In its’ original inception, rock and roll was built on passion. Sweat, energy and the ability to electrify a live audience where norm as Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and their ilk brought rock to the mainstream. As corporations sunk their teeth into the genre, it became more formulaic and shallow. The Jim Jones Revue embodies the spirit of the original spirit of rock and roll. Sweat oozes from the speakers as you listen to their tumultuous music. Hearing them on record makes you yearn to see them live. And those who’ve seen them on stage have become their biggest fans. Jim Jones took a break from their hectic tour schedule to talk to Sania and I about the future of rock and The Jim Jones Revue.
TDOA: How did Jim Jones Revue come together and when was it decided that you would play this style of music?
JJ: I was looking for a new project, as ‘Black Moses’ (my previous group) was starting to feel like it was winding down. I had been working a lot with Rupert Orton … well known as the kingpin of Punk Rock Blues on the London music scene. Me & Rupert often spoke about our mutual interest in 50s Rock n Roll … mainly the piano driven sound of artists such as Little Richard, & Jerry lee Lewis. When Black Moses finally bit the dust, it seemed obvious that this should be the first area to experiment in musically, really, for a breath of fresh air! After a short time of trying to find musicians Rupert suggested Nick Jones for drums & after meeting at some Jazz soirée we went ahead & booked a rehearsal room. I had met Elliot Mortimer about a month or two before that, & when the question of piano came up, he was the first choice. Nothing was too precious … We just wanted to see what would happen if we took a taste of that original Rock n Roll recipe, No cocktails, just raw …
TDOA: Your music takes rock n’ roll back to it’s beginnings in a very pure form.. A lot of bands claim to also take rock back to its ‘basics’ but never really deliver, it generally feels like a watered down safe version completely devoid of that spark that would make it feel authentic. Why do you think these bands are afraid to take it as far back as you have whole heartedly? What do you think about the evolution/ de-evolution of music as an easily consumable commodity over the last few decades?
JJ: It’s sad the view that most people have of RnR, – in a lot of cases as some kind of relic. When people are making music there is often too much emphasis on fashion. This is an easy mistake in my opinion. What we’ve tried to do is capture the spirit & the energy that seems to have left a trail through all of our influences up until the present day.
TDOA: What response to you generally get from fans of younger generations who haven’t been exposed to your influences?
JJ: What we’re doing is pretty easy to understand & it’s great when you see people getting it for the first time.
For us it’s an honor if we can be (in any way) a gateway to the keepers of the RnR spirit
TDOA: What is the recording process for you guys? The self -titled album and Burning Your House Down have an energy that’s usually pretty exclusive to a live set, and seems like it would be difficult to translate to a recording. Was the process different for each album?
JJ: The same process, but in a different environment. Both recorded absolutely live, but the first one was in a rehearsal room the size of bed-sit toilet in two afternoons, & the second one in a proper studio over five days.
TDOA: Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Cramps, Sonic Youth , and the list goes on, produced the new album. How did you end up working with him, and what did aspect did you want him to bring out of your sound?
JJ: Jim was great. We’re admirers of all the bands he’s been in. He helped give the sonic definition we were looking for and also, importantly, keep an eye that there was a twist in the music.
TDOA: The live shows are crazy intense, explosive, and incredibly fun. What is your favorite thing about it all? Favorite song to do live currently?
JJ: It’s great when we play to a new crowd & I love the moment when you can see they get it and let themselves go … In terms of favorite live song, the Princess & the Frog is pretty good, it just keeps going up & up !
TDOA: The band is based out of London, what do you guys think of the music scene there? How was the music received when the band first started out?
JJ: We have had a great reaction from the word go. Although some of the first shows we played were heavily associated with garage rock & burlesque, we’ve done our best to avoid any kind of scene. It’s important for us to keep moving & evolving & stay open to everything.
TDOA: There is a song on the self -titled album called ’512′ about our beloved city of Austin, what’s the back story on the inspiration for that song?
JJ: 512 is about a trip to SXSW a few years back where I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of the city.
TDOA: Which is the preferred music medium for your own personal music collection, Records or mp3?
JJ: I prefer vinyl but rarely have time to enjoy it … day to day I use mp3s for convenience.
TDOA: I have to say it. Your music reminds me of watching a shoot out scenes in Tarantino films, it really does. Do you get that a lot? And with that being said, what’s your favorite Quentin masterpiece?
JJ: People have talked about film & literature but never specifically mentioned Tarantino. I love Death Proof, and Sin City had some collaboration from Tarantino, but in the end, I guess Pulp Fiction takes some beating !
TDOA: I (Todd) grew up around the time that Jon Spencer was fronting Pussy Galore and the Blues Explosion. Clearly he was influenced by Elvis and the great blues of the 1900′s. Did Jon influence you in any way?
JJ: We are lucky enough to count Jon as a friend, some of the first shows we played were with Heavy Trash, and we’ve had talks with him about producing some stuff for us.
Jon is in my opinion one of the great performers of our time & I’ve always had great respect for him.
See them on tour!
Oct 28 2010 De Helling Utrecht, NL, NETHERLANDS
Oct 29 2010 Paradiso Amsterdam, NL, NETHERLANDS
Oct 30 2010 Effenaar Eindhoven, NL, NETHERLANDS
Oct 31 2010 4AD Diksmuide, BELGIUM
Nov 5 2010 Le Chatod’O BLOIS, FR, FRANCE
Nov 6 2010 Le Clacson Oullins, Rhône-Alpe, FRANCE
Nov 7 2010 La Vapeur Dijon, Bourgogne, FR, FRANCE
Nov 9 2010 LA MACHINE DU MOULIN ROUGE PARIS, FR, FRANCE
Nov 10 2010 Bebop Festival Le Mans, Pays de la, FRANCE
Nov 11 2010 RockSchool Barbey Bordeaux, france, FRANCE
Nov 12 2010 Le Cosy / Casino Barriere LA ROCHELLE, FR, FRANCE
Nov 13 2010 Les Indisciplinees Festival LORIENT, FR, FRANCE
Nov 15 2010 La Poste a Galene Marseille, FRANCE
Nov 18 2010 la Lune des Pirates AMIEN, Fr, FRANCE
Nov 19 2010 L’entrepot Arlon, BE, BELGIUM
Nov 20 2010 Eden Charleroi, BELGIUM
Dec 17 2010 Festival les aventuriers Fontenay /s bois (94), FR, FRANCE
Apr 14 2011 KOKO London, London, UNITED KINGDOM
To learn more about the band, visit their MySpace page