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'It's Hard': Mick Jagger and Keith Richards Open Up on Missing Charlie Watts During 'Hackney Diamonds' Tour

Watts had bowed out of the last portion of the Stones' 2021 No Filter tour, just three weeks before his death.

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Source: NLC/Neil Lupin/WENN

Charlie Watts' absence looms large for Jagger and Richards.

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The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are admitting they feel the absence of drummer Charlie Watts, who was with the group from February 1963 until his death in August 2021 at age 80, as they begin their North American tour in support of album Hackney Diamonds.

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Watts photographed at the release of his jazz album 'Long Ago and Far Away,' in 1996.

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Speaking to the U.K.'s Mirror, Richards was reflective but optimistic on Watts' legacy. "Basically, we love each other and we love our music and when you’re doing it, you don’t really think about it," he told the outlet.

"But I think with Charlie going, I have realized more and more how special that is. I mean, there is something about the Stones and there is something about us all that sort of says, 'No, we stick together.' And then you can't just drop it. You've got to follow it right down to the end, down the tunnel."

Watts had bowed out of the last portion of the Stones' 2021 No Filter tour, just three weeks before his death. In his place, he recommended long-time associate Steve Jordan, who had been providing his skills to Keith Richards' side project The X- pensive Winos. Now that Jordan is fully committed behind the drumkit, Jagger is also voicing his thoughts, noting how different the vibe is now without Watts.

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Source: Richard MOUILLAUD/PHOTOPQR/LE PROGRES/MAXPPP/Newscom/The Mega Agency

Not Quite the Same: Jagger and Richards say they miss Charlie Watts' 'quirkiness.'

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He said: "Of course, it’s hard. I mean, it's all my life ever since I was 19 or whatever, it's always been Charlie. Of course, it's emotional, but you have to get past that in life. I love Charlie and all the things, but I still want to carry on making music."

The lead-up to the tour began in October with the release of Hackney Diamonds, their first album without Watts fully and their first album of new material since 2005's A Bigger Bang.

Source: ℗ © The Rolling Stones/YouTube

The Rolling Stones Tour '24 Hackney Diamonds - Opening Night Houston, TX

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Houston, Texas was the first stop on the band's 16-city tour across North America. Other cities on the tour include New Orleans – where they will play the Jazz & Heritage Festival – Philadelphia and Vancouver, British Columbia. The tour ends on July 17 in Santa Clara, California.

Check out the full tour dates below:

05/02 – New Orleans, LA @ Jazz Fest

05/07 – Glendale, AZ @ State Farm Stadium w/ Carin León; Electric Mud

05/11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Allegiant Stadium w/ The Pretty Reckless

05/15 – Seattle, WA @ Lumen Field w/ Joe Bonamassa

05/23 – East Rutherford, NJ @ MetLife Stadium w/ TBA

05/26 – East Rutherford, NJ @ MetLife Stadium w/ Lawrence

05/30 – Foxboro, MA @ Gillette Stadium w/ The Red Clay Strays

06/03 – Orlando, FL @ Camping World Stadium w/ Tyler Childers

06/07 – Atlanta, GA @ Mercedes-Benz Stadium w/ Ghost Hounds

06/11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Lincoln Financial Field w/ Kaleo

06/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Cleveland Browns Stadium w/ Ghost Hounds

06/20 – Denver, CO @ Empower Field at Mile High w/ Widespread Panic

06/27 – Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field w/ Betty LaVette

06/30 – Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field w/ Lainey Wilson

07/05 – Vancouver, BC @ BC Place w/ Ghost Hounds

07/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium w/ The War and Treaty

07/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium w/ The Linda Lindas

07/17 – Santa Clara, CA @ Levi’s Stadium w/ The Beaches

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