There are no products in your shopping cart.
There are no products in your shopping cart.
Liverpool welcomes back the Jim Jones Revue
The hard-touring, sharp-suited JIM JONES REVUE bring their dynamic rock and roll show back home next week with a series of long weekends across the UK, calling at Liverpool’s O2 Academy on 13th April. Bido Lito!’s Pete Charles caught up with guitarist Rupert Orton to talk hurricanes, jet lag and having to make like greased lightning to (finally) appear on Letterman...
Bido Lito!: You’ve just done a bunch of dates in France? How did you go down?
Rupert Orton: Yeah, we did a some long weekends in France, plus a festival in Paris, just trying out some new material which you’ll hear at the show in Liverpool. We’re in a nice situation as we’re equally as popular in France as we are over here, although our audience is younger for some reason. It’s kind of like playing at home for us, even when we’re away!
BL!: Isn’t your keyboard player French?
RO: Yeah, Henri was born in France but grew up in England. It was kind of like he was built in a laboratory because he’s young, speaks fluent French and only listens to Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, so he’s perfect all round and he’s loving been in the band at the moment. It’s great to have him in there.
BL!: Is the new record finished yet?
RO: We’re just putting the finishing touches to it. The idea is to go out, road test it in April and record it in May, but we haven’t got a release date yet. An essential part of the recording process is seeing how it works live, because being a live band is such an important part of what we do.
BL!: You recorded your first album in just 48 hours and it has a really raw and lo-fi sound to it. Was that deliberate, or just the result of rushed recording?
RO: We wanted to capture the live essence of the band - we’d gone into studios before and done it the traditional way and it just didn’t seem to capture the vitality of the band live. Plus, we didn’t have any money to go into an all-singing, all-dancing recording studio, so we just thought what the hell, let’s mike up our rehearsal studio and record it live.
BL!: You appeared on The Letterman Show last September. There’s a bit of a story behind that, isn’t there?
RO: We’d been planning to fly direct to New York from Paris after Rock En Seine. Everything was beautifully organised and fitted together perfectly, then Hurricane Irene hit the eastern seaboard and all the American airports got shut down. We tried everything we could think of to get there, but there was no way it was going happen. In the end, we had to drive back to London after Rock En Seine, then drive back to Paris, fly to Dallas, then Vancouver, then halfway through the west coast tour, we flew over to New York to do Letterman. It was fantastic to play on the same stage as Elvis and The Beatles, but we ended up crossing America four times in a week and it totally spun us out. When we got back to London, it took us about three weeks to get over the jetlag!
BL!: Being a British band playing traditional American rock and roll, it must have been daunting when you first went over to the motherland?
RO: Yeah, the first time we went over we played South By Southwest and we were anxious because we were doing our own interpretation of American music, so it felt a bit like taking coals to Newcastle! I remember checking out a band called Batusis, then realising it was Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls) and Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys) who were both huge heroes of ours from the 1970s New York punk scene. We were like “oh God, what are they going to think?” but they fucking loved us, it was incredible!
BL!: So are you sometimes conscious that you’ll be seen to be parodying a genre?
RO: There’s certainly a distinction between what we do and what a lot of other bands play. We take our influences from six decades of rock and roll music. What also makes the band is the individual members bringing in their own experiences of living in Britain. We weren’t even alive in the 1950s, let alone driving round in Cadillacs or doing whatever people were singing about back then, so to write songs about that kind of stuff would be completely fake.
BL!: So what other projects have Jim Jones Revue got in the pipeline?
RO: Well, to coincide with the tour, we’re being included in a special compilation record to be released on 9th April called The Journey Is Long. It’s basically a bunch of different artists - which also includes Nick Cave, Debbie Harry and Mark Lanegan - doing their interpretations of a series of unreleased songs by the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce (of influential garage rock band The Gun Club). His last guitarist found this cache of demos and asked us to be involved - as we’re massive Gun Club fans, we’re really honoured to be a part of it.
The Jim Jones Revue play Liverpool O2 Academy on 13th April, supported by Y Niwl, whose deliciously shimmering surf rock will complement The Jim Jones Revue’s garage rock superbly. Check out this video of the Welsh incarnation of Link Wray and his Ray Men here.