It’s only been five years since The Jim Jones Revue released their début album but already they’ve made quite an impression. They’ve played Letterman and Jools Holland, and can count Liam Gallagher and Nick Cave among their fans. I caught up with front man Jim Jones to discuss the new album, their upcoming tour, and what the future holds for the London quintet.
GP: You released a new album late last year called ‘The Savage Heart’, tell me a bit about it?
Jim Jones: It’s our third album, there was two before it but one being a compilation album. It’s very hard to know where to start when talking about it, it’s like a ball of twine. Our first one we did because we needed to get better gigs and we needed a CD to hand out to promoters and clubs, so we did it in two weeks, we had no money and it was a bit rushed as I mixed it myself. There was no budget and the mics weren’t great, so I made it distorted to get it to sound better. It got played on the BBC and it kind of took off from there. When it came to do the next album, we all agreed that there was no point trying to do the same thing again, it was time to expand. So we went in new directions and we carried on with that thinking for the new album. We wanted to push it even further, and I think we managed to do that quite well.
GP: As you said the first album ’The Jim Jones Revue ’ only took 48 hours to record, did having unlimited time for the new album help the finished product?
Jim Jones: It definitely helped us to work more on the songs and be more creative. On the new record we have one song that doesn’t even have guitars on it. We were able to strip things right down to the bone. There wasn’t loads of time, but compared to the first time it was plenty. We even have a song on there that was written in the studio. Something we certainly wouldn’t have had time to do on the first record. Compared to each other they feel like night and day, it’s a nice progression.
GP: What’s your favourite song from the new record and why?
Jim Jones: I suppose I would have to say “Eagle Eye Ball”, lots of people say that they really like “7 Times Around The Sun” so I guess it varies from person to person.
GP: Ours is “Never Let You Go” but I can see why you would say “Eagle eye ball” is yours, it has great vocals.
That’s lovely to hear thank you very much. I like that song too. I like “Eagle Eye Ball” mostly because for me that song was aiming at one thing, and in doing so it touched on other stuff that it wasn’t intending to, so I’m happy it turned out that way. When I listen to it I can hear elements of early Howling Wolf which wasn’t the intention when it was being written. I’m very proud of that song, it’s the most rootsy sounding thing on the record.
GP: Are you looking forward to touring the new album? You’re playing Dublin at the end of this month which I can’t wait for.
Jim Jones: Yeah I can’t wait. The last time we played Dublin was about 3 years ago, Time really flies. It was meant to be last year but it ended up being postponed until the end of this month due to a comedy of errors.
GP: Well it did give people more of a chance to listen to the new album too, which can only be positive.
Jim Jones: Yeah in that way it’s great. I don’t know exactly what happened as to why it couldn’t go ahead, but it’s great that it’s finally going ahead. It’s actually going to be our first gig of the year.
GP: You’ve supported some pretty big bands in the past on tour, if you could support anyone who would it be?
Jim Jones: I would have to say Tom Waits, not because I think we would be a good coupling for a live show, but because it’s impossible to get to see him! I’d just love to watch the show. I am a huge fan of his, he has my full respect. I really like that even though his music can go so dark, there is always a warmth there.
GP: You created your own iPhone app, how did that all come about
Jim Jones: Well regulations now say that you can’t play above a certain limit and we wanted to challenge that. I’m sick of the nanny state interfering, telling you what you can and can’t do. so we thought we would create this app. Telling a musician to play at a certain level is like telling Picasso he can’t use that colour because it’s too bright.
GP: Do you think that it’s a good or bad thing that there aren’t any similar bands out there at the moment?
Jim Jones: I think it’s good because it’s like having the whole playground to yourself. There is no comparison. I don’t think about other people too much. I keep an eye on people I like such as Jack White, I’m already interested in what he’s doing, and Andre 3000, but not in a competition sort of way. I think he actually just finished shooting a Jimi Hendrix film which should be interesting.
GP: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Jim Jones: There’s been so many, playing Letterman would be one of them. It sort of gives you that validation. If someone asks and you tell them you’re in a band, you know that they are just going to go home and search Youtube and that video pops up. It kind of makes it seem that you are serious about being in a band, and that it’s not just something you do on the side for fun. It’s a seal of approval that counts around the world.
GP: What does the future hold for the Jim Jones revue?
Jim Jones: A lot more work, that’s the nature of the game. Try to stay well and keep doing what we’re doing. There is a new album on the cards and we will keep going as long as it feels exciting.
Read the original interview here.