May the good Lord shine a light on you
|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.
|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
|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):
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
|Ron Wood (April 2021): Beating
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.
|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.
(Mid-July 2021): Overcoming health scares with
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.
|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
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 18, 2021: The Rolling Stones start tour rehearsals at Red Sky Studios in Boston,
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.
|Mick Jagger & Keith
Richards (September 2021): Losing
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.
|Mick Jagger onstage
(September 20, 2021): Dedicated to
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.
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