Chuck Leavell, the Rolling Stones' longtime keyboardist and musical director, says the entire band is still coming to terms with the death of drummer Charlie Watts. Watts died of cancer on August 24th at the age of 80. He's been replaced for the current dates by Steve Jordan, Keith Richards' primary solo collaborator for the past 35 years.
Chuck Leavell told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We all are still pining and sad over the loss of Charlie. We knew that he was ill; we knew that he was not going to be able to make this tour, and he had already given Steve Jordan his blessing to do that. Actually we all expected a full recovery over time. So when the news came, I was in a car halfway to the airport to start rehearsals. I saw the email and it was just devastating. I had to hide my face several times in the airport, thinking of him and getting emotional. We miss him very much.”
He went on to explain, “But you know Charlie Watts would never want to be the reason this band would stop, I can tell you that. We took a day or two to talk about Charlie and share some stories and grieve. And then carry on. And that’s what we’ve done. We honor Charlie, and celebrate him at every show.”