Steve Jordan has been put in the unenviable position of replacing Charlie Watts in the Rolling Stones. While the drummer is grateful to be playing with one of the greatest bands in rock history, he admitted he’d “rather not have this be the case” given the circumstances.

“There are people that don’t understand that I lost a friend,” Jordan, who knew and worked with Watts for 40 years, explained to Vanity Fair. “So they’re happy for me, but they don’t understand that I’d rather not have this be the case. But the Rolling Stones have really, really done everything in their power to make the transition smooth and sympathetic and empathetic. They’ve been cognizant of everyone’s feelings. I personally appreciate that.”

Jordan knows that Watts' untimely death - which he said came as “a complete and utter shock” - has put an added spotlight on him and the band. “Obviously, we know that we’re under a microscope,” the drummer noted. “So, there’s that. And then there’s people who don’t approve of them going out without Charlie.”

Back in August, the Rolling Stones revealed that Watts was "unlikely to be available" for their fall tour as he recovered from an unnamed procedure. Jordan was announced as the fill-in at the time.

“I spoke to Keith [Richards] and then I spoke to Mick [Jagger]. It was laid out that this was a work in progress. Charlie was going to come back, and they would be rocking again,” Jordan recalled. “So, I thought, Okay, yeah, I’ll do it. I’m just filling in for my friend.”

The drummer sent a note to Watts wishing him a “speedy recovery” and promising to “keep your seat warm until your glorious return.” He viewed the temporary situation “like rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camp” - that is, until Watts took a turn for the worse. “I was crushed. The world was crushed. It was very, very difficult. It’s still difficult.” Jordan pointed to his long history with the Stones as the reason he was the band’s choice, but there was another factor as well.

“And, of course, you know, my friendship with Charlie. That, too,” Jordan noted. “I mean, the power of that chair—I think a lot of people still underestimate what Charlie did, quite frankly. And it is not to be underestimated. Sitting in that chair and playing that stuff is no joke.”

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