Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry, Mastering by Sam Patlove
It was fairly early in the day in Austin when the members of the British band The Jim Jones Revue began to arrive at Big Orange Studio. All of the members looked as if they were still wearing three or four days worth of gig sweat stained into their suit coats, dress shirts and slacks, fresh out of bed having slept in the same pieces. It was rock and roll and it was mid-week at the South By Southwest music festival, where sleep and cleanliness are at a premium and there isn't anyone trying to change anything about the situation. Jim Jones, the smooth and conversational lead singer of the group, strode into the studio, looked around and seemed to immediately appreciate that this was his kind of place. You see, it's not the fancier, the better for him. It's more about feeling that stuck-on grime of a place that's been frequented by night-after-night of hedonists or music crazies - with them spilling their drinks everywhere, moving when and how the music strikes and then leaving down hundreds of calories and with a billboard-sized smile of their faces. He could look in, see all of the old shit and the Harry Nilsson in a terry-cloth robe poster on the wall and understand that this was a place that encouraged a man to just cut it up, to let loose and be ballsy. It's the kind of place that should have been constructed out of the glass from broken beer bottles. It's the kind of place where a bottle of Jack isn't all that far away and there's probably someone around that could get you some weed. Jones makes one very simple request to us as he gets there and he makes the request with a mischievous smirk on his face and twinkle in his eyes and that request is, "Take everything up and into the red. We like it in the red. And if it's in the red, take it just a little bit further into the red for good measure." So this session is in the red. It's so far into the red that if the recording were an ocean liner, it would exist in a space out in the middle of a red sea without any shard of land in sight and the sky would also assume some shade of a setting sun - all pinks and reds as far as the eye can see. It's to great effect that such a demand was made as the Jim Jones Revue makes the kind of rock and roll music that is some odd form of ammunition. Once the hammer is cocked and the first guitar note rings alive, it fires you up and then guns you down, filling you full of party lead, running on empty lead. Jones sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis engaging the devil in a spitting match, while imitating Little Richard, but still out-doing all of them with his flaming energy and the kind of momentum that leads to proclamations, after the fact, like, "I guess I just got a little carried away." He runs all of his engines well beyond their capacities and he booms and shrieks as if someone at the top of the highest mountain needs to hear those boomings and those shriekings, as if their lives and his life depends on it. He plays up the style of the quintessential rock and roller, but it's nothing of an act, just the way his wool's dyed. He is that man and this is his band.