Rolling Stones fans have been waiting for months to find out the band’s tour plans, and while rumors have been circulating about what their plans will be, one thing is certain: Charlie Watts will be hitting the stage, albeit with a different band, later this month. His group, The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie, will perform on March 23 and 24 at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London.

The ABC&D features Watts on drums, along with pianists Axel Zwingenberger and Ben Waters and upright bassist Dave Green. A post on the Stones’ website mentions, tantalizingly, “Expect the very best in blues and boogie-woogie (and perhaps a surprise or two) in one of the world’s best jazz clubs!”

Last year, Watts and Green spoke with about playing in clubs with their group, which Charlie says he prefers to the arenas that the Stones usually play. “You’re playing in a club and it’s fun and it’s not madness,” he said. “It’s not a giant stadium with the world’s press looking at you on a bloody big stage. It’s about playing.” Of course, the Stones have been known to hit the clubs as well, but those shows get so crowded that Watts doesn’t always enjoy them, either. He says that he has the best time with the Stones when they’re just rehearsing. “The Rolling Stones have tried this type of approach to things, in fact, we play very much like this when we’re on our own, [when we play] for the fun of it,” he said. “When you get in a club with the Rolling Stones, it’s a nightmare because there’s so many people, it’s really uncomfortable. It’s not like playing in a club, it’s like playing in an oven.”

As for the Stones, rumors still point toward an appearance at England’s Glastonbury Festival, as well as a U.S. tour that will contain less than 20 dates. These rumors, of course, are unconfirmed. Last year, the hot Stones rumor was that the band would be headlining the Coachella Festival in April, which turned out not to be true. So for now, lucky Stones fans might (operative term: “might”) be able to catch one of the other Stones as a “surprise” guest at the upcoming ABC&D of Boogie Woogie shows, but they’ll have to wait a little longer for news of new Stones concerts.

Brian Ives, 


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