September 24, 2021
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – The Rolling Stones are back on tour this weekend without drummer Charlie Watts, who frontman Mick Jagger called the rock that kept the band together.
In interviews with Rolling Stone music magazine author David Fricke, Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood first spoke about their memories of Watts, who died a month ago at the age of 80 in London.
They declined to speculate on whether this would be the band’s last tour.
The “No Filter” tour, the US leg of which starts on Sunday in St. Louis, Missouri, is the first without Watts since 1963.
“He kept the band together musically for so long because he was the rock around which the rest was built,” Jagger said in the interview published on Thursday.
“What he brought with him was that nice feeling for swing and momentum that most bands want. We’ve had some really nice conversations over the last few years about how all of this happened to the band, ”added Jagger.
“It’s a big loss for all of us. It’s very, very difficult. But we’ve had wonderful times and Charlie made wonderful music.”
Drummer Steve Jordan will play with the Stones on the tour. He had been announced in August as a temporary replacement for Watts, who was taking time to recover after an unspecified operation.
Richards, 77, said it was a tough decision to keep going.
“We have reached a very difficult point to turn this thing off. But we will do it,” he said.
“Charlie was prepared for us to move on. We expected him to pick it up somewhere. Luckily Steve was supposed to be the picker.
Coming back on stage without Watts was “a very surreal feeling,” said Wood, but found that rehearsals with Jordan went well.
Regarding the band’s future after the 13-day US tour that ended in November, Richards agreed that the gigs would help members figure out “what is right and possible”.
Jagger, 78, who underwent heart surgery in 2019, was also ambivalent when asked if this could be the Stones’ last tour.
“I’ve been asked this question since I was 31,” he said.
“I dont know. I mean anything could happen. You know, if next year is going well and everyone is feeling good touring, we’re sure we’ll be doing shows. I’m just trying to focus on this tour now. “
Reporting from Jill Serjeant; Adaptation by Richard Chang
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