we can still play all the shows for you this fall.” Richards also wished Watts a “speedy recovery” and thanked Jordan for joining the band.
The Stones were supposed to tour the U.S. from May to July 2020, but the No Filter tour was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tour was finally rescheduled last month. The tour starts on Sept. 26 in St. Louis and ends on Nov. 20 in Austin, Texas. On Oct. 13, the group will play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.