Gary James' Interview With The Leader Of
The Rolling Stones Tribute
Mick Adams And The Stones
Mick Adams was the former lead singer for Bo Donaldson And The Heywoods. In that capacity, he shared the stage with everybody, and we do mean everybody! We are talking Johnny Rivers, Neil Sedaka, The Turtles, The Association, Rick Springfield, America, The Lovin' Spoonful, Ohio Express, Spencer Davis, The Blues Brothers and the list goes on and on. These days Mick Adams is Mick Jagger in his Rolling Stones tribute group; Mick Adams And The Stones. When we spoke to Mick Adams, his group was number one on the iTunes chart for AXS TV's The Worlds's Greatest Tribute Bands.
Q - Mick, how are you able to use The Stones' name in the name of your tribute act?
A - Well, it's like a lot of different Stones bands, tribute bands out there, any number of them use that verbage. I was actually in a band called Rolling The Stones at one point. I was in a band called Jumpin' Jack Flash. My last band was The Ultimate Stones, which I quit and put together this new band because of a production thing we've got going on. When I did that, the producer suggested, 'cause it would be real easy to get my URL and all that good stuff, to just call the band Mick Adams And The Stones. I'd been on AXS TV twice last year (2013) and done shows out here in California. The name isn't a problem. It really isn't. I just wanted it to be my band for a change. I've had in the past, too many people who were not as on top of their game as they should have been, dictating how things should go. The old expression, too many cooks in the kitchen... I relied mostly on my wife, who does all the media stuff and all the Social Media stuff as well and photographs. She does all that kind of good stuff for me. I rely on her a lot, but I also rely on my drummer, Vince. He's been with me for like six years now. He's like my Musical Director. He has perfect pitch, which a lot of people don't have. He's a really good singer, but he's real musical. He's not a drummer that plays drums and that's it. He plays piano, a little guitar. He sings really well. We been doing this for a while together. So, I lean on my wife and I lean on Vince a lot with the new band, but it's my band. And that's what I've wanted for a long time.
Q - You call the shots.
A - Pretty much. I'll ask the guys and also Justine, who has also been with me for six years, the female singer in the band. I'll ask her what do you think about certain deals, but when it comes down to set lists for a gig, Vince will send me his ideas and I'll go through it. Usually there's one or two changes, whatever. I'm trying to keep my hands, like the real Mick does, pretty much on the pulse of what's going on in my band.
Q - You formed this band when?
A - I've actually been doing Mick for close to 11 years now. My my new band was formed September 1 last year (2013) and that was after I was offered a production deal by a gentleman who saw us on the Mark Cuban / Ryan Seacrest show The World's Greatest Tribute Bands. So that's kind of where that went. Some of the guys couldn't do it, didn't want to do the production, so I wasn't going to say no to it. It's too good of an opportunity. I just went ahead and Vince and Justine came with me and we formed a new band. As far as I know, and I told this to Darryl Jones, the bass player for the real Stones, when I met him at the NAMM show and we were talking, he was pleased to hear that I have probably the only Rolling Stones tribute band in the country that has a Darryl Jones bass player, a Black guy with locks and the whole nine yards. Just an incredible bass player, an incredible musician. He was real pleased to hear that, but the band is pretty authentic all down the line.
Q - Where did this description, "The Most Authentic Tribute Band" come from?
A - When I decided to re-tool the band so to speak, I wanted it to be even more authentic. Darryl Jones has been playing base with them for 20 years, easy. So I decided I was going to make it even more current and more authentic. When I say authentic I mean the guys use the same instrumentation, the Fender guitars, the Gibson guitars, the old Fender type amps, costuming, makeup. It's a full-on production. So that's where the most authentic part comes in. I was chosen by The World's Greatest Tribute Bands as the most authentic Mick out there.
Q - How did Mark Cuban get interested in tribute bands?
A - He owns the Dallas Mavericks. He has the TV show Shark Tank. Anyway, he was out here a few years back with team and stayed a few extra days doing some business. A friend of his said, " C'mon, we're going to go down to The Whiskey and see The Doors." He said, "C'mon, Morrison has been dead for years." The guy said, "No, no, no. This is a tribute band." He said, "I don't want to see that." They finally talked him into going. He fell in love with the whole idea of tribute bands and keeping that music alive, so to speak. There used to be on Direct, Dish and AT&T, a couple of different providers, a show called HD Net. Just kind of random programming. Nothing really ever went on there. So, Mark Cuban bought the channel and turned it into a 'live' music broadcast, sports broadcast stuff. He has people from the BBC chiming in on things. It's really kind of interest. When he bought the station he created a show called The World's Greatest Tribute Bands. And Katie Darrell, whose done a lot of stuff on cable TV, is the host and Ryan Seacrest came on board as an advisor and owns a little chunk of the show. And last I heard, even CBS bought into a little chunk of the show. So he just decided he loved the idea, thought it was viable and put it out there and now they're going into like their fourth season.
Q - You pretty much perform in Southern California, at the moment anyway?
A - Pretty much, yeah. I've done some shows in Michigan. I've done a lot of stuff in Vegas, Northern California, Southern California, but mostly on the West Coast. I love coming back East because I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. So, every once in a while I love to get back there and do shows back there, usually in Fall or Spring. (Laughs).
Q - Yeah, Winters can be tough.
A - And sometimes Summer is not so nice either. (laughs)
Q - How much work is there for your group? How many gigs a year to you play?
A - Well, with this production thing coming up, we can be playing as many as really 120 shows this year.
Q - You are on the move!
A - Yeah. The production involves a host of, well, to the best of my knowledge right now, at least 90 performing arts centers around the country. We'll be going into performing arts centers and major casinos with large rooms, 2000 seat rooms, not necessarily the lounge, but the actual performing centers. That's what we are looking forward to. That's what we are gearing up for right now. We've got a couple of shows coming up right here (Southern California) and we've mostly been doing video production work, putting stuff together for a multimedia production show, making sure costuming is right. Some of the guys wear wigs, making sure that's right. Just really gearing this thing up to take off like crazy.
Q - You appeared on stage with all these '60s groups when you were a part of Bo Donaldson?
A - Yes, absolutely.
Q - So, by putting your name out there, Mick Adams And The Stones, people will recognize that name Mick Adams.
A - Right. That's part of that, exactly. And the other thing is, with my logo being trademarked, it's my name. They really can't take that away from me. There's a lot of things that go on in the business where somebody wants this or somebody wants that, or no, you can't use this or you can't use that, but I know I can use my own name. So, that's another reason for doing that, plus I've performed all over the country, especially in the past with The Heywoods. I think in a two-year stretch, at one point we spent 18 months on the road. It just helps the recognition I guess you could say.
Q - You were the lead singer in Bo Donaldson And The Heywoods, weren't you?
A - Yup. I've known Bo probably since 1975.
Q - How do you view playing Mick Jagger? Is this a bit of a come down for you?
A - Oh, no. Heck, no. Are you kidding? If someone would have told me when I was say in my late 20s, early 30s, that I would be doing what I'm doing now at the level I'm doing it at, making the money I'm making and having as much fun as I'm having, I would have told them they are crazy! I was actually still in The Heywoods when I got into my first Stones tribute band. We still went out and did oldies shows once in a while and I got so busy doing the tribute thing, doing Mick, that I didn't have the time to go out and do much of anything else. I'll put it this way, it's definitely keeping me young because I'm always studying, I'm always dancing, I'm always singing. I've learned through the years to play... I started out playing a little bit of piano, a little bit of guitar, drums and percussion instruments, and congas and I play harmonica as well. It's a constant learning experience and it's a challenge. You are talking about a guy that hits the stage on the run and probably doesn't slow down until he takes a breather for two songs that Keith does somewhere in the middle of the set and then they shoot him out of the canon again and he's good for the next hour or so. He can literally run his butt off for two, two and a half hours on stage and at that age (71) that's pretty freakin' amazing.
Q - How many times have you seen The Stones in concert?
A - Oh, God. I can go all the way back to The Forum. I saw them back in the day when the two opening bands were B.B. King and Ike And Tina Turner and I was just in high school.
Q - We are talking late '60s, right?
A - Yup. It was a great show and then I've seen them as recently as The Bigger Bang tour where they had the largest stage ever erected for an outdoor concert. I'm going to say it was like 120 yards wide and something like seven or eight stories high. What an amazing show!