Steve Jordan, the late-Charlie Watts‘ replacement, spoke in depth about taking over the drum chair for the Rolling Stones. Jordan, Keith Richards‘ collaborator and drummer in his X-Pensive Winos solo band — is also known for his work on the original Saturday Night Live, the Blues Brothers, the Late Night with David Letterman Band, along with sessions with the Stones, and co-writing their 1989 Steel Wheels track, “Almost Hear You Sigh.”
Jordan, who is decompressing from the Stones recently wrapped North American dates, told Rolling Stone, “When friends ask me what it’s like playing with them, I say that it’s like being strapped to the outside of a rocket ship going straight up. That’s what it’s like for us. You go out there for the first song and it’s like blastoff. You go, ‘Wow!’ And the crowd is going crazy and you’re playing one of your favorite songs you heard when you were, like, a toddler. It’s just completely surreal. The whole experience is just bizarre.”
He went on to explain, “The rehearsals are incredible because we’d basically play five hours straight. We didn’t take a lot of breaks. We’d play this incredible repertoire. We didn’t play everything, but we played about 80 songs, or a little more. Of course, it all has to be distilled down because there are 14 songs that have to be played for people to feel like they got their money’s worth since they’re paying all this money to see the band. They want to hear some of these songs. You’ve got to do some of them.”
Jordan explained that filling in for Watts — a close friend for decades — was originally deemed a temporary situation: “First of all, I didn’t know that Charlie was in the hospital. That was news to me, and troublesome news to me. But it was still the thing where Charlie was recovering, and so I was just going to fill in for maybe some rehearsals. Maybe I would play part of the show, and if they did the B-stage thing where it’s kind of acoustic, maybe Charlie would do that part. That’s kind of what it was. It was not anything more than that. It was kind of like, ‘Maybe I’ll just do the rehearsals, and when he’s recovered, then he will come in and do the shows.'”
Jordan, who met Charlie Watts along with the rest of the Stones back in 1978 when he was the drummer for the SNL house band. He recalled the last time he saw Watts play back in 2019: “I spent the soundcheck out with Charlie. It was an extraordinary performance. I remember thinking then, ‘This is just incredible that he can still play like this, powering this band, in a stadium.’ You don’t understand what that is. You need to alter your playing when you’re playing in a stadium. A lot of the subtleties that you would like to execute just don’t translate in an 80,000-person stadium. . . And he did it flawlessly that night. I was amazed. I obviously didn’t know that would be the last time I’d see him play.”
- Just released is the Rolling Stones‘ latest archival set, Tattoo You: 40th Anniversary.
- The deluxe edition features a new remaster of the 1981 nine-week chart-topper, a bonus disc of nine previously unreleased — yet heavily bootlegged tracks — and a two-disc June 1982 performance art London’s Wembley Stadium.
- Tattoo You was originally released on August 24th, 1981 and was comprised mainly of reworked outtakes from the band’s archive dating back to the 1972 sessions for the following year’s Goats Head Soup.
- Among the highlights on the bonus disc is the band’s unreleased Goats Head Soup gem, “Fast Talking Slow Walking,” the It’s Only Rock N’ Roll-era outtake, “Living In The Heart Of Love,” and the 1975 Black And Blue-era, early reggae version of “Start Me Up.”
CHECK IT OUT: The Stones on November 11th, 2021 performing “Shattered” live in Atlanta: