1994 To 1999
After the success of the previous years, things took a turn for the worse in 1994. Mike wrote 12 songs but Food didn't like the new material that had been written and it's back to the drawing board. Gen and Al play in some other bands to pass the time away. Alan also gets married.
Live dates are few and far between. In 1994 they supported Japanese star, Tomoyasu Hotei on a tour of Japan. Mike and Iain embark on some Djing dates with the Jesus Jones Sound System and Iain enjoys himself as a radio presenter.
The new album continued to be worked on. Working titles have been, 'Hendrix 303', 'Strawberry' and 'Aluminium'. In 1996 work started on a new production of songs for the fourth album with Martyn Phillips. A small tour of small places took place in April and May of 1996. It was in 1997 that 'The Next Big Thing' finally hit the streets before the album 'Already' was released. Another single 'Chemical No1' came from the album but without any publicity the album was never likely to be a huge seller.
Gen left the band and came back and then left again permanantly. His place would eventually be taken up by Tony Arthy.
So into a new millenium.
Cover Pictures of the Flying Nightmare Game that Mike wrote the music for - 1994
Picture of the cover of the Hotei Vs Jesus Jones Tour Programme - September 1994
Pictures from Tomoyasu Hotei Vs Jesus Jones Tour (Budokan, Tokyo) - Music Life (Japanese Magazine) - September 1994
JESUS JONES enter the studio with Ian Richardson and Nick Coler. The next album is going to be a band thing, not a one- man show. After four months in the studio, neither Edwards nor his record company are satisfied that they've captured the back to basics band feel. Edwards is so fed up that in November he goes mountain biking in Tibet and climbs halfway up Everest. Meanwhile, back home Jerry tinkers on ideas for the album, Iain is off DJing all over the world, Gen was drumming for a couple of other bands, and Alan is playing in Chicago with a bunch of expats including Jon Langford under the name, The Waco Brothers. Rolling Stone rates the Clash-cum-Pogues pish-up.
Pictures from 1995. Archived from the original Jesusjones.com site
Apologies for the quality but these are 1995 and the internet couldn't cope with large files! Pictures from the studio when recording Already.
A light bulb is turned on above JESUS JONES's collective heads. They approach Martyn Phillips (whose credits include Erasure and an American No.1 single 'Right Here, 'Right Now' by some famous band with a familiar name!) to remix a few of the songs. Phillips though, wants to remix the whole thing. In April, to avoid cabin fever and to road test the new material, the band do a short, low-key tour, during which they literally play a toilet (albeit a converted one) in Tunbridge Wells. Not only have JESUS JONES not been forgotten but fans from all over the world hear the news by word-of-internet, and people from as far afield as L.A. and Australia appear at tiny venues in Stoke and Northampton. JESUS JONES are invigorated but, on their return, the measured pace of Phillips' remixing finally proves too much for Gen, who leaves the group in September to join Baby Chaos. Jerry describes it as the bleakest moment in the band's career.
Mike's Musings of the April/May 1996 Tour
Buckley : "This venue is far too big, the sound system's far too good for this tour ! " This was a typical first night of a tour - we thought we were really good just because nothing went really badly wrong. How little we knew then and how little we really cared 'cos we were touring again, for the first time in the UK in 3 years ! Life was good.
Bath : This is was as we expected it. Not only was there not really enough room for the band on stage, there wasn't really enough room for the band and audience in the club. The last time I sweated this much was going up a desert mountain in 104 degree heat. At least the sweat dried quickly there. We still thought we were really good but then how could we judge when no-one could hear a thing ?
Stoke : People really do still like the band, the other two nights weren't a fluke ! Tonight we probably were quite good, just as well then, as a bunch of Magaziners from all over the globe turned up for this. Despite our encouraging reception, getting hit in the face with my microphone by careless members of the audience was getting to be annoying.
Hastings : Once there wouldn't have been enough room for my ego alone on this stage and that's an intangible entity. Had the band and all our equipment have been intangible entities here, we could have all gotten on the stage and who knows, maybe heard something other than a featureless roar. This was an odd gig in that we enjoyed it more at the time than in retrospect. I particularly liked killing Alan's hearing with Mr Marshall giving him the good guitar news. Revenge is both sweet and loud !
Brighton : We were actually good tonight and could see the error of our thinking the same earlier in the tour. The difference was noticeable but not definable. Five gigs in a row and my voice is starting to need some carefull guiding through the set. What a drag, having to care about anything on this tour, other than when the next service station is. And CHRIST ! The heat in that venue ! Some of us try to have fun for a professional pastime !
Bournemouth : Yes, yes, oh yes ! Big stage, wild crowd, the sound on stage like an immensely overpowered hi-fi, the band in control, my voice where I want it. This justifies every crap gig we've ever had to do.
Treforest : We just keep having great gigs ! Even guitar leads getting disconnected in important, dramatic moments doesn't bother me. How come all these 19 year olds have even heard of Info Freako, let alone ask us to play it ? A continuing enigma is the students disco soundtrack before and after we play - it's *identical* to the one in school discos Gen and I went to as the 70's became the '80's. Make yer own bloody music !
Tunbridge Wells : For me (alone) this was the one night I just couldn't get the mindset right. It sounded OK, the venue was genuinely a toilet, albeit a converted one that was no disaster to play but I just couldn't find out how to enjoy it. Having some uninspired soul yell ; "Info Freako ! Info Freako ! Info Freako ! Info Freako ! Info Freako ! Info Freako ! " before we'd even played a note didn't help much. I put everything into it and didn't get much back. Sometimes it goes that way.
Guildford : Another university but this time with genuine 19 year olds, people who'd scarcely heard of "International Bright Young thing" let alone "Info-that-one-again". More of a challenge. Tonight I was going to have a good time, something decided on beforehand and so I did. Looked like most other people did, too, from where I was. Gen's gig of the tour, celebrated by his snare drum being the dominant instrument on stage. Bastard.
Northampton : All the industry bigwigs turn up to this so of course we have the one gig that the whole band agree was crap. Succeeded in remembering not to jump up and thereby stick my head through the low ceiling, an action that could have been the high point of the night for us. By now I don't need a set list to get through the set. This is by no means impressive, it's more a sad reflection that my short term memory is bad enough to need this long to memorise the running order of 10 songs.
Southampton : Given that this tour was more of a perverse tour than the Perverse tour, we'd been looking forward to this more than any other gig, after we'd been told by anyone who knew the venue that we shouldn't play it. How disappointing to find it was a great gig, then. However, we sunk to the occasion and had one of the best gigs of the tour, every moment a real pleasure. What sort of person, though, brings a beach ball to a gig ?
Exeter : An inauspicious start ; the support band neglect to bring their drumkit and miss soundcheck in the time it takes for them to go home and get it. This, they feel is our fault and so they steal seemingly whatever they can from us. Nonetheless, Al gets his lead from out of the back of one of their amps, I decide that "Man on the moon" can do without the bottleneck guitar treatment, Gen accepts he'll be cold on the way back home and we go on to play a great gig. We can't hear a thing, are constantly avoiding battering each other with our guitars by millimetres and we're sweating up a small sea but this is as we'd planned and hoped for.
On the way home I remember that tonight marks the 16th (16th !!!!!!) anniversary of Gen and I playing our first gig. A fine way to celebrate and end the tour. Mike Edwards
Review of Northampton, Stoke, Hastings, Tunbridge Wells gigs, April 1996 by current JJ website supremo Alun Rowe, CMapWorld's Elaine Hamilton, Tom Dowrie and Ben Gill
Firstly , I would just like to say thanks to everyone I met at northhampton on friday, some of the easiest guys I have ever -just- met- and- instantly- talk- bollocks- to- without- too- many- strange- looks., and I'll talk to anyone me. It was good to talk to people about the jones'ers without people going 'are they still around' or 'didn't they do that international bright thingy' 'you spent *how* much collecting all their stuff,.... you sad bastard, in brackets' Coming into Northhants I was filled with an air of uncertainty - cos I was uncertain. uncertain about, would I actually meet everyone, would I get in and most importantly, would I have to spend 4 hours wandering around like Mr eunuch brass monkey waiting for the first train back. Thinking about it one of the only things I wasn't worried about was not getting on with the people I was (hopefully) going to meet. We met, we saw mikey- boy stuffing his face with cantonese food, we adjourned to the pub (ooh it was a rough place), we chatted and then we got in to the gig. The gig it self was excellent (I thought) , mike didn't like it. I suppose the sound was a bit dodgy but after three years it was worth the wait. My favorite demo off the net was 'look out tomorrow', something I never bothered to say before as everyone else seems to think it's the worst. I think this was reflected when it came on as.. I went .. woo woo yeh, woo woo (etc) ...... and everyone else - well didn't. I thought the gig was good but as previously mentioned, after a three year wait I was so excited they couldn't really have done anything wrong. Getting to meet Mike and Iain afterwards was an obvious highlight and I was surprisingly un-nervous. They both made you feel at ease straight away at were really easy to talk to, especially Iain who completely surprised me about the rap groups/artists we had listened to when we were younger (still can't believe he's heard of stezo!, excellent). If anyone is still reading then I would just like to say thanks to Alun (and mego) for being ace and contacting mike about friday)
From: Alun Rowe
Firstly Stoke.... The band came on stage at 10:15ish and played all seven newies in a row Which went down well with most of the crowd but there were a few disenting voices ("play us something we know!") then Z's&1's, then mike dedicated IBYT to the international contingent And finally ,Of course, Info Freako. As far as the new songs go I was wholly impressed I know some people dont like "man on the moon" much but Its a great way to start the set (I never wrote a book, Like the ones I like to read...... (please note any lyrics are from memory not tape so they maybe slightly out...) Rails is much harder live than the excerpts suggest and top of the world is even more relaxed!
Last night it was Hastings the club itself was tiny and the stage was about 4 inches tall and about 12-15ft square! Even so the sound was much better and it didnt stop Mike from throwing his guitar around and Iain from leaping around like a nutter (although he seems much more tied to his keyboard than in previous tours). Its very hard to sum up the music but its all positive, although everyone we spoke to couldnt see a first single just yet.
From: Elaine Hamilton
Stoke gig review 19/4/96
Rails was very much better live than on the demo IMO. Loads of vocals and more guitar - excellent! Top of the World fell a bit flat with the crowd "mellow" or not. Not the kind of response you'd want for a possible first single. If you compare it to Victorias response, fine, but you wouldn't consider WB Vic a single would you? Man on the Moon and Theyre out there were fine live and Next Big Thing has more vocals and was better live. Chemical No.1 just leapt from the set as the best new song they did. The crowd were madly into it, and it reminds me of Magazine a bit. Look out Tomorrow happily lost the "Its OK" bit at the start and thats probably why I preferred it live. Of the old stuff, Zeroes and Ones was performed with Jerry playing the guitar parts on his guitar (shock!) on the verses, and I felt it was better for this. Mike mucked up the words on IBYT and Info Freako to prove it was a "real" JJ gig! Overall I thought the vocals weren't as loud as usual, and everyone played more, including two handed Iain. The techno bit in Chemical is just ripe for some Iain hand jiving though. Mikes mic did a mean rockin thang a few times cos there was no barrier and some monitors were out. A guy at the front spent his time pressing Mikes foot pedal too - I don't know if Mikes foot was on the pedal at the time or not though. Mike had on an Apple Mac T shirt and there was an Anarchic Adjustment sticker on his guitar -sponsors for the tour? ;-)
From: Tom Dowrie
After almost running out of gas driving from Glasgow all the way down to Stoke, I arrived there and that's when the whole Stoke gig thing took shape. But getting from our hotel to the gig was a short interesting adventure. The towns in the Stoke-on-Trent area are a tad complicated...since we didn't feel like taking my car to the gig, we decided to get a cab. Our dodgy old cabby (who I'll swear was half-drunk by his demeanor!) didn't exactly know where "The Stage" was, and it took three separate showings of MY map to him before he found where it was. Needless to say it was lucky we got there at all! As previously stated, we bumped into Jason first, then went pubbing for a couple of hours, and later we hooked up with Alun and his pals. What an evening. Kudos and great thanks to Mike who dedicated IBYT to us worldwide travellers. As usual, it was a stellar experience seeing JJ live again. That was my third time seeing them, and it was no less energetic and wonderful than the first time nearly five years ago. All of the new songs have more substance live, and I enjoyed them immensely. Zeroes, IBYT, and IF were as always welcome tunes. The audience clearly responded the most to the old tunes, but of the new ones, Chemical #1 and Look Out Tomorrow were the faves to them. From our vantage point (we were perched on chairs to the side of the venue), it was clear to notice the audience's reactions. Top of the World seemed to be the dead spot in the set, though I still enjoyed it...despite the fact that Mike said there were "several technical difficulties" I couldn't notice. Yes, there was some drunk idiot pressing Mike's pedal on and off in the front, and I think finally Gimbo (the tour manager) hit or kicked him or something to get him to stop!! Poor Mike got knocked in the teeth at least twice by the audience who was (as KM previously said) rocking his mic-stand back and forth. Ouch. BTW, Al truly doesn't have any hair, but Mike's is not "orange." More of a slightly reddish brown if anything. But it's short, and spiked up...! Meeting the band before and after the show was simply too cool. Whether it was sheer luck or divine intervention, the meeting went off without a hitch, and despite the fact that several teeny-bopping girls came backstage to get Mike ("or is he Iain?" I heard one say) to sign something or other for them, we spent a good couple of hours after the show chatting away with Mr. Edwards and the rest of the band. Poor Iain!!! He really messed up his ankle a couple of days ago, and he showed it to us...it was all purple, red, and blue all over. That's why he wasn't his normal crazy dancin' self. But he still 'boogied down' quite a bit... Gen video-taped us a short bit early on (gotta catch those tour shots, huh?). Jerry and Al were a bit less conversational, but they were around. Actually, heh-heh, on the way out (when Gimpo was DRAGGING them away finally), Al gave KM and Elaine a kiss on the cheek. I went to shake his hand, and what did he do? He gave me a kiss on the cheek too. That silly Al. All in all it was fun galore. What a way to end a trip to the UK. Can't wait until next time. Hopefully that will be sooner than later...
From: Ben Gill
The support band where called SPY and where, well what can I say, not very good I think was the crowds opinion, apart from a few fifteen year olds at the front who started some sort of ritual head banging after excess cider. Very average band and a thought that the night might not be very good flashed through my mind, WRONG!!! After a short brake, when SPY decided that their constructive lyrics (which Im sure must have taken hours to think up and did not consist in any way of childish swear words (my attempt at sarcasm!)) were enough for the audience JJ appeared. Mike ( now sporting bleached blonde spiked hair) appeared to a roar from the crowd and consequently got shirty with some kid at the front "I'LL DECIDE ON THE PLAYLIST !!" where the words and then with an out of tune guitar launched into the new stuff (appoligies to anyone who really wants to know in what order the songs where but because of factors semi-beyond my control I cant remeber) But the new ones where first.
Anyway my opinion of the songs is as followed,
Chemical No.1 -- Bloody brilliant and sounded great live
Look Out Tommorow -- Excellent, brilliant
Man On The Moon -- Not bad, but my friend commented on dodgey lyrics!!! (sorry)
Top Of the World -- Good and I think will grow on me after a while
Rails -- Very Good, catchy.
Next Big Thing -- Great, smashing, super (appoligies for Bullseye fans)
IBYT -- Brilliant as ever
Info Freako -- dito.
All I can say is that the gig was brilliant, the ringing in my ears didnt go for two days but was well worth it. The bassist was also mental! with Mike telling him near the end that he would have to mime, cant see how he played the guitar properly with the way he through it around. Having never seen JJ live ever, the nearest I came was a bootleg live gig tape, I was a bit suspect as the tape was crap. BUT i was mistaken, absoulutley brilliant, the people at the front enjoyed it and got into the swing of things while the people at the back nodded their heads in time. If Mike bothers to read this, does he know that there was a member of the Bluetones there (spotted by my mate)???? If he does sorry for being so silly! Also would Mike consider Chemical No.1 as a first single? only a suggestion! (MIKE DECIDES ON FIRST SINGLES!!) Cant wait for the album, would JJ ever consider doing a live set on a single ???? Well worth the 400 mile round trip.
Review of Exeter gig, May 1996 by JJ website supremo Alun Rowe and Andrew Maddison
The venue was a well hidden in a hole in the ground but thirst and the soundcheck of rails made us venture quickly into the hole..... After a "conversation" with the security he decided we were on the guest list and invited us in just as the band finished their soundcheck. This was probably one of the most telling points of the evening when we see the band in their most natural of environments.... Iain and Gen rushed for the Pi nball machine and Al headed for the free beer! (I think mike and jerry were still playing about with their guitars (or rather protecting them from the support band).
After a quick chat with the band me and Andy C headed off in search of drink and Food, Strangely we never found the food....
Later in the evening it dawned on Andy and myself that it was time to head back to the gig as JJ would be on VERY soon (10 minutes) and the we had most definitely missed the support band! When we got to the venue it dawned on us that we'd forgoten to phone Andy2 about the gig so enquired at the door if he had been thru the guest list thing yet... He had which meant we'd have to do our best to look like "A bloke called alun who has never bothered to describe himself" and "Andy1 who has also never bothered describing himself" in the hope that ANDY"who took the time to give us his phone number so we could arrange to meet at the gig, but, being miserable, nasty, north of london types we didn't bother to phone back"2 might find us!
What I haven't told Andy2 is that during the set anybody who even slightly mouthed the words to any of the songs was then set upon by me screaming "ANDY MADDISON?", with this tactic I could not fail...;) Suprisingly I found Andy2 and the afformentioned shouting jumping around etc occured.
The Band were brilliant that night unfortunately the sound was a bit crap out front but it was one of the best gigs of the tour because of the crowd.
Unfortunately I had to leave the crowd during IBYT as my chest was preparing to implode (I've been Ill with a bad Cough/cold etc since last monday and finally thought I'd shook it on thursday!). But it did mean I could get a drink and just stand back and listen to Info Freako (like thats a consolation for feeling like I was about to die!) something I don't normally get to do at JJ gigs.... (anyone from stoke will back me up there!).
After the gig plenty of people were hanging around trying to meet the band, it was at this point I started feeling sorry for the support band who had all their stuff in the joint dressing room (toilet is a quite apt description!) which, of course, had been locked (probably so Mike could "vent his spleen" (something I believe he does often after gigs....)).
About 20 minutes later we the band slowly began to emerge and lots of backslapping etc ensued. After dealing with the hordes Mike, Iain, Jerry, Gen and Al all wandered over (at seperate times) and chatted for a while mainly about the gig and the tour but pinball, mountain biking, music etc all came up.
As the crowds began to clear Mike challenged Andy1 to a game of "primal rage" which mike won very easily (sorry andy1 but i gotta tell it like it is!) the andy2 had ago fairing pretty similarlly to Andy1, At this point (eg after a lot of beers) I decided it was time to face Mike at the machine (BTW there was a short poolgame in hastings with the end result being 2 to the band and one to the "fans" - represented by Jason) where I preceeded to, very luckily/flukily beat mike 3-1 (aggregate of 3 to the band and 4 to the Fans!). At this point i really oughta apologise to mike because as i was drunk I was of course being quite loud and insisted on gloating so.... I'm very, very, sorry Mike.
After my obscene gloating we helped the band out with all their equipment and said our goodbyes etc the band decided to head for home (only 4 hours + food stops
It is a great British tradition to have a Kebab after lots of alcohol, why i don't know, so the three of us headed for the town centre - kebab land. here i had the most hideous kebab i've ever eaten (it tasted bad even when i was drunk!) and had to look at some of the most appauling sights ever (eg the kind of girls who hang around in these places all night!)
**** Tip for Travellers! **** When you go into a Kebab shop the polite chef will ask you what sauces etc you want. At this point DO NOT SAY "just everything mate" as you will invariably discover new lifeforms or in this case MINT SAUCE! on a lamb kebab i can understand (still very gross) but on BEEF?!!! ***************************** Seeing as all three of us were from out of town it probably wasn't suprising that we had a few difficulties getting to the hotel, added to that my description of "its really posh and its on the other side of a industrial estate......." we got very lost. this could have been quite daunting but I think that our never ending amusement with road signs with shapes and colours all over them instead of words probably got us through! Of course all good things come to an end and unfortunately thats it for the JJ tour now :
From: Andrew Maddison Exeter Cavern Exeter Cavern Friday, May 10.
I had expected to meet up with Alun (Rowe) and Andy (Cottier) at Exeter but not hearing any more from them went on my own anyway. The Cavern is another small underground club in the centre of the city, although it's bigger than Bath Moles' and I was impressed by the number of people that had arrived just 30min after doors had opened. Decent sound, although the DJ was a little lax and the support band were pretty damn awful (about the only appealing thing was the persistent feedback the bass player kept getting). JJ came on at about 11 and launched into the usual set of 7newies plus the 3oldies - but hang on what was this? Moshing to the very first song? Erm, moshing to Man In The Moon!!?? What a contrast to Bath - the crowd were determined to make the most of the last gig for a while and went mad (pausing for breath only to Top Of The World)! During Look Out Tomorrow who should see me singing along (well to thirty seconds of it anyway) but Alun and Andy! Much inter mosh pit male bonding and sweating followed. Good to see that Mike introduced There Out There as 'Probably the band's favourite song' 'cos I think it should be the first single (good though Genital No.1 is of course). Twenty minutes after the show finished the band emerged one by one to get a drink from the bar still buzzing from the crowd reaction. As someone who's only met Mike in person before here's a quick run down of the rest of the crew - Gen is v.tiny, Allan v.in need of hair, and Iain, well lets just say if all the pies go missing I think we know who'll have scoffed them (Jerry wandered off before I had a chance to talk to him). I think it's important to mention how down to earth and approachable all the guy's are. Mike got a Guinness and proceeded to thrash me and Andy at Primal Rage (arcade beat 'em up), luckily for the home team Alun displayed a miss-spent youth and emerged victorious in every bout. We also got to inspect the luxurious backstage facilities (well, toilet really) and pinch choccies, biscuits and cartons of Orange juice from the rider. The band had to travel back to London that night and Gimpo the roady came round to bribe the hangers on (around ten of us by then) with JJ plectrums in return for helping to hump kit up the club stairs into that on tour essential, the Transit van. I used to think people that followed groups around the country seeing every date on a tour were a bit sad (pathetic). Now I know that doing it is more than worthwhile if it means you get to see a really storming gig. The real difference has to be how the crowd react - like I said at Exeter they were up for a good time, the band really got a buzz off it and a top night was the result. Massive thanks to Mike for putting me on the guest list, to the guys without whom... plus the rest of the Exeter crowd. And to Alun and Andy who I hope will have recovered from me driving them back to their hotel (and from some of the drunken sites we saw in the Kebab shop after the gig!).
Review of Bath Moles gig, NME - May 1996 and reply from the band!
NME Review -
It wasn't really that long ago. The world and his E'd-up wife dressed like skate sprogs, espoused the odoius cure-all that was 'positivity' and , overcome by said 'vibes', staked a claim for the future with a flag marked indie dance. 4 years on and the kids remain stussy-clad, the prodigy are a stadium rock band and with the bwords 'ocean', 'colour' and, quite possibly 'scene' reverberating in their ears, Jesus Jones are back. Which given the timeliness of their return, makes their new-found, anarcho-folf direction a little hard to comprehend. Sadly, only kidding - apart from a band outing to the barber's the song, thje look, the way mike edwards can do a pitch- perfect timimg of a Honda 250cc with a knackered clutch, everything remains resolutely the same for Jesus Jones. "Welcome to a holiday that took for ever" opinons the freshly cropped one and, from tonights all-new set, it appears that that particular vacation was taken on Mars. 'Look out tomorrow' might sport a G-funk whine and a sneered ' Chemical no. 1' reveals the band haven't given up courting Dame pop but, as the soundbites are trotted out once more, it's a case of been there plundered that - and given Edwards' original pop collision manifesto, singing techno-pop song about aliens ('they're out there') isn't exactly cutting edge. What was, of course, was info freako. Resurrected for tonights encore, it remaind a manic blast - but the thrill of the new is what Jesus Jones are interested in, and tonight was the tentative airing of an album allegedly "50 per cent done". Let's hope it's a game of two halves.
IS editorial policy slipping ? Is the staunchly defended technique of reviewing gigs remotely (from Mars perhaps ?) no longer in use at the New Football Express ? Damned with such faint criticism it's almost impossible to rise to this occasion, bar a few moments of pedantry ; if we're not sticking to the "original pop collision manifesto " then the implied lack of change is misleading, or if "singing techno-pop song about aliens ('They're out there') isn't exactly cutting edge" ("cutting edge" ? Talk to ME about trotting out the soundbites ! ) then Star Trek, Babylon 5, Space: above and beyond, The X Files (*two* versions of the same tune currently in the UK charts), Deep Space 9, The Outer Limits etc aren't quite as popular across the media as they would appear to be. Perhaps we should a change the words to "They're out there" to actually be about aliens. Could it be that "cutting edge" is something only defined by music commentators as an event held at a football stadium, and one not necessarily with any music involved ? However, the gist of the review, that these are hopefully early days for the new album that shows some disregard for contemporary pop music (contemporary as opposed to modern), is fair. And that's the reason Jesus Jones were playing tiny, out-of-London dates that were unannounced in the news pages and would hopefully stay out of papers like the NME. We were effectively playing versions of songs that we're still working on in the studio, sometimes starting from scratch, doing a tour for our own enjoyment and maybe the enjoyment of anyone else who might be interested. How nice that the NME are still so interested.
Poster for Jesus Jones Sounds System Gig, Exeter - June 1996
DJ "TOUR", JAPAN, JUNE '96
(Mike and Iain spend just enough time in Japan to mix a few records and leave).
Mako from Detox Rhythm promotions had taken us to Japan for the noodle frenzy DJ tour in '95 and been made to promise to take us again. More noodles ! What started out in the planning stages as a series of epic rendezvous in manifold Techno shrines across Nippon ended up as a last minute, "sod it, we'll go anyway" two dater. Good enough, gotta make it 5 visits in 6 years somehow.
So I sit on a Finnair plane to Osaka via Helsinki figuring out that if we fly all day on Wednesday, the time difference means we'll arrive in time for a few hours sleep on Thursday before doing the first gig that night. We can sleep during the day on Friday, do that nights gig and have enough time for a hotel shower before flying home on Saturday morning. OK, so it'll mean a 30-odd hour day but like my former patron Jon Bon Jovi says ; "I'll sleep when I'm dead !" (Mike reality check - I'll be semi-consciously dribbling down my shirt above the Urals as the air hostess repeatedly smacks my head with the drinks trolley).
We use the "I'm on the guest list" approach at Japanese immigration successfully (Iain actually gets ushered through when he resorts to "Hey ! I know Hotei") and we wait inside Kansai airport, Osaka for DJ Fumio to give us a lift into the city. What a pity we didn't know he couldn't make it. Waiting, waiting, waiting, re-planning, doing this, doing that and our 9 AM landing translates into a 1PM (5AM GMT) bed. Two hours later, our Osaka club owner, Chizuru, rings me to let me know she's meeting Mako in a few minutes, will I let her know if see her. Yep, should Mako make it past the "Do not disturb" sign and locked door into my room, I'll inform her, if I don't murder her first. Goodnight !
You know that feeling, when you wake up in a strange place, at a strange time and don't even feel related to yourself ? That was me at 6PM. Noodle rescue time.
It's a packed little van that takes us all an hour up the motorway to Kyoto ; Iain, me, Mako, last years DJ ally, Shin, Shin's mate the driver and the benign man mountain that is Shoko, a madman who hasn't heard that Japanese people are supposedly quite and reserved and who has this year made the transition from leaping around screaming in the audience to leaping around screaming in the DJ booth.
When we get to Kyoto, we live the urban Japanese experience ; we go to the arcade for an adrenalin rush (Chemical # 1 is still legal, even here), we eat noodles and drink Kirin beer in a tiny wooden bar, we walk through narrow, rainy streets with the neon reflecting off the puddles, past the incredible noise (and incredible smokers) in the Pachinko game halls, get suckered by the vending machines, feel cool for once and think "I couldn't have dreamed this better". So sure, I'll play you "Right here, right now" as many times as you like. (Besides, we've planned a 10-years-after, "Unbelievable /Right here......" tour with EMF : this nostalgia crap works two ways, y'know !)
And then it gets better. The gig is the archetypal Japanese set up, in the middle of a jumbled pile of small businesses, under the 24 hour shop, next to the tube station, through the 2 foot wide entrance with my face plastered all over the door. Look ! Someone called Ian Barker is DJ'ing, too. And we're both in "UK big band, Jeasus Jones".
Oh, OK, whilst I'm at it, I'll return to my love of the intriguing spin the endlessly creative and artistic Japanese give to the English language ; shop window.
When you're there you realise that the words are used not for their meaning but for the aura, to be the small incidental detail around the edges of a colourful picture. There, now I feel better about still only having a sub-toddler grasp of Japanese. And besides, I myself can only occaisionally spell "occasionally" right.
The gig. Having decided on playing in alphabetical order ( Well, we had to decide somehow !), the Bark-boy bangs 'em out first, I follow, then the Japanese, who'd made the mistake of being christened with an S beginning their names. Later, we discover "Shoko" is just a nickname which just spoils everything. I'd forgotten that the audiences here like to watch the DJ at work from a distance of about 6 inches. All goes well for me until I mess up a mix under careful scrutiny and almost certainly garner the monicker "Round eye DJ who sounds like a man falling down stairs". From then on I play a set that could have been played by 10 different DJ's in 10 different clubs in sequence. Not eclectic, just pretty crap. Shin, however, plays a blinding Drum and Bass set that makes me regret not bringing my speaker-blowing records, too. Still, in Japan as at home, the sound of the Drum and the Bass remains popular more in the realms of the critic and the discerning few than the mass public. It's a notion that wouldn't stick in my craw so much if there was an equally adventurous and modern alternative. Oh yes, "I am waiting for the Next Big Thing, Bring it on quick time to me". And could it not sound the same as something from the dustier part of my record collection, please ?
Everyone is dancing. Drugged-up space cadets are NOT in the house but on a rainy Thursday night in Kyoto, there's a big crowd following DJ after DJ until 5 AM.
At 6.30 AM on the roads into Osaka, the traffic jams are already starting and the air has begun to turn brown with fumes. This is, after all, the worlds ultimate urban experience.
Alarm clock horror at 3PM. Then 3.30. At 4 I can't put Shinsaibashei off anymore, LET'S SHOP !
Damn ! But people look cool here - how a bunch of clueless fashion retards like us (see Real, Real, Real video, UK version. And then continue) made it big in this elegant detail fixated culture is astonishing. Perhaps it was down to pity. A good 80 % of the men under 30 here look more like rock stars than I ever will. And the women ! You couldn't walk the streets of the West dressed like that. O.K, so the distinction between stylish and Samantha Fox is often lost but a sea of flesh is attention grabbing for this heterosexual male. Fortunately the 90's equivalent of the cold shower, the video game arcade, is widespread in the Shinsaibashei district. I'm diverted.
The 24 hour shop near the hotel sells noodles in a plastic tray, complete with horseradish, spring onion and soy sauce. The same soy sauce that I accidentally spill over my one remaining pair of shorts later that afternoon. I meet Iain in the lobby looking like I've wet myself, feeling uncomfortable and smelling of Oriental cuisine. Sometimes I really despise myself.
Gig time. A little organisational difficulty (Mako doesn't want wet hair walking to the hotel) means Iain and I make our own way to Club Karma in Osaka. Luckily, a friend of 6 years standing (since our first Japanese tour) Alissa, is there to help with the difficulties, like trying to help the cab driver find where the Hell the club is, asking directions in a shop, phoning directory enquiries, buying a map, asking more locals and reading Japanese signposts. In the middle of an anonymous rabbit warren of small commerce is the club.
Tonights 8 hours (10 to 6) will be filled by Iain, me and lasts years terrifyingly good mixer, Fumio, alternating 1 hour sets until we fall down. In truth, the atmosphere tonight was not as good as the night before, but I play to the satisfaction of the crowd and myself. There are lot of Jones fans there and a riot of autographing, photoing and handshaking explodes. The nature of this fan meets band routine changes around the world - the Japanese are polite, orderly but enthusiastic to the extent of sometimes being unnerving, where the British and Australians might cover their awkwardness with sarcasm or sneering and Americans occasionally display utter disinterest in any element of you but your fame. Iain and I react with our personal differences ; Iain cuts a larger than life swathe through the crowd, switching from person to person as the level of distraction ebbs and flows, sprinting from bar to DJ booth to crowd, audible above the beats, whilst I'm the archetypal nice middle class boy, being diffident, trying to please, making lame jokes and talking conversational fluff- it goes down well here. Of course, I go home and torture hamsters afterwards, you know.
It's a long night. Lots of friends. Lots of free time. Lots of free drink tickets. So much good music. As many stories recounted as promises made ("Yes ! an album next year. We mean it this time"). The later the hour, the quicker my progressively sloppier mixes fade from one record to the other. Half of Osaka seem to be heading for London this summer. I listen to their enthusiasm whilst ruminating on the brews of Hokkaido and Honshu and wonder how much the brutality and violence, the careless insensitivity of our culture will get to them. Maybe, like Hotei, they'll love what springs from it.
It's rained since Thursday afternoon and now, 5 hours before I fly, the last revellers do the Walk of Shame out of the club doors into bright sunshine. OW ! Back at the hotel there's enough time for an hours sleep but ten minutes in bed is enough to reach the decision that starvation needs more tending than sleep deprivation. I eat, I shower, I try and find CNN, as though half an hour of uninterrupted adverts for hotels around the world will revive me. Instead, at 8AM on a Saturday morning, on regular Japanese TV, I discover hardcore porn. Speaking of brutality and violence, here's a guy who appears to be trying to pull something very fast and elusive out of the groin of a girl in a playbunny suit. For her part, she seems unimpressed, imitating the ear piercing sounds of a young pig in distress, which seems fully understandable (in retrospect, it could have been a hidden piglet the guy was groping for). Bizarre sexual wrestling then ensues. Now, I'm a parent and can't even pretend to be naive but if this is how they all reproduce, how come there's 120 million of them. ?
In the lobby I wait for some local help to guide me to the train station and then the airport. I review my situation. My mind and body are debating if it's early morning or late night - either way, sleep was a long time ago and is a long way ahead. Despite the day-for-night switch coming here, jet lag seems to be mugging me for any spare energy. I have the remains of a lot of soy sauce down one side of my shorts. My eagerly anticipated clean socks for the journey home turn out to be strikingly odd. I'm getting the jitters about the flight home and Iain has deserted me to stay on with the choice of a number of friends. But I'm happy. I'm smiling. I think it gives me the aura of a psychotic Coco the clown.
High in the air, between here and there, I remember writing "International Bright Young Thing" in identical circumstances, six years ago. I toy with the idea of a sequel but stop with the title "I'm getting on a bit now but this travel's still a bit of a lark".
My window seat gives me a great view of the enormity of Russia. And it's good news for Siberia ; they've added a new road, that'll be four now.
What Happened in 1996! Archived from the original Jesusjones.com site
In the UK, Jesus Jones's second single from the forthcoming album "Already" will be "Chemical # 1", released on the 28th of July. It's coming out on the usual variety of formats as well as a coloured vinyl single. CD 1 will feature the single, two early demos for the album ("Change of season" and "Natural state of grey") as well as a re-release of " Zeroes and Ones, the Prodigy versus Jesus Jones". CD 2 has superb remixes of "Chemical # 1" ; Kris Needs / Secret Knowledge, Soundscandal and Optical. As far as the band are concerned these mixes are easily among the best they have ever had done (hopefully helping the song do better than "The next big thing" which without a single mainstream press interview and almost no radio play peaked at # 49). An all action video, filmed in Namibia early in July is promised, too.
The album "Already", comes out on Food / EMI records and was produced by Martyn Phillips, the man behind "Right here, right now". It's title comes from the abbreviation of "Here's the damn album already !" a suggestion from one Darren Munk via Magazine (see links). The release date in the UK, Canada, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, Singapore and Hong Kong will be the 11th of August. Still no news on Australia, South Africa, France, Italy, Poland, Scandinavia and all of South America. As soon as the information reaches us, we'll put it here.
The north American release of "Already" has suffered a catastrophe - EMI in the US, the Jones's label, has been shut down. The bands on the label will either move on to one of the two affiliated labels or be dropped. This couldn't really happen at a worse time for Jesus Jones and is particularly frustrating as "Chemical # 1", which was to be the first single in the US is already getting good play on several key radio stations : "It's a smash !", according to one of them. Whatever happens, it's unlikely that the original release date of 21st September will be honoured. The Canadian release date will now NOT be affected by the US. (Incidentally, the band's management would appreciate hearing from US fans of any radio play there since in the short term they don't have a record company to follow any progress - just send a quick mail to firstname.lastname@example.org).
In Japan, "Already" was released on the 21st of May and features extra tracks, artwork and photos. "The next big thing" was released on the same date and features "Together" (with Tomoyasu Hotei) and "Man on the moon". The last we heard was that it was Top 30 in all the key radio stations in Tokyo so it looks as if the Japanese at least are on the ball !
Jesus Jones are also contributing to an EMI Centenary celebration album, choosing a track from the company's back catalogue. In the Jones's case it's "Go, Buddy, go" by the Stranglers, a favourite of Mike's from 1977. No word of the release date but it's likely to be within the next couple of months since the recording session is in the first few days of July and is right up against the deadline.
(Update June the 20th) An empty diary for the next couple of months : whilst nothing is definite yet, a Japanese tour in October is starting to look likely as negotiations for that are underway with Toshiba EMI's approval. Otherwise, the release of the album around the world should see a little more activity - check back here soon.
(Update June the 20th)
MIKE : appears frequently in the pages of Mountain Bike UK (including a photo in the June issue), being as he is a member of the Mint Sauce Race and Flowers mountain bike team - he's just come 3rd overall in the Gorrick MBC race series and is leading the Beastway series in London.
ALAN's other band, The Waco Brothers (an inspired mix of The Clash and Country) have been gigging heavily in the US and look set to continue to do so. Their album "Cowboy in flames" is out in the US on Bloodshot records.
JERRY has been writing and recording with his new offshoot band, the Feely Room, but there is no sign of any gigs or records yet.
IAIN has been sighted onstage at "A" gigs (see links) in London, invading the stage and yelling into a microphone at the slightest opportunity. "A" have succesfully resisted foisting this onto record so far. For some reason he's in Delhi at the moment.
The last Jesus Jones album, Perverse was released around the world in January '93 and since then............. not a lot. Rumours, news reports, and human imagination have had the band split up, going solo, giving it all up to be hopelessly addicted to video games, working with other artists, travelling the world in search of their inner selves, DJ'ing, transforming themselves Tron-style into an Internet alter ego and all sorts of other, even wilder possibilities. Some of it was true. Much of it wasn't. The story goes like this.... Mike started writing in October '93 but almost immediately other things got in the way and started to interrupt the albums progress. After a year the result was 12 songs presented to FOOD records and a "This is great (You guys ROCK !) but where are the singles ? " discussion ensued. More writing, more things getting in the way of the album's progress but 16 songs and 7 months later, big boy-style recording began in Think studio in the newly fashionable Camden, London NW1 and went on for a minor eternity until by December '95 an album of 14 carefully honed and polished sonic gems were ready. A "The songs are great (You guys ROCK!) but we don't like the production" discussion ensued. Enter Martyn Phillips (producer of "Right here, right now) to re-record the album (for the last time) at his home studio in west London, choosing a selection of sonmgs from the two different periods of writing. In the meantime, the band having have grown restless at waiting for the album did a dozen, tiny dates (mostly) in the south of the UK in April and May of '96. Halfway through the recording of "Already", drummer Gen decides "It's the waiting I can't stand" and leaves the band under entirely amicable circumstances to join ACE ! Scottish rockers Baby Chaos (see links). Jesus Jones decide to continue as a four piece, employing a drummer when the occasion demands.
THE THINGS THAT GOT IN THE WAY OF THE ALBUM'S PROGRESS
(a selection of really quite reasonable excuses)
MIKE Remixes for : GTO, Tip of the Iceberg Metal Master (Sven Vath), Spectrum Roxette , Fireworks M Age, Starshell Equilibrium, Spirit Nrsha, LA Lights Traci Lords, Fly, also production and writing on Distant Land, Say Something and Okey Dokey The Next Generation, Like there's no tomorrow and Energise me. Co-writing the music for Domark's Absolute Zero computer game Writing a chapter on Arabic music for " Love is the drug" Writing an article on sampling and contributing to the DJ section for Inquisitor (New York) magazine / e-zine (see Links). DJ'ing, including gigs at Final Frontier, Universe, Sex Love and Motion, Advance Party, Hypnotic State (UK) and Maniac Love, Club Yellow, Club Mushroom, Automatic, Karma (Japan). Mountain Biking across Tibet for a month, including a day hiking up from Everest's Base Camp ( See the 'about' section for a diary and video). Has also been MTB racing as a member of the Mint Sauce Race and Flowers team, gaining a few top ten positions in the 1996 season and even more top three's in early 97. Nice to be in the top ten again, eh Mike ?
AL Living in Chicago, becoming the King of D.I.Y. Need a bass driven Jacuzzi ? Al's yer man. He's also The Waco Brothers bass player, gigging widely enough to be reviewd in the May issue of Rolling Stone.
IAIN Touring with the Utah Saints DJ'ing alongside Mike Being the Svengali for Alien recording Studio in London Backing vocals for new, ace band 'A' promoting his easy life and doing Iain's Rant of the month.
JERRY Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle. Tough job but Jerry's got both the experience and qualifications after years of self sacrifice to the cause. Not only this but he's been songwriting in his own home studio - you'll find out here first if the results will be integrated into JJ.
Pictures from 1996. Archived from the original Jesusjones.com site
Apologies for the quality but these are 1996 and the internet couldn't cope with large files! Band pictures and fan's pictures from the gigs at Bath and Stoke
Mike's Theories! Possibly from 1997. Archived from the original Jesusjones.com site
With as many probable facts as I can try and
remember correctly (and lots of brackets)
*Disclaimer - Mike begged me to edit the following text, but frankly that would have meant reading the whole thing. What follows may be a complete pile of pants, but if it does make perfect sense to you, I'd recommend immediate psychological help.
* [Mark : edit this crap will you ?]
People have been ripping me off with this one for a couple of years now (although English comic Lee Evans has at least adapted my original text by gurning frequently throughout the delivery of it ) but that's OK 'cos the word needs to be spread due to the general increase in air traffic around the world and incidences of people falling out of the sky and into shark or crocodile infested waters.
[Mark : that bit's true, leave it in as scientific background].
I first let this bonus to science slip out in the Melody Maker in 1989 because I was tricked by a journalist who was also a woman at the time. The New Scientist refused to review our records. I think there is some clandestine link there with the New (SEE? That's a fact I believe to be just the start of it !) Musical Express.
Ready ? Here it comes.......bow down to the power of science !
PLANES - HOW THEY REALLY FLY
None of this gravity / thrust / lightweight metals / air flow populist crap ( ignorant FOOLS, the public), I think that's mountain bikes (and possibly skateboards) : Planes stay in the sky through sheer will power. Probable FACT ! That huge surge of panic and chain reacting mental immolation that almost explodes out of our heads in a sheet of orange (or maybe purple) flame [Mark : Dulux chart NOW ! please] as we hurtle collectively down that Grim Tarmac of Terror [Mark: please research possible copyright infringement of phrase in Virgin Mega Stores' Bed Wetting Metal Section] is what gets us off the ground in the first place.
Come on ! Grab science here ! You know as you take off, you're wrenching up that imaginary joystick like Arnold " I once spoke to Gen on the phone after bedtime" Schwarzenegger (muscle-hard fact, folks), pushing that imaginary accelerator pedal right through the floor (DON'T try this on Aeroflot, that's not a real plane you're using and besides, the Moscow Mafia only loan those car doors / emergency exits. Hence the term "Aeroflot", originally Moscow street slang for "concrete socks in the Mockba river. But not in the winter, when it can sometimes be frozen over"). [Mark : please plan for new theory ; "Why Russian epic War and Peace is so long. But only in translation ! ". Try and find original comic book issue by whichever tedious greybeard wrote it. Stalin ? Ra-Ra-Rasputin ? Ma Baker ? Also, Mark : please do half-arsed research into whether planes actually have accelerators. And a clutch, whilst you're there, they can't ALL be automatic, fuel consumption would be ghastly]
What ? Oh yes, planes.......
What then, when we're up ? Yes, we concentrate like hell. Incidentally, those sad fools who clap when the plane lands (yes, very good, see how stupid you look when you try that one on the driver of the # 98 bus as he succesfully manoevres his craft alongside every stop down Oxford Street like he's paid to do) should be discouraged - there's a chance that all that highly charged positive mental energy [Mark : Smokin' ! ] will have you right back in that holding pattern, still stuck next to the will-he / won't-he puke drunken Scottish guy who for no discernable reason thinks you're Israeli and won't stop banging on and on about Syria's sovereignity over the Golan Heights, like the illegality of narcotics, religion, abortion, the meaning of life and his ex-wife ("Bitch !") weren't good enough topics for a falling over drunk discussion (even in an aircraft seat). It's either that or you overshoot and get dunked in the sadistically sited and mightily odiferous sewage works at the west end of Heathrow. [Mark : Creative break ! ; see if Thames Water are interested in a Pet Shop Boys pastiche jingle, "West End Turds". Try and push the hip / cool "getting sewage onto The Street" angle, don't just fob them off with any old shit]. Fortunately, I can lay toxic waste to the myth that aforementioned crocodiles exist there, flushed down from London toilets. That was just some arse's really stupid theory.
Of course, very experienced flyers (usually the business man with the portable computer - give him a supportive wink next time, especially you, girls! ) are multi-tasking [Mark : thanks for the manual] and can subconsciously "positively continually de-impactize the aircraft's gravity / mobility hyper-scenario (G/MH-S)" [Mark : see if you can work in the phrase "where no man has been boldly before" there, it fits well and sounds impressively technical] as the U.S State Department of A.I.R (Americans in Reseptikels) refers to it, in a book. BUT ! This is for experts only ! Get too cocky, sonny Jim, forget to be bloody terrified constantly whilst watching the on-flight film rendered non-sensical by some WIMP of a censor (Oh and, darling, you simply must catch the state airlines of Islamic countries like Pakistan which can create baffling comic masterpieces out of the flimsiest [Mark : great pun opportunity ; try "filmsiest"] of scripts containing any hint of sex or drugs or fun or bearded British novelists .......um......or so I heard from this bloke who moved away, somewhere far, a long time ago but I don't remember anything, really) [Mark : Shit !!!] and it's a great squishy metal wrapper, 500 mph straight downwards for you. Then let's hear your poncey "Aeronautical grade Titanium - light, flexible but incredibly strong" speech over the screaming, just before you hit the "Big, brutal and and really doesn't give a bugger" earth's crust ! [Mark : check that's not my speech about Titanium]
The bits of this I can still remember are why you'll see me aboard your flight, eyes bulging out of my head (more so, I mean), grim rictus [Mark : back to the Bed Wetters please] upon my face, neck tendons as taut as piano strings on a Bedouin's Bosendorf [Mark : STOP ME ! ] and fingernails embedded in either the armrest or thigh of the nearest passenger, CONCENTRATING LIKE HELL all the way and making up for the selfish deathwish of slackers like Al who's pretending to be Jack " You can't HANDLE the truth ! " Nicholson only really pissed (No ! Not angry, drunk, you colonial dolts ! ) [Mark : ring Food records / EMI to gauge risk to U.S record sales here please] with foam in the corners of his mouth and Jerry who's become inexplicaby covered in marmalade in his sleep [Mark : this is also really very true, God knows what goes on in the "No more chicken, beef only" seats there at the back] and the pickled Pictish Assad assuager [Mark : NO ! Leave this, it's become art now], even on long flights. Like that Australia via Lesotho / Abu Dhabi / Butte [Mark : tee hee!] Montana, trip the travel agent on Kilburn High Road does for us. OK, so sometimes I may lapse and do that dribbling down my arm thing whilst semi-conscious after the ("yes, I'd like chicken, twice, please") meal but I'm still having nightmares about crashing and thereby keeping the plane up with The Raw Smell of My Fear [Mark : Just stay in that corner of Virgin for a while, you won't get any real scientific research done in the Take That section, will you ?]
Of course I can't really prove any of this but Hey ! If major religions (but not Islam, of course) [Mark : double full-arsed research into my chances of Special Branch protection, RIGHT BLOODY NOW ! ] can use this method and coin it, it's worth a go. Also, I'm writing this five miles above very hard and painful Russian permafrost and if I even blink it's possible / likely that I and a plane load of Japanese folk will get a bum full of Urals very, very fast. And should I live through that (y'know, like if I bounce) [Mark : is this humour too "wet" ? I can't gurn like that plagiarist Evans] it'd take years before some half starved Siberian peasant hick with a three toothed mouth and a four stringed balalaika [Mark : check that's not actually Lebanese food, I don't want to look silly] (SQUEALSKI ! ) who still hasn't heard of Communism or Boney M's "War and Peace" let alone important actual facts like the disintegration of the USSR accidentally stumbles upon me out here in the small of the back of beyond. And eats any of the passengers I've left over. Maybe I'll start with the plane food, instead. Noodles are scientifically better than people.
I'll tell you what, I bet those Harrier Jump Jet pilots have got big brains.
(Where's Iain ? Christ ! I think I left him in that club in Osaka). [Mark : Buy new Iain. Bill the tightfists at Gailforce. Tell them Food ordered it. Ha ! That's called "cunning", Mark ! Don't forget to cut all these bits out, will you ?]
The next theory will be : "Wars : How they are really won - the hard, scientific facts as I imagine them to be (usually in brackets).
Poster and Setlist for Jesus Jones Gigs, Exeter - 1996 & 1997
Thanks to Aleutia for this picture
Thanks to Aleutia for this picture
Autograph and "artwork" by Iain Baker, thanks to Aleutia for this picture
JESUS JONES return. Cue the 'Second Coming'/'Back From The Dead' headlines. Cue the music: a single 'The Next Big Thing' and an album, 'Already'. Cue the pre-release teaser: 'This time they've made a band's album....' 'Already' is unashamedly reminiscent of old school JESUS JONES - Edwards vocal style for instance is an unforgettable as it is consistent - albeit exploring new sonic territory, especially on the self-explanatory 'Wishing It Away' and 'February', a tune about seasonally adjusted depression. There are songs about the sensation of falling off mountains, destiny, alien abduction, consumerism gone mad and the depravity of the Roman Empire as seen through the eyes of the News Bunny on Live TV. And, perhaps most importantly, there's a song about fallibility. "We did a promotional tour of South America in 1993," remembers Edwards, "and it was basically a scam - it just happened to be Summer there. And that's pretty much the way things are now. And to be honest, I think that's the way things worked before, but for me that was never enough. It had to be the grand scheme as well we're not just here to have fun, we're here to do something worthy, which is bollocks." Mike Edwards had to stop for a while to remember why he wanted to make music and JESUS JONES had to stop to let the rest of the world catch up with how they made it. As Romania begat Sarajevo, so 'Liquidizer' begat Pop Music as we know it at the end of the millennium, where breakbeats and samples are now as commonplace on a rock 'n' roll record as a Fender guitar. But Edwards is not interested in smugly telling everybody, 'I told you so'. "I don't want to get into that 'I invented rock 'n' roll', because I've had it with all those soundbites and grandiose claims. That's another thing that bores me about our past." Now when Edwards says "I invented rock 'n' roll, dontcha know?" he says it with a smile.
Review of gig at Hull The Room - Source Unknown - 14th May 1997
Jesus Jones. Remember them? They did that one that went, "Reeeel, reeel, ree-ee-eel, do you feeeel reeel, cgurgle, wurgle, schlurgle." Yeah, that's them and, yeah, they're still around. And right at the start of tonight's gig, with a starry-souled, passion-flaringly optimistic 'International Bright Young Thing' (Yes! They open with it! Mad! MAD!) they confirm that still around they most definately are.
And will be for a long time yet, judging by the rest of the set.
With a supremely messianic 'Right Here Right Now' and 'Who? Where? Why?' ripped to the tits on angst and adrenalin, Jesus Jones return with their mix of hedonism and conscience, taking all those hankering hardcore fans back to, ooh, about five or six years ago. Three songs in and only the terminally trendy are left chin-jutting and head-nodding at the back.
Tonight, however, is no self-indulgent, back-to-the-old-days, greatest hits showcase for the leather-trousered, bleached-blond Mike Edwards. There are new songs splattered through the set, songs like 'Addiction, Obsession And Me', songs that are stompier than an entire continent of testosterone-addled rampaging wildebeest and cause even the coolest of the cool to lose it completely.
The new single's called 'The Next Big Thing', but going by the sheer ferocity and guts exhibited tonight, it seems that it doesn't really need to be said. Right here, right now, there's no other place you could imagine even vaguely wanting to be.
Flyer for Already on one side and The Next Big Thing on the other - 1997
Review of The Next Big Thing - Possibly from Melody Maker - Circa June 1997
One can only surmise that the way Jesus Jones feel about bombastic techno-pop is similar to the way Karel Poborsky feels about that pissed-on mooring rope he calls hair: you know, people keep telling you it's awful, you're wasting your time, no one really likes it, you could do so much better, you're not living in Eastern Europe anymore/it's not the early Nineties anymore (delete where applicable)...on and on and on, until you're so f***ed off that sticking with what you know becomes almost a point of principle. This isn't half as bad as it might well be, for all the serious attention it's likely to get. And it's certainly not as bad as I was expecting. But, when Mike Edwards sings, I just know that somehow, in a way I can't even explain, there's his world and then there's my world, and they will never, ever make peace. Besides. Baseball caps.
Already Promotional Photo of Mike Edwards looking smart - 1997
Jesus Jones promo photos (Credit - Aleutia Shannon) click to open bigger versions
Review of Already - Possibly from Select - Circa June 1997
Mike Edwards and company seemed to have the world, and particularly America, at their feet at the turn of the decade when Real Real Real and Right Here Right Now both went Top 5, and stadium after stadium craved their always energetic live performances. But since 1993's third album Perverse things have gone very wrong for the Joneses, with poor sales, record company friction, and band splinters coming thick and fast. Finally they've recorded an album that Food Records have accepted. Tired, tune-free and terribly compressed, Already is not a record likely to please very many others, though. The formula is instantly familiar, but the musical fizz and sparkle of old has evaporated and even the lyrics are devoid of the eager impatience once the group's hallmark. ** David Roberts.
Postcard sent to fans promoting the release of Chemical # 1 - 1997
Interview - Alan Doughty - Bass Magazine - September 1997
The records stopped appearing and the name fell away from the lips and the playlists. What happened to Jesus Jones? On the eve of a new nationwide tour, heralding the relaunch of one of the most commercial British outfits in recent years, Alan Doughty, Jesus Jones' avuncular 4-stronger, possessed of a no-nonsense attitude and a truly infectious laugh, attempted to explain the reasoning behind the band's recent submarine act.
"We drafted two copies of an album that the record company really didn't like. When Perverse didn't do as well as expected, Mike Edwards (Singer) decided that the '94 album would be what he wanted to write, involving a lot more techno, but again they turned it down, saying there weren't enough singles. So Mike wrote another 16 songs, but that didn't work either; it lacked attitude and just sounded bland. They turned that down, too! By now Mike was pretty disillusioned, but we eventually amalgamated the best songs from each, used a different producer, and we now feel we have an excellent album (as yet unreleased), thank God, but it just took that long to do."
So is Jesus Jones actually Mike's band? The answer isn't deifinite, but there ain't no doubt that the frontman holds the ultimate ace, as Doughty explains.
"I don't feel it is exclusively, but that is the way it tends to work, because he's the main writer and very good at arguing his points. Failing that, he'll just downright refuse to do something, anyway!"
Jesus Jones' techno element is mainly sequencer bass-rooted, so does Alan sometimes feel that interferes significantly with his 'domain'?
(Laughs) "Yes, though not as much as it used to. At first there was so much sequencing going on, it was hard to rise above that. Sometimes I was supporting the sequencing, and that's not a great feeling. At the time it didn't matter so much because we were successful, playing big gigs and it was a kick, but slowly it bothered me more. On this album, there's hardly any sequencing there. There is, however, a lot of strong bass lines that I did in the studio with producer Mike Phillips, because he's a perfectionist, a harsh guy to record with, very tiring. I was a bit pissed off with the production of 'Wishing It Away' on the new album, because they took a lot of the bass out, and I was 12 hours on that, but I guess I was playing too much all the way through and they wanted it very mellow. Now it just comes in right at the end, but it's my favourite song, giving a lot more depth to the album. It's a very rich-sounding song and that's something we still haven't mastered yet," he reflects, with commendable honesty.
"The first band was getting together and the bass was left, so I picked that and, of course, we never formed the band! But it stuck and I love it. I wouldn't feel right playing anything else. Paul McCartney was my inspiration all the way. You can't really beat him. Now Flea, obviously. Originally I listened to Roger Glover and Geezer Butler, then it was Mick Karn. I went totally fretless in the '80s and copied a lot of his stuff. Fantastic! I actually got quite good at it, and it was very weird coming back to my original Ibanez fretless bass for this album, after 10 years or so. The way I used to play was completely different, very flowery kind of stuff; whereas this is direct and straightforward".
I bought a second-hand Music Man Stingray, years back, which I've still got, and that was it, I'd found the bass I loved. Music Man set me up with a deal and I got a five-string and another Stingray as back-up, but somebody stole that, so now I'm using a Sabre - the one they discontinued - and this, apparently, was the last one out of the factory. There's something great about it, it's got a slightly narrower neck, two great pick-ups, but it's still got the bollocks of a Stingray, plus I like the sound a bit better. I put that through a couple of Gallien-Krueger 800-RB heads, and a Trace stack, a 4x10" and a 15" cab."
"Actually Whiff, the new drummer, likes to get more involved and discuss the parts a lot more. Gen would never really talk about what I was playing or how it fitted with the drums. Whiff is a lot more critical and makes me more conscious of time-keeping, and it's helped to tighten us up. He's still learning the parts, although he did fill in on part of the '91 American tour. He's always been with us; he was the drum tech, and to be drummer in this band you also have to know technology and programming. It's not a straightforward drumming gig, it's a pain in the arse."
Interview - Website Headcleaner - October 1997
This interview took place over email with Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones on Tuesday
October 14 1997.
Thanks to him and to all others involved for their generosity and time.
What have Jesus Jones been up to of late? Are the band in fact still together?
It's been a weird year for us, lots of hanging about and waiting for things to happen...which never quite did. For most of the world, all of the promotion and touring (what of it there was) for this album has been and gone and so there's just about nothing going on now. However, we still haven't had a release in the US (it's due early next year) and so until we get a crack at was our most successful part of the world, we are most definitely still together.
Do you feel vindicated or do you feel a little bitter now that bands such as
The Chemical Brothers, Prodigy etc are being so successful with essentially
very similar stuff to what you were coming out with over 5 years ago? Do you
feel that Jesus Jones were a little before their time?
I don't feel bitter at all, I think there are major differences between Jesus Jones and those bands. As for the Prodigy, what seems to be ignored is that they were actually hugely successful before the mainstream press woke up to them a couple of years ago - they were a big influence on us hence their '93 remix of Zeroes & Ones and so it's ridiculous to suggest they are following in our footsteps. I don't think we were pioneers, ahead of our time : we were just paying attention back then.
At the height of your success you were lumped in with the baggy scene, together
with the rest of the "indie/dance" mob. Did you feel any affinity with the other
bands of that era? Was there any animosity shown towards you by bands that saw
themselves as being more "serious", for want of a better word?
I hated being thought of as part of that scene and it used to really annoy me when Americans automatically assumed we were from Manchester. I didn't feel any affinity at all with the baggy scene, to me it was just '60s retro stuff with a different beat whereas I felt we were embracing the technology and the sounds of dance music as an integral part of the songwriting. I don't remember any animosity from other bands, at least not face to face (although some twat of an American radio DJ stirred it up a bit by inventing a conversation with me describing the Happy Mondays as so drunk / drugged as to be incompetent - we had a gig with them the same night). The notion of a band being more "serious" is really a press one which unfortunately spreads to the readership. There are always differences of opinion about the quality of other bands' music and success and competition always distort the picture but given that all bands have to go through the same process to get success, it's stupid to think of one band as being more worthy than another.
What would you consider the highlight of your musical career? There are a few because of the different ways of looking at that. The simple ones are things like having a number 1 album (Doubt) or single (Right Here, Right Now) or playing to 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium. There are a few songs of mine that I still really like and am really glad someone else didn't write them ; Info Freako, Right Here, Right Now, Idiot Stare, Zeroes and Ones, Wishing It Away, Top Of The World, February. And for the albums, I'm really proud of the last two, Perverse and Already for being done properly and as I wanted them, not hurried and shoddy like the first two. Perverse I like also because of the strength of the vision, the experimentation and because I was consistently truthful to the aims I had for that. Already, I think of it as being the most consistent album, the one with the best songs.
Do you enjoy playing live or do you prefer the experimentation and gadget-twiddling
that the studio affords you?
Both and for the different types of satisfaction you get from them. A dubious analogy is to ask someone if they prefer love or sex as there are similar parallels.
Any ambitions left unfulfilled? Mountain-biking round the world like some indie/techno
Michael Palin, perhaps?
Unfortunately for the sake of my happiness I always have greater ambitions than are realisable in one lifetime. Yep, being an indie/techno Michael Palin (Mike on a bike) definitely appeals, as does having more hit records, touring the world again, designing web sites, writing, being a halfway decent dad, winning more mountain bike races and...maybe I'll stop there for now.
What is your favourite song that you recorded. Me, I still have a soft spot
for Info Freako (and I still have the skateboard stickers too).
OK so I've really answered this one already but...it's a choice between Wishing It Away from Already and Idiot Stare from Perverse. Or maybe it's...
What do you see the future having in store for Jesus Jones - and for yourself?
Very unsure right now. All I'm thinking about as far as the band's concerned is the US release and tour. What's complicating things is that EMI in the UK have offered me a solo deal but like I said, until we do things in the US, everything else goes on hold.
Do you see the internet taking off as a means of band promotion?
At the moment, it's a pretty under-used medium with a lot of bands having a grainy picture, a few words and not a lot more.
Do you think the future lies in bands releasing material over the net, or do
you think it's all hype?
The best promotion Already has had has been on the internet, either through things like this or via our web site. Admittedly, the non-digital promotion for this album has been crap but I'm certain the web is the way forward nonetheless. However, it will still really only work for bands that have reached a level of recognition that means people will have a name to search for, so mainstream press, TV, radio will always be important. However, once a band gets that far (and a small bit of press or airplay will do) then the internet has the ability to outdo all the other media by being able to BE all the other media ; sound, image and print.
Many thanks for your time and patience in answering these questions. Finally,
if you had to sum up the spirit and manifesto of Jesus Jones in one sentence,
what would that be?
Right here, right now.
1998 - Chronology (from the original Jesus Jones website)
"Already", the new Jesus Jones album, is finally out in the USA !
Combustion Records released the album on the 21st of April and you should be able to buy it or order it from your local store.
We've been getting a lot of reports from around the country of airplay for "The next big thing", the first single from the album and the promotion (press and radio has been going very well*). Let us know if you hear it on your local station and if you aren't hearing it, give them a call !
There's still no definite news of a tour yet but we're hoping that will come in any day now. So far the most likely cities to get a visit are : Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, that is NOT a definitive or final list.
"Already" was released around the rest of the world in August '97 and is still available via EMI records.
TOUR NEWS (Update June 26th) The long elusive US tour should be happening in September. There are no details of dates or cities yet but as soon as we have more info we'll put it up here.
OTHER NEWS (Update June 26th) Hurray ! This site has been acknowledged by the good and the great. Click here for a mention and a good review of the album.
MIKE has returned from doing promotion for the album in America and should be seen on the cover of the odd bike mag or two in the near future. He has finished a book about the kind of year Jesus Jones had in 1997, it has roughly the same theme as Titanic only with a few more laughs and a better soundtrack, apparently - Jesus Jones's manager is checking out publishers for it at the moment.
ALAN's other band, The Waco Brothers (an inspired mix of The Clash and Country) have been gigging heavily in the US and look set to continue to do so. Their album "Cowboy in flames" is out in the US on Bloodshot records.
JERRY has been writing and recording with his new offshoot band, the Feely Room. They've started gigging in London, usually with the rest of the Jones's in attendance. The next gig will be at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town, London NW5 on the 1st of July
IAIN's regular Thursday, Friday and Saturday night DJ sessions at the Good Mixer pub in Camden, London have been put on hold until licensing problems have been sorted out. He expects to start again there soon, though.
1999 - Chronology (from the original Jesus Jones website)
The planned US relaunch of 'Already', Jesus Jones' 4th album, has been scrapped.
In an email to Mike and the band's management, Mike Mena of Combustion Records explained that the finance necessary to allow the band to tour the US and promote the album failed to materialise despite his best efforts against great adversity. Similarly, Combustion itself has been put on indefinite hold.
This means that Jesus Jones no longer have a record deal or the means to tour and although they have not split up, there's little to make them perform or record together in the foreseeable future.
MIKE has almost finished writing his solo album for Food / EMI and expects to have demos recorded by the end of January. Once he has put a band together he'll be ready to record and tour wherever he can, aiming to start where Jesus Jones left off.
JERRY and IAIN are in search of a record deal for "The Feely Room" and frequently gig around London. Whenever Jerry gets dates to us wešll let you know.
ALAN's band, The Waco Brothers (an inspired mix of The Clash and Country) have been gigging heavily in the US and look set to continue to do so. Their album "Cowboy in flames" is out in the US on Bloodshot records.
Mike's new band will probably be called "Yoshi" ; nothing to do with the Nintendo character of the same name, it's the choice of the band's singer,
Arianne, and is apparently the name of the spirit guide responsible for enlightening the Peruvian natives of the Amazon with music. Well that's the "So how did you guys get the name ?" question put firmly in it's place.
The line up is complete (the first full rehearsal took place in the middle of October) and is ;
Arianne Schreiber : Vocals
Ben Mysterysurname : Bass
Simon Burwell : Keyboards
Dave Thomas : Drums
Mike Nomysterysurname : Guitar
Now that Richie Mills, ex of Cable has left (cycling differences, apparently), with the exception of Mike none of the musicians have been in a well known band before, although Arianne's band "Trigger" recorded an unreleased album for George Michael's label a while back. The band are currently working on a 10 song set with a couple of others in the pipeline. The first Mike and Arianne co-written song is creating a bit of excitement at Food since in Mike's words it's "a sure-fire hit". How it's R&B stylings sit with the "more guitar, more bass, less sequencers than JJ" sound remains to be seen, probably at the first gigs the band do : they're hoping to play live for the first time before the end of the year but whether that's realistic or not will be found out once the agent has seen them play a showcase rehearsal at the start of November. Of course we'll let you know the moment any dates are announced. A demo recording has been planned for the middle of November and once it's done we'll post bits of the three songs up here.
Manchild's first single, "Return to the dragon", produced by Mike, is released in the UK on October the 25th. Keep a look out for this band, the future is looking very promising for them. Mike's efforts in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in Los Angeles on the 19th of September weren't in vain. His "Pro / Celebrity" team, featuring a professional runner and a pro swimmer came 2nd. Mike's explanation is that "Our swimmer, who went before me came out of the water before anyone else and our runner, who came afterwards, made up a lot of places. Fill in the gaps yourself".
The DJ gig with Iain at the Foundry, (x-JJ tour manager Gimpo's very informal venue at the top of Great Eastern Street, London EC 2) has been switched to Saturday, December the 11th. No news of Jerry and Iain's Feely Room gigs at the moment. For those of you who haven't seen this site before or haven't visited in a long while, here's the last few years in a nutshell ; the fourth Jesus Jones album, "Already" was released everywhere but the US in August 1997 and Stateside in April '98. Faced with hostility in the press at home, where the band were unable to even get an interview, the collapse of EMI in the US and the difficulty in securing funding by the new American label, the album wasn't the big success EMI needed in order to keep the band on the label and so with the exception of Mike, the band's singer and writer, Jesus Jones were dropped. With no record deal or the means to tour, despite not having split up, there's little to make them perform or record together in the foreseeable future. Now it's down to solo ventures...