Mick Jagger pays tribute to Charlie Watts at Rolling Stones show

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The Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger has opened up on the heartbreak of losing his friend and bandmate Charlie Watts, one month on from his death. Monday night saw the rockstar, 78, pay an emotional on-stage tribute to Charlie at the band’s first concert since his death. But in his first interview since losing his friend, Mick told the Rolling Stone magazine that the former drummer “held the band together” while speaking about coming to terms with the tragedy.

It’s very, very hard

Mick Jagger

Addressing the band’s loss, Mick described Charlie as the “rock” the band was built around, before acknowledging his unique contribution to their music.

Mick said: “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.

“He held the band together for so long, musically, because he was the rock the rest of it was built around.”

The star went on to admit that he is still struggling with the death of his friend, adding that he’s finding the situation “very, very hard”.

Mick continued: “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,” he told the magazine.

The band’s guitarist Keith Richards also paid tribute to his friend, commending his “incredible” sense of humour.

The songwriter told how he “loved to crack [Charlie] up”, adding that it could be “painful” with the drummer after his sense of humour had been “sparked”.

Following Charlie’s death, Steve Jordan has stepped in to play the drums on the band’s upcoming tour, with Mick branding the move a “respectful” one.

Addressing Steve’s role in the band, Keith said: “Steve brings with him a lot of knowledge about the Stones.

“He’ll say, ‘No, Charlie plays like this.’ Steve is so meticulous, so aware of the seat he’s sitting in.”

Taking to the stage at the Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts on Monday, Mick told the audience that it was a “poignant night” for the rockers.

He reminded fans the event marked the first time the band had played without their drummer in 59 years.

Charlie died on August 24, weeks after revealing that he would not be touring with the band due to ill health.

The British rock band was formed in 1962 and was originally composed of Mick, Charlie, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Dick Taylor, with Ronnie Wood not joining the group until 1975.

Mick said he misses Charlie as both a friend and a bandmate in the clip that he shared with his 2.3 million followers.

“It’s the first show of our 2021 tour… I must say though, it is a bit of a poignant night for us because it is the first tour in 59 years we have done without our lovely Charlie Watts,” he said to the audience at the concert.

“And we also miss Charlie so much. We miss him as a band. We miss him as friends – on and off the stage.”

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