2000 To 2010
In 2001 Jesus Jones signed to Mi5 Recordings and played a few dates in the UK and America. A new album was released titled 'London' and Jesus Jones were back. EMI released a greatest hits CD titled 'Never Enough' which includes what would have been their last release for the label, 'Come On Home'.
A support slot at The Wonder Stuff's christmas shows brings many fans out of the woodwork and a tour in May 2002, albeit a pretty low key affair, shows that the band can still put in the live performances. The new tracks from 'London' sound just as good alongside old faves like 'Move Mountains'.
A great gig in London in November 2002 saw the band at their brilliant best with a great mix of old and newer stuff, some of it chosen by fans via the official web site. The gig was recorded and is available on DVD. Mike continues to dabble in all types of music with various projects and hopefully some more tracks that may be graced with the Jesus Jones name one day in the not too distant future.
In 2008 The Wonder Stuff played two gigs to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release if their first album, Eight Legged Groove Machine. Jesus Jones were the support and played a warmup gig the night before. Many old and new fans gave a great welcome to Jesus Jones and fantastic nights were had by all.
Interview - Rockzone.com - circa September 20th 2001
A Conversation With
Mike Edwards by Rayanna Barker
September 20, 2001
Rayanna: Mike, other then music what have you been up to?
Mike: Well, the friends that like to take the piss out of me would say at this point "Cycling", and it's accurate if I'm honest. I think in the run up to the last JJ album, "Already" and the period afterwards I got caught in this trap of always writing for an album that would maybe come out one day, maybe wouldn't. It didn't do much for my work ethic, despite starting work with another band, Yoshi, and it was only working on this new album, knowing it would definitely come out, that snapped me out of it. The cycling's still going on though !
Rayanna: Things have been pretty quiet as far as Jesus Jones goes for the last 4 years or so, what made you reform and what other projects have you been working on?
Mike: I'd been working on a solo album for Food / EMI that they'd ultimately not been interested in (even though I thought some of the songs had some good points) and on Yoshi stuff (I'm still doing that too). A number of things got me back to JJ stuff ; firstly, the idea of shaping those EMI songs into an album to maybe sell via the internet, then Gen, the original drummer who left in '96 indicated he was keen to work together again. Lastly, when Ted at MI5 got in touch and it seemed we felt the same way about the music industry now it all seemed as though it was the right time.
Rayanna: In JJ you are the front man, and in your other band Yoshi you play guitar, do you prefer one over the other?
Mike: Being a singer is ultimately more gratifying for the ego but it's hard work worrying about your voice all the time. One of the first things I felt about being in Yoshi was how great it was to concentrate on playing guitar - the way I started out.
Rayanna: Is Yoshi similar to JJ musically?
Mike: No. I'd say the primary difference is that in Jesus Jones elements from outside rock music get brought in to make the fusion, whereas in Yoshi those outside elements remain closer to the surface. We're currently working on an EP to release as soon as we can so I guess people will be able to judge for themselves soon enough.
Rayanna: I know that you produce as well as write for other musicians, who have been your favorite to work with?
Mike: Traci Lords was a dream to work with, very creative, fun to be around and had a strong idea of where she was going. I have fond memories of that album. The last thing I worked on with someone else was Manchild, a band that Arianne (Yoshi singer) just had a minor hit with here. That I enjoyed because of the two main guys excitement and enthusiasm at getting involved in all this - great music, too, mind you.
Rayanna: Over the years who has been your influences musically and have you ever had the chance to work with any of the musicians that you looked up to?
Mike: I think there have been different influences on different albums as well as a kind of bedrock that's always there. My parents record collection tended to be my babysitter when I was young so the likes of the Beatles, the Stones, Hendrix, Janis Joplin got mixed in with my own early record buying days involving Slade, the Sweet and moving on to the Sex Pistols and AC/DC. As I was starting to learn guitar U2, the Cure and the Police were coming up with those guitar styles that defined the 80s. But I think it all really kicked off with the Beastie Boys first album, Sonic Youth, Big Black / Rapeman, the Jesus and Mary Chain and then Acid House, without which there would have been no Jesus Jones. As for this latest album, Drum 'n' Bass, Soul Coughing, Stina Nordenstam, UK Garage, Slipknot - they're all in there.
Rayanna: How do you feel about where music is now and what bands do you enjoy?
Mike: Ah, I think I just answered some of that. I'm actually really enjoying music now, I think we've pulled out of that mid 90s slump into pure nostalgia. That said I love the Strokes album despite really not wanting to. I think R & B has some really creative minds at work but it takes its' roughneck London cousin Garage to make it rock. Drum 'n' Bass seems to be going the way of Techno (ie sideways, not forwards) which is a pity since it's the most heavy metal you can get without a guitar. Let's have a look at my current CD pile ; Tricky, Kid Galahad, Haven, Missy Elliot, Destiny's Child, the Strokes, Oxide and Neutrino, Nick Cave, Sia, Elbow, Deftones, Muse, Zero 7.
Rayanna: You recently wrote a book, "Death Threats From an Eight Year Old in the Seychelles." Where did the title from this book come from and could you tell us roughly what it is about?
Mike: Yes, it's about how it all goes wrong for a band, how it is that one year you're always hearing about a band and the next year...nothing. I used to meet people who think we did it out of choice ! This explains how it happens while giving an insight into how we became famous and what it was like when we were.
Rayanna: Where is the book available?
Mike: You can download it free from www.jesusjones.com
Rayanna: I understand that the new album London will be released on Ted Mason's label MI5, how did that come about?
Mike: Ted got in touch via the web site and invited me to come over to New York see what he was up to, play onstage a little and chat. It seemed had a lot of shared views about the chaning nature of the music industry and role that art and creativity have in it.
Rayanna: When will London be released? And when it is released will it be in just the UK or will it be released in the US as well?
Mike: It's a US release primarily, October 9th, but we're currently figuring out ways of getting sold around the world. Obviously the UK is important to us but there are plenty of fans around the world still that we need to look after.
Rayanna: What can we expect from the new album? And how does it compare to the old stuff?
Mike: I always maintain that you're asking entirely the wrong person that question! There are influences that didn't realy exist as I was writing the last album that are a central part of this album, like drum 'n' Bass and Garage. Those things make it sound very different, although saying that my signature hasn't changed in the last 10 years either so I think it's still clearly a Jesus Jones album. Overall I think this album sounds a lot more relaxed and happy since it's been made in a far better atmosphere than the last two JJ albums.
Rayanna: Are you planning to tour with this album and if so when should we look for you here in the states?
Mike: As far as I know now we're due to tour in early December, just a few dates to start with but maybe a bigger tour next year. www.jesusjones.com and www.MI5recordings.com are the definitive places to look though.
Rayanna: Thank you so much for taking time out to talk to me, is there anything that you would like to add?
Mike: Just a big shout out to all our New York and Washington fans, friends and family.
Mike's personal diary from the US tour with Mercyside and The Blue Mockingbirds - December 2001
TOUR DIARY, USA, NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2001
The cast ; Ted & Jennifer, MI5 head people and singers with BMB and Mercyside respectively Don Kline : TM, AMG employee, singer in Esion Milan : Blue Mockingbirds drummer Chris : Blue Mockingbirds keyboard player Ed : Mercyside violin player Jason : Blue Mockingbirds bass player Monty : Ted's brother, Blue Mockingbirds guitarist
Wednesday 28th November, New York City
Feeling very groggy from jet lag and a sleeping tablet. MI5's PR woman has lined up a number of interviews, phoners and face to face, local papers and syndicated radio stations. The first couple don't go as smoothly as I remember interviews but I get back into it pretty quickly. At least that's how it seems to me, America may well have been subjected to confused ramblings initiated by asking how we got the name. Or it may have heard nothing at all from us - it's hard to tell where these radio interviews are going out to, if at all. In between interviews I go to a bookstore and browse. Inside, a man is shouting "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you" and punching a book repeatedly. The book is by Joe Queenan, movie critic. I arrange to meet Ted (MI5 head honcho), who says he'll bring the rest of the band, at a pub on 13th and 6th Ave. Eventually only Tony turns up, largely to avoid Alan and Jerry in their pissed state. We have a few beers and then I take the L train back to Brooklyn for an early night.
Thursday 29th November
No interviews today so I flit about Manhattan on the subway, shopping and spending an expensive hour at an internet cafe. I meet everyone at the Limelight. It's been years since we played on a stage this size and the soundcheck sounds great. Why the gig sounds crap on stage later is a mystery. The show isn't bad, very "first night" but the audience is thin on the ground. We'd have been better back at Arlene's. The sound has changed dramatically after the soundcheck and I'm not even sure the monitors are on. My voice is on the edge of disappearing halfway through he set but returns sufficiently later. At 1.45AM, the promoter tells Ted the equipment has to be moved and laughs when Ted tells him it's no sweat, the truck is parked right outside : The street is a tow away zone and the truck has been impounded for hours already.
Friday 30th November
Under strict instructions to be ready to leave at Ted's apartment on the upper west side at 1 pm sharp, I arrive 5 minutes late : 3.5 hours earlier than Ted who has been collecting vans (very nice luxury ones), late band members and equipment throughout Long Island and Manhattan. We find out today that because the Royal Oak gig feels the Ann Arbor show is on their territory they are demanding we pull the latter . The plan is now to officially cancel it but go ahead and perform anyway. We also learn the Royal Oak venue (sited in a strip mall suburb of Detroit) holds 1700 people, the same as our our sparsely attended Manhattan show. Travelling north out of Manhattan via the Bronx, en route to Bard College, NY, and now late enough to encounter rush hour, get the worst of New York traffic and subsequently arrive at the college very late. The venue is a school gym and the acoustics and equipment are such that the vocal monitor level is non-existent. In fact, when I speak between songs on stage I can barely make out what I'm saying through the monitors - if they were even on. Is this motif for the tour ? It's a dreadful show. A bunch of drunken 17 year olds bellow with half ironic, half drunken enthusiasm but we shouldn't really be here, we are not their sort of band, they are not our sort of audience. Is this pompous ? It occurs to me that the audience is here largely because there's little else for them to do. This gig makes me feel old and irrelevant, things I may well be but not things I'd like rubbed in. After the abbreviated show we oblige some drunken 18 year olds girls by signing their breasts. Ted offers them a lift to our hotel (a party elsewhere, later ?). After a roadside discussion, while half the entourage pee, we use our Jones-bedaubed adolescents to guide us to the hotel just outside Kingston - original capital of New York state, fact fans. The 18 year olds get off with each other and then Tony. It was that kind of campus, says Arthy. Ted says it was the best gig he has done in 20 years of gigging - and to think he didn't respond when some piss taker asked him to play RHRN as soon as he hit the stage.
Saturday 1st December
The alarm awakes me, still under the influence of a sleeping tablet, after 9 hours. Tony still hasn't returned so I'm expecting he's shagging for England again. It's a beautiful sunny day and for December astonishingly warm, temperature in the 60s (F).Breakfast in the diner (ah, free and frequent coffee refills) and then a one hour run along a minor road into Blair Witch County suburbs, lots of large rolling hills with drab and leafless trees. Ted has told us the gig is 5 minutes away and, true to form, it takes us about 30 minutes to drive there to soundcheck. After last nights acoustical nightmare the venue, The Strand Grill, is a dream, a proper gig in fact. We hear the show has almost sold out in advance. And that turns out to be a fib when we return at 11.15 to find the club below the diner half empty. Still, at least the monitors are halfway decent tonight and I don't lose my voice half way through he gig as a result. However, three nights on the run are a bit too much for my unpractised vocal chords and the set is pretty patchy by the end. Jerry wore the heart rate monitor tonight and averaged 128 bpm over an hour (69% of max) - a good aerobic workout, with 2 minutes spent anaerobic (sprint level) at a maximum of 169bpm (94% of max HR). Jerry's threshold is 153.
Sunday 2nd December
Tony came in at 6.45, 4 hours after I got to bed, and proceeded to make a sound like he was sawing wood, which I presume was snoring. Whatever it was I couldn't get back to sleep and so got up to do a 2 hour run out into Blair Witch territory again, past Pleasant Valley farm (Est. 1688). Nothing like as warm as yesterday and my hands were numb with cold after 20 minutes. Got back to meet Al and Jerry in the local diner, leaving at 11 - on time, for a change. Crawled back into Manhattan under grey skies. Jerry and Al dash off to La Guardia to fly to Chicago, Andrew from Bartertown goes to JFK for a Manchester flight, taking with him his smuggled merchandise. Meet Tony at Astor place and go for dinner, meeting Jason and Shanny in a bar on Lafayette and Houston. Jason wants to go to a gay comedy revue so we queue up and pay 10 dollars to watch...rubbish, basically. Marginally risquŽ quips and light insults at the audiences expense but nothing in the way of wit. Home late and drunk, unfortunately.
Monday 3rd December
Glorious sunny day, slightly cooler but still well above what you'd expect for New York in December. Check my email on Prince and Lafayette and meet everyone at the load in, 39th and 8th Avenue. At midday we start the drive out west, across the George Washington Bridge and into New Jersey, rolling hills and leafless forests. The forests never end and the hills get higher as we travel into Pennsylvania. Amazing sunset as we get closer to the Ohio border. On the outskirts of Youngstown, OH, we stop for the night at a Holiday Inn. Ted's been talking about how he's going to down huge quantities of beer later and to that end everyone bar me goes out. I make the most of an early night, take a sleeping pill and get the best night's sleep I have had in ages.
Tuesday 4th December
Wake without the use of an alarm and run through Elm Street suburbs in the sun for 45 minutes, the weather bright and warm - a nice May day in December. Tour manager Don and I go to Denny's (YAY !) for breakfast, I kind of ruin the effort by having the Slim Slam ("only 15g of fat !"). Back on the road for 11.30. Five hours later we get to Detroit and find a hotel in the frantic auto wasteland of malls, giant car sales forecourts and motorways. Tony and I find a Denny's with screaming children and that was the only notable point of the evening.
Wednesday 5th December
Ted changed the departure time to 10.30 - at 10.10. I was well into my routine, today involving a 1 hour session on the stairmaster (ugh !) and so had to skip Denny's to restrict my lateness to 15 mins. Jenn has gone to hospital, Ted believes it's pneumonia. Hit one of the myriad roads and drive to AMG, Don's work place and a provider of band info for music retail web sites for the schmooze. Ted limits it to introducing Tony and I in front of the staff before he did a short acoustic set . On to East Lansing (home of Michigan State University, fact fans ) and to Harpers, a well set up gig where soundcheck boded well for the gig. Al drove us back in the rain to the hotel, another 2 storey motel just off a major highway. His driving has improved. Back at the gig the first impression is that there are no people. We later adjust this figure to 15 but as Jerry says it's probably the smallest crowd we've played to since the Fulham Greyhound in 1988. Ted seems apologetic and says we don't have to play if we don't want to - as if we wouldn't ! Of course we go on to play the best gig of the tour so far, the best sound, the best performance. It's nice to find my voice back on full power (I suspect I did have minor respiratory illness when we first arrived, one that has now spread through both bands). At the end of the evening, after the owner has repeatedly told me with seemingly genuine enthusiasm that it was "an awesome live show" On the way back to the hotel in Al's car we all debate debate the tour and gig and consider why we're playing to 15 people : Is it badly promoted (I haven't done that many press interviews and no radio), are we playing off the usual circuit. Or is it that no-one wants to see us ? Tony wore the heart rate monitor tonight for our abbreviated set. Over 42 mins he averaged 146bpm, (a maximum of 169) ie 75% of MXHR, with 2 minutes anaerobic effort - seems like he's much fitter than Jerry.
Thursday 6th December
Due to last night's late show Tony and I sleep as late as possible and by the time we've rushed out of the shower for 11, everyone is sitting in the vans waiting for us - all bar Alan and Jerry who have driven ahead to Chicago. It's another beautiful sunny day with temperatures closer to late spring than the icy ones expected at this time of year. We have breakfast in a Big Boy, designed to make us into big boys. Flat mid West scenery all the way to Chicago, the Sears tower visible for miles around, a giant Al Qaeda target in waiting. Horrible highway traffic and then the Beat Kitchen lying out in the almost-suburbs. The venue is a small but well set up hall, about the size of Arlene's (250 capacity ? ), tagged on to the back of an eatery . It's another proper venue and we get fed and treated well. On stage sound is great and the venue reckons the show will sell out. When we return from the hotel for show time, the show has indeed sold out. The sound is great for Ted's bands as we walk in. We play a great show in front of a lively crowd. People have travelled from Dayton Ohio, Omaha Nebraska and even Berkeley, California - all of them tell me later it was worth it. That's a big relief. Tonight is the way it should be, how you'd hope a tour like this would go. Tonight I get to wear the heart rate monitor (mistaken for a sports bra by one member of the audience) and it shows that over 56 minutes I averaged 61% of my maximum, and peaked at 150bpm, below my anaerobic (sprint( threshold). Could it be that I'm the fit member of the band ?
Friday 7th December
Some went out after the show, others went back to the hotel but no-one gets a good night's sleep due to lack of hours and other diversions. We leave at 9 for a 6 hour drive, pretty tough on (a maximum) of 4 hours sleep. Back in Michigan it has become winter finally, temperature about 4C and skies grey. I'm intrigued when Ted exclaims at a food stop that "going out late is for amateurs". Still, it's nice to see him feeling cheery without a hangover. We get to Royal Oak and the theatre in time, as does Alan, surprisingly. Although it's great to be playing a large stage again there's the ominous fact that that means playing in a large capacity venue. Before the show, Alan, Patricia and I go for a Chinese meal. Driving back along the highway through the identical 1 storey malls, pretty lost, we get pulled over by the police on obviously fabricated grounds. Al is quick to tell them who we are and even sings a little snippet of RHRN. For some reason the cop thinks Al is the roadie and asks me how one of our songs goes. I ask him if he has a guitar. Once all the legal stuff is out of he way and we have confirmed that yes, London is in Europe, we get a police escort back to the hotel. Al spoils the last few moments of it by driving the wrong way through a one way street but the police seem not to notice. There are 5 bands; us three, Esion (Don's band), and The Face, a band drink manufacturer AMP (who are supporting tonight's show as well as the Limelight) have insisted be on the bill. They were reputed to be worth about 300 people but Don reckons they bring less than a tenth of that, and possibly less than a hundredth. The venue move the show times earlier than planned but after Ted's changeover between his two bands and late start, we go on past midnight once more, 30 minutes later than planned. In fact, on this tour we've played after midnight on at least 5 out of 7 days, 2 of which were weeknights. I feel bad for the people who've had to stay up late to see us and go to work the next day. The show we play tonight is typical of all the dates ; we rise to the occasion despite the circumstances, have a brilliant time, play really well. For myself, I feel I'm singing better live than I ever have done. I mention this not in self glorification but as an intriguing point since it's taken this long, this many tours, for me to walk on stage and sing the crap out of the set without worrying about losing my voice 4 songs in. It's been a revelatory experience for me and has made the tour that much more fun.
Saturday 8th December
We're staying 2 nights in a hotel owned by a friend of Jenn's. It's closed for renovations and the long empty corridors bring The Shining immediately to mind. That and the rivers of blood every time the elevators open. Will no-one think of the carpets ? We're in the middle of mall and highway anonymity so breakfast is from a food court near Target (Jerry and Tony shopping madly) . The tonight's gig is in Ann Arbor, about 30 miles from last night's gig. Unlike last night's show, the Blind Pig seems like the sort of place we should be playing ; a small funky dive with years of rock history on the walls in the form of photos of successful bands in heir early years and notable graffiti. There's a great cafe culture all over the US, something I ponder over a pot of green tea, sitting in an armchair reading, waiting for show time to near. I watch Esion do a great set and it's clear that many people in the audience are here to see them. For us, there are people who have driven from Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Chicago and North Carolina. The set starts with technical disaster ; every night I leave two leads out for Monty and every nigh he hides one of them. Tonight he hides it so well I can't find it at all. Tony grabs me a spare which doesn't seem to work. With a multitude of leads on stage finally I find one that works. We start, the keyboard parts are missing. The sound man and Tony wrangle on stage and the keyboards are back although so quietly that Tony can't hear his click. Another song another long pause. We start again, now the keyboards are unbelievably loud. It all settles down, the crowd are great, we play a great show. There is an argument with the sound man after the show. Milan (Ted's drummer" "is about ready to kick the soundman's ass". It seems the fader pusher has unwisely described two of tonight's bands as "green" in their stage performance. Fortunately no donkeys are harmed in the making of this conversation and it all ends with the usual hanging around then the 30 mile drive, after which we get to the hotel at 4, facing an early start tomorrow.
Sunday 9th December
We start with a strange plan to begin our marathon 800+ mile drive back to New York. Driving away from the hotel 45 minutes later than planned Ted instructs us to take just a 20 minute breakfast stop at Denny's. Doesn't he realise breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Especially at Denny's ! We make better time than expected and 14 hours after leaving Detroit we arrive in Manhattan, having driven through the malls of Michigan, the pancake flat Ohio, the forested hills of Pennsylvania and New Jersey's urban sprawl. I've booked a room at the Milburn, where we used to stay 10 years ago, on 76th Street. Staying there means I don't have to travel to and from Brooklyn. I say my goodbyes as I leave, desperation for sleep cutting into the sense of occasion.
Monday 10th December
A very long day. Starts with hours of blissful sleep (better make the most of it), a run around Central Park, a walk around mid town and then the journey home. In the car bound for JFK, Jerry and Tony are suffering mightily after one last stand in New York. It's pretty surprising neither of them puke since it seems imminent on several occasions. The slow agony of overnight travel home, sleepless for 29 hours. And then the 2 day preparation for the Wonderstuff tour.
Jesus Jones Tour Diary December Wonder Stuff Dates by Iain Baker
3.43 pm M1, Nottingham. Here we are once again, Mike, Alan, Jerry, Me and new boy drum hero Tony.back in the glamorous world of rock'n'roll. Actually, it's really not all that glamorous at all: we're stuck in traffic south of Nottingham on a cold Friday in December. Touring again is a strange feeling, there's a comfortable aspect to it: it's like slipping on an old sweater. We ooze bravado, our banter unforced and genuinely funny as we rediscover the chemistry that has kept us together for so long. So far today, we've stopped for lunch at the services north of Luton: as ever, stocking up on barely edible food, magazines that will focus the mind and spirit for something less than ten minutes, smoking cigarettes at double the normal speed. All that haste seems a little bit foolhardy when the traffic is as slow as it is now: with 70 miles still left to travel we're barely going over 10mph. Let's hope we get to the soundcheck
6.02pm Arrive at the venue: The Wonderstuff are already in attendance, slightly late but happy to finally be free of the traffic. Now the real work begins, setting up the gear and discovering if this is really going to work after all.
6.20pm Jerry's guitar is resting up against the pool table just in front of me. Suddenly, it slides to the floor: there's an odd noise."thwack". Jerry picks it up: the head has spilt cleanly away from the neck. We haven't even struck a note in anger and already the first major disaster of the tour is upon us. This means Jerry has no back-up guitar: his spare has unexpectedly been elevated to a more prominent role. If that guitar packs up in the middle of the set..then Jerry might as well go back to the hotel. Still, adversity is what we've learnt to live with, over the years
7.04pm The Wonderstuff launch into the first song of their soundcheck: "Red Berry Joy Town". I swear I can feel the years falling away.
9.41am Well, we really needn't have worried. Last night was fine. Despite it being my first gig for a while, and despite all the equipment problems, the gig goes better than expected. It's very odd indeed to be playing all the old songs again, perhaps even odder to be doing them in the company of The Wonderstuff; but last night wasn't about empty nostalgia: it was simply about restating our position as a great rock band. Some of the hurdles that we've had to overcome over the last few years have perhaps had a negative effect on our self-confidence; that self belief came back effortlessly last night as we got on with doing what we always did: getting on stage and giving it all we've got. Mike and I watched The Wonderstuffs's set from the bar and looked at each other at exactly the same time during "A Wish Away"; singing the same harmonies. It was that sort of night.
11.16am M62 northbound, just been through some appalling traffic and are currently speeding purposefully towards Glasgow. Looking around the bus, things are as they always were on tour. Mike reads the Paper, Alan looks at maps or gazes aimlessly into the middle distance, I flit through the piles of CD's I've stored into this laptop, Jerry just dozes on, oblivious to the world.
9.12pm Sitting in the dressing room at Barrowlands in Glasgow, just finished the second show. Much bigger stage than last night, and at least some semblance of an onstage monitor mix; which kept my mistakes down to a minimum. Another one of those shows where you start the set saying to yourself "Right, I won't go too mad. I'll just focus on the music and enjoy myself" 15 minutes later we're launching into "info" and I'm drenched in sweat, screaming my head off and lurching all over the stage like a lunatic. Gen turns up with the boys from his bandhe's sporting the biggest grin ever and really enjoyed the show. He says that once he left, he was able to just be a fan all over again.
11.20pm Back at the hotel, Mike and I try and enjoy a quiet drink in the hotel bar. Bad idea: there's a Christmas party going on. We it there and muse over the tour and the future plans for the band whilst all around us, people dressed as Santa Claus try and score with girls who appear to be completely engulfed in sequins.
8.26am 12 floors up over Glasgow, looking out as the city wakes up to a drizzly Sunday morning. Another long drive today, six hours or so, down to Wolverhampton.
3.11pm Just finished a leisurely pub lunch at The Swan in Knutsford, where the topic of conversation was dominated by Jerry's theory that a killer used to roam the outback of Australia disguised as a rucksack. Roast Beef, large glasses of red wine, real laughter.
5.25pm Wolverhampton Civic Hall is an odd venue, rather like a school assembly hall. The dressing rooms are wonderful however, a bath (with Jacuzzi jets!) and a decent looking shower. This is in contrast to the shower at Glasgow, which seemed to have been fiendishly hidden in an old chimney. The stage is enormous (well, relatively speaking: I'd probably have to concede that Wembley was a little larger) and you get the feeling that this gig is going to be wonderful.
9.39am Hurrah! Gut feeling was entirely accurate-it was a great gig! We played "Move Mountains" for the first time on the tour last night, it's genuinely a joy to walk on stage and unleash the world's wonkiest piano riff. Apart from a disturbing start to "Zeroes" where all the members of the band look quizzically at each other until we work out whether we are in the first verse or not, it's a breeze from start to finish. The venue was packed to the rafters, and I'm convinced that a large proportion of them were singing along to "Info"! After the wonderstuff set, Mike leaves to have food with Dave Balfe, the rest of us do some celebrating. Quite a lot of celebrating, as it turns out. We arrive back at the hotel for midnight, just as the bar is closing. In that somewhat quaint English way that hotels have of treating their paying guests, it transpires the booze must now be purchased from the concierge. This involves going up to reception and passing £3 surreptitiously over the counter: an alcoholic beverage is then yours! This is obviously a ridiculous state of affairs, and by about half past one, the staff are forced to reopen the hotel bar. Wahey! A victory for the people-and those people by now are gibbering drunken buffoons. I should know, I was one of them. So all that explains why I'm sitting in my room now, having just finished breakfast, feeling like death. Tour Manager Wiff (my room mate) is off to do some last minute Xmas shopping: I must sleep.
3.35pm That's better- not only did I sleep, but I also wandered into the centre of Wolverhampton to avail myself of the local food. In this part of the world, that means a roast pork bap- a fiendish creation which combines an entire roast dinner (including gravy) between two halves of a giant bread roll. I stroll off to find the shops, dripping gravy and stuffing all over the pavement and myself.
7pm. Back in the dressing room, just finished watching the Sex Pistols film "The Filth and the Fury" on DVD, Manager Gail has turned up, the first of a whole posse of friends, girlfriends and relations who'll be at tonight's show. The dressing room is getting a little crowded: I'll sign off and hope to type more later..
2.35am Whoa, much later!! I'm drunk now, and the van is speeding down the M1. Great gig tonight, a blast from the past and a reminder of just how much fun being in a band can be. There were so many faces from tours gone by at the gig: you know who you all are, let me just say that it was a real pleasure; I can't wait to do it again. Tony is still in Wolverhampton, partying like it's 1999 (or should that be 1989!!?!) Alan has gone back to his dads place so it's just me Mike and Jerry, back on the road again. Look, when I said I was drunk- I wasn't kidding! I'm going to try and sleep. To everyone who came along to these gigs, it was wonderful to see you. To everyone who couldn't make it, we'll see you all sometime very soon. That's a promise.
JESUS JONES FRONTMAN, MIKE EDWARDS - by Shauna Skye
Jesus Jones is the band responsible for the huge hit "Right Here, Right Now" back in 1991. The video for this song was in heavy rotation on MTV, and it seemed whenever I watched the tube I saw Jesus Jones. This was not a bad thing. I loved their song! It was catchy, and made it to #2 on the American charts. One memory I have involving "Right Here, Right Now" is a radio playing and a number of my friends enjoying it along side me. One was a sixteen year old boy who usually blasted Slayer and not much else. I remember thinking it was funny that even he liked it! I only mention "Right Here, Right Now" because it's the song most people knowthis band for; and yet Jesus Jones and Mike Edwards have a decade's worth of history. If you'd like to catch up on what has (and is) happening with JesusJones and Mike's new band,Yoshi, I suggest you visit www.jesusjones.com whereyou can find their biography and also a free book available for download. The following is an interview I did with frontman, Mike Edwards. I hope you enjoy it.
SHAUNA: Mike, aside from music, what have you been up to lately?
MIKE: If I'm honest, a very large amount of cycling: mountain bike racing, road racing, amateur stages of the Tour de France, a couple of bike legs of the Malibu triathlon - all that kind of thing and more. This year I'll be running the London marathon in April, walking / running the Grand Canyon rim to rim in a day (send a search party after two, please), the usual summer of cycling and then the full triathlon in Malibi in September. Preparing for all that kind of stuff takes a lot of non-music time.
SHAUNA: I just downloaded your book, "Death Threats From an Eight Year Old
in the Seychelles." I read the title was inspired from a letter you received
after you made a negative comment about the New Kids on the Block. Could you
give more details on that; and what's it like to receive a death threat from
an eight year old?
MIKE: It was such an offhand aside that I really can't remember what I said, although I'm sure it was something I wouldn't feel proud of now. It was definitely something more by way of conversation than a sermon from the mount, and that's largely why it seemed so strange to get such a strong response. I think for me it was evidence that we'd achieved a status whereby even trivial small talk could be blown out of proportion. By 8 year olds.
SHAUNA: In your book you say you enjoy interviews, with the exception of the
top40 stations who constantly asked how you got your name. I can see how that
would get annoying. What are some of the more interesting experiences you've
had with the press, be it positive or negative?
MIKE: Undoubtedly our stock rose with a Texas Top 40 station when an underwear-free woman got backstage and repeatedly gave me (and the station manager beside me) a very close inspection of the full extent of her nudity. I'd count that as a positive. On the other side, our agent told us in '93 that the most important Alternative music paper here had made their sponsorship of the UKs biggest festival (Glastonbury) dependent on Jesus Jones not performing. There was the time when an English journalist and I were given a not-quite-as-safe-as-planned tour of a very anti-British part of Belfast, Northern Ireland by a woman currently serving jail time for terrorist offenses.
SHAUNA: A large percentage of the people who read this interview are musicians.
Based on the experiences you've had with success as well as struggling, what
advice would you give us?
MIKE: When I try and analyze where it went right for us, I believe it was a combination of perseverance, learning from our mistakes (the musical ones) and making sure we believed in what we were playing totally.
SHAUNA: Which one of you is Jesus? (Just kidding.) Seriously, why don't you
tell us about the new album you'll be coming out with on Mi5 Records.
MIKE: This is a question I've always had difficulty with, in the same way that whenever people say some other band "sound like Jesus Jones" and I just can't hear it. I don't really know how to describe it but I know that this time out there are no big principles involved, I'm just trying to add a twist to my record collection, adding in the things that excite me currently, like UK Garage, Drum 'n' Bass and Nu Metal. That said, writing is like your signature, however you approach it, it's still pretty typically yours. Iain, the JJ keyboard player says: "It's the sound of us not trying too hard."
SHAUNA: Please tell us about your band Yoshi. How would you describe themusic
to someone who has never heard you?
MIKE: Ah, check the first sentence of the last paragraph! Yoshi is a lot more mellow than JJ stuff, partly due to having a female singer, Arianne. There'sa lot more of an R'n'B influence there, or at least there was starting to beuntil we took a break while I concentrated on the new JJ stuff.
SHAUNA: Do you think you'll ever stop playing music?
MIKE: No, I really doubt it, I enjoy it and it costs me nothing so there's every incentive to keep playing, none to stop. Besides, I've always had a plan to be a 70 year old blues player, although if I get terminally ill or just impatient I may reduce the age by 20 years.
SHAUNA: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
MIKE: I think the life I lead counts as both! I'd like to travel a lot more despite the fact that I've done a fair amount of that already. South America appeals, I have a strong interest in the Incan empire but as long as it's a fairly arduous and remote trip I'm into it.
SHAUNA: Who is your favorite Beatle? ;)
MIKE: It was definitely Lennon (my all time favourite song is Dear Prudence) but the more I discover about and listen to the both of them the more it swings in Macca's favour.
SHAUNA: Out of all the musicians you've worked with, who are some of your favorites?
MIKE: I really liked working with Traci Lords: it was good music to work on and Traci herself was fun, self-effacing, strong minded and very talented, a pleasure to work with. I've also worked with a friend of mine, a very famous Japanese star called Hotei and it's always a pleasure to be with him, working or not. Tony James, of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik I think of as a friend, a very interesting man.
SHAUNA: How do the American fans differ from those in other parts of the world?
MIKE: Not much, people tend to be the same pretty much all over, or at least the ones into your music are. And there you were expecting me to say they're the best in the world!
SHAUNA: What is your favorite Jesus Jones song?
MIKE: Hmmmm, that's tricky for me. Even before it was a single I felt very good about "Right here...." "Idiot Stare" from Perverse I love and "Wishing it away" from Already surprises me, pleasantly, that I wrote it. Most of Doubt and Liquidiser I find hard to listen to now but I enjoy the later albums a lot more.
SHAUNA: Do you have any favorite bands that are currently on the radio?
MIKE: Having just turned 16 again I can't help liking Slipknot and Limp Bizkit, also Methods of Mayhem. Albums I've bought in the last couple of weeks include True Steppers, Stephen Malkmus, Wu Tang Clan and Daft Punk. Sigur Ros made a big impact on me last year as did The Junket, Grandaddy and 6 X 7. I'm always buying compilations of Drum 'n' Bass (usually the Ram Records ones) and UK Garage - I doubt the latter is on the radio over there yet.
SHAUNA: If you had to choose an all-time favorite band, who would it be?
MIKE: AC/DC but only between 1976 and 1979. Close behind would be Sonic Youth, the Beatles and the Aphex Twin.
SHAUNA: Do you know what happened to Satan Smith? :)
MIKE: Ha! I think the rumour of that tribute band died out before the band could form.
SHAUNA: What is the one question you'd like an interviewer to ask you, but they
MIKE: In the last 12 years I don't think any avenue has been unexplored. Although in a few cases "Would you beat me to death ?" would have gone down well.
SHAUNA: OK, here is your chance to plug anything you like. Where can we get
hold of your next releases, find news about you, etc.?
MIKE: Between www.jesusjones.com and www.MI5recordings.com you'll find all the Jesus Jones news you can handle!
SHAUNA: Any parting words?
MIKE: Something about the Red Sea ?...Nah, based on that it's definitely time I went.
SHAUNA: Thank you very much for the interview, Mike. It will appear on the
front page of ArtistLaunch.com. We have several cool radio shows going there.
I will be hosting my own show soon, and I would like to contact you again in
the near future if that is all right.
MIKE: Most definitely, thank you.
SHAUNA SKYE http://www.mp3.com/shaunaskye
Tony Arthy's "Clever Enough" Tour Diary 2002
Mike Edwards - Vocals, guitars, brains and bikes
Iain Baker - Keyboard breaking, shopping and food
Alan Doughty - Bass, vocals, booze
Jerry De Borg - Guitars, vocals, levitation and general lunacy
Me - Drums
Wiff - Driving, production, teching, drum tuning and organising pretty much everything really.
John Underhay - Sound
Ben Wingrove - Lights
Tues 14th May 2002
Nottingham Rock City
Shit, shit, shit......after looking forward to this tour since we got the dates through months ago, I stayed up way too late last night playing Shaun Palmers Snowboarding on the Playstation 2 and neglected to pack or shave or anything until this morning. I was hoping for at least a calm and organised start to the tour but I'm already realising that, even though it's very organised, there is nothing calm about touring with the Jones. By 12.30 we're on the M1 and everyone's in a great mood, the van is already full of plastic service station food and the hum of Walkman's and Gameboys is constantly interrupted by bursts of laughter. The first drive of so many over the next 7 weeks and already everyone seems to be having a good time. When we got to the hotel our first decision was where to go for dinner. A quick glance across the canal where we staying and the answer was obvious....there was a 'Hooters' restaurant (as immortalised by Adam Sandler in the "Big Daddy" movie) right there. Based on a concept that could only be successful in the US, 'Hooters' is an American style, Budweiser swilling, burger loving bar/restaurant where all the staff are busty, blonde and dressed in little orange shorts and tiny white tops. As you can imagine the food was over priced and utterly shit but me, Al and Jerry had a great time (I think I might have had a better time then the other 2 actually) and the girls got a healthy tip. I don't how the others feel about gig nerves coz they've been doing this longer than me but for the 30 minutes before we play I'm useless. I can't sit still so I wander around the venue, heart beating a little faster, just wishing it was that second before we go on. I dunno if it's just nerves because I'm sure it's basically just excitement. I've always loved playing the drums and I love all the tracks that we're playing. At the moment I just love being in this band and want every gig to be brilliant for ourselves and anyone who comes to see us. The gig went so quickly I can hardly even remember it. The club was a cool little place and the crowd were brilliant which is all you can really ask for from my point of view. I remember getting off stage and just smiling to myself at the thought of doing this for the next 7 weeks.
Wed 15th May
My first dumb move of the tour was to go out after last nights' gig and not getting to bed till about 3.30 knowing full well that we had to leave for Glasgow at 9.00. Still, it's amazing how much easier to get up when you know your going to spend the day having a laugh with your mates on the bus and then spend the night doing another gig. It definitely feels better than getting up at 8.30 to get on the 43 bus down Holloway Road which is what I was doing before all this. After 7 hours we get to Glasgow to discover that the Champions League Final is on in Glasgow the same night. Can people drink in Glasgow or what? Every time I've been there the whole city seems like a huge open air pub, add football to that and you can imagine the madness. I'm a big fan of the Scottish. The ones I've met always seem to be friendly and optimistic. The local crew at the venue were no different and so even soundcheck was a good laugh. There seems to be a recurring theme already that everything we're doing is a good laugh....hopefully that isn't going to change.
Thur 16th May
Got up early this morning to make the most of having a bathroom to myself. I showered for about half an hour because there was a way of moving the telly so that you could watch it from the refection in the bathroom mirror. Feeling the cleanest I had so far and because the weather was really nice I put on clean clothes and went down to the van..... ...within a minute of getting there a bird had shit on me 3 times. An uproar of laughter ensued as well as some sort of chain reaction that has meant I've been spilling stuff all over myself ever since. Speaking of laughing, i've gotta say something about Al's laugh. For anyone who knows Al, or actually for anyone who's ever been in the same room while he's laughed, you'll know that he has the worlds heartiest laugh. Even if you don't know what he's laughing about, it's infectious and you end up laughing with him, or at him. I think that the Newcastle venue was wrong for us. It held about 600/700 and considering the Jones haven't played their own England gigs for ages, it seems to be working better in the smaller, sweatier clubs. That said, we actually played better than the last 2 nights and because the stage was much bigger there was room for Iain Baker madness. After the show we shared our beer rider with a few fans of the band that had stuck around to say hi and then back to the hotel for last orders and what should have been an early night until the Scrabble board came out.....more about the Scrabble later.. Soundcheck in Newcastle.
Friday 18th May
Day Off/Travel Day Today was a brilliant day off. All we had to do today was get from Newcastle to Manchester. I think that was about a 3 hour drive so we had loads of spare time to hang out today. First stop was a little country pub for what should of been a nice lunch and a change from Motorway Service Station food. When we discovered that the pub had a spare room that contained a pool table and an 18 year old parrot called Joshua we forgot about food. Jerry ruled the pool table while Iain tormented the bird. The only negative part of the day was when we stopped at another service station a bit later on. There were a bus load of guys obviously on a sporty trip somewhere. Mid afternoon and they were pissed out of there heads acting like a bunch of dickheads. Everyone noticed instantly the potential situation. Just imagine a bus full of drunk Rugby fans right next to a big blacked Mercedes splitter van full of hungover musicians (when ever I call us musicians it should be settled now that I say it in the loosest sense of the word). We bought supplies subtly and kept our heads down. While I was getting a paper it turns out that 1 of these guys actually got in out van and tried to nick our sound guy, Jon's, jacket and then had the nerve to take the cigarette out of his mouth. We got out of there and I thanked God that I never got into Football/Rugby and all that shit. Friday was girlfriend night, Jerry's girlfriend Jo and Mikes other half, Fiona came up. Me and the Duft (Al) went to the bar for a cheeky pint while we waited to see if anything was going on. We ended up spending the whole night down there of course. It was really nice just to be hanging out together without being on the bus or having to do a gig. It was also really nice that Mike stayed out. He's got so much stuff to do and he's so disciplined about taking care of himself and his voice that we don't get to hang out with him that much of an evening. Mid way through the evening Jerry burst out of the toilets and dragged Mike into the bathroom. Now, Jerry does a lot of weird things and you get used to it but hauling Mike into the toilets struck us all as unusal....it was only when Mike came out laughing that we discovered that "Right Here Right Now" was being playing in there... As people wandered off to get some sleep or spend some time with their significant others, me and Al went to our room to play a 4 hour Scrabble tournament. Now Scrabble doesn't seem particularly rock and roll but since Jerry introduced me to the game the night of my Jones audition I've been hooked. I can never go to sleep for hours after a gig anyway, so it's a good way of staying up but still waking up in your own hotel. We spent most of the night alternating between that and watching the "Men and Motors" channel. An entire channel dedicated to soft porn and XR3s.
Saturday 19th May
Manchester Hop and Grape
After a night off everyone seems excited about doing another gig. This venue is the nearest place we're playing to where I grew up so I've got mates coming to the show tonight. That's gonna be interesting because a lot of my mates haven't seen me play since I was at school. I used to play crap cover versions in Assemblies and 5 think that anyone that saw them would agree that they were pretty shit. Hopefully I'm doing something a little bit better these days. It's also a venue that i've watched 20/30 bands in over the last ten years and because I'm such a train spotter when it comes to bands and venues and music generally that sort of thing appeals to the geeky side of my personality. After going back to to the hotel getting through the hardest part of the touring day, the part where you get so tired from the night before but can't sleep because there's a show to think about, we got back to the venue quite late and it was really busy, the busiest night yet in fact. Cue nerves kicking in again... Even though the show seemed a bit scruffy on our behalf the crowd seemed to love it. As usual I got off stage soaking in sweat and the water that Iain throws at me, my hands throbbing and my fingers blistering. Because I had friends at the gig and it was Saturday night I braved the streets of Manchester and found it a lot friendlier than how I remembered going out there in the past. After going out in town and then a house warming party in West Didsbury (where? I have no idea.) and staying at a mates house in Prestwich I got back to the hotel with 5 minutes to pack my stuff before the bus left to Leicester. I managed with 1 minute to spare and then settled down to make up for the sleep I didn't get last night. We've got another day off today and for that I am grateful..........
Photos - Gig at Bristol Fleece & Firkin - 21st May 2002
|Click on the photos for bigger versions.|
Newspaper advert and Signed Setlist, House of Blues gig, Chicago - 22nd June 2002
Poster for the current release, Never Enough The Best Of Jesus Jones - 2002
Poster for the Marquee Gig, London - 8th November 2002Click here for pictures and my review of the Marquee gig.
Article - The Guardian - 9th August 2003
At the age of 17, I couldn't imagine anything better than earning
a living through playing in a rock band. After a lengthy apprenticeship
I managed to get my band, Jesus Jones, into a position where
I could describe my occupation while form-filling as "musician"
without crossing my fingers behind my back and worrying about
the small print threatening prosecution for false or misleading
With hits around the world we became famous for a few years. At the start of 1990 I wrote a song called Right Here, Right Now, a title I disliked but intended to change before the final recording. Inevitably unaltered, the song became a No 1 in America, popular enough that versions of it still appear on karaoke discs in bars all over the US. These re-recorded versions make me cringe but I don't begrudge the musicians involved. Everyone has to make a living.
Thirteen years later, I'm still making a living from that title, even if Fatboy Slim's identically titled song may have eaten into my action. As well as continuing radio play, every so often a drinks company or car dealership in Michigan or Maine or Montana decides Right Here, Right Now set to that paticular tune perfectly soundtracks their advertising campaign. The first I'll know about it is a call from my manager that starts, "Right, I've got another one for you..." And that's the council tax bill settled for another year.
Last year a major corporation, the biggest privately owned comapny in the US, decided they'd take it further and get the band itself to play at a conference for their best achieving employees, the strapline to which was... well, you get the idea by now. Thankfully Fatboy Slim wasn't mentioned and so began my induction into the murky world of corporate gigs.
It really is a murky world. Asking friends in the music industry about other examples throws up a sonic cathedral of "You absolutely cannot quote me" and "You can't name names". These days, it seems you can pretty much buy anyone if you have the money, but no one else must know. Rumours in the industry and reports in the tabloids about everyone from the Rolling Stones and Dylan to Robbie Williams abound. Rod Stewart earning $750,000 to play a businessman' birthday party may or may not be taken with a pinch of salt but it is clear that famous bands can play private shows for far more than they'd get from a standard one.
An aquaintance of mine, famous for a string of hits over the last 25 years, was offered $75,000 by a phone company to be part of a bill that included two more contemporary (and therefore better paid) boy bands. The same artist was offered £50,000 to play a couple's wedding. That's 50 grand for an hour of songs that probably don't even need any rehearsal, unlimited food and booze and no obligation to listen to the speeches. "Everyone has a price," one of the best known managers in the industry tells me, and the figures go both way, way up (talk of the Sultan of Brunei and Elton John and Sting bring us into "if you have to ask..." territory) and down, which is where I come in.
We were approached via our website to play the conference while in the middle of an American tour. It was a spartan trip compared with our old days; one roadie and the cheapest hotels (sharing driving and rooms), selling merchandise to cover petrol and cheap US-bought amplifiers to save on shipping our own gear. Two weeks of preparation and a month of one hour-plus dates, usually five in a row.
The offer was for three shows in under two weeks, any costs we could dream up, accomodation (one person per room) in the same five-star Florida hotel as the conference delegates and a fee that was in multiples of the profit we'd make on the tour. A "show" was one song, twice. That would have been seven minutes a night but without the too-wild-for-commerce guitar sole and an abbreviated last chorus I'd call it an even 360 seconds. Three groups of delegates on a three-day schedule meant we played one night in three, with all 10 days to spend as we pleased.
We didn't hesitate to accept the offer and I can't think why we should have. I recall from my music-press-reading days that accepting money from The Man is wrong but I can't remember why, or how it differs from signing a recording contract or playing a heavily sponsored festival. Like other teens, when I was younger I formed a notion about purity of art versus payment for art (this correlates inversely with the number of 15-year-olds paying mortgages) that made it an Offence In Rock to accept an honest month's pay for an honest three minutes' work. Even then there seemed to be some contradiction between punk ideology and the Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle. My cousin is a classical musician, a French horn slinger for hire, for whom it would be unthinkable to turn down employ in his chosen line of work. A school friend of mine is an actor and voiceover artist. I have recorded her in my home studio practising a tone of friendly sincerity on behalf of a kitchen cabinet make in Guernsey. Her TV adverts don't look very "method" either but she rejoices not agonsies, when she gets one.
In Florida, literally thousands of delegates were already deep in discussion in the hotel bars, restuarants and coffee shop by the time we arrived, pushing the envelope to the cutting edge of the max in today's highly competitive world of business jargon.
I didn't, and still don't, really know what the company does, although we'd established it wasn't arms, tobacco or Third World human organs. Technically on holiday, all the men still wore suits, even late on the Saturday night. Likewise we were meaningfully advised, along with much talk of respect for our artistry, to wear black turtleneck jumpers. It's an item of clothing I'm not fond of but I have certainly worn worse things in photoshoots and videos.
We opened and closed the show, starting after a film sequence featuring a businessman searching sand dunes for a half-buried laptop, and a gravelly-voiced man saying in a so-baritone-it-must-be-important, film-trailer way, "There was a search for an internet business..." The rest of the sequence was always lost to me as I was concentrating on standing upright and not wetting myself with laughter: Gravel Man was our signal that the revolving circular stage we were on was about to turn us briskly to face the audience and, we suspected, hurl our much ridiculed, old before his time guitarist into the front row like a ball off a dodgy roulette wheel. The spectre of Spinal Tap never leaves a rock band.
Each evening also featured the kind of entertainment designed neither to offend nor largely appeal to anyone: Irish dancers, South American drummers and a variety of speakers, some of whom were important enough to have limos drive them right into the backstage of the 10,000-capacity venue. I didn't recognise any of them.
Listening politely, some of the audience figured out that song was being played by that band and took a few surreptitious photos. The vast majority sat with quiet fortitude until the motivational speakers had them out of their seats, whooping and punching the air to greatest hit phrases like "It's what's inside that counts" and "Fear is your greatest enemy". Now there are song titles for us, Fatboy.
At the close of the first night, realising that we heralded the end of the show and that the trip to Sea World (reserved in an exclusive buy-out by the company) was imminent, an ugly scrum developed in the rush for the door. This didn't bother me unduly. What band can honestly say they have never cleared the floor? I'd been asked not to mention the band's name from stage for fear the Jesus part would offend in this part of the Bible belt. It made for an underwhelming end so subsequent nights saw the chairman courting religious furore by introducing us. Everyone sat patiently to the end, which must have been worth it if just to see the fireworks set our guitarist's hair alight.
Unlike usual shows, no one bothered about coming to talk to us afterwards. We were up against Sea World after all. It was just us clearing up with the real prima donnas of the show, the heavily unionised stage hands, types our US-resident bass player has seen refuse to work until the right kind of sandwiches arrive. And presumably the brown M&Ms are removed. As always in America after a performance, people said, "Good job, man". It used to rankle me back in the days when it wasn't supposed to be a job; it was supposed to be art, it was supposed to be fun. Now it occurs that when it is just a job it's a lot more fun. How my 17-year-old self would have been pleased.
Formed in 1988, Jesus Jones' noisy blend of punk guitars and pile-driving dance samples saw them achieve an impressive run of hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic, most notably 1991's Right Here, Right Now which reached the US Top 5. This proved to be their peak - successive releases failed to make the same dent on the chart. The band called it a day after 1997's Already album, before re-forming briefly for the London album in 2001.
Mike Edwards (vocals/guitar): After Already did nothing the band was dropped. I was retained by the label to work on a new project called Yoshi with a female singer, but that came to nothing. Since then I've just been working on a few things on my own. I'm doing some songwriting on a pop thing - I'm going for a Sugacubes vibe - and I also have an electronic solo project. Last year Jesus Jones reconvened for a corporate conference in Florida, which was brilliant - an all-expenses-paid weekend in the States! We'd play pretty much anything if asked. It's just nice to earn a living through music.
Iain Baker (keyboards): When the band fell apart, I didn't have any other plans. After two years of sitting around, my wife said, "All you ever do is talk about records - why don't you do that for a living?" I sent off a few demos and luckily [London alternative station] Xfm picked up on it. I do their afternoon request show. Would I play a Jesus Jones song? No, that would be a bit like masturbating in public.
Al Jaworski (aka Alan Doughty) (bass): I moved to Chicago after the band were dropped. I've been playing with the Waco Brothers. They were a traditional country outfit when I joined, but I contributed to their sound becoming a bit noisier. I also work in a wine warehouse, which means I get to drink and operate heavy machinery.
Jerry de Borg (guitar): I've been in a band called Sum Demeana for the last two years just playing all around London. It's very Jesus Jones-y, but we've got a girl singer and it's maturing nicely. I also wrote some music for an art documentary recently. That was something I hope to do more of.
Simon "Gen" Matthews (drums): I left Jesus Jones in 1996 and joined Baby Chaos. After we were dropped, we changed our name to Deckard and decided to do it all ourselves. I also sell second-hand motorbikes. It's good because it leaves me enough time for the music.
How the publicity was tracked by MI5 Recordings for Culture Vulture after its release - 2004
|Magazine: Jesus Jones full page interview feature in the June issue of Bullit Magazine 18.06.04
Magazine: Culture Vulture review in Exposure magazine 06.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on Alternatives Show 37 and 38, on Radio 021, Radio Boom 93, Radio Kikinda, Radio Kojot, Radio OK, Radio Fast, Radio Kragujevac, Radio Prizma, Radio City, Radio Slon and Radio Planeta, Vojvodina, Serbia, Bosnia/Hercegovina, Croatia, 06.04
Web: Culture Vulture review on ThisnotTV website, 06.04
Web: Culture Vulture press release on main page of Tinfoil Music website, 06.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on The Show on UKsounds.com, 06.04
Web: Culture Vulture review on www.ukmusicsearch.co.uk, 06.04
Radio: Mike Edwards interviewed on 107.4 BCRfm, Bridgwater, Somerset 28.05.04
Radio: Mike Edwards interviewed on Q97.2 Causeway Radio, Co. Londonderry 27.05.04
Radio: Mike Edwards interviewed on Spirit FM 96.6 & 102.3FM, Sussex 26.05.04
Web: Jesus Jones 'Find the Dial' featured on Windows Media Player UK Guide front Page, 21.05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist All FM Radio, Manchester 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist ETC FM, Edinburgh Telford College, Scotland 'Great song!! A song that will be stick in your head' 05.04
Shop: Culture Vulture in stores now including HMV, Virgin and Sister Ray, 17.05.04
Web: Culture Vulture available to buy at theMusicIndex.com 17.05.04
Web: Culture Vulture EP Windows Media Player Downloads available to buy at www.UKsounds.com, www.USsounds.com and www.OZsounds.com 17.05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture played on BBC York Radio, 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture and Head in the Sand is now available on the new Radio station song delivery service by Musicpoint, 14.05.04
Magazine/Radio: Interview with Mike Edwards recorded for Q Sheet Radio Industry
Magazine 4 page article Click Here and audio to be offered to Radio Stations 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture and Tom Robinson Remix played on Tom Robinson's Evening Sequence, BBC6 Radio 06.05.04
Web: Culture Vulture review on BlazinVibes.com, great review 9/10 look out for the interview coming soon, 11.05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist on Radio Middlesbrough, 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture being played on Lantern FM, Barnstaple, Exeter 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist on RNA RM, Arbroath, Scotland 05.04
Radio: Mike Edwards on Radio2 Jammin Thursday 6th May 2200-2230 And repeated on Saturday 8th May 1330-1400, also listen again available for 7days. Radio: Culture Vulture on B Playlist TotalRock Radio week commencing 26/04/04
Radio: Culture Vulture was played and reviewed on the Roundtable show with Andrew Collins BBC6 Radio 6/10, 7/10 and 1/10!, 23.04.04 & 24.04.04
Radio: Culture on daytime and specialist playlists on HeartlandFM, Perthshire, Scotland, 'remixes..a damn fine idea' 5.04 Radio: Culture Vulture on request list on University Radio York, 'Much more rocky this time round!' 5.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on the playlist Bay Radio, University of Wales, Aberystwyth 'pretty cool, didn't hear them 1st time around, but this is a cool tune. Great mix of rocking vox & wicked guitar play. Decent' 5.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on the playlist Air3, University of Sterling 'very impressive, an upbeat, Culture Vulture leads the way forward, making entry for equally impressive prog/rock which sounds similiar to Muse, Not a bad thing' 5.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on the playlist CFX Radio, Plymouth College of FE 'Like it, it's bangs along well. I've always liked his vocals. Hope it does well. I've got Doubt!' 5.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on the playlist Tube Radio, Thames Valley University, London 'This is really good, I like it, very rocky' 5.04 Radio: All the Culture Vulture EP on the playlist Blast 1386, Reading College 5.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist Isles FM, Isle of Lewis, Scotland 'A Brilliant, exciting, rocking track!' 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist Waves Radio 101.2FM, Peterhead, Scotland week commencing 3/05/04
Radio: Comment from BBC Wales Radio: 'Excellent Track. It's too crunchy for our airwaves'
Radio: Culture Vulture on playlist 107.4 BCRfm, Bridgwater, Somerset 'the track will certainly get plays on our evening shows. Its also a great idea having the different files to enable people to remix their own version - I'd like to be able to do that to other peoples songs!!!!!!' 05.04
Magazine: Jesus Jones advert in the May issue of Logo Magazine 05.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on Evening Playlist on Spirit FM 96.6 & 102.3FM, Sussex 'Great to hear Jesus Jones back...Fresh new rocky sound, on Evening Playlist' 04.04
Radio: Culture Vulture on Shades of Rock playlist on Q97.2 Causeway Radio, Co. Londonderry 'Good to hear JJ back on the scene. Remix your own track eh? Good idea, like that.' 04.04
Radio: Quote from Chris Hawkins BBC6 Radio 'Such a distinctive vocal performance strong lyrics & driving guitar. Like it - reminiscant of old Jesus Jones, in a good way!'
Magazine: SINGLE REVIEW by Logo Magazine Jesus Jones – ‘Culture Vulture’ Released 17th May on Mi5 Recordings UK Author: Suzie Q Rating 3_/5 2004 seems to be the year of the comeback; The Alarm confounded critics by hiding under their Poppy Fields pseudonym, Marillion (who never really went away) have new product out this month, even Tears For Fears are getting in on the act. What next? The long overdue return of Jesus Jones, best known for their era-defining pre Brit-Pop single ‘International Bright Young Thing’. ‘Culture Vulture’ doesn’t – indeed couldn’t – match that, but it’s far from a slight return. They always liked to align themselves with the likes of Pop Will Eat Itself, mashing up dance rhythms with the energy of cynical punks and the disdain of disillusioned rockers, and here, for perhaps the first time, it all works. Expectations were not, it must be said, very high; they’ve easily exceeded them though, by the simple expedient of employing that same formula and enlivening it with a dash of cyber-swirl and a barely suppressed seam of mania. It’s surprisingly enervating stuff, best played very loud.
Radio: Mike Edwards (Jesus Jones) on BBC6 Radio Craig Charles Breakfast Show talking about the Culture Vulture release, 9.30am (UK). www.bbc.co.uk/6music 15.04.04
Web: Thoughts from Tom Robinson from BBC 6 Radio, The Evening Sequence on Culture Vulture Remix feature 04.04
Web: Culture Vulture news on Spanish site Canal Pop, 2.04
Promotional Photo of the new Jesus Jones band - 2004
Promotional Photo of the new Jesus Jones band - 2004
Jesus Jones played three gigs in October 2008. The first one at The Luminaire, Kilburn, London was an intimate show warming up for the following two gigs supporting The Wonder Stuff. There is a separate page devoted to these three gigs. It contains the set lists, short reviews and lots of photos with the blurry ones kept in! Click here to view the page.
They merged pop, rock and dance into a pioneering new sound, cracking the US with smash hit ‘Right Here Right Now', a feat they would never match. We asked keyboard player Iain Baker how it felt to be an ‘International Bright Young Thing'.
That was then...
Mike Edwards formed Jesus Jones in London in 1987, recruiting guitarist Jerry De Borg, bassist Al Doughty, drummer Gen and Baker, on keyboards. The band found their name on the back of a packet of Spanish crisps and immediately set out to make progressive music.
"I think sampling to the ‘90s could be what the electric guitar was to the ‘60s. Sooner or later there'll be a Jimi Hendrix of sampling and I want it to be me," Edwards said in 1988. Debut single ‘Info Freako' was a minor hit, as were ‘Never Enough' and ‘Bring It On Down'. Accompanying album, ‘Liquidizer' further highlighted their eclectic tastes, using samples as diverse as Prince, Sonic Youth and ‘Apocalypse Now', and served notice of their pop intent.
Jesus Jones then moved onto their greatest triumph. In 1991, they released second LP, ‘Doubt', featuring the Cold War-inspired ‘Right Here Right Now'. It fell one place short of the US number one and although the track stalled at 31 here, the album topped the UK chart, while the singles ‘Real, Real, Real' and ‘International Bright Young Thing' were big hits. The band played to 72,000 at Wembley Stadium supporting INXS and won MTV's ‘Best Newcomer' award.
However, by the time of the 1993 follow-up, ‘Perverse', their position alongside EMF, The Shamen and Pop Will Eat Itself as UK indie-dance figureheads was over. It may have been the first album recorded entirely on a computer but ‘Perverse' stiffed, despite the US success of ‘The Devil You Know'. After one further album, 1997's ‘Already', Jesus Jones left their record label and split.
This is now...
Why did the band end? "Simple stuff, really. In 1997, when we decided to take a break, we were swimming against the tide, musically speaking, and it got tiring. Nobody seemed to be listening anymore, and we didn't have a record deal, so we just thought, ‘Let's stop for a bit'," Baker tells us.
What happened post-Jesus Jones? "Mike did some solo stuff and various collaborations. Me and Jerry were in a band called The Feely Room. Alan played with punk legend John Langford in a number of bands, chiefly The Waco Brothers. In our ‘downtime' I went off and DJ'ed and worked in record shops again," explains Baker, which has led to a career playing records on XFM and, most recently, NME Radio, alongside a management role with Union Sound Set.
What about the others? "Mike is a personal fitness trainer! Jerry manages a band too - Hill Valley High, alongside our new drummer Tony. Alan's been living in Chicago since the ‘90s. Our original drummer Gen still plays, and is in a band called The Blazing Zoos, after spells in Baby Chaos and Deckard."
Ian also refuses to rule out the possibility of a full Jesus Jones comeback. "Well, it would be nice...it's all about logistics. With Alan in the US, and the rest of us with other jobs and commitments, it's all about finding time to do it. We've played from time to time (most recently in 2008 supporting the Wonder Stuff) and we get offers all the time to do more gigs, so who knows?" he told Yahoo! Music.
The Quietus Interview - Interview by Francisco Scaramanga - 14th July 2010
As a fan of both The Fall and Jesus Jones, our man from the Emerald Isle, Francisco Scaramanga spoke to the latter's Mike Edwards about working with Mark E. Smith
Scott English and Larry Weiss wrote the song 'Popcorn Double Feature'. It was first recorded by Time Wilde in 1967, before also being recorded by The Searchers in the same year. It was later released by The Fall in 1990 for the Extricate album, which was made immediately after Mark E. Smith divorced Brix Smith. Her departure influenced more than just the subject matter of the album - it helped define part of its sound. Her background vocals and post-punk guitar, which had become mainstays of The Fall, are noticeably absent in this release. In one of the more unusual events in the group's history, she was replaced by founding member Martin Bramah, who had previously left the group in 1979 to form his own band Blue Orchids.
The critical reception to Extricate was positive, with Melody Maker suggesting it was "possibly their finest yet" and NME giving the album a full 10/10.
I remember Mark E. Smith playing his favourite records (Can, Augustus Pablo, The Young Gods, Napoleon the 14th) on the Mark Goodier BBC1 radio show in roughly 1991. Goodier commented that Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones was also a fan of The Young Gods, a fact he considered weird because "two people with less in common he couldn’t think of". Smith retorted: "Mike Edwards played on 'Popcorn Double Feature'". I loved both bands, but I was unaware of the connection at the time. Since then, it’s always fascinated me.
How did the collaboration come about? Because no-one seems to know... Were you just in an adjoining studio? (In the scheme of Fall one-offs it seems to be only bettered by the Chemical Brothers' manager Nick Dewey drumming for them at Reading festival when they were caught short).
Mike Edwards: The producer Craig Leon was working with both of us at the same time. He had one session going on in one room in The Townhouse Studio in Shepherds Bush, and another session in in another room. Not all the time I'm glad to say and I seem to recall my Fall moment was recorded on a Sunday, or some similar 'off' time.
Was the recording completed in one day? Where did the recording take place?
ME: I couldn't tell you how long the entire song took to record - I wasn't around for that - but my part was done in a couple of hours. It was some guitar playing so we didn't need a drawn out session for my few bars.
Did you (and the band) sit down and listen to The Searchers version of the song before recording? (The thing that always struck me about the song is how Mark E. Smith makes the song his own - it definitely helps that the original is great and the lyrics are fairly off the wall).
ME: No, I heard it for the first time when I walked into the studio. In fact, I've only just discovered it wasn't a Fall original! So yes, he definitely made it his own but I'd say that was par for the course for him.
Did you work on any of the other recordings on the album / B-sides?
ME: Nope, just that one. I think I was an interesting experiment on Craig Leon's behalf that Mark E went along with. I don't think I was ever considered as much more than a novelty in Fall world.
You must have been busy in 1990. Can we just try to get the timeline correct? At the time of the recording you had released Liquidiser and you were writing Doubt - or was this 1989? In February 1990 you played for the British troops in Romania. Later that year you would release an album that sold 2 million copies. Surely you had more pressing things to be doing than working with The Fall?
ME: Fighting my natural urge to be utterly pedantic I'll still have to point out a few points there; the session was done as we were recording Liquidiser - the summer of 1989, Tiananmen Square on the TV all the time. Six months later I was writing Doubt (in the aftermath of the collapse of the Iron Curtain) and on the verge of going to Romania, playing to utterly bewildered Romanian rock fans who were expecting German Heavy Metal to be part of their bright new future - no British troops there to my knowledge. It was a year later that Doubt was released. And yes, it was busy but busy with doing interesting things like playing on that session. After all, this was the kind of professional musician lifestyle I'd been chasing for years.
At the time of Extricate, The Fall were probably at their largest number. Mark had broken up with Brix. Martin Bramah had rejoined the band. They were undergoing a renaissance critically. Mark had moved from Manchester to Edinburgh. The Fall had got hip collaborating with Coldcut. This timeline is correct? What was the mood in the camp?
ME: I can't really comment accurately on that. I do remember the Coldcut collaboration but I really don't think The Fall needed to get any hipper at that point. It was a tangential move but not necessarily a progression in the eyes of critics. As I only met Mark E. Smith I can't say what the feeling within the band was. On the few times I've met him the mood seems to be about the same.
You were a lot younger than most of The Fall. They didn’t pick on you did they?
ME: Ha! I'm probably taller than all of them so no! The session was very small, just Mark, Craig and I. I was keen to please since this was a big moment for me, Mark was very quiet and withdrawn so that most of the communication about what and how to play came via Craig. He was respectful but definitely knew what he wanted. I didn't get the idea me playing on the track was the high point of his week but if Craig thought it might work and I wasn't an arse he'd go along with it and see what happened. At least that's my impression after 21 years of memory hazing.
Were/are you a Fall fan? What are your favourite Fall songs and albums? Have you seen them perform live on stage?
ME: Probably more of a Fall fan than Mark was/is a Jesus Jones fan! Yes, I have some Fall albums but I can't remember which and they're at home now when I'm not. They were one of those few bands that if you were a music fan in the 80s, you absolutely had to have a knowledge of. They were seen as an essential part of the development of British music in that era so even if you didn't listen to them daily, not listening to them at all was a serious omission. Seen them live on a number of occasions, usually festivals. Always enjoyed it.
You were termed as indie dance - isn’t it slightly incongruous that you and not someone from the Manchester bands collaborated with The Fall?
ME: It is interesting to see how history has become re-written with all this. The term indie-dance hadn't been used, or at least not coined often by summer 1989. More to the point, at that time the first Stone Roses album was only just out and listening to it you'll hear a straightforward Indie album, no dance element at all. Not that there's any problem with that. The Happy Mondays at this point were still just a funk band - an interesting and way above average one - but it was Vince Clark's remixing of 'Wrote For Luck' that provided a pretty radical change of direction. 'Fool's Gold', a year later, was really the Stone Roses' one stab at the dance side of it and by that time the Manchester thing was in full swing. If I were writing history I'd point out that Age Of Chance in 1986 were doing stuff that fully combined dance and rock, soon followed by Pop Will Eat Itself and The Shamen. Those are the bands that were the pioneers. Basically the people that came late, and in some cases pretty half-heartedly, to the party are now credited with being the be all and end all. My acid house remixes of our tunes in 1988 aren't good enough for me to complain about being written out of history !
Were you aware that The Fall’s version of 'Popcorn Double Feature' is sung in full by Johnny Vegas in the opening sequence of the latest series of the sitcom Ideal?
ME: No! I'm going to have to chase that. I hope he puts the emphasis on the guitar parts.
Jesus Jones as a band have remained the same guys since 1989. Did you not pick up any tips from Mark E. Smith about hiring and firing?
ME: It's a good point. God knows I tried, but there was always the concern that I might not actually be the real talent in the band.
In your writing and recording were you influenced by anything from The Fall - the distorted vocals perhaps? I always hear Talking Heads and Public Enemy when I listen to your band.
ME: And you'd be dead right. I'd always liked the spikiness of The Fall, though, especially the guitar parts with their unconventional approach. From my experience of the session I think some of that may very well be down to Mark E Smith.
The Fall have never really had a big hit; you had yours with 'Right Here Right Now'. Can it be more of a hindrance than a help? I ask this question because I feel that sometimes The Fall may have sabotaged success at times for exactly this reason. I mean, why not release 'Bill Is Dead' as a single? Why entitle it 'Bill Is Dead'? People don’t expect to hear a specific song when they go to a Fall concert.
ME: Depends on whether you want to be perceived as having a solid body of work or being a 'One Hit Wonder', as I believe some in America view us. Over here we had a few other songs that could be added into the one hit lucky dip, and we have 'Info Freako' as a potential cult classic. But if I were given the choice I'd go for the One Hit Wonder and this may be because - as many suspected all along - I am simply a mercenary swine, but it's really great to be able to feed your kids on the back of American radio still playing one of my favourite Jesus Jones songs 20-years after I hurried it out in a dingy London flat.
And this feeds into another question... Did the cycling stop you from doing a Kurt Cobain when massive success arrived? [Edwards is a keen cyclist and, according to the BBC, also works as a personal trainer]. Insensitively put but some people were lauding you as leading a new Beatles British style invasion - that must have been stressful.
ME: Absolutely spot on. Some people are just not mentally built to be famous and whereas Bono and Liam Gallagher either are or developed the ability to cope, I couldn't and it doesn't seem much like Kurt Cobain could either. Cycling, and racing in particular, gave me something to be equally obsessive about without people criticising me for. Career-wise, developing an alter ego would have been the best move but I wasn't clever enough, and besides, I've won a few tiddly races so what do I care?
In the early Food Record days did you know Blur? Were you aware that Mark E. Smith features on the new Gorillaz album?
ME: Yes, I first saw Seymour, as they were then, as Food were on the brink of signing them. They were acquaintances as a result of the Food deal (Food's office at the time was one small room in Soho) but not friends. Not because, on the whole, we and they weren't likeable, just slightly different. Apparently, Alex James, in his book, recounts a fist fight between Damon and I that I was totally unaware of. So too were the rest of the band when I asked them (in case my memory of me doing something totally out of character was faulty).
Mark E. Smith on the Gorrillaz album? Great idea!
Were you a tiny bit disappointed when Obama overtook Hilary Clinton in the presidential nominations given that she was using your song?
ME: Gutted! Although she'd already chosen a Celine Dion song (my, the company we keep) as her campaign theme tune. Since Bill used 'Right Here, Right Now' in the 90s I still have hope for Chelsea using the family favourite when her political career kicks off.
What are your plans for the future? Any new material / gigs on the horizon?
ME: Nope. We've reached a point where the amount of paying gig goers who want to see us versus the money required to take us all away from what we do otherwise don't match up. I say this every year, though, and we still manage to get together to play every so often. As for writing new stuff it's too time consuming for me at the moment, although I'm itching to do it again once I give up all my other time-consuming hobbies.Read the original interview that was on The Quietus which is an excellent site and features youtube links to some of the songs in the interview.
Guardian Interview - Interview by Dave Simpson - 23rd September 2010
From pop star to chiropractor: musicians' post-musical careers
Then: Leader of indie dance hitmakers Jesus Jones
Now: Personal trainer.
I decided early on that being cardiovascularly fit would prevent me losing my voice onstage. I got into cycling, which became a good method of transport in London when we were famous because you could get where you wanted without people on the tube going "I saw your interview this week." Cycling became such an obsession that I started racing. But as the band's career went down the tubes, I wondered what I'd ever do should Americans ever stop playing Right Here, Right Now, and remembered Mick Jagger saying that apart from music he was unemployable. I came across an advert asking "Have you ever fancied a career in fitness?" and I did. I enrolled on courses, I had clients. I now run a personal training business with a couple of trainers under my wing. The band thought I was nuts, but I was always the least rock'n'roll in the group. I use music a lot in classes but never Jesus Jones: it was a separate life. But being a pop star has helped. When I was first qualifying, the people around me were absolutely terrified, but after playing to 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium, doing exercises in front of 10 people was nothing.Read the original article that was in The Guardian which features many more stars from the music business explaining what they've been up to lately