The Jim Jones Revue: (from left) Elliot Mortimer, piano; Gavin Jay, bass; Jim Jones, lead vocals, guitar; Rupert ‘Super’ Orton (The Brutalizer), lead guitar; Nick Jones, drums.

Artists On the Verge 2010
The Jim Jones Revue, In The Blazing Offense
Real rock ‘n’ roll lives again, coming to these shores by way of—where else?—England. Little Richard is smiling and The Killer should be ecstatic. We are.
By David McGee


  1. Obtain CD.
  2. Play Loud.
  3. Stand Back.
  4. No, I mean it. Stand Back.
  5. Do Not Adjust Your Set.
  6. Do Not Listen On Headphones.
  7. Apologize To Family, Friends, Neighbors, Pets. Or Not.
  8. Drink Beer. Repeat.
  9. Play Again.

Holy crap, this is rock and roll!
Review of The Jim Jones Revue CD posted at

Love The Jim Jones Revue, but this CD is almost unlistenable. I know that making CDs "hot" (oversaturating) is all the rage, but this CD takes it to a new high (or low in my opinion). This CD is so oversaturated that it is painful to listen to. It is so distorted that it takes away from the great music Jim Jones is making. —customer review of The Jim Jones Revue album posted at

“I was sort of laughing a bit because in parts it goes into complete white noise.” —Jim Jones

Well, the Brits have done it again. Sent our own music back to us in such a way that not only can we not ignore it, but suggesting by its very force that we should be ashamed we have strayed so far from the path our countrymen cleared back in the ‘50s. Seems like an historical imperative that it should be this way. Remember the Beatles? The Sex Pistols? Adrian Stranik, himself the leader of a hot new British band, the Silver Brazilians, offers this observation about a certain new London-based group getting ready to assault these shores in March, at South by Southwest.

Observes Stranik: “Pop may well eat itself but It appears that rock forgets, remembers and reassesses itself—every f**kin' month! The Hold Steady? Pick a window—you're leaving.  But just as the natural order of things supply the human race with nurses, soldiers and criminals, every generation defaults to a glimmer of hope. From an era that considers Coldplay important and Madonna a feminist icon cometh The Jim Jones Revue.”

By this Stranik means to say the JJR is a middle finger response to the status quo, much as the Pistols and other early punks were to the likes of the dreaded Styx, Kansas, REO Speedwagon (oh, God, REO Speedwagon) and any other bloated arena rockers you would rather forget. He’s entitled to his opinion, history bears him out, and further, he knows whereof he speaks when it comes to the JJR, having observed the red-hot quintet up close and personal, as his band is right in the thick of the movement ignited by the JJR’s explosive charge. “London's music tableau is in a state of flux at the moment, where the best of old school traditional forms appear to be melding with the fire of punk to create an exciting hybrid which is rocking clubs from Euston to Houston,” he writes on Amazon. “’The Revue' are a primary mover in this ‘secret revolution' and thirty seconds into their self-titled debut album you'll be all wised up and killing for tickets.”

Indeed, the album begins with its lone quiet moment—the sound of a frog croaking and birds chirping—for about seven seconds—before the ol’ piano pounder, Elliot Mortimer, comes roaring in with a furious, epochal flourish that summons the spirits of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis both in one fell swoop. At the 13-second mark bass, drums and guitars have joined the fray, in frenzied pursuit of Mortimer, and “Princess & The Frog” is underway. It is immediately evident that this is not the Disney version. The band keeps stomping, Mortimer spices it up with a heated Jerry Lee gliss, and at 0:26 the band’s namesake and lead vocalist enters spitting and howling indecipherably (although you can make out a reference to “the princess and the frog” in there) but unmistakably in the style of a certain Georgia Peach of legend—Jim Jones is, bar none, the finest white male clone of Little Richard since the young Paul McCartney. The narrative follows the traditional story of the princess kissing the frog and turning him into a most appealing apple of her eye, but you might say it’s updated for a more adult audience. Amidst a thunderstorm of guitar and piano, Jones holds his own, giving the spurned “fat bullfrog” an attitudinous response to the princesses’ repulsion at his amphibious visage, inveighing, in a falsetto swoop, “the froggy was cool, saying, ‘Woman, you better listen to me!’”

Then the killer moment: “She gave him a kiss, counted one, two, three—look out!”—then following a stop-time pause, “I’m a man, I’m a man, just wait and see!”

And this is only the first minute of a three-minutes-plus number. Later in the song this gem of a lyric: “the froggy got her on the stairs and said, ‘Wait a minute, honey, you don’t need to be…soooo…sssssquare! I’m a man, I’m a man, gonna show you how!”

Master of six-string deportment, Rupert ‘Super’ Orton, aka ‘The Brutalizer,’ at left, bassist Gavin Jay (center), Jim Jones (right)
(Photo: IZTOKX,

I repeat, this is not the Disney version—towards the end the princess makes a delighted squeal about “what is this growing in my hand!?” Which is but prelude to the explosive climax, shall we say, when the song does the JJR version of winding down in hail of raucous rhythm, punishing piano and screaming guitar, the latter courtesy an absolute master of six-string deportment, Rupert “Super” Orton, aka “The Brutalizer,” living up to his monicker with every snarling note.

To those who doubt the Little Richard connection, the second number, as merciless and unrelenting as “Princess & the Frog,” is one of only two covers on the album: a little ditty by one Richard Penniman titled “Hey Hey Hey Hey,” previously heard most memorably on these shores as the lead track on the Fab Four’s 1965 U.S. release, Beatles VI (Beatles for Sale, 1964, in England). Ceding nothing to the Beatles or to Little Richard, the JJR launches another all-out assault that retools the song while retaining its lascivious edge with Jones’s suggestive “oh, child” asides and frenzied pleading. Think you’re going to catch your breath now? Nice try—“Rock n Roll Psychosis” rains down on the listener in an avalanche of gut-rattling descending riffs, “The Brutalizer”’s searing lead guitar, the band’s jolting dynamics and Jones’s ferocious testifying, which is pretty well summed up by the lyric, “Every man for himself!” An unholy hybrid of Bo Diddley and Little Richard, “Fish 2 Fry” begins before “Rock n Roll Psychosis” has even finished fading out and disembowels the unwary listener with its apocalyptic fervor and pure, distorted white heat in what is one of the most unmerciful kissoff songs ever to make it to record, never once looking back in regret or admitting anything but searing hostility towards its intended target—a point underscored at the end when Jones, unsupported, screams to the limits of his range, “I got much bigger fish to frrrrryyyyyyy!” in what is, in rock ‘n’ roll terms, a siren song for the ages, a bold display of the sort of raw, unfettered emotion that has, lo these many decades, lit the way for lost and lonely souls seeking a means of expressing their miseries, both incipient and firmly entrenched.

Once unleashed, the animal beat of the Jim Jones Revue cannot be contained. It devours everything in sight, making is predatory way through the fiery stomp of “512” (“that’s the area code of Austin, Texas,” Jones says in his only explanation of the song that finds Orton engaging in some decidedly Lynyrd Skynyrd sounding guitar work—‘’That’s not intentional, but I take it as a compliment,” Jones says to this observation. “A friend of mine listens to them a lot and he looks at me and says, ‘There isn’t a lot of fat on this band. They are just totally lean. Everything counts that they do.’ And I agree with him."); the greasy R&B grind of the profane rant “Another Daze”; the 706 Union Avenue echo and rockabilly backslap of the other cover tune here, the towering Mack Vickery’s “The Meat Man,” a vegetarian/vegan’s ultimate nightmare in song originally charred to a double-entendre perfect rare turn by Jerry Lee Lewis on Sun; and concluding with the brontosaurus thunder of “Cement Mixer,” the one song on the album in any way reminiscent of the work of Jim Jones’s earlier band, Thee Hypnotics, this one complete with Zep-era Page-style guitar theatrics from “The Brutalizer,” piano and organ underpinnings, slogging through unrepentantly to the end as Jones screams and howls, “Here we go, nice and slow, I wanna know, how much you gonna show”—the whole enterprise seemingly constructed to evoke the deepest, darkest maneuverings of a couple in flagrante delicto (or, as translated from the Latin, and most apropos of the JJR, “in the blazing offense.”)

In the end, as you sit dumbfounded and likely exhilarated to exhaustion by what you’ve just experienced, a question may arise: Who are these guys?

The Jim Jones Revue, ‘Princess & The Frog’
Jim Jones, lead vocals; Elliot Mortimer, piano; Rupert ‘Super’ Orton (aka ‘The Brutalizer’), lead guitar; Gavin Jay, bass; Nick Jones, drums


(Photo: IZTOKX,

“It’s really good, y’know. You got a few girls down there screaming away, and a few guys throwing themselves around all over the place. It’s like a good outlet for them as well and it’s good to see. To see people really lettin’ their hair down for a change, instead of, like, ‘Hey, don’t let anybody see me, they’ll think I made a fool of myself. I’m just gonna sneak back to the bar and hang out and be cool.’ That’s garbage, that’s rubbish, people acting like that. The reason you go to a show is to enjoy yourself; and if you don’t go to enjoy yourself, you pay three pounds, four pounds, whatever it is, and just have a night of competitive atmosphere where you’re trying to cooler than the next person, God, what a waste of money. Why don’t you stay home and put a record on or somethin’? Just lettin’ loose, that’s the main thing. I’m sure everybody has got frustrations and thing inside ‘em, and if we can be their excuse to let it all come out and everybody to just like scream their heads off or have a little bit of a show of aggression or somethin’ like that, then, get it all out of your system. Come to our gigs, man! That’s what we’re there for.” –Jim Jones, then of Thee Hypnotics, in a 1989 interview

In a real sense Jim Jones has found in his Revue something he has been in search of for a long time. His decade with Thee Hypnotics was not without promise—the band’s 1989 debut on Subpop, Live’r Than God, a splendid showcase of psychedelic-infused garage rock infused with drama and wit by Jones’s vocals, picked up a bevy of press plaudits and the fellows were gathering what might have become a substantial following when misfortune struck: during a U.S. tour drummer Mark Thompson injured his back in a car accident and all momentum ceased. After returning in 1990 with Phil Smith on drums, Thee Hypnotics continued making interesting music, but couldn’t rekindle the spark with fans or press. Today the band’s MySpace page remembers the quintet in a striking epitaph: “Like some train wreck in neon, they were as dangerous as they were fascinating. And during the ‘grunge era’ (when bands tended to dress like gas station attendants and avoid eye contact with the audience at all costs), Thee Hypnotics brought a frenzied energy and sense of showmanship to their live shows that hadn’t been seen since punk’s hey day in the late seventies.” It concludes: “…their legacy of music and sordid history will continue to garner them fans and interest for years to come.”

Clearly Jones’s philosophical stance as expressed in the 1989 interview with regard to the whole purpose of his and his mates’ endeavors is now embodied in the Jim Jones Revue: you hear it and feel it in the music, you see it in the showmanship and in the band’s respect for each other and its audience by dressing to appear as sharp as their music sounds. And if someone saw the stylish Hypnotics as a refutation of grunge-era shabbiness and alienation, the same charge could be leveled at many of today’s young snob bands, navel gazers (Bon Iver, William Fitzsimmons, Will Oldham) and freak folkies (Devendra Banhart, case closed). The JJR is right on time to remind us what Sam Phillips used to tell his young Sun artists when they were going out on the road: “You need to look better than your audience. Respect yourself, and respect your audience.”

Asked if he laid down the law to Messrs. Orton, Mortimer, Jay and Jones, or if indeed their sharp suits, western shirts and ties are everyday wear for them, Jones said no law needed to be laid down. It was understood, and expected of everyone.

“For instance, if someone shows up at rehearsal with tennis shoes on, there’s always a bit of a look; everbody looks over like, ‘You better have a good reason for wearing those,’” he says. “You know what I mean? But it’s unspoken, It’s unspoken. But there is a general understanding that that’s how you do it; that’s part of it. Everyone sort of grew up in that school of music. Coming back to that thing again, it is entertainment. I love to talk about music, its expression and its art and it’s your art form, which it is, but beyond that, other people have to listen to it (laughs), and when I go to shows I know what it’s like for me. I love to be wowed by someone’s art, but I want to be entertained at the same time. Being technically brilliant or saying something particularly clever, that’s all well and good, but I need to be entertained or I’m not gonna stand for it, really.”

Not to suggest the JJR is in the same league as the Beatles after one album and an EP, but the assembling of the personalities has that air of serendipity and fortuitousness that seems to be a common thread linking rock ‘n’ roll’s most meaningful bands throughout history. In the JJR’s case, it started with Jones’s and Orton’s long-standing friendship, the two having met when Orton was promoting blues shows in London. As they were considering a project after Jones had left Thee Hypnotics and scuttled another band project, a trio that went by the name Black Moses and with its one album, 2004’s Royal Stink, helped put Jones back on a course he had strayed from during the Hypnotics years (“It was good to sort of do something that felt like my own thing, that was autonomous from that group. Sort of experimented a lot and got back into playing guitar; I hadn’t played guitar at all in Thee Hypnotics, so that was pretty good, to get some guitar playing in and experiment with some of the ideas that weren’t really right for Thee Hypnotics. Suddenly everything was a bit more open, and it gave me a chance to get lots of stuff out of my system.”), he bandied about another idea with Orton: a country group, “in the realm of a Hank Williams, Sr.-type sound,” but what he really was hot to trot on was a straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll band. He and his newly formed band got together in a rehearsal room and struck up “Hey Hey Hey Hey,” and “it was just immediately apparent we really got something here. You know what it’s like, you get together in a room, your first thing is you agree on what you like, then you try to do something that everyone kinda knows where you find your common ground. It wasn’t so much a common ground thing but that was definitely the song that seemed to sum up where we all wanted to go. Like a field expedition, that’s what we wanted to explore.”

For Jones the link had been made to his earliest roots, his earliest aspirations as a musician. Growing up in London, he had been given a “cheap acoustic guitar from a catalogue” by his parents as a Christmas present when he was 11. During his early teen years he played in various bands, “doing a few cover versions of David Bowie stuff, Ziggy Stardust kind of stuff.” One of his bandmates had an older sister, and she and her boyfriend became kind of musical mentors to young Jim and his friends.

“We would go hang out with them. Fortunately for us they had a fantastic record collection and taste in music and pretty much schooled me and some of my friends—they had pretty much everything on Chess, all the basic great blues stuff, all the basic great rock ‘n’ roll stuff, massive fan of the Rolling Stones and everything that might be connected with the Rolling Stones, like Robert Johnson, because the Rolling Stones did a Robert Johnson song. They were the kind of people that if they heard something they would find out everything about it. And so, being young, we were like sponges and just absorbed all that information. His sister as well had sang some backing vocals and hung around with Johnny Thunders a little bit, so through that we got into Johnny Thunders. And then saw that link between what the New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders did to the earlier ‘50s music and how it all tied together and becomes part of the whole fabric of rock ‘n’ roll. The different points and different groups, but it all comes from the same stream, if you know what I mean.”

And about his vocal style, Jones graciously accepts a compliment about being in an exclusive club with Paul McCartney when it comes to white singers encroaching on Little Richard territory, but he also pulls out of the hat one obscure name as having made a sizable impression on him: former Mighty Clouds of Joy stalwart and legit heavyweight boxer (18-5 in his career; he was also a sparring paratner of Archie Moore) David Walker, who in his secular guise as Bunker Hill made a handful of near-forgotten but blazing singles in the Little Richard mode from 1962 to 1964 for the Mala label, backed by another musician from his native Washington, D.C., one Link Wray and his Raymen. (See separate story on Bunker Hill in this issue.) His 1962 single, “Hide ‘n Go Seek, Parts 1 and 2,” reached #33 on the Billboard pop chart and #27 on the R&B chart, but the most outrageously charged performance of his career was on 1963’s “The Girl Can’t Dance”—the single Jim Jones cites with some envy for “taking the Little Richard aesthetic one step further. It takes that technique about to its limit.

“But I like anything with real drive it,” Jones continues in discussing his vocal touchstones. “Bits of Paul McCartney—when he puts his mind to it he’s got a great, powerful voice. Otis Redding, another student of Little Richard. I love some of those other blues singers as well—Slim Harpo, the obvious ones, Muddy Waters, all the ones that have that real oomph to their voice. I don’t listen to so-called melodic singers so much. I can see that it’s good, but it doesn’t ring my bell.”

Having resolved to move forward on the rock ‘n’ roll front, Jones and Orton then headhunted bassist Gavin Jay (originally from Newcastle, England), whom they had seen in other bands and “thought he was cool and we’d like to have him.” Piano madman Elliot Mortimer was introduced to Jones by former Hypnotics guitarist Ray Hanson. Drummer Nick Jones (a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, transplanted to London) and Orton already had a history playing together, and thus his entrée into the JJR.

But it’s one thing to get a group together; another to have a larger vision of its purpose, something that gives it meaning beyond plugging in and seeing what happens. Jones recounts endless conversations with Orton talking about music, what they liked in common, what they wish they could see on any given night in a venue. In time, a purpose was defined.

Chuck Berry, ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ live 1958, with commentary by Keith Richards, Johnny Rivers, Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts. The Jim Jones Revue’s Rupert Orton: ‘I come back to Chuck Berry a lot, because I find the way he plays guitar absolutely bewildering—straight in your face, eight to the bar attack, that to me is like punk rock.’

Orton, as Jones learned, was coming from all the right places as a guitarist to fit right into the JJR plan. He describes his influences as a guitarist as being twofold—“the ones I can play like and the ones I aspire to play like. Chuck Berry’s a big influence of mine, Keith, Johnny Thunders. There’s other people where I try to pick up bits and pieces where I can, that I’m not close to getting as good as they are—people like Cliff Gallup, Paul Burleson. I grew up playing guitar with the punk guys, so it’s like Johnny Ramone, Steve Jones, Mick Jones, that kind of thing. I come back to Chuck Berry a lot, because I find the way he plays guitar absolutely bewildering—straight in your face, eight to the bar attack, that to me is like punk rock, y’know.”

“One of the things we kept talking about was, when you’re in a position where you see a lot of show, you start saying to yourself, Wouldn’t it be great if the Ramones came on stage right now? You start to imagine what would be a great night,” Jones recalls. “One of the things we agreed on, and what I’d been thinking about for a great while, was seeing Little Richard in his youth, at one of those clubs like the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, in the mid-‘50s, one of the most aggressively racist areas and times in human history and here comes a gay black man wearing makeup, screaming about sex and pounding a piano. It must have been life changing and massively entertaining at the same time. That was just one of the things I thought when you’re standing there watching some indie group look at the floor and moan about their homework. Goddamn it, I really want to be entertained! You know what I mean?

“So anyway, we discussed various ins and outs of various musicians, and one of the things that kept coming up in our conversations was a ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll thing and how much was still owed to that era. You know, the guitar playing of Scotty Moore, singers like Little Richard, Jerry Lee, Bobby Marchan, who played with Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and the Clowns, and some of those groups that had that little bit of extra drive about them in those times. And how it was such a magical era that all these styles, all for a minute during that time, all seemed to be saying the same thing. Everybody was kind of meeting a little bit in that period. We’ve got a second-hand, second generation English perception of it, which is okay. We take it and do something else with it, put our own perception and twist on it, but that’s where the real inspiration is coming from.”

After Black Moses had been consigned to history, Jones assembled what we now know as the Jim Jones Revue in a rehearsal room and they tore into the Little Richard song straight off.

The Beatles, ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey,’ live on Shindig

“’Hey Hey Hey Hey’ was one of those songs that embodied everything we were talking about. It had the punk rock attack to it, but it had this fantastic sort of swing that you don’t hear so much these days in aggressive music. You hear it in mellow music, in loungy kind of music—people play great swing in that kind of music. It’s been lost in the aggressive music—most aggressive, punky kind of music these days is mostly just up and down, very sort of white sounding and up and down. So we thought, Great, let’s see what that sounds like. We booked a rehearsal room and that was the first thing we thought we’d try—a fairly straightforward song. Actually, it seems fairly straightforward, but playing music like that isn’t like playing rock music or punk music where you can just thrash along; you have to kind of choke the notes a little bit to make it move in that way, and it can be tricky to catch that groove. Rockabilly straddles that whole—there’s elements of big band jazz playing and the western swing and country players.  Some of the best guitar players ever. No, it’s not a walk in the park, that kind of stuff, and when you hear someone that really can do it…it’s not only technically amazing, it entertains you as well. It’s not a ‘listen to how many notes I can play’ Joe Satriani kind of nonsense. There’s actually a point to it that it moves you, and entertains you and makes you laugh and makes you kind of, you know, head bang a bit, and grit your teeth and enjoy it. Just all those great, sexy things in that kind of music.”

There was another consideration in assembling these particular musicians, too. It wasn’t only their love for and ability to play the type of music Jones wanted to advance, but their maturity as well. They were “seasoned,” as Jones says. Asked the band members' ages, he laughs. "I don't think I'm going to answer that," he says. "Let's say we're old enough to know better, and we do know better." To which he quickly adds: “It wouldn’t have been no good doing it with a bunch of boys, if you know what I mean. It had to be men. It’s a man’s job, you know, and I don’t want anyone green who’s gonna come along and ruin it. I need people who know how to handle that kind of energy, you know—because when you start up that kind of music it really feels like a runaway train, and you have to kind of ride it, have the confidence to just hang on; when the groove is rolling over properly everyone needs to know it and hang on to it. It was really that feeling, and I’ve said a few times before, probably getting boring now, but it really felt like catching a tiger by the tail. And everyone sort of knows immediately, Don’t let go!”

‘Hey Hey Hey,’ The Jim Jones Revue covers Little Richard, live in Oslo, February 2009
‘’Hey Hey Hey Hey’ was one of those songs that embodied everything we were talking about. It had the punk rock attack to it, but it had this fantastic sort of swing that you don’t hear so much these days in aggressive music.’—Jim Jones

The Jim Jones Revue made its debut on record with several singles, which are collected on the appropriately titled album, Here To Save Your Soul. A handful of tracks from that anthology reappear on The Jim Jones Revue, the band’s official debut album. Among its distinguishing features is the band songwriting credit, despite Jones being, in his own words, “fairly exclusively” the lyricist. However, Jones describes songs coming together based on riffs enlarged and developed by the entire cast of characters until he hits on an idea for the stories each evokes, goes away to write, returns and the band collectively hones each idea into a finished number.

“There are a lot of ideas that we’ve thought, in theory, would sound great, but we start playing them and it just doesn’t move you,” he says. “You know, we keep them hanging around. As Tom Waits says, they’re spare parts. They’re like a couple of car wrecks outside the house and you can use them for spare parts for new songs that come along later on. We have a lot of cars up on blocks outside the house, ready to be re-tuned.”

However, the context for recording is a story unto itself. Apparently after forming, Jones began recording band rehearsals on MiniDisc, then played a couple of tracks for a musician friend who also happened to run a London club. After hearing the music, Jones’s friend insisted the JJR play at his venue the next week. Over Jones’s protests, he announced the gig and, says Jones, “the band had to throw together a few songs.”

The upshot?

“It turned out great, the place was sold out and everyone loved it. And like I said, since we played the first song it’s been like that with this group. And we haven’t had much time for writing, so we’ve had to just fit it in between shows. We’ve been playing live so much, whenever we get a minute between we work the songs up. So we haven’t done a Fleetwood Mac and gone away on some kind of hiatus or something and written, taken a year out to write the next album. We just have to do it when we can so it is on the back of napkins, back of the van, that kind of thing.”

Then there’s the growing legend of how The Jim Jones Revue album was recorded in 48 hours on a two-track TASCAM recorder, which gives rise to images of wild-eyed drug- and alcohol-fueled rock ‘n’ rollers on a crazed binge, laying down song after song, never sleeping, collapsing on the floor when it’s all finished. It’s not quite so dramatic as that, Jones says, explaining that the band had booked a studio for 48 hours, worked from 11 a.m. until the early evening, a normal two-day session. “Yeah, we’d play a song, no good; play it again, no good, Play it again. We’d play it until it was right, then move on to the next song. That was pretty much it. Threw up a bunch of microphones and put it down to a couple of tracks, then I messed around with the mixing balance. There wasn’t much you could do because it was so loud in the room. You would turn up the snare drum but at the same time you would be turning up the bass guitar, if you know what I mean. There was something else on every mic, so it was a juggling situation. Just sort of kept turning up the overall level until it was cooked.”

“Cooked” is an understatement, as that Amazon customer noted in his review.

Q: You now how loud this album is, don’t you?

Jones: “Yeah, I’m very pleased with that. We were very surprised when it was done, I was sort of laughing a bit because in parts it goes into complete white noise. (laughs) For about ten seconds at a time. Then it was quite a shock to us to hear, ‘Oh, the BBC quite likes this,’ and was playing it on the radio. I said, ‘You’re joking!’ The first time I heard it on the radio it hit that solo section and went in to complete static. I was laughing and thinking, This is fantastic!  We went in and did an interview with this one particular BBC DJ, and he said, ‘I have to tell people who don’t know, and it’s a boring technical thing, most CDs, like the modern ones, we have to sort of turn them down by a dB to get the level right, because on the radio everything has to go out at a certain level. Some of the really old ones we have to turn them up by five or six dB. But your CD has to go down by at least 10 dBs before we can broadcast it. Otherwise it would cause all kinds of problems.’ Of course we were sort of proudly smiling about that.”

Don’t you just love these guys?

‘Rock n Roll Psychosis,’ The Jim Jones Revue
‘When you start up that kind of music it really feels like a runaway train, and you have to have the confidence to just hang on’—Jim Jones


Acceptance in America remains as much of a goal for the JJR as it was for the Beatles and all the British bands thereafter. The fellows will get a taste of the States next month, but after their one gig at SXSW it’s back to working England and Europe. They don’t seem to have any trepidation about their U.S. debut—“obviously what’s influenced us most has come from America, so we’re anxious to get out there and play,” Jones says evenly—but for now they’re basking in the energy and excitement their music is generating in European crowds. On the day Jones and Orton spoke to the band was preparing for a sold-out show in Reims, France, in a venue with a capacity of 400, and that scene was being repeated wherever the JJR showed up. Orton and Jones are as surprised as anyone at how this has all turned out, but understandably pleased that audiences have caught on to the aesthetic as well as the music.

“When we started doing this, it didn’t relate to anything that was currently happening,” Orton remarks. “We just did it because we wanted to do it. Jim and I discussed it at some length. Saying, ‘When we go to shows, why isn’t this happening? Why isn’t that happening? Why aren’t these people doing what we really love? If they’re not gonna do it, we’ll do it ourselves.’ And enough people have caught on that it’s good. The live shows, when they work well, which is fortunately most of the time, it’s like you have the whole place on their feet, dancing on the tables if need be, and it’s a joyous celebration of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s fantastic.”

“We’ve just kind of been pulled along by this force, the force of the music,” Jones adds. “And people are saying, ‘Well, what…?’ trying to analyze it, but there isn’t much to analyze, really. All I can think is that maybe it’s marrying up those two original ingredients again, which is what rock ‘n’ roll did, with the swing, the black side of the music with that great swing to it, and it had the aggression as well, that crazy hillbilly kind of attack to it. When you marry those two together, it takes off, and everybody seems to immediately understand it, audience-wise. It’s very accessible. When I say that I don’t imagine you’ll hear our music played as background music in a department store. You now what I mean? People know what’s going on straightaway, they come live, particularly the girls. It’s great for us to see girls being able to move their hips and dance to the music, as opposed to head banging and pogoing. It’s really refreshing to have that at the concerts, and everybody picks up on it. There’s enough aggression and energy but there’s also enough swing for the girls to feel that sexy side of the music and enjoy it that way. There’s a bit of something for everyone.”

And the question must be asked: Is there a ballad in The Jim Jones Revue’s future?

“Might be, actually, on the next album,” Jones answers matter of factly.


“But, you know, not as we know it.”

‘Another Daze,’ The Jim Jones Revue

Jim Jones cites the mysterious Bunker Hill as one of his primary vocal influences. Read more about and hear some of Bunker Hill’s work here.

Buy The Jim Jones Revue and Here To Save Your Soul at

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024