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An Interview with Jim Jones of the JIM JONES REVUE


The Jim Jones Revue is composed of: Jim Jones, Rupert Orton, Gavin Jay, Nick Jones & Henri Herbert

WW: Who or what first inspired you to want to play an instrument? And was guitar your first instrument?

JJ: Yeah, after the obligatory pink bassoon, guitar was the first thing I got a handle on. It was my Dad’s old 45s from when he was younger that first made an impression on me. When I was very young I was given the old record player & these old 45s to mess around with. It was a gateway into another world & the king of that world was Elvis! He was the first inspiration. 


WW: How did the Jim Jones Revue first get together? Did you know some of the guys from projects in the past?

JJ: We had never played together before & didn't know each other that well. When I first met Rupert he was a booker. He was bringing over Mississippi blues guys like T- model Ford & Honey Boy Edwards and I was at these shows and we would talk about 50s R-n-R. He booked some shows for my previous band Black Moses and when that band folded, I asked Rupert if he could recommend any drummers. He suggested Nicky Jones and we set up a rehearsal. I had met Elliot Mortimer thru Ray Hanson (Thee Hypnotics). Rupert came down too and we poached Gavin Jay from another band. The first time we played it took right off and it's been that way ever since ... like a runaway train. 

WW: JJR is a bit of a departure from your earlier work with Thee Hypnotics and, to a lesser extent, Black Moses. Did you go into JJR with a concise idea of the sound you wanted to achieve?

JJ: Yeah, I wanted to see if we could capture some of the spirit & energy of the early piano driven R-n-R. 

                                                                                                              WW: Your style has been compared to the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, in addition to bands like MC5, Stooges, and The Birthday Party. Was JJR an attempt to get back to your roots or early influences?

JJ: Yeah, it's like coming full circle back to those 45s from my childhood. 

WW: I read that you recorded your self-titled debut album in 48 hours, and that it was released that same year (2008). Had you already written the songs, and just waiting to find the right members to be in the band? Or was it more of a collaborative effort…a jam that you ended up recording?

JJ: The first LP was only recorded so we could try and get better gigs. It was our live set at the time. We had no money so we just booked a small rehearsal room and my friend Graeme Flynn (Black Moses) came down with a couple of microphones and we just recorded live over two afternoons and a few days later I did the mix. I was amazed when I first heard it played on the BBC. 


WW: Your second full-length album, “Burning Your House Down” was also released on Punk Rock Blues Records, and was produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grinderman). How was working with him? And what do you think he brought to the table?

JJ: Jim was great. He had worked with a lot of artists  we admired including The Cramps, Sonic Youth, Panther Burns and of course Bad Seeds and Grinderman. The thing about all those bands is that they had put a cool twist on a familiar theme, and that's what we wanted too. I was pretty hands on with the production but it was good having someone from outside of the band to oversee the process. Jim had a lot of experience to bring to the mix and was very motivated too. He was invaluable to the transition from the first LP and a great guy to have around. 


WW: I’ve noticed that you play guitar less with JJR, and leave a lot of it to Rupert Orton, freeing you up for more vocals and boogie-ing. Do you like the freedom of having a guitar player that can rock that hard, thus leaving you to your own devices?

JJ: Yeah, Rupert is quite happy to hold the fort and it helps to give a bit more variety to the sound not having a constant two guitar thing.   

WW: Though obviously influenced by rock-n-roll, you also seem to have a big punk rock influence, as witnessed by the brevity of “Burning Your House Down”, which hosts 11 songs in 33 minutes. Was this intentional?

JJ: For sure ... Life's too short for self-indulgent twaddle.  

WW: So Orton acts as band manager? And is also the owner of Punk Rock Blues Records? Does that cause any internal conflict? Or has it been a fairly collaborative effort all around?

JJ: Personally I don't have the patience or the stomach for the business end of the music industry beyond a certain point. That's definitely Rupert's department. He's managed to keep the band truly independent! Any major decisions are sanctioned by me or by a band vote and it works well as a collaborative partnership. I let him get on with the business end of things and he lets me get on with the creative end. It's a very open and productive relationship. 


WW: I read that The Clash legend, Mick Jones said  "There is no band bigger than The Jim Jones Revue”.  How does that make you feel?

JJ: Really Big! 

WW: Is it true that you are related to David Bowie? You can deny if you’d like to keep it under wraps…

JJ: No comment.

WW: It seems that you guys have taken Europe by storm. When the heck are you going to do the same to America, besides just playing SXSW?

JJ: We’re coming to get you in September!

WW: Is there any truth to the urban legend that you snorted Stiv Batorsremains?

JJ: Absolutely ... Quite a sting if I remember correctly. I think there are still some small fragments of bone stuck up there!


WW: What do you think is necessary to a band’s longevity?

JJ: Avoid fashion and trends - sit down together & talk shit over - make sure you know where you are. 


WW: If JJR had a mission statement, what would it be?

JJ: Don't spare the horses! 

WW: What is your definition of success in rock-n-roll?

JJ: If you can get up & do what you want every day without eating too much shit. 


WW: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take 5 albums with you, what would they be?

JJ: Muddy Waters - Chess Masters

Duke Ellington - Afro Bossa

Tom Waits - Mule Variations 

Stooges - Raw Power

A good R-n-R compilation with the early singles of Elvis, Little Richard & Chuck Berry. 


WW: What can we look forward to from JJR in the future? Any chance you’ll be touring the states any time soon?

JJ: September baby!

WW: Final words of wisdom to your ever-growing legions of fans?

JJ: Rock hard and dance on the table.


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