The JIM JONES REVUE are preparing to unleash their third album, 'The Savage Heart', in October. Here's a classic VLR interview with the band to whet your appetites…
How did the Jim Jones Revue come to be?
“None of us had played together before, but from the first meetings of the JJR it was like opening Pandora's box. We knew straight away we had a tiger by the tail. It was pretty instant.”
Can you tell us what happened with Thee Hypnotics/Black Moses? Was it a case of wanting to try something different? How do you feel JJR stands apart from your other bands/projects?
“Thee Hypnotics ran its course and so did Black Moses. Sometimes you can write new songs and sometimes you need to just move on to a new project. They were both stops on my journey to here... I think the difference with JJR is that it's quite accessible, don't get me wrong, you're not gonna hear our stuff used as background music in Ikea, but what seemed like a small idea on the outside, immediately had the feeling of tapping into some kind of main vein! 'One instinctively knows when something is right'!”
There seem to be, on the face of things at least, not many bands still keeping the flame burning for proper rock 'n' roll – was this a conscious decision for the JJR to do? What other bands do you feel are keeping it alive?
“Carrying the torch for proper rock ‘n’ roll can be a thankless task and a badly paid job at the best of times. It's not surprising there are only a few who respond to the calling. But it is also an honour. JJR would never shrink for its responsibilities! Meanwhile, musically, it takes a conscious effort to make it run the way it should: too rich means you're gonna run cold and no speed, too lean means you can overheat or loose combustion at full tilt. It's hard work, but you have to get the mix right!
What's a JJR live show like and what does the combination of players bring to the mix?
“A band only exists on the energy that is put in. If there is no one putting energy in, then the band no longer exists. Everyone in JJR brings something special and delivers it with gusto - maximum commitment. Playing live it becomes more so. It's quite religious, probably the most purifying thing I've ever experienced. There is the sense of doing it for the cause. There is a message to deliver and once you've got the good sisters dancing at the front the rest of the congregation will usually follow.”
What did you want to achieve with the first album and do you think you've done it? What I think I love most about is how it sounds like it's been dragged kicking and screaming from the '50s/'60s right through the mixing desk – how was the recording process?
“Thanks, that's a nice way to put it. I really wanted to make sure we didn't end up with something that was just a mediocre, low budget production. We knew we couldn't afford beautiful so we went for totally brutal. Brutality has its own graces.”
What are your top five rock 'n' roll records of all time?
“’High School Confidential’ - Jerry Lee Lewis
‘Shake Appeal’ - The Stooges
‘Too Much’ - Elvis Presley
‘Ooh My Soul’ - Little Richard
‘Girl Can't Dance’ - Bunker Hill & Link Wray
Complete the following sentence: The Jim Jones Revue is best enjoyed with...
“ Your best scuffed dancing shoes!”
‘The Jim Jones Revue’ is out now on Punk Rock Blues.
The Jim Jones Revue will release their eagerly anticipated third studio album The Savage Heart through Play It Again Sam/Punk Rock Blues Records on 15th October.
Produced by Jim Sclavunos (of Grinderman / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), The Savage Heart’s nine tracks were recorded at The Chapel (Lincolnshire) and West Heath Yard (Edwyn Collins’ London studio) in May 2012.
READ A NEW INTERVIEW WITH THE JIM JONES REVUE IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF VIVE LE ROCK (ISSUE 9), OUT OCT. 11th.