Blues Genes

updated 04/22/1996 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/22/1996 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HE DOESN'T POUT. HE DOESN'T strut. He doesn't do that tongue thing. Chris Jagger, clearly, is no Mick. That wouldn't be a problem if Chris, 48, Mick's younger brother, had gone into law, or roofing, or anything but music. But Chris is a singer and songwriter, and though he's close to his 52-year-old brother, he doesn't want to be known simply as a chip off the old Rolling Stone. So junior Jagger has a CD out, Rock the Zydeco, a hybrid of Creole and bluegrass about as far from freré Jagger's style as you can get. "I didn't want to do the same thing," says Chris. "You don't want to be a professional relative. That's damned awful." Like Mick—and his childhood neighbor Keith Richards—Chris traces his musical interests back to suburban Dartford, southeast of London, where relatives of dad Joe Jagger and mum Eva encouraged the two brothers to join in family sing-alongs. Chris shared his brother's passion for American blues and rock and roll, but when Mick's band began to hit big in the '60s, Chris says, "I went from being Joe Jagger's son to being Mick Jagger's brother."

Ducking the spotlight, Chris worked quietly over the years as a theater technician, fashion designer, journalist and bit-part actor. Married since 1981 to London yoga and dance teacher Kari-Ann Moller (they have two sons, Robert, 14, and John, 17), he keeps his musical chops sharp by singing in clubs and playing at home. "He's a natural musician," says ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart. "If careers were based on quality alone, Chris would have a big future."

Mick, too, has been "quietly supportive," says his brother, and no longer casts quite such an intimidating shadow. "In England," Chris says, "the press can actually write about me without mentioning his name."

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