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?
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
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?
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.