February 20, 2012
So, that’s the gigs out of the way, then. I hope everyone who came along to see us had a good time – we certainly did! It was great to see Al again (minus any groin-related injuries!) and as ever, getting back into a van and zooming up and down the Motorway together was…an experience. Lots of people wonder what a rock band gets up to on the road – can it all be sex, drugs and bad behaviour? Well, no. The drummer farts constantly, we all stop at service stations for crappy food and to stretch our legs, we argue over who’s going to put the music on the stereo, and we watch movies (this time, the Inbetweeners) It verges on the boring, but at the same time, it’s great to be doing it again after so long. Also, we welcomed two new members to the Jones family: Gavin (from Wolf Gang) was our Driver and Tech guy, and was an absolute hero – we couldn’t have done it without him. Joining us to do lights was Tom, who has West Country roots, so fitted with us estranged Yokels particularly well. We’re hoping to see both of them when we do the next batch of gigs.
As far as the shows themselves went – well, Birmingham was an odd one. The room was weird, the sound in there was definitely a bit strange, and the equipment set-up wasn’t the greatest. The acoustics seemed to gang up on us, with waves of boomy feedback appearing for no discernible reason, and the smoke machine oil quickly settled on the warm stage floor, congealing instantly and turning into an ice rink. However – all of that seemed to spur us on, and we ended up finding some sort of Joy in adversity. As one of us remarked afterwards, it was the best worst gig we’d played for years. As ever with Brum, lots of familiar faces too – Jay Bridge, Kevin Williamson, Mark Esling, and Miles & Erica from the Stuffies, Elaine Hamilton and lots more. It’s the people who follow us, and have done across all these years, who make it all worthwhile. We’d have hung around afterwards to say hello to everyone, but a long load-out (down about six flights of stairs!) meant that by the time we were all done, everyone had vanished. Never mind, we’ll see you all next time.
Islington was a total blast – and being a hometown show (sort of) there were so many old friends there we hardly had time to see them all! Gen turned up to watch us, which was great, as well as our old management team from Gailforce – Gail, Hillary and Louise. The Perry boys from “A” were in the crowd, as well as a host of other friends and family members. So – no pressure then. Happily, there weren’t any tech issues this time, and we also had our visuals with us too, courtesy of Richard Perry (who, some of you might know as the creator of the original JJ Fanzine “All The Answers”)
Set-wise, the show was the same both times – being the bones of the Australian set, with “Culture Vulture” reinstated, and “What Would You Know?” “Welcome Back Victoria” and “What’s Going On” added. “Victoria” was an odd one, as Mike STILL doesn’t really like it all that much (a remnant of having to play it all the time on an acoustic tour of US radio shows back in the early 90’s). However, it was the moment in the set where everyone seemed to go NUTS – and we all loved it as a result. For the next wave of gigs, we want to reinstate even more old material, and, as ever, we’re open to suggestions.
As for other things – the compilation is still selling well – thanks to everyone that’s bought a copy so far! For those of you who have been enquiring about downloads – EMI should be releasing it digitally in a few months – we’ll keep you posted. For now, the shop is still the only place to get SIGNED copies.
Very soon, the shop will also have stock of the new, limited edition T-shirts we made for the tour, as well as stock of the older shirts too. We may look to press up some of the even older designs, who knows? Again – you’ll hear it from us first.
Finally, and perhaps coolest of all – writing has started. It’s been ages since Mike did any writing, and the process is, perhaps unsurprisingly, slow as a result. But it feels great that we’re doing it again. It may take time, and we’re not sure how it will sound, but we’ll get there. One thing Mike has specified is that any new material should stand on its own, and not get subsumed into any other package – so we won’t tack a new track onto any forthcoming reissues, that’s a promise.
So, that’s the state of the Joneses, as of this month. Thanks to all of you who’ve been in touch, via email, or facebook, or Twitter. It’s been great to know you’re all still out there, and great to hear from each and every one of you.