An Australian Web site is reporting today that Charlie Watts, the genteel drummer for the Rolling Stones, has quit the band:
A source within the Stones inner-circle says, "Charlie Watts has quit the band. He will never record or tour with the band again."
The news does not come as a surprise. It was common knowledge that Keith Richards had to talk Charlie into contributing to the A Bigger Bang tour but this time it seems there is no calling Charlie back to active duty.
"The Stones are looking to Keith's Expensive Winos drummer Charlie Drayton to fill the void in all future Stones' callings," our source says.
The band's spokesperson, however, denies the report, telling Entertainment Weekly: "Contrary to a fabricated story that ran this morning. Charlie Watts has not left The Rolling Stones.''
Watts, 68, has been behind the kit for Mick and Keef since January 1963. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2004, which has since gone into remission.
Watts has been reluctant to take part in the band's activities for a while. He had to be dragged back -- after a long conversation with Keith Richards, apparently -- for the A Bigger Bang tour that roamed the globe as the top-grossing concert from 2005 to 2007.
If it were true, who should replace him as the band lumbers toward its (gulp) 50th anniversary?