Chronology (from the original Jesus Jones website)
January - Two big festivals in Brazil are played to over 250,000 south Americans. The band think they go down well in the press but no-one reads Portugese.
February - Nominated for Grammy awards - best Alternative album and Best Pop Vocal Performance for "Right here, right now". Mike gets overly sensitive and thinks they're taking the piss.
July - Headline Slough festival, debuting new songs from what will become "Perverse".
August - December - Completed Perverse and remixed Bon Jovi's "Keep the faith" which remains unreleased as Jon Bon Jovi considers "the world isn't ready for an acid Bon Jovi". Shame!
The Food Christmas Party at Brixton Academy capped last year's phenomenal success around the world. Following 1991 was never going to be easy and the majority of 1992 was spent trying to create the album that would do it.
Jesus Jones promo photo (Credit - Aleutia Shannon) click to open a bigger version
The major gig appearance was at the Hollywood Rock Festival events in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, South America playing to over 250,000. Mike and Iain are guest presenters for a week on Brazilian MTV.
Back from South America and Mike is at the BRITS Awards presenting an award to Lisa Stansfield. 'Doubt' is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Alternative Album 1991 category and 'Right Here Right Now' for Best Pop Vocal Performance. REM won both categories in the end!
In July they headline the Slough Festival in the UK playing new songs from the third album. As the album was being worked on for most of the year the only release was to be 'The Devil You Know' at the end of the year.
Mike and Iain also remixed 'Keep The Faith' by Bon Jovi.
Iain Baker's Story of the Bon Jovi Remixes - circa 1992
Many thanks to Iain for allowing this to be reproduced on this site.
I know the "real" version of this song certainly is available- but I'm going to take a punt on this particular version being of interest. It's been heard by about 50 people over the years, and no stock copies of it exist, there are just the Masters, the DAT's and the cassette copies that were dubbed off at the time. So it's a real oddity. I've played it to a close circle of friends and family over the years, and they've always got a kick out of hearing it, so, after 15 long years, here it is. I guess I should have asked Bon Jovi first...but hey, I lost their number :) Why do I love this song? Well, not because it's perfect (it isn't), but because it has that indefinable quality to it- Zeitgeist. The ghost of the time (or to borrow a little phrase from Hawkwind: the spirit of the age). And I realise that I love this song whilst obviously having had a great deal to do with how it sounds; but if you can't cherish the things you've created, then what can you cherish? So, let's rewind 15 years shall we? It's 1992, and i'm in a band (Jesus Jones. I'm the idiot bouncing up and down behind the keyboards). Now, one of the most marvellous things about being in a band is the constant string of seemingly random requests that come your way. Can you fly to Canada for three days to do some promo? Sure. Can you attend the launch party for a film you've never heard of? Sure- well, hang on, is there a free bar? There is? In that case- sure. Can you remix the next Bon Jovi single? You WHAT? There are surprises around every corner, and this was one of the biggest. Myself and Mike Edwards were charged with remixing the upcoming Bon Jovi single, the first to be taken from their comeback album "Keep The Faith". We were, it has to be said, gobsmacked, and a little confused as to why they'd approached Jesus Jones in the first place. The song had a four-on-the-floor kick drum, a shuffling drum pattern, it was poppy, it was...well, for want of a better word, it was quite baggy . So someone, somewhere must have put two and two together, found they made five, but called us anyway. And so it was, that on a chilly Wednesday morning, in September 1992, I arrived at Mike's house with a few records, a few ideas, and the rough tape of this song. We created the rough bones of the remix at Mike's house, in his bedroom studio. I love the fact that Bon Jovi recorded the album, with Bob Rock, in hugely expensive studios across the US, and this song got remixed in a tiny backroom in Kilburn, North London. The Zeitgeist inherent in this remix comes, partly from the way it was created, and also the way It sounds. It was created using the pre-eminent technology du jour, Atari's Cubase, and by an Akai S1000 sampler. Cheap, affordable and easy to use, this technology was being used all across the UK to create an absolute torrent of new Dance Music, most interestingly for me: breakbeat hardcore. It was to two hardcore white labels I turned to get the breaks for this remix- "Don't Go" by The Awesome 3, and "Dis Generation" by Cosmic Brian. Once we'd got the breaks sampled, we steamed ahead with the tune. The bass line came from our trusty Juno 6, as did the acidic squelches, the Roland D10 keyboard gave us the hats, tambourines and little drum fills, and the rest of it came from Messrs Jovi. One of the funniest memories of the entire process is listening the vocal track and hearing the line "I am broken like an arrow" and actually hearing "I am broken like marrow" We couldn't understand it- who would be broken like a marrow? Why would you compare yourself to a marrow? Even now, I'm still wondering. We basically turned the song into a slice of poppy hardcore, with a chirpy little keyboard line, and rolling breakbeats. We made a couple of major changes to the song structure, and it's these changes which, I suspect, may be the reason behind this Remix remaining unreleased. First off, we removed the line about "everyone bitchin' 'cos the times are tough".. it just felt wrong when placed into the context of a poppy remix. So we doubled up the first line of the bridge "everybody needs somebody to love". In hindsight, we were really messing with another artist's craft, and I can kind of see why they would be pissed off. But hey, it was all done with good intentions. The second change we made was to totally re-record the guitar solo. It was my greatest musical achievement EVER, finally getting to play a totally bitching solo! We chopped the original solo into around a dozen tiny segments (if you listen carefully, you can hear the repeated phrases) and replayed them, whilst we ran the backing track. It was great fun, and i reckon the solo that emerges sounds AMAZING (well, I would, wouldn't I?) However, I'm willing to bet Richie Sambora didn't feel quite the same. Whatever. And that was it, really; we mixed it down on the 1st of October, in Master-rock studios, just up the road on Kilburn High Street. At the mixing stage, we also recorded a mental, fast version (about 150bpm) without the vocals, called the "Shariba" mix. That version will stay unreleased :) So, it's a song with Zeitgeist- for it's use of the technology of the time, the fact that it was recorded in basic conditions, in a spirit of adventure, of emerging possibility, with naive optimism and some of the sounds that were in our heads at the time. It's wrapped up in how I felt and thought about music back then, how I thought it should be made, how I thought it should sound, and most importantly, it's wrapped up in memories of how my life was: how things were when the band was at it's peak, and all this madness was around us. I'm certainly not pining for those days, in fact, I'm rather glad to be free of them, but it's interesting to revisit the memory bank every once in a while.
Interview and review of gig at The Food Christmas Party - Vox magazine - circa March 1992
Edwards has nothing but praise for his upstart labelmates (Blur). But
this is not just festive generosity, for the Jones boys have good reason
to love their fellow man: in 1991 they finally attained superstar status
with two Top Five hits and platinum album sales for Doubt in Amercia,
the icing on a cake of nearly 1.5 million copies sold worldwide. When
we last met in January '91, Mike was seriously anxious about his new record
and the music press's unflattering comparisons between Jesus Jones and
noisy newcomers EMF. Perhaps the beaming pop star we encounter in his
Brixton dressing room considers his new-found Stateside success a two-fingered
salute to grumpy old Britain?
"Only to British critics, who I have a great deal of contempt for in that the biggest attention we've ever had in our own country is when we got successful in America. Given the nature of the British press, it seems very sad you have to go to another country and be successful there before they start rejoicing in you at home."
Oops. Smacked wrists all round. Mike has also completely changed his opinion of EMF after seeing them live in New York. "I met Ian (Dench/vocalist) the other night and we got on really well. It seems inevitable since he's a bit older (and people behind the scenes tell you he's the one holding the reins) that we should have a lot in common. They've established themselves in their own right now; people don't need to compare them to anyone so it's taken the pressure off us. That's all it was about."
Mike blames his miserable moods on "seasonally adjusted depression" and reveals that David Balfe, Food Records chief, wants to call the next Jesus Jones album Doom Merchant - great title! - after the singer's generally bleak outlook. The new LP, due in late spring or early summer, should show the influence of Mike's latest listening habits: Belgian Techno ("for me it's the most exciting thing around") and the "deep melancholia" of Middle Eastern female singers. Meanwhile, he is rehearsing for two Brazilian stadium gigs, buying a North London home with his Swedish wife and building a skateboard track in the back garden. For 1992 he predicts "loads of bands heading down the drain - the trend bands, the fashion bands."
The stridently unfashionable Jesus Jones, on tonight's evidence, will be around for a while. Nine solid months of touring has sharpened their frequently stiff live routine into an elastic, dynamic event which comes closer than ever before to recreating the energy and diversity of their recorded work. Al and Jerry still supply naff splay-legged rock stances, and Iain still cavorts around the stage like a headless chicken, but somehow their tight formation flying integrates the patchwork Jones sound into a screaming stratocruiser of volcanic techno-rock.
It remains a performance, however, a rocket-powered karaoke contest offering total sensurround thrills without any emotional involvement. In technical terms, Jesus Jones have improved in leaps and bounds, and now provide the nearest thing possible to a Virutal Reality rock concert, a full-environment simulation without the danger or uncertainty of the real thing. In a more traditional view, Blur are doing the same thing, pulling the right faces and faking the expected emotions: theme-park rock for the leisure - or even Leisure - generation.
This is not necessarily a criticism. Both Damon and Mike are charming, talented performers who have earned their success. Both recognise the need for contrived excitement in pop; both stress their lack of ideology and strong business sense. Both groups will last - Jesus Jones the steadily advancing tortoise to Blur's loudmouthed hare - and will doubtless sell more albums than The Jam and The Smiths. But will they ever mean as much as those bands? Can any group ever be that important again in these knowing, cynical times, when the line between subversion and suburban has been Blurred into oblivion? Strip away the cartoon rebellion and is there anything there besides rock'n'roll accountants in ripped jeans?
Interview - Mike Edwards - Melody Maker 30th May 1992
Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones talks about the records that changed his life.
1. Les Mysteres Voix Bulgares: "Pritorizza Planenata" (from Les Mysteres Voix Bulgares")
"There's a lot of music I listen to when I'm, miserable, mostly because I want it to make me more miserable. There's definately an addictive edge to depression. This is incredibly melancholic, and I love it for that. It's deeply sad, even though it's probably just about sheep on a hillside, or something. Why do I get depressed? I'm not sure. I just have a knack for it."
2. Public Enemy: "Bring The Noize" (from "It Takes A Nation Of Millions")
"Chuck D has the greatest voice in rap, it's so authoritive. Flavor Flav is an incredibly important element, too. Ian, our keyboard player based himself on Flav, with me as the King and him as the joker - it's a bit of a King Lear thing, the fool and the voice of absolute authority. Not that I see myself as that, really."
3. The Shamen: "Knature Of A Girl" (from "Strange Day Dreams")
"I saw them around 1987 and they were a real eye-opener. They weren't necessarily revolutionary, but it was step outside for rock music. The Shamen are hugely influential although this one, with its go-go beat, actually reminds me of The Rolling Stones' '19th Nervous Breakdown'. The whole way Jesus Jones is set up, the way that we play live but use sequencers and samplers, that was based entirely on the way The Shamen presented themselves live. Yes, I do think it's ironic that we're more successful than them now."
4. Kraftwerk: "Home Computer" (from "Computer World")
"Contrary to public opinion, Kraftwerk are jam-packed with emotion. They're also great for bringing out all those phrases like 'crystalline' or 'icy majesty', that might make people think I'm looking for a job on Melody Maker. This is the track that everyone samples. Unlike everyone else at the moment who seems to be making Seventies rock recorsd, our next album will have a lot of Kraftwerk influence."
5. Jimi Hendrix: "Hear My Train A Comin'" (from "The Jimi Hendrix Story")
"This comes from the blues, but it's a quantum leap. Hendrix could express emotion better than any other instrumentalist I've ever heard. There's something really brutal about what he did, but also so much tenderness. He can make the guitar scream and cry at once. God, that sounds horrendous!"
6. The Aphex Twin: "Didgeridoo"
"Of all the current techno tracks, this one stands out massively. I heard it on the radio and thought, 'You can't do that!' It's so muchy faster and more atmospheric than any other techno track I know. It's actually inspired me to put a 160bpm techno track on the next Jesus Jones album. We were playing this stadium in Texas and we put this on before we came on and it sounded absolutely amazing. I had a bit of a religeous experience, I think."
7. World Domination Enterprises: "Asbestos Lead Asbestos" (from "Let's Play Domination")
"They did the best ever gig I've ever seen where I could have sworn I was levitating for the majority of the gig. There are so many things I like about them: the way the bassist detuned his bass and made it sound like the meanest thing on earth; the guitar solo, which is one of the most expressive I've ever heard. There are fantastic tunes on this album, but they're ingeniously buried. In fact, if genious was ever truly rewarded, World Dom would be playing stadiums by now. This is real west London blues. Me, I live in north-west London. Do I get the north-west London blues? No, because I've got platinum albums and a skatebard bowl in my back garden."
8. The Beatles: "Dear Prudence" (from "The White Album")
"I loathed and detested The Beatles when I was younger - I thought Sweet and Slade were miles better. But John Lennon, when he put his mind to it, was a master of channelling melancholy. This has conflict, it's happy and sad at the same time. And it's a great piece of emotional singing. I can't work out whether or not it's okay to say you like The Beatles this week, but it does't really matter cos this is a fantastic song."
9. Ofra Haza: "Love Song" (from "Shaday")
"When I first heard that Sisters Of Mercy song I thought, 'Bastard, you beat me to it!' Ofra's basically Israel's Madonna, but she does have a certain hip quotient over here. This is just her singing for two and a half minutes in Yemenite and it's one of the most phenomenal bits of singing I've ever heard. We use it as intro music when we're on tour. Actually, I regret that 'hipness' comment, cos I hate all that stuff. Are we 'in' at the moment? No, we've been out since June 1989, and I certainly hope we continue to be. Hipness is a stupid thing to chase because it's generally determined by a group of about 50 people worldwide."
10. Smart Systems: "The Tingler"
"This is one of those records that comes along and everyone rips off for about three months. Ian, Derry and James from EMF went over to San Diego with me to meet some friends, and we had a totally buckled night in this club, we were wandering round like loonies. This song now reminds me of one of the greatest nights of my life. It was an unashamedly jet-setting pop star thing to do - we basically flew there for two nights of fun. But I'm quite enjoying being a pop star right now, exercising my rock 'n' rollness, which is not something I'm known for. In fact, Melody maker called me, 'A Cliff Richard for the kids'."
11. Sonic Youth: "Hyperstation" (from "Daydream Nation")
"One of the most beautiful pieces of rock music I've ever heard. It has this incredibly strong melancholic feel, and they use the minor scales in exactly the same way as the techno and Belgian new beat people. I'm a boring technicain so I can pick up on those things. There's so much in their music, I think they actually make a rock version of classical music - the way contrasting things always happen, the layered dense, complex sound. Many times in my life I've been convinced that this is not only a work of a true genius, but also of true good, the complete opposite of evil."
12. Peter Gabrial: "Open" (from "The Last Temptation Of Christ")
"I was always very suspicious of Peter Gabriel, probably because I read too many music papers, but this is fantastic. And it's been a huge influence on our new stuff. It's very subtle and very evocative. There's something deeply sad communicated here, which moves me on to a subconscious level. I try to put that into our music, yes, and I think ' Right Here Right Now' has that happy/sad quality. You know, there are some people that don't consider we make trite pop music."
Question Interview with Mike Edwards - NME - 25th July 1992
Where are you and what are the vibes like?
In the studio where the vibes are, like any other worthwhile instrument, on a floopy disk.
Last thing you ate?
White Magnum ice cream. Froze my head clean off.
Last video you rented?
Bad Taste (A New Zealand classic).
Last good book you read?
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.
Fave political figure?
Norman Tebbit, The 'Alien' of politics.
What TV shows do you try not to miss?
Chart Show, TOTP, CNN News, Simpsons, Late Show, 120 Minutes, MTV Party Zone, Sledgehammer
record you ever heard?
'A Hard Day's Night' apparently.
What sports are you good at?
Nothing termed a sport, I hope.
Which public figures do you most despise?
American evangelists - overpaid, over-advertised and over here.
Worst song you have recorded?
That great guitar solo 'Voodoo Chile'.
Fave TV shows of yesteryear?
I refuse to answer this in an attempt to kill nostalgia.
Fave punk rock records?
'Pretty Vacant', 'Bring The Noise', 'Radioactivity', 'If The Kids Are United'.
Name three great songwriting partnerships?
Fave historical figures?
Machiavellie, A G Bell, Genghis Khan, Vlad Dracula, Oscar Wilde, Leonardo Da Vinci.
Most embarrassing records in your collection?
Never mind me, what we want to know are what are the most embarrassing records in Bobby Gillespie's collection?
When were you last drunk?
Just two nights ago. In a search for creativity I turned, once more, to drug abuse.
What are your virtues?
Will power and a desire to acquire information.
And your vices?
Falure to absorb information and subsequent failure of will power.
Punchline to favourite joke?
"No problem, any friend of Batman is a friend of mine".
Fave board games?
Worst lyric you've ever heard?
Def Leppard are currently making a compendium of them.
Married royals and the interest I may have in them.
Third World and New World religious fundamentalists and their part in the destruction of mankind.
Sherilyn Fenn, Geena Davis, Gong Lip from Raise The Red Lantern.
What scares you?
Flying, failure. Or rather failure of flying.
What bores you?
Charity rock, soaps, rewriting songs, sport on TV, the business pages in the newspapers and most guitar bands.
Can you quote a line of poetry?
"The pointy birds go pointy pointy/Anoint my head anointy anointy." No, in other words.
Describe Jesus Jones in three words?
Current state - chaos.
Fave FM rock band?
Toto - particularly their evocative paeen to 'Africa'.
Where would you like to retire to?
Arizona, Colorado, Sweden, Norway, Bed.
Name a record that can make you cry?
'The World Is Just A Great Peeled Onion.'
What was the last dream you can remember?
Something linking cats, hair loss and computer failure.
Three records guaranteed to make you dance?
'Didgeridoo', The Aphex Twin; 'Planet Earth', Brother Planet; 'House Is Dead', Bass Generator.
What was the last great record you heard?
'Planet Earth', Brother Planet.
Faster, Faster! (Comic Strip, Mr Jolly Lives Next Door).
Fave radio programme?
Colin Faver, Colin Dale, Kiss FM.
Fave U2 Song?
'The Electric Company'.
Review of Slough Festival - NME - circa August 1992
Slough's organisers are in jitters mode when we arrive, requiring at least
9,000 punters here today to break even, and only 4,900 tickets have been
sold in advance. Bands are worried they won't get paid (they will), and
the local constabulary have received an anonymous tip-off that headline
band Jesus Jones are one of the country's foremost 'rave bands' (they
wish). Hence they're sending a reputed 150 extra Plods to ensure that
the otherwise tightly organised bill doesn't, like, explode into an unpoliceable
orgy of drugs and dancing.
It is dark. Jesus Jones cannot fail to light up our lives. Mike Edwards' parents and wife are standing in front of me - their pride is almost catching. But - they are using this gig to arrogantly showcase their new material, which, hold the front page, is a bit more grungy and more of a nod to Techno.
Placating the crowd with a well-turned 'International Bright Young Thing', and slipping 'Info Freako' in for a finale, it's otherwise mostly unheard, overwrought, overloaded disco-rock dirges. 'Tongue Tied', 'Idiot Stare', 'Zeroes And Ones' are its titles, constantly apologised for by Edwards for being "just demos" and "a bit shaky". Well sod off to the bottom of the bill if you're just testing us out!
"Thanks for your patience," he simpers.
Patience, schmatience. I have spent 40 minutes at the end of a very dull day with grass in my beer, actually imagining interesting chord changes where, in fact, there are few. It's not just Jesus Jones' fault, but beauty and grace have been almost entirely absent from Slough '92. Bring back Slowdive!
Every time a plane went overhead from Heathrow, I thought of the John Betjeman line ("Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough...") and nearly prayed. No rain, but a right shower.
Interview with Mike Edwards - Select magazine - August 1992
Edwards isn't sure.
"I'm not sure," he says, and pauses. He looks out over the Camden backstreets from his vantage point on the veranda of the Mexican restaurant, and says he isn't sure what he wants to do.
"I'm not sure what I want to do."
He says this in the same tone of voice most people reserve for the words "I'm absolutely certain what I want to do, and no one will stop me."
The breeze is cool, pleasant even. Mike isn't drinking. Something about keeping a clear head. Plus, he never stops talking long enough to do anything else with his mouth.
When Mike Edwards says he isn't sure what he wants to do, he can mean one of two things. He can mean he isn't sure what to do. Or, more likely, he can mean he isn't sure what Jesus Jones are going to do. He slips from "I" to "we" so often when talking about the band, back and forth, that he doesn't even bother to pull himself up. Everyone knows Mike Edwards is Jesus Jones. When he tries to deny it he sounds like the DPP denying there's any sign of corruption in the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad. We can find no evidence to suggest that Mike Edwards is Jesus Jones, and therefore feel that to proceed with this costly inquiry would be an unforgiveable waste of the taxpayer's money.
Jesus Jones are looking forward to what Edwards calls "a latently busy summer." In other words, they'll be doing quite a lot but it just won't look like it. On July 25 they headline the Slough Festival. That's the one Ride did last year, but 1991's accent on footwear-scrutinising bands has given way to a poppier, dancier and altogether more extrovert bill this time out (Senseless Things, The Frank & Walters, Eat, and the capacity has almost doubled. It won't be quite the same as bounding out on to the stage of Wembley Stadium to 72,000 INXS fans - something that Edwards claims made him burst into uncontrollable laughter when he did it last summer - but it's not a complete catastrophe, is it?
Aside from that, he's been invited by Peter Gabriel to come to the Womad Festival later this summer to take part in an all-star cross-cultural multi-ethnic "jam" session with loads of people who can sing and play their instruments properly. Admitting to be "intimidated" by the prospect, he says: "I'm not entirely sure what he feels I have to offer. If I was being cynical I'd say maybe he was just going to sample it all and make it into pop dance hits. Perhaps I'm just selling myself short."
And there's also the matter of the third Jesus Jones album, which should be with us around February next year. They're about a month into the serious stuff now, recording in a studio next door to their record company Food.
Why, their fast-talking frontman has left the rest of the band back at the studio this afternoon to dick around harmlessly while he does this interview. But don't go near any of those wires. And don't touch that box. And don't break anything.
Mike Edwards in conversation cuts an impressive figure. very reasonable. Very quick-witted. Hideously articulate. He can go off on tangents, leave sentence constructions lying around like so much litter, only to harpoon them all up again at the end and zip scintillatingly to a conclusion.
Once or twice he wonders aloud whether this confident, unemotional outer coating may have got him a reputation as a cold fish - someone without much in the way of soul. He certainly seems coolish. Difficult to wind up. He doesn't get angry, he gets "irate". He never swears. If he thinks a question is particularly inane he'll just go "hmmm." When he says "hmmm, interesting that" he means "You cretin."
You'd never guess this nice man had come to bury rock 'n' roll.
here, right now, what's your idea of what Jesus Jones are about?
I think a hybrid, a combination of different ideas. I think there are elements of Jesus Jones that aren't really acknowledged enough, that we haven't shown well enough, and I'd like to bring those up further. Things that reflect our interest in current things. Most of us worship at the altar of techno and we've been strong followers of dance music for a long time, but that's never, really, I think, come through . We've a few ideas that we want to do in the fall, (pauses momentarily) or the autumn as we call it in this country. We're going to do a few really tiny gigs, to play bits off the album and see if it's any good and to see if we're any good.
How are your feelings on rock music these days?
I haven't given up totally on rock music. I still think there are elements of rock music worth using - it just needs something very different brought into it to make it interesting. But I think what I'd like to do is go out not as Jesus Jones - as a separate entity - and following just one area of our interest, as opposed to Jesus Jones, which is bringing all our areas of interest together.
Are you talking about a solo career here?
No, not at all. That would be horrendous. I've no interest in doing that whatsoever. Just presenting Jesus Jones in a different way, which would necessitate it being called something different. As I say, I'm not really sure what I want to yet. Perhaps just going out and doing straightforward techno music. A lot of techno acts are now going out live - or at least pseudo-live, live with their DAT player - and I actually think that techno music can be made live, can be improvised live as well. I think something along that sort of line would be interesting. I'll have to think about it more. We might go out as a thrash metal band for all I know. That might be interesting. Perhaps we'll do both at the same time, just alternate the evenings. (Altern 8 the evenings...) Ha! Very good!
When the album comes out in February, that'll be two years since the
last one. Was that always the plan?
No it wasn't. The plan was actually to have the album out in January this year. But I never really had that much time. I think the idea of writing and recording the whole thing in six weeks was a little ambitious. And, you know, besides which I wanted something quite different for this album. I didn't want to do the same as either of the first two albums.
What's it going to sound like?
I've no idea. We are existng in a vacuum and a complete state of chaos, really. I had very strong ideas when I first started writing it, all of which sort of withered away, that it had to be entirely technological album, that there was to be - apart from my vocal - absolutely nothing that was live on it. However, after thinking about that and deciding that making rules for yourself was not the sort of thing you should be doing if you're playing rock music, I changed all that. At the moment, I really don't know. I'm just doing it all pretty much on instinct.
Everything you've done so far has been within the confines of the
four minutes pop single. One thing techno doesn't do is retrict itself
Yeah, that's right. That's partly because I believe very much in that sort of thing - if you're going to write any sort of song it has to be quick. The thing about techno is it isn't song structured, really. Often there's very little structure to it at all. Whereas as soon as you start writing words and tunes there are sort of limits on patience. And that is my problem, in that I have very little patience with things. I get bored with an instrumental section that goes on for more than four bars. Yet I can listen to seven minutes of techno and love every minute of it. This is one of the many little contradictions I have.
How annoyed were you really when EMF came along?
I wasn't annoyed at all.
I wasn't, It was just a huge press creation. I mean, we were pitted against each other. It felt very much like both bands were two fighting cocks who were thrown into the ring and virtually forced to fight. To their credit, they realised that and handled it a lot better than we did. But the press angle that they were a blatant Jesus Jones rip-off was rubbish. It was the wacky keyboard player that was basically it. The thing that annoys me is that there are still very few bands like us, EMF and Pop Will Eat Itself. There's basically just The 25th Of May. The press are very keen to make out that there's only one sound and only one band are ever allowed to do that one sound, which, seeing as the ideas we had opened up a whole new area...! I see us as being quite like-minded with The Shamen in that respect. I think there's this original source point from which these bands like us and EMF have diverged.
Do you agree with The Shamen on any of their points about the "positive"
nature of drugs?
I think there is an extra bit to be added to that. I read Colin saying he's never had a bad trip, which, in the experience of people I know, makes him unique.
(Thinks) No, I'll leave it at that, actually. Mostly because to be seen to be endorsing drugs I don't think is a particularly good idea. Because there are very negative effects to drugs that I think pop culture tends to ignore. And this goes for alcohol as well; the stupidity of praising people who get mind-bogglingly drunk and throw up everywhere. I mean, that is not a pleasurable experience. The hypocrisy throughout society I think is disappointing, in that alcohol is a very dangerous drug. But I think there are certain benefits to drugs and I say that certainly with alcohol in mind.
Are the other members of Jesus Jones going to be on this album?
Were they on the last two?
Yeah, they certainly were.
Because there's this idea that you don't let them play anything. Can
we clear up to what extent you personally are Jesus Jones?
Right. Well, I'm not Jesus at all. I bitterly regret using the name Jesus H Jones. It was a very stupid and flippant heat of the moment thing that I thought would last all of two weeks and ended up following me around for, like, six months. Anyway. How much am I the band? That's what we're trying to define. Hmmm. Certyainly not a fifth. A far larger part than that.
The story goes that you sacked two members of the band during the
last US tour and reinstated them after warning them about their future
Whaat? That's fascinating! I'd love to know where these things come from. No, not at all. That's amazing... Where do these things come from? I mean, I love to have these rumours flying around about me.
Are you denying it then?
I'm denying that I sacked two members of the band in America, or anything else for that matter.
kind of people are the other guys in the band?
I think they're people who go with the flow. They're people I've known for a long time, on the whole. People who trust me very much and are very happy with the success we've had so far, and are happy to follow my leadership. When they're not happy with the way songs are presented they make that known, and changes get made because of that. I listen to them far more than I used to. I think at the beginning it was very dictatorial.
It just seems that if you're in Jesus Jones and you're not Mike Edwards,
your life is one long 24 hour doss.
Right. But look at The Rolling Stones. If you're not Mick or Keith... Or if you're in Primal Scream and you're not Bobby Gillespie. Look at any organisation and someone will be the leader of it. It doesn't matter if it's a political party or an army platoon or a football team. If you want that micro-society to work, you have to follow the leader. Democratic bands don't exist. And if they do, they're not successful.
What kind of rules do you have?
I won't tolerate anyone being under the influence of anything onstage. Because I think that's incredibly unfair to the people who come and see us. And the thing is, the band themselves - if they have tried it without my knowledge, they end up playing crap and not really enjoying it as much anyway.
Are you a fan of the James Brown fining system?
No, but I'll definately listen to tapes of the gigs and pick people up about things afterwards.
What do you do, have a a quiet word?
Often not so quiet. What the hell were you doing there! Why were you being such an idiot! What is wrong with you! Can't you count one-two-three-four in time with the rest of us! That sort of thing.
Did you read about Jerry's exploits in Select's groupies feature?
Yes I did. I wasn't actually present at that. He wasn't the only one there. I think other members of the band were there. I think me and the drummer were the only two people who weren't present in the Bathroom Of Doom scenario, as it became know. You know... If people want to behave like that, it's entirely up to them.
Ooh no! That's...that's horrible! I mean, didn't you read that and think, Ooh God, would I really want to be the third person in? Admittingly you get a separate orrifice each time, but none the less...
How important is it that Jesus Jones singles are big hits?
It's of the utmost importance. Firstly because what I do is write pop songs, and I'm not going to deny that. And secondly because, despite the fact that the singles market is dwindling, that's really how you get noticed, Basically we move within a culture that revolves around the pop single, so it's important to have those singles being hits.
Do you ever worry about not being in the right place at the right
I've always held that... Well actually, I've added a fourth. OK. There are now four cities that it's important to be in if you're making music. And that's London, New York, Tokyo and now Berlin. Berlin I've just added, purely on the fact that there's a lot of really good House music coming out of Germany. And Tokyo is just Machine City, I mean it's like a spruce version of Blade Runner. It's nightmarishly inhuman, but House music seems to make so much sense there. I mean, I know I keep going on about House music, techno music, dance music - but for me that's what the '90s are about. Rock music will dwindle until it learns how to take on dance music.
if a young 19-year-old guitar band were just forming in Oxford or somewhere
today - which there probably is - would you be immensely sceptical about
their chances of achieving anything artistically worthwhile?
Oh yeah, totally. I mean, rock music's problem is for 90 per cent of the time it just cannot compete in terms of creativity or excitement with techno music. It just can't. I hear so many bands and pretty much every band I hear is just another revivalist thing. You know, we swung from the 1968 era two years ago and went straight into the 1976 era with all those nouveau punk bands. For a while it looked like it was going to be 1981, but now it seems to have back-pedalled to 1973. I've nothing against it - I think in Suede's case, say, there some really good tunes there, and it's still inventive. But it's not far-sighted. I don't see it going anywhere. It's so retrogressive it actually worries me. If you did the same thing with humane genes we'd all be in-breds by now. We'd all have three teeth and be partially insane.
So what happens when you make a record that you feel brings together
all these disparate 1992 influences, something far-sighted. Do you feel
Yes. And I feel that I am doing something new and innovative. I feel invincible. I feel immortal. I feel that I have the edge over most people. I'll pick up a music paper and leaf through it thinking, Yeesss! I've taught all these people a great lesson. Even describiing that feeling in words doesn't really come close. The problem is it's a very, very fleeting feeling. It lasts all of a day or two now.
Do you ever get depressed by other people's records because they're
Yes. A lot of Kraftwerk. Public Enemy. Sonic Youth. Some of these Lebanese singers. They depress me because I think, however hard I try, however hard I apply all of my creative energies, I will never be able to achieve that naturally. I do not have what they have. I don't have those elements of personality, of background, of upbringing, of habit.
you think you've got soul?
Have I got soul? (He thinks about it for a few moments) yes of course. (He thinks for a bit longer) Yes I have, but I'm extremely good at disguising it. Which is not a good thing. That's why people don't think I have. Classically, an artist is supposed to be an emotional person. Actually, a couple of months ago I went through a most enormous depression. I couldn't write anything. I was so apathetic I couldn't... You know that feeling of being right there at the bottom and trying to clamber out of it (Yes!) and trying to use all your creative channels to get out of it (Yes! Yes!) and not being able to by any of those means? All I could do was listen to a couple of records over and over again by people I've mentioned already. I couldn't write songs at all.
What have you got to be depressed about?
Everyone gets depressed. It's the unbearable heaviness of being, I think. You can't buy happiness. You can't marry into happiness. I'm a profound pessimist anyway. I'm the sort of person who's got an end-of-the-world-is-nigh banner under my bed. But no one else writes songs, no one else has had the experience of writing songs, and if I don't do it then no one else will.
You don't look like a depressive person.
Hmm, interesting that. Well, the world is full of contradictions. I've got to write a song about that.
Article on new album and single - Melody Maker - 19th/26th December 1992
Jones return after more than a year's absence with a new single and a
new LP - and Mike Edwards has this week been telling The Maker why he
believes that this is "the second rock album of the Nineties".
The single, "The Devil You Know" (not to be confused with the song by Kylie Minogue) , is released by Food on December 29. It's taken from the album, "Perverse", which comes out on January 25.
Written by Mike Edwards and produced by Warne Livesey, whose credits include Julian Cope, The The and Midnight Oil, the single is backed with another new track, "Phoenix", in 12-inch, CD digipack and cassette. All formats include a vast array of mixes, while a second CD offers an Iain Baker composed track, "Want To Know".
Mike Edwards says of "The Devil You Know": "Particularly in rock music, we're being bombarded with nostalgia, as though the past is better than the present or the future. So the devil you know is the only one. There isn't any other devil - no risks, nothing new, nothing happening. This applies to advertising, fashion and cinema as well.
"It sounds very different from the Jesus Jones of the past. There's a very strong Middle Eastern influence in it, and a very strong influence of the more musical elements of Techno, like LFO and Kraftwerk. Like the majority of the album, the only live performance is the vocal. All the other instrumentation is played on to computer by the rest of the band, in my home studio."
"Phoenix" will not be available on UK copies of the album. Written on the last day of recording, it's described as "an out-and-out bit of Techno music".
"Want To Know", which does not appear on the LP, is similarly Techno-slanted.
According to Edwards, the LP's title and contents reflects his own distaste for nostalgia.
He says: "In the year that I wrote this album, rock music took a determined step backwards, where the fashionable thing to do was make retro Seventies guitar rock. We still wanted to stick with an unfashionable idea - though using a different approach - that dance music is still the most interesting area in the whole of popular music. Rock music still needs to learn things from it. Our LP is perverse beacuse we're refusing to follow fashion."
At the end of 1991, just before Edwards began writing the LP, he said he wanted it to be the first rock album of the Nineties.
Now, he concedes: "It's the second. The Young Gods, talented, genius bastards that they are, beat us to it - although their approach is very different to ours. What we've tried to do is use the attitude, techniques and sounds of Techno and make a rock record with that. It's the first time we've tried specifically to make a rock record, not a mixture. Having said that, it doesn't sound anything like anyone else's record!
"It's much deeper, much darker, than anything we've done before. The melancholia which is reflected in Middle Eastern music is reflected in our album."
Edwards admits that he suffered a three-month period of depression, brought on by a sudden lack of self-confidence, during the wiriting period.
But he's more than happy now with the finished product: "It's bloody great." he enthuses. "This is the first album of ours that has actually improved with repeated listenings. I can still live with it six months after it's finshed. The others have been great at their completion point and the gone off. This is our best album."
10 Remarkable Facts - Smash Hits
Full Name: Michael James Edwards.
Born: 22 June 1964, London.
Family: His parents are Jill and John and he's got a brother called Tom.
Lives: North West London.
Weight: 11st 5lbs.
First Hit: "Real Real Real" reached No 20 in May 1990.
Highest Chart Position: "International Bright Young Thing" reached No 7 in January 1991.
Record Company: Food.
10 Remarkable Facts:
1. Mike likes watching French and Japanese films, and can't stand soap operas on the telly.
2. Food-wise, Mike hates fish, though admits to being partial to Mexican dishes.
3. He is particularly keen on rattling around London on his mountain bike and is also frequently seen upon a skateboard.
4. He thinks Steve Martin is funny.
5. He got married last year to his girlfriend Fia, a model.
6. He describes himself as a "tall, failed intellectual with a big nose."
7. He's known Gen from Jesus Jones for about 13 years.
8. According to Gen, who used to share a flat with him, Mike's feet are rather on the smelly side.
9. Claims his worst vices are eating chocolate and "reeling off lists."
10. Sometimes gets uncontrollably depressed. "I seem to have these random grumpy clouds that follow me around and descend on me from a great height. I can't control it."
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