The Rolling Stones plan on performing on stage without longtime drummer Charlie Watts when the group resumes its “No Filter” tour in the U.S. next month, the legendary British rock band announced Thursday.
Mr. Watts, 80, a Stones member since 1963, said he is recovering from a medical procedure and has asked drummer Steve Jordan to start rehearsing with the band so he can perform the concerts in his place.
“For once, my timing has been a little off,” Mr. Watts jokingly said in a statement. “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.”
Mr. Watts did not specify what sort of medical procedure he underwent or when. A spokesperson for the drummer said in a statement released by the Stones that it was “completely successful” but unexpected.
“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 unnamed spokesperson for Mr. Watts said in the statement.
Mr. Watts said he asked Mr. Jordan to serve as his stand-in to avoid disappointing fans by postponing or canceling any of the shows, which had already been pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The shows were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, but they were postponed that March when the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, sidelined virtually all major tours.
Previously, the Stones postponed an earlier North American leg of the “No Filter” tour in 2019 after Mick Jagger, the band’s singer and one of its two remaining co-founders, had to undergo heart surgery.
The upcoming Stones concerts featuring Mr. Jordan filling in for Mr. Watts are set to start with a performance in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 26. Another dozen U.S. shows are scheduled after that.
Mr. Jagger, 78, and guitarist Keith Richards, 77, have led the Stones since 1962. Mr. Watts joined the following year, while Ronnie Wood, another guitarist for the group, joined in 1975.
“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,” Mr. Jordan, 64, said in a statement released by the Stones.
“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,” said Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Jordan has collaborated with the Stones since the mid-1980s, in addition to some of and other biggest names in music, including B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few.