A spokesman for the universally-revered Watts, who turned 80 in June, said in a statement: “Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs 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.”
The widely-respected, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Steve Jordan, a longtime collaborator of Keith Richards, as a member of his band the X-Pensive Winos and on his solo records, will stand in for Watts on the 13-date tour, which runs until November. Jordan has co-produced all three of Richards’ solo albums, Talk Is Cheap (1988), Main Offender (1992) and 2015’s Crosseyed Heart.
Watts commented: “For once my timing has been a little off. 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.”
Jordan said: “It is an absolute honor and a privilege to be Charlie’s understudy and I am looking forward to rehearsing with Mick, Keith and Ronnie. 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.”
In 2004, Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer, which delayed his participation in the Stones’ album project of the time, which became 2005’s A Bigger Bang. But after a course of radiotherapy, he recovered in time to take part in the sessions and the band’s ensuing tour, which ran to 147 shows over the course of two years.