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Rock'N'Roll: Jim Jones

Do you remember your first experience of rock’n’roll?

It was absolutely everything. Around the mid-seventies my folks bought a Hitachi music centre and gave the old Dansette player to me and my sister. And with it was this box full of singles, mostly belonging to my dad and uncle when they were teenagers. There was some amazing stuff: a seventy-eight of Great Balls Of Fire, Little Richard, early Elvis Presley. This became our music and I completely cherished it. And while I was listening, that music was setting the blueprint. Listening to those records was the first moment that something awakened in me.

What’s the essence of rock’n’roll?

‘Commitment’ is a good term. It doesn’t matter if your wife’s going to leave you, your family disowns you or everybody hates you, just commit. All the best rock’n’roll records have that, whether it be Little Richard, AC/DC or the Birthday Party. I also think there’s an element of the collective unconscious in certain parts of rock’n’roll. Everyone gets it and everyone feels it. For me it’s linked with gospel music and voodoo ceremonies, where they find something and hammer it out until they go to another plane of consciousness.

The level of intensity at a Jim Jones Revue show is extreme.

With rock’n’roll, if you don’t bring life and commitment into the parts you’re working with they won’t get off the ground. You have to throw more than you’ve got into it, throw every fibre into being convincing. Then when you do feel it lift off, it’s an incredible sensation.

Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.