The official version. After undergoing an unspecified medical procedure, he decided not to take part this time. “Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation” a rep for the band said in a statement. “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.”. In a statement, Watts joked that “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,” he added. “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.”
Conclusion: Worst case scenario, not knowing what that medical procedure was about and therefore what the results were, Charlie did the right thing, giving priority to his own health, which should always come first for any of the Rolling Stones before any shows or work in general. Only if we love them, now don’t we?
Some speculation. Charlie might just have been afraid of traveling, no matter where, because of the Covid situation (which makes it more complicated if it’s the US the Stones are touring, with the new strain and numbers getting high again, this also jeopardizing tour dates of the now No Charlie tour) Forget about Charlie Watts the drummer of the Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the World. Besides all that, he’s still a simple man. All flesh and bones. Just like you or me. Being famous doesn’t make him almighty against facts that could put his health, or anybody’s, at risk. Much more if you’re 80 and you need to drum for 2 hours or more. How difficult would be to figure out he just thought it better and then this time decided to stay home? Not to mention Charlie has a family. So would this mean he lied? Not specifying the very reasons behind his decision and then mentioning something extra shouldn’t be considered lying. Not even enough for a white lie. Then why Charlie just didn’t say publicly he’s scared of Covid? Answer: pretty much because that would send the wrong message to the public. And you sure know how selfish many fans can be. Most of them still want their idols, eventually no young kids anymore if like Charlie Watts, they’re 80, to act the way the did when they were 25 (“keep the motor running” and all that) and carry a show for 120 minutes or more like they’re Supermen. Same fans who are 20 or 30 years younger purchasing seat tickets as it’s too long for them to watch the whole show standing up. Oh yeah.
Whatever Charlie’s reasons are, not even mentioning he has the right to take a break and say NO (fans may meanwhile deal with their selfishness, which after all isn’t Charlie’s problems or business, you know), it hurts to read it isn’t Charlie’s health (of any of the boys’ we share our love for) that seems to come first. And this is besides the 2021 US dates, happening or not happening because of the covid issue. Think ahead for a while and just realize that, not being able to carry his job, this could be the end of The Rolling Stones The Band as we know them. Agree with it, even call it heresy, it would be hard, even unthinkable, to see the Stones playing their last shows (whenever that happens) without any of their official band members. Any four of them, and then any of the three who were there from day one. Brian was officially replaced. Five again. Mick Taylor was officially replaced. Five again (again) Bill Wyman quit and then he got replaced (although not officially) Four now. But then nobody expected any former band member can ever be replaced, both temporarily or (God forbid) definitely while still in the band. Yes there’s lots of money reasons (welcome to showbiz) and the fact they’re not ready to cancel again shows already cancelled and now rescheduled to end up being cancelled again. But Charlie’s a vital part of the Stones’ sound and unit, and so far that bit is missing now. The beat as well. The whole fact is a milestone that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some people will even be fine with a bloody hologram onstage. Other bands already did, and to hell with that. This is THE ROLLING STONES, my friends. Others will be more than happy seeing Mick onstage reciting poetry and still consider it a Stones show, bless them. Whatever’s going on now, it’s all too weird to digest. Charlie’s issue, like it was Mick’s, Keith’s or Ronnie’s, open a new door to territories never explored by the band before: a band member can get a replacement anytime. Can you do with that? Good for you, as I can’t. You just don’t show your appreciation for your favourite artist buying shows tickets. I’d rather see their doing well than playing at any cost. And then, if finally happening next year, that farewell tour will be done the way it’s supposed to be. We just wouldn’t like them turning into The Who and, by the way, quoting Pete Townshend when inducting the Stones at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in 1989: “Guys, whatever you do, don’t try and grow old gracefully. It wouldn’t suit you.” With part one of Townshend’s speech already accomplished, part two shouldn’t be that difficult.