Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is being forced to sit out the legendary band’s rescheduled US tour after having surgery.
Watts, who turned 80 in June, recently underwent an unspecified but “completely successful” medical procedure — and has been ordered to rest instead of joining the 13-date “No Filter” tour starting next month.
“For once my timing has been a little off,” quipped the legendary drummer, one of the Stones’ founding members.
“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,” said Watts, who successfully underwent treatment for throat cancer in 2004.
The tour — now due to start Sept. 26. in St. Louis, but skipping New York — was one of many that had already been delayed because of the pandemic.
“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,” Watts said.
“I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me,” he said of the respected session and TV talk show drummer who was also in Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards’ side project, the X-Pensive Winos.
Watts’ management did not detail what the surgery was for, beyond that it was “completely successful” and left him needing “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 spokesman said.
The band’s 74-year-old guitarist, Ronnie Wood, also recently revealed a health battle, saying he secretly fought a second battle with cancer during coronavirus lockdown.
Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger, 78, told The Sun, which first broke the story, that the band “really look forward to welcoming Charlie back as soon as he is fully recovered.”
Jordan, meanwhile, told Variety that it was “an absolute honor and a privilege to be Charlie’s understudy.”
“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,” he said.
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