Mick Jagger's brother Chris plans to paint Akaroa black on first New Zealand tour
Going through life as the younger sibling to one of the world's biggest musical superstars might have deterred some from a career in music.
But not Chris Jagger. The 69-year-old singer-songwriter was preparing for his first tour to New Zealand, and he was planning on making the most of his time here.
"I want to sail around like Captain Cook and see everything," said Jagger.
For good measure, Jagger was teaming up with two Rolling Stones and a British Boogie Woogie king related to PJ Harvey to play three intimate shows in Akaroa, Arrowtown and Wellington next month.
Jagger said that he had a book full of "10,000 things to do" while he was in New Zealand.
"I'm a bit of a volcanologist, I want to see a few cracks, falling down buildings in Christchurch... shake, rattle and roll."
We speak after Jagger has spent some time coaxing a Highland bull out of the sheep paddock on his farm.
"I've got 12 sheep here, I'll be checking out the New Zealand sheep when I'm there," he said.
Jagger would perform backing vocals and play guitar alongside long-time Rolling Stones band members Tim Ries (sax and keyboard) and Bernard Fowler (vocals).
The high profile trio were the backing band for Ben Waters, who counted PJ Harvey as a relative, and who was in a side band called The A,B,C&D of Boogie Woogie with Rolling Stone Charlie Watts.
Waters was championed by longtime music industry icon Jools Holland and awarded the title of Best Boogie Pianist in Europe in 2016. In New Zealand he would be joined by his son, Tom on alto-sax.
The three shows in intimate New Zealand venues came about by chance through Akaroa resident Michael Norris, who met Waters at a wedding in Scotland.
"The band played Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell. There wasn't a single person left seated. Ben was on piano," said Norris.
In recent years, Norris had enticed Waters to New Zealand for small holidays and charity performances.
In return, Waters invited Norris to Las Vegas for a Rolling Stones gig last October.
"We were to go on to the Wednesday night show," Norris recalled. "But Mick Jagger got bad laryngitis and the show was cancelled."
The following day, Norris was relaxing by the pool at the same hotel where The Rolling Stones were staying when he struck up a conversation with band member, Tim Ries.
"He invited us to a private gig at a club that night," said Norris.
The club was "heaving" when Norris arrived just after 11pm.
"On stage were Bernard Fowler and Tim Ries from the Stones, Ivan Neville from the Neville Brothers... they jammed away and it was outstanding."
Ries' performing and recording credits included The Rolling Stones, from 1999 to the present, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Michael Jackson and many more, while Fowler had provided backing vocals for The Rolling Stones since 1988 and was featured on their studio recordings and live tours.
"I'm not a music promoter at all," said Norris. "I just asked Bernard and Tim if they'd consider coming to New Zealand and they said 'yes'. Getting two members of the Rolling Stones to come play in Akaroa is quite a coup."
Tickets to the two shows at Akaroa's Gaiety Hall, which seated 250 people, were only available via an email address and the concerts were the talk of the small town.
During their stay, Ries and Fowler would volunteer their time at the jazz school, Ara Institute of Canterbury.
Outdoorsy Jagger hoped any spare time would be spent sailing. He planned to head "down the bottom of the South Island".
An actor, journalist and guitar manufacturer, among many other things, he laughed as he said people were always surprised to hear that he and Mick didn't grow up in a musical family.
His father was the PE teacher at the school he, Mick, and Keith Richards attended, and came close to getting into the British Olympic team as a kayaker.
Jagger, who has previously recorded his albums in the barn on his farm, cited a singing teacher in India as his only formal musical training.
"Years ago I stayed in Almora, up in the hills above Delhi, for six months and I went to the local singing teacher once a week for lessons."
However, one musical relative did inspire one of Jagger's original songs, Concertina Jack.
Jagger's mother was born in Sydney but returned to Britain as a baby.
"I wrote a song about Concertina Jack, an Australian relative who left 12 children behind and scarpered back to England," says Jagger.
There's a pause before he deadpans: "That's men for you."
A cellphone rang in the background of the Jagger farmhouse not far from Glastonbury.
Jagger said "oh, it's my wife about the chickens".
His wife is Kari-Ann Moller, who appeared on the cover of self-titled debut album of Roxy Music and is rumoured to have inspired the Hollies hit Carrie-Anne.
"I better go, she wants me to bring these chickens in," said Jagger. "But first, you can help me practice how to say 'fush and chups in Akaroa'."
Tour details: Ben Waters, Chris Jagger, Tim Ries and Bernard Fowler play Arrowtown's Athenaeum Hall on March 7 (Eventfinda); Sanfran, Wellington, on March 14, (tickets.sanfran.co.nz) and two shows in Akaroa at Gaiety Hall on March 17 and March 18, tickets $125 from email@example.com. Proceeds will go to a charity in each region.
- Sunday Star Times