Stones On Hold During Richards Recovery

Two days after Keith Richards underwent what was described as “a small” skull operation to heal injuries after he fell out of a tree, it was far from clear what effect it would have on the upcoming European leg of the The Rolling Stones‘ Bigger Bang tour.

The only thing that could be said for certain was that Gay Mercader’s shows in Barcelona and Madrid on May 27-28 would have to be shifted, according to a press release put out by the band’s PR reps on both sides of the Atlantic that said the tour will be re-scheduled to start in June.

Taken literally, that could mean the June 1st show promoted by Live Nation‘s Herman Schueremans at Brussels Stade Roi Baudouin could still go ahead. But a more logical interpretation is that nobody will know what’s happening until Richards’ doctors can give the band’s world tour producer, Michael Cohl from Live Nation’s The Next Adventure, a better idea of Richards’ recovery time.

Even that’s better news than the stories in some of the U.K. papers May 9th. The Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror and The Star all speculated that the 62-year-old rocker’s fall had caused brain damage, likely leading to a canceled tour.

The seed for that story probably came from New Zealand Herald which, a day earlier, said the May 8th operation was in fact Richards’ second and that doubts regarding his recovery persisted.

It claimed he had the first operation 12 days earlier at Auckland’s Ascot Hospital, where he is currently recovering, and then had to return for another after passing out and complaining of “major headaches.”

The May 9th press release put out by Rogers & Cowan in New York and London’s LD Communications was clearly designed to cool those sorts of reports.

It said Richards is recovering well after surgery and was already “up and talking with his family.”

The May 10th edition of the U.K.’s The Daily Telegraph quoted a “spokesman for The Rolling Stones” who categorically denied that the May 8th op was his second.

Richards is said to have sustained his injuries in late April while on holiday in Fiji. He’s reported to have fallen out of a tree after shinning up it to collect coconuts.

At press time, John Giddings from Solo Agency in London – which produces the European leg of TNA tours – wasn’t available for comment.

He wasn’t expected back at his Fulham offices until late May 12th, but there’s been nothing to suggest any sort of announcement that soon.

The early June dates that follow Brussels in the route book are Paris June 3, Bergen June 6, Horsens June 8, Gothenburg June 9 and St. Petersburg June 13.

– John Gammon