The Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger, 78, described his beloved bandmate as “the heartbeat of the group” and said they are constantly mentioning him in rehearsals
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Sir Mick Jagger has said he finds it “strange” performing without the late Charlie Watts as The Rolling Stones kicked off their US tour earlier this week.
The drummer of the iconic rock band died in August at the age of 80 and his bandmates have said they are still adjusting to his absence.
Mick, 78, described Charlie as “the heartbeat of the group” and told SiriusXM DJ Howard Stern that they are constantly mentioning him and reminiscing in rehearsals.
He said: “We did so many shows with him and so many tours and so many recording sessions, it’s strange being without him.
“When he was sick, he said, ‘You’ve gotta just carry on and do this tour. Don’t stop because of me.’ So we did.”
Mick continued: “I miss Charlie because he had a great sense of humour and we also were, outside of the band, we used to hang out quite a lot and have interesting times.
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“We liked sports, we’d go to football, we’d go to cricket games, and we had other interests apart from music.”
The group opened their previously delayed No Filter tour – their first without Charlie – with a tribute to him in St. Louis on Sunday.
The show opened with a series of photos of Charlie flashing above an empty stage as a solo drum beat played.
At one point in the set, Mick, alongside guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, came to the front of the stage and held hands as they thanked fans for the tributes to Charlie.
Veteran Rolling Stones associate Steve Jordan, 64, took to the drum kit in Charlie’s stead for the concert.
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It was previously announced Jordan would be standing in for Watts during their 13-date US tour.
The official cause of Charlie’s death has not been revealed but he suffered from a series of health problems in recent years, including a diagnosis of throat cancer in 2004.
This death was announced in a statement from his London publicist, Bernard Doherty, which read: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.
“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation.
“We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”