The Rolling Stones Were Shocked by Charlie Watts’ Passing

2021-12-16

Photograph of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performing live in Detroit, Michigan.

Story by Cat Badra, photo by Ken Settle

The Rolling Stones fully expected Charlie Watts to be on the band’s fall North American tour

Rock fans around the world were surprised and upset when they learned the longtime Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts had passed away, but perhaps even more surprised than the fans were the Stones’ band members. In fact, the band expected Watts to return to the group in time for the Stones’ fall U.S. tour. Instead, Watts, sadly, passed away at age 80.

The Rolling Stones were under the impression that Charlie Watts would return to the band following his illness that sadly resulted in his death at age 80.

Drummer Steve Jordan filled in for Watts on the U.S. run, In a few interview with Rolling Stone, he expresses just how much the band was prepping for Watts’ return.

“You have to understand, the week before Charlie passed, I had gotten information that he was doing better,” Jordan said. “That week, the rehearsals took on a different energy because we were upbeat about him recovering. The week before, we were like, ‘Charlie is going to be cool! This is great!’ The whole energy of the rehearsals were even more upbeat because he was feeling better. We were playing this stuff with less of a burden. ‘We’re going to do this, and play that, and Charlie is going to come back and everything will be great.'”

Jordan added that their mindset “made the death even more shocking and tragic,” since the week prior, they were fully expected Watts to join back up with them. “And then it became this whole other thing,” he added. “I don’t read social media and so I’m not bogged down with chatter. It doesn’t affect me since I won’t let it. I didn’t want to think of an extraordinary burden since it was already enough before his passing.”

Jordan says that when he was initially tapped to sub for Watts on tour, he was just planning to fill in for a couple of rehearsals. “Maybe I would play part of the show, and if they did the B-stage thing where it’s kind of acoustic, maybe Charlie would do that part,” Jordan added. “That’s kind of what it was. It was not anything more than that. It was kind of like, ‘Maybe I’ll just do the rehearsals, and when he’s recovered, then he will come in and do the shows.'”

The group kicked off the fall 2021 leg of their Rolling Stones North American No Filter tour on Sept. 21 in St. Louis, Missouri, and continued on the road through a Nov. 20 date in Austin, Texas. The Stones don’t currently have any other North American shows on the books.

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Posted by Cat Badra | Music, Rock, Rock News