For the first time since joining the band in January 1963, drummer Charlie Watts is sitting out a Rolling Stones tour. Rolling Stone reported Watts, who’s now 80 and has never missed a gig, has backed out of the band’s upcoming dates “after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure.” He’ll be replaced on the road by Keith Richards‘ primary solo collaborator since 1988, drummer Steve Jordan.
Watts is off the tour “after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure.” Back in 2004, Watts successfully battled throat cancer — but there’s been no mention of his current illness being linked to that.
Charlie Watts issued a statement saying: “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.”
He went on to joke: “For once, my timing has been a little off.”
Details are still sketchy regarding what caused Watts to stand down for the dates, but old friend Peter Frampton revealed that Watts recently underwent some type of surgery, tweeting, “Sending all love and strength to Charlie Watts. He’s recovering from emergency surgery but doing fine. He will not be playing on the Stones upcoming tour.”
A while back, Charlie Watts admitted he’s never even considered the Rolling Stones to be an institution: “I don’t look at the Rolling Stones like that. Y’know, it just. . . they’re a group of people that I know that become the Rolling Stones when they get together. Y’know, something happens around us and happens when we play that is either magic, or (a) catastrophe — whichever way you look at it. It always has done and I assume it always will.”