Keith Richards Posts Heartbreaking Picture of Empty Drum Set After Rolling Stones Bandmate Charlie Watts’ Passing

by Matthew Memrick

Longtime Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards posted a heartbreaking photo of an empty drum set after bandmate Charlie Watts died Tuesday. 

Watts was 80.

While lead singer Mick Jagger posted a recent photo of a smiling and laughing Charlie Watts, Richards took a different route. 

The 77-year-old guitarist posted a Watts’ drum kit picture with a sign hanging from one of the stands reading “closed.”  

Websites for bandmate Ronnie Wood and the group also changed to show tributes to their former drummer.

Watts played with the Rolling Stones from 1963 until his death. In 2016, Watts was named 12th on Rolling Stone’s list of all-time greatest drummers. The music publication quoted Richards in that mention, saying, “When we got Charlie, that really made it for us.” 

The publication also mentioned he had not missed a band gig since January 1963.

Watts Announced He’d Sit Out Tour

On Aug. 4, Watts announced he would take a break from the Rolling Stones’ upcoming tour.

Charlie Watts announced the news after having an unspecified medical procedure. In 2004, he had surgery for throat cancer.

“Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation,” a band representative said.

The band was set to start rehearsals in weeks and expressed their disappointment. The representative also relayed that the announcement was a shock. 

Charlie Watts also made a personal statement with the news.

He joked that “for once, my timing has been a little off… I am working hard to get fully fit, but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while.”

Disappointed, he sympathized with fans who already had the concert delayed by the pandemic. At the time, he said his friend Steve Jordan would fill in for him.

St. Louis (Sept. 26) was the first stop for the upcoming three-month tour. There was no immediate word by the band if there would be any additional changes.

Richards, Charlie Watts Were Friends

USA Today noted how the longtime friends respected each other.  

Richards said in his 2010 memoir, “Life,” that “[Charlie] Watts has always been the bed that I lie on musically.”

As for Watts, he felt his friendship with Jagger and Richards was special. In the 1998 book “The Rolling Stones: A Life on the Road,” Watts said he was lucky to there was a magic about them that people like.

“They know each other so well,” Charlie Watts said in the book. “When I say they argue, they don’t actually, but there’s always a difference of opinion. They’re two totally different people. One is meticulous and detailed, and the other is a complete bohemian. But they both have a direction for themselves, and they can both see whatever it is – I’m fortunate to be in there as part of that.”