And they might tour next year...

The Rolling Stones have spoken about the loss of drummer Charlie Watts.

The drummer sadly passed away last month, sparking a wave of tributes across the music world.

Earlier this week The Rolling Stones played a private show, with Mick Jagger offering an emotional salute to his friend and band mate onstage.

Now the band have given their first interview since the death of Charlie Watts, speaking to Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke.

“The thing about Charlie was that he was always there, always played beautifully and was always willing to discuss what to do about it – how he could make it better,” Mick Jagger said. “He held the band together for so long, musically, because he was the rock the rest of it was built around … 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. It’s a huge loss to us all. It’s very, very hard.”

Keith Richards was keen to state the drummer's key role in The Rolling Stones' sound. “A most vital part of being in this band was that Charlie Watts was my bed,” he said. “I could lay on there, and I know that not only would I have a good sleep, but I’d wake up and it’d still be rocking. It was something I’ve had since I was 19. I never doubted it. I never even thought about it.”

Steve Jordan stepped in on drums for rehearsals earlier this year, when it became apparent that health issues would prevent Charlie Watts joining the band on the road.

The process was underway for months before Watts' passing - rehearsals have been intense, with the Rolling Stones working on around 80 songs for their upcoming No Filter dates.

“He’s very respectful of Charlie,” Jagger said. “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. There’s certain licks that we want to do, that Charlie did. There’s certain drum licks that one doesn’t think about, but they’re part of the tune in a way that a bass part or a guitar part is part of the tune.”

The dates kick off later this month, with Mick Jagger leaving the door open for potential concerts in 2022 - the 60th anniversary of the Rolling Stones. “I’ve been asked that question since I was 31. And your answer is the same. I don’t know. I mean, anything could happen. You know, if things are good next year and everyone’s feeling good about touring, I’m sure we’ll do shows. I’m just trying to concentrate on this tour now.”

Find the interview in full HERE.

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