THE ROLLING STONES CHRONICLE

2021

May the good Lord shine a light on you


   

    February 3, 2021: Keith Richards records a guitar track for a Ben Harper recording at Germano
        Studios in New York City.


    February 23, 2021: Mick Jagger narrates Your Room Will Be Ready, a short film for the Royal
        Albert Hall.


    March 2021: Mick Jagger records a new song in Italy, working remotely with Dave Grohl in Los
        Angeles.


    Mid-March 2021: Mick Jagger is traveling in Sicily, Italy.



    April 7, 2021: Ron Wood receives the Freedom of the City of London award.


    April 13, 2021: Mick Jagger releases the song/video Eazy Sleazy with Dave Grohl.

 
Mick Jagger (April 13, 2021): Recording with Dave Grohl

So I thought the Stones are a band who very much work in a room, you now, together in a room. And that was impossible so I thought to do this song this is going to have to be someone thatís going to be working remotely and I said I bet Daveís in L.A. in his house (laughs) and I bet his studioís in his house - which of course it is. So it was very easy. And I said What do you think? Would you like to do something? And he said Send me a song. He said, OK, Iím going in tomorrow, love it... But this is just a one-off for now. It's just a fun thing.



April 14, 2021: Mick Jagger hints that the Rolling Stones will resume the postponed 2020
    North American Tour later this year.



Mick Jagger (April 14, 2021): The Stones likely on tour again this year

Itís a big guess (when we perform again), isnít it? I think people are hoping that in some countriesÖ each country is going to be slightly different. Weíre going to find this in football, arenít we? In the Euros. That weíre going to have audiences in some countries, crowds in some countries and not in others. Maybe in England, at the end of the summer, beginning of the autumn might be good?

Definitely (weíll do it if we have the opportunity). In a way, we kind of have to Ďcause weíd (laughs) signed up we were going to do an American tour, you know, last year, and we sold the ticketsÖ People didnít give them all - I mean some people gave them back but not everyone. And I donít think we can do that exact tour because it wonít be the exact time. But I think weíre pretty much committed to having to do something like that. So I thinkÖ things will be somewhere near normal by the end of the summer. Letís hope anyway...

Iíve got to get in shape Ďcause the tour could be anytime, you know. It could be sooner than I think so Iíve got to be ready for that. And keep the songs coming.


 
Mick Jagger (April 14, 2021): Coping with the lockdown

Iíve been a bit lazier than I would have done (normally) but Iíve kept myself amusedÖ Itís the longest Iíve spent in the country (laughs). Iíve never spent so long in the country - Iím not really a country person. And I havenít been in a town for a year, really. I think I went to a town, not a very big town, and I was a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing. Itís been really difficult but so many people I know are so worse off than me that Iíve got to count my blessings to be honest. Iím very lucky, I have a lot of family - my familyís visited me, havenít been over to visit me as much as normally. Some friends have visited me, obviously not as much as normal, you know within the rules of wherever I was. But yeah I got bored and thereís a little bit of mental - I donít feel ďI feel mentally unstableĒ (laughs) but I feel that people could get quite depressed about the whole thing.

Iíve learned to be adaptable. I always thought I was adaptable but I had pull on that adaptability, amongst other things, and not let anything whatever, you know, you have to roll with the punches. And if the rules changes you go with it.


 
Mick Jagger (April 14, 2021): Staying creative

Iíve been pretty creative. Iíve written a lot of songs and done lots ofÖ sort of finished records. And then Iíve done like a lot of sketches and a lot of demos. And Iíve worked with some producers in L.A., Iíve worked with different musicians around the world, mostly writing stuffÖ I mean, Iíve found it OK. Obviously itís not as good as being together in the same room with a group of musicians. I mean itís not really a substitute for that. And thatís one of the things that kept me going through the lockdown, is being able to play music and set up little studios wherever I was and keep playing music.

The other thing that kept me going was that I was very lucky that I had a couple places that had outside spacesÖ So I was really lucky having such nice a garden. Those are two things, the music and the outside spaces, for meÖ helped me get through it.




    April 25, 2021: Ron Wood reveals he has recovered successfully (in March) from a return of
        cancer the previous year.


Ron Wood (April 2021): Beating cancer again

Iíve had cancer two different ways now. I had lung cancer in 2017 and I had small-cell more recently that I fought in the last lockdownÖ I came through with the all-clears.


    Early May 2021: Mick Jagger returns to England after about ten months spent in Italy.


    May 5, 2021: Ron Wood announces he is becoming an ambassador for the charitable
        movement Turn Up For Recovery.


c. May-July 2021: Mick Jagger and Ron Wood work in London, England, on unfinished Tattoo
    You-era Rolling Stones recordings.


    May 17, 2021: Ron Wood meets up with Rod Stewart.


    May 21, 2021: Mick Jagger and Ron Wood hang out with Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet at
        Harry's Bar in Mayfair, London.


    May 25, 2021: Ron Wood runs into Paul Weller in London.


    June 2, 2021: Charlie Watts celebrates his 80th birthday.
 

    June 30, 2021: Ron Wood attends the WellChild Awards in London along with Prince Harry.


July 2021: Keith Richards starts playing with Steve Jordan in preparation for his replacing an
    ailing Charlie Watts for the fall tour.



    July 6, 2021: Mick Jagger returns to London, England, from France, breaking quarantine
        rules the following days.


    July 7, 2021: Mick Jagger attends the England vs. Denmark Euro semi-final football game at
        Wembley Stadium in London.


    July 8, 2021: Ron Wood unveils a pop-up shop featuring his paintings on Carnaby Street in
        London.

 
July 9, 2021: The Rolling Stones' Blu-ray/DVD and CD set A Bigger
Bang Live On Copacabana Beach (from 2005-2006) is released.
 





Mid-July 2021: Ron Wood reveals the Rolling Stones are preparing a re-release of Tattoo You
    with unreleased bonus tracks.

 
Ron Wood (Mid-July 2021): Working up Tattoo You tracks

I saw Mick here last week and Rod (Stewart) and Kenney (Jones) were here yesterday Me and Mick have done nine new tracks for the re-release of Tattoo You.

And me, Rod and Kenney have been recording some new Faces music. Iíve had a front-row seat on some amazing rockí n íroll projects these past couple of weeks. Iím making every day count. Not wasting a moment.

 

Ron Wood (Mid-July 2021): Overcoming health scares with Mick

Oh, (Mick)ís fine, but of course we did talk about our health ó heís as thankful as I am for it. Mick is fighting fit and we both canít wait to get working again.

In 2017, I had the first bout; that was lung cancer, which I got through. And then in 2019, I got the small-cell cancer, which was much worse and much more devious. I had to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but that was under the radar of the Covid lockdown thing; I had the space to handle it on my own terms rather than it being a public thing.

Lots of people say to me, You didnít tell me. I would have helped you. And Iíd say, I didnít want to bother anyone. I just wanted to handle this on my own and come through it on my own ó and with the great help of Sally, sheís been wonderful. So Iíve got the all-clear now and thatís a big buzz. Now hopefully weíre coming out of the lockdown, Iím coming out of my shell, Iím gradually getting a bit more strength and stuff, and Iíll be ready to tour.


July 22, 2021: The Rolling Stones officially announce the rescheduled 2020 No Filter North
    American Tour, to start in the early fall.


    July 24, 2021: Mick Jagger attends the wedding of his son Gabriel in London, England.


    July 26, 2021: Mick Jagger celebrates his birthday at his house in France.


    August 3, 2021: Ron Wood attends the opening of Links Studios in Canning Town, London, a
        new recording studio aimed at providing opportunities for youth, in a partnership with the
        Rolling Stones.
 

August 4, 2021: The Rolling Stones announce Charlie Watts will not be joining the group for
    the tour's start, following a (successful) emergency surgical procedure that will require
    weeks of rest encroaching on rehearsal time. Steve Jordan will fill in on drums.


Charlie Watts & Steve Jordan (August 5, 2021): Bad timing

Charlie: For once my timing has a 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 of the fansí suffering caused by COVID I really do not want the many 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.

Steve Jordan: It is an absolute honour and a privilege to be Charlieís 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.

   

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood (August 5, 2021): Looking forward to see Charlie back

Mick: We really look forward to welcoming Charlie back as soon as he is fully recovered. Thank you to our friend Steve Jordan for stepping in, so we can still play all the shows for you this fall.

Keith: This has been a bit of a blow to all of us, to say the least and we're all wishing for Charlie to have a speedy recovery and to see him as soon as possible. Thank you to Steve Jordan for joining us in the meantime.

Ron: I will miss Charlie on our upcoming tour, but he told me the show must go on! Iím really looking forward to Charlie getting back on stage with us as soon as heís fully recovered. A huge thank you to the bandís old friend Steve Jordan for rockiní on in Charlieís place, and on his drum seat for the autumn tour.

   

    August 10, 2021: Ron Wood is present for the unveiling of the 2021 Tusk Lion Trail art
        installation in Piccadilly Circus, London, on which he's collaborated.
 

    August 14, 2021: Ron Wood attends the play 2:22 A Ghost Story at the NoŽl Coward Theatre
        in London's West End.

  
August 18, 2021: The Rolling Stones start tour rehearsals at Red Sky Studios in Boston,
    Massachusetts.


August 24, 2021: Charlie Watts passes away in a hospital in London, England, surrounded
    by his family.

   

Bernard Fowler & Tim Ries (Early September 2021): Joining the rehearsals with Charlie gone

Bernard: Itís bittersweet. We miss him so much, but the thing that is really important, that means something to me, is that Steve (Jordan) is sitting in that chair because of Charlie Watts. Charlie chose that and called Steve and gave him his blessing.

I almost feel like we are here because of Charlie. He would want them to forge on. He was such a considerate cat. Iím sure he thought about the amount of people that would be affected if he let them down.

(B)eing here with the cats is healing. We are all in the same place. Itís a shock. Iím sure (Mick, Keith and Ronnie) knew more than I did. I thought that he was on the mend after his surgery. I was hopeful that he was, at the very least, going to join us next year.

Tim: Mick and Keith and Ronnie are there with Steve Jordan on drums and Chuck Leavell and Darryl Jones. Theyíve already been rehearsing for a couple of weeks now. So, for us, arriving next week, itís going to be a shock and weird walking in the room and seeing the drums.

Thereís been waves of sadness and crying and missing him. The first rehearsal is going to be difficult. And then the first gig onstage in front of people, thatís going to be another a hard night. Thereís going to be waves of difficulty over the course of many years.

We knew he wasnít going to be on this tour because he was not well, but the hope was that he would get better and then next year ó the 60th anniversary of the band ó I assumed that theyíd be thinking about touring, and then heíd be healthy enough for that tour.me.

Itís been difficult. I spoke with Bernard a lot, Darryl, Chuck Leavell, Ronnie Wood. Weíve been texting. I sent messages to Keith and Mick with my condolences. I have my own connection to Charlie which is very special, but I canít imagine what itís like for Keith and Mick, going back more than 60 years. Thatís like brothers. And Charlie was like the glue, a diplomat. Iíve never seen him upset. Iím not a Rolling Stone; Iím a musician who plays with them. They have a 60-year history that goes back so deeply. Iím feeling the pain and the shock of this, but for them, I canít imagine.

Theyíre almost 80 years old and this hit me the other day: itís not exactly the same, but there was a period when the New York Yankees used to be Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, but that didnít end when they were gone. They had many great years as a team after that. The Rolling Stones is not a baseball team, but the reality is that musicians donít retire. We play until we die because what are we going to do? This is our love. And Charlie was passionate about playing, and Mick loves performing. Mick is not onstage dialing it in.


   
    September 6, 2021: Charlie Watts' funeral is held this week in Devon, England. Mick Jagger,
        Keith Richards and Ron Wood are unable to attend because of rehearsals in Boston and
        covid-related quarantine protocols.



September 17, 2021: The Rolling Stones finish tour rehearsals in Boston.

 

Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (September 2021): Losing Charlie

Mick: The thing about Charlie was that he was always there, always played beautifully and was always willing to discuss what to do about it Ė how he could make it better. He held the band together for so long, musically, because he was the rock the rest of it was built around. We had a lot of wonderful times apart from playing music together. We used to go and watch cricket. And when weíd get together, we didnít talk about music. We talked about art, which he knew a lot more about than I did. But the thing he brought was this beautiful sense of swing and swerve that most bands wish they could have. We had some really nice conversations in the last couple of years about how all this happened with the band. Itís a huge loss to us all. Itís very, very hard. But we had wonderful times, and Charlie made some wonderful music.

Keith: I was jotting down a couple of things that I miss. Charlie had an incredible sense of humor. And my joy was I loved to crack him up. If you could hit that spot, he wouldnít stop, and it was the funniest thing in the world. He had an incredible sense of humor that he kept to himself unless you sparked it. And then it could be painful to laugh.

I canít think of any one moment, because with Charlie Watts, it was his consistency. A most vital part of being in this band was that Charlie Watts was my bed. I could lay on there, and I know that not only would I have a good sleep, but Iíd wake up and itíd still be rocking. It was something Iíve had since I was 19. I never doubted it. I never even thought about it. Only now am I thinking about it.


Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood (September 2021): Bringing in Steve

Mick: Heís very respectful of Charlie. He played with Keith before we started the rehearsals, and then he did homework, listening to the tunes. When we talk about what Charlie did on this one, we listen to the original record, and then we listen to the live versions. Thereís certain licks that we want to do, that Charlie did. Thereís certain drum licks that one doesnít think about, but theyíre part of the tune in a way that a bass part or a guitar part is part of the tune.

Keith: Itís been chaotic. But thank God, Steve Jordan is a tower of strength, as was Charlie Watts. Of course, Iíve been working with Steve for 30-odd years. It was Charlie that recommended Steve to me in the mid-80s: Looks like we got some time off. If youíre going to do anything by yourself, thereís your man Ė Steve Jordan. And here he is... You donít change the engine room overnight Ė which is, of course, what weíve been working on. Steve and I have been working together on this since somewhere in July. At the time, he was just going to be sitting in for Charlie, which was already to Steve like Wow! Steve brings with him a lot of knowledge about the Stones. Heíll say, No, Charlie plays like this. Steve is so meticulous, so aware of the seat heís sitting in. Steve said this to me: Charlie played the drums. He didnít hit them. Also, Steve and Darryl Jones working together is another thing. From a musical point of view, itís incredibly energetic and wonderfully inspiring. I was like, I canít pick this up. I donít care who it is. I canít pick this up without Charlie. But once Steve and I started to get into it, hey, this is the way itís supposed to be.

Ron:
Street Fighting Man has a new energy. Midnight Rambler has a new approach. We thought, Oh dear, how are we going to do Midnight Rambler? Because thereís another language of its own in that song. It takes its own course now, and Steve, if anything, is leading the charge: Iíll tell ya when itís gonna speed up, Iíll tell ya when its gonna be dynamic. To see Keith say, Okay, then, you tell me Ė it was a really different thing. And Mickís like, Yeah, Iíll take that.

Steve has respected Charlieís approach to the drums, the different attitudes he had for each number. Heís adapted that in his own style, put his own energy and kick into what was originally there. Charlie would have loved it. Thereís an energy that Charlie projected through his sticks, but Steve projects it physically as well. Whereas Charlie sat dead still, Steve is moving, and so is the whole drum podium. You can see the satisfaction on Keithís face, on Mickís face.


Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (September 2021): Songs rehearsed and the set list

Mick: Weíve rehearsed 80 to 90 songs. Iím not saying we just touched on them, jammed on them. We can actually play them. Thatís a huge amount. Keith and I were saying: the reality is that we have to do at least 12, 13 numbers that most everyone knows... We have a couple of numbers from the extras in the Tattoo You reissue. We do Living in a Ghost Town, which sounds pretty good. Weíve got tons of numbers from most eras. So we have a big set list. We can certainly change up the set list. But we still have to do Paint It Black.

Keith: We came across a couple of hidden gems in this new reissue of Tattoo You which weíd been working on then Ė Living in the Heart of Love and Troubles Aí Comin, a Chi-Lites song. We cut that original track back in the Seventies. Mick dug it out this year: Hey, listen to this one. Hand of Fate Ė for some reason, that came back to me. I threw it out at rehearsals, and itís become like, Oh, yeah! And weíre playing Living in a Ghost Town. We keep up with the times.


Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Ron Wood (September 2021): The last tour?

Mick: Iíve been asked that question since I was 31. And your answer is the same: I donít know. I mean, anything could happen. You know, if things are good next year and everyoneís feeling good about touring, Iím sure weíll do shows. Iím just trying to concentrate on this tour now.

Keith: Itís more (doing this tour and finding out what feels right and possible than the last tour). We hit a very difficult point, to take this thing out. But weíre gonna do it. Charlie was prepared for us to go ahead. We were expecting him to pick it up somewhere. Steve was, thankfully, going to be the pickup. But things ainít turned out that way.

Ron: I got a feeling that weíre just tickling the surface here. Weíre seeing another unexploded mine. Itís got a lot of time on it.




    September 17, 2021: The live Ronnie Wood Band album Mr Luck - A Tribute To Jimmy Reed:
        Live At The Royal Albert Hall, recorded in 2013, is released. Mick Jagger appears in a
        video for his brother Chris Jagger's song Anyone Seen My Heart?, on which he sings
        backup vocals.


September 20, 2021: The Rolling Stones, with Steve Jordan on drums, perform a small,
    private, sponsorship-motivated warm-up concert for New
England Patriots owner Robert
    Kraft in a tent at Gillette Stadium in Boston. The group baptizes Living in a Ghost Town, and
    the soon-to-be-released outtake Troubles A' Comin.


Mick Jagger onstage (September 20, 2021): Dedicated to Charlie

I must say, though, at this point itís a bit of a poignant night for us. This is the first tour in 59 years that weíve done without our lovely Charlie Watts. And we all miss Charlie so much. We miss him as a band, we miss him as a friend, on and off the stage. And weíve got so many memories of Charlie and Iím sure some of you that have seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well. And I hope that you will remember him like we do. So we'd like to dedicate this show to Charlie.



September 23, 2021: The Rolling Stones start final rehearsals at The Dome at America's Center
    in St. Louis, Missouri.


















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