Coming screaming out of London and sounding like the British cousins of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Reverend Horton Heat, The Jim Jones Revue formed in 2008, after main man Jim Jones and guitarist Rupert Orton met at a blues night regularly held by Orton. A highly charged mixture of early rock and roll, blues and punk with a bit of hard rock thrown in for good measure, The Jim Jones Revue have built a strong reputation for themselves over the course of three albums and their explosive, incedinary live shows.
With great tracks such as “Rock N’ Roll Psychosis”, “Dishonest John”, “High Horse” and “Princess And The Frog”, The Jim Jones Revue create the type of foot stomping music that you feel in your bones and provokes a visceral response from the listener, which would usually involve singing, dancing, drinking bourbon and/or grabbing one’s own crotch!!!
The band recorded their first self-titled album in forty eight hours, That manic sense of drive and energy definitely shows in the finished product. Their most recent album, Burning Your House Down, was produced by Jim Sclavunos, best known in Australia for being part of Nick Cave’s side project, Grinderman. What attracted the band to work for him was his previous work with bands such as The Cramps and Sonic Youth. In particular, The Cramps, with their infectious and utterly unique take on early rock and roll, are truly an inspirational act for the Jim Jones Revue.
The band toured Australia as part of the Big Day Out, along with playing various sideshows. The tour saw them impress many concert goers and win some new fans in this country. The band will be back on these shores at the end of this year/early next year playing The Falls festival and sideshows around the country.
Tone Deaf’s Neil Evans recently spoke to The Jim Jones Revue’s Rupert Orton on the eve of their second visit to these shores.
“We’ve been totally inspired by basically five decades worth of rock and roll”, explained Orton when asked about what inspired him and Jones to start the band. “Jim and I had so many discussions about music. We really missed the type of rock and roll that, back in the day, would pin you to the back wall of the venue and just about blow your head off. That’s what we try to achieve with our music.”
“With trying to make what inspires us our own and trying to avoid sounding derivative, the five of us each bring something to the table. The Jim Jones Revue isn’t just a straight rehash of 50’s rock and roll, although that is a strong influence.” With their ferocious, thumping sound, The Jim Jones Revue show they’ve been touched by everything from punk rock to a bit of AC/DC Bon Scott-period style boogie and undoubtedly the innovative and at the time unheard of piano playing style of some of rock ‘n roll finest such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.
“Definitely”, said Orton. “The way we use the piano is very up front and right in your face. In many ways, it’s the lead instrument of the band. Although Jim and I take solos on guitar, the piano is very much the backbone of our songs. If you look at our stage set up, the piano is right up the front of the stage, rather than at the back as part of the back line. Our original piano player, Elliot Mortimer, very much set the template for this. Unfortunately, Elliot is no longer with us. However, Henry Herbert, who has taken his place, is a truly incredible player and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. He’s also twenty-six and brings this fantastic youthful energy to proceedings.”
With so much musical dross out there, what keeps the Jim Jones Revue fresh and inspired towards what they do? “We’ve been touring solidly for pretty much the past two years and only recently got back to London. Seeing other bands and artists, such as PJ Harvey, and the way that they do what they do still continues to inspire me. Totally different from what Jim Jones Review are about, but it is utterly heartening and inspirational to see artists breaking new ground or tweaking and playing with what has gone before”, said Orton.
The band worked with Jim Sclavunos on the last album, the ferocious “Burning Down Your House”. “Jim definitely brought a sense of order to the chaos”, said Orton, laughing. “We really respected his work as both a producer and a musician. He’s worked, as either a musician or producer, with the like of Nick Cave, Sonic Youth and The Cramps. All of us in the band have always been Nick Cave fans ever since The Birthday Party days. He definitely help shape our sound and gave us direction and focus in how to get it across on record”.
Orton has very strong and positive memories about being here earlier this year as part of the Big Day Out lineup. “It was an absolute pleasure being part of that lineup, along with the like of Iggy Pop, Primal Scream and Rammstein. It was also nice to escape the sub zero, snowing likes of England and Scandinavia at the time. The Australian crowds were so welcoming and enthusiastic. We had some great shows there, and are really looking forward to coming back. We’re going to blow your heads off when you cone and see us live. If you feel like that after seeing one of our shows, then we’re doing what we aim to do and what we loved so much about the music we’ve loved over the years.”
– Neil Evans
TOUR DATES FOR THE JIM JONES REVUE
Thursday 29 December, 2011-Sunday 1 January, 2012.
The Falls Festival-Lorne, Victoria & Marion Bay, Tasmania.
Monday 2 January, 2012
East Brunswick Club, Victoria.
Tuesday 3 January, 2012
The Zoo, Queensland.
Thursday 5 January, 2012
The Annandale, New South Wales.
Saturday 7 January-Sunday 8 January, 2012.
Southbound Festival, Western Australia.