Mick Adams satisfies Rolling Stones fans

Mick Adams as Mick Jagger, and Shane Hunter as Keith Richards in Mick Adams and the Stones, which has several shows in the area. (Mick Adams/Submitted)

Mick Adams likens tribute acts to acting. In Mick Adams and The Stones, he’s playing a role — Rolling Stones’ legendary frontman Mick Jagger.

“I’m blond by nature,” the Phoenix resident said with a laugh. “So I dye my hair dark to play Mick Jagger. I also started jogging to lose about 25, 30 pounds to be more stealth-like to portray him more accurately. It’s like an acting role. If you’re a character actor, the more you do it, the more you pick up nuances, the gestures.

“Before long, I was mastering some of the moves and just diving into it.”

Besides Adams, Mick Adams and The Stones features Shane Hunter as Keith Richards, guitars and vocals; Ron Jessurun as Ron Wood, guitar, dulcimer, recorder, mandolin, and harmonica; Bill Cormier as Mick Taylor, guitar and vocals; Chad MacDonald as Bill Wyman, bass and vocals; Eric Von as Charlie Watts, drums; Tobes Mei, vocals and percussion; and Ted Belledin, keyboards, saxophone and vocals.

To hone his skills, Adams watched videos and studied Jagger’s moves. Formerly based in California, Adams’ previous Rolling Stones tribute band won $20,000 in a casino competition there, beating out 39 other well-established bands.

They had only been together for four months and hadn’t had a public show prior to the competition.

Soon thereafter, Adams put his nose to the grindstone, listened to his manager/wife, Erin O’Brien, and started his own tribute act. They wanted more of a “show” with multiple costume changes and accompanying video to bump up the production value.

“My wife created the logo, which is a registered trademark, and told me to jump up there, shake my fine white butt and she would take care of all the business,” he said. “We’ve been successful since.”

Adams said fans can expect a lot of energy and songs as close to the Rolling Stones’ originals as possible.

“The beginnings and endings of the songs are modified, but that’s because they modified them through the years,” he said. “We follow their lead for the most part.”

They cover all the decades, as Mick Adams and the Stones acknowledge the group’s relevance.

“They continue to be relevant,” he said. “We’ve done a couple of songs from the 2000s, like ‘Doom and Gloom’ and ‘Rough Justice.’ We have such a great catalog to pull from. The Stones have recorded roughly 550 to 575 songs through the years. You have to play certain songs — the hits, the fan favorites.” The authenticity continues with the vintage instruments the bands members play, including drums, “that blond natural wooden Gretch kit.”

“We have Tellies (Telecasters) and Strats (Stratocasters) that the two guitar players use,” he said. “It’s really a lot of fun. We dress the part, act the part with the accent and stuff. It’s such fun. I have more stage clothes than regular clothes.

“This one time, we were playing a casino and the place was slammed. My wife noticed these two girls in their late twenties taking videos of the band and sending them somewhere. In between songs, my wife walked over to them and said, ‘You must really like the band.’”

One of them was one of Jagger’s Los Angeles assistants and she was sending him videos of the band. She said he sent back a thumbs-up.

Adams has met sidemen/women from the Stones, including backup singers Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler, and bassist Darryl Jones. He also spent some time hanging with Mick Taylor in his dressing room before introducing him onstage prior to his show.

Performing and singing is Adams’ longtime love.

Adams was also a former lead singer for Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods on and off for many years. In addition to Mick Adams and The Stones, he fronts symphony shows performing the music of The Rolling Stones all over the United States for Windborne Music.

“According to my dearly departed mother, I was singing from the time I opened my mouth pretty much,” the Ohio native said. “When I was little, in the crib, I didn’t care about TV until the commercials came on with music. Then, I’d get up and dance in my crib. My dad put the radio on in my room when I was 4. It took me two weeks to find the Black station coming out of Detroit on the radio.”

Back then, Sam Cook and Jackie Wilson ruled the airwaves and were his favorites.

“I was just a little guy,” said Adams, who was living in Monrovia, California, at the time. “My aunt and I loved to sing in the car. She was the choir director. At age 8, she asked if I wanted to go to church. I said, ‘OK.’ I was only 8 but I ended up as the only child in an all-adult choir. I could read the words, but I hadn’t had any musical training yet. I had relative perfect pitch though, even as a child.”

In high school, she played piano for the choir and was also a voice teacher. She asked him if he had ever taken voice lessons. He hadn’t because his parents couldn’t afford it at the time.

They worked out a barter agreement and they became collaborators. “She said, ‘If you come down to my house on Saturday, we’ll work out something,’” he recalled. “She lived near the arboretum in Arcadia. All throughout high school I went there every Saturday and spent a couple of hours working her rose garden and she paid me in voice lessons.”

When he graduated, he attended Citrus Junior College where he continued lessons with professor Ben Bollinger. His students included the Carpenters.

Bollinger offered Adams a tour doing light opera around Europe, but he turned it down as he was leaving on the road with a rock band.

“He was just brilliant,” he said. “It was largely in part to him and his training that I still love what I do.”

If you go

Mick Adams and the Stones

WHEN: 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5

WHERE: Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road, Suite 165, Tucson

COST: Tickets start at $31; with discounts available for children, students, seniors, and members of the military and first responders.

WHEN: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, and Friday, Feb. 10

WHERE: CPAC Community Performance and Art Center, 1250 W. Continental Road, Green Valley

Green Valley, AZ 85622

COST: Tickets start at $25

INFO: mickadamsandthestones.com

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