Jim Jones


Died: February 18, 2008
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, does not have a special annex for Jim Jones, but really ought to. Since common names are bound to cause confusion, it should immediately be mentioned that this is not because of the Kool-Aid-serving cult leader whose lurid Jonestown massacre was something of an inspiration to many rock songwriters. The Jim Jones that ought to be better known even in his hometown is a tireless veteran of local combos, so many that it is often said that Jones has played in every single decent band to come out of the city often called "the mistake by the lake."

The talented musician might possibly be best known as a guitarist, specifically since 1987 with the long-running Pere Ubu group. In this capacity he should be added to the list of roadies who have been promoted up to membership in the bands whose gear they helped schlep, just like bassist Miller "Speedy" Sparks of the Sir Douglas Quintet. Yet prior to Jones' promotion there is an extensive list of musical activities he had been involved with beginning in the '70s, including notorious Cleveland groups such as the Mirrors, the Electric Eels, the Poli-Styrene Jass Band, and Foreign Bodies. In the course of his career he seems to have recorded on almost every instrument common to a rock band, also contributing production and mixing expertise as well as photography to various projects.

His involvement with Pere Ubu began in 1978, when he embarked on American and European tours as part of the crew. During the following decade Jones also recorded with Pere Ubu maestro David Thomas on his solo projects as well as collaborating with the Easter Monkeys and Home and Garden. In 1999 he released a solo project entitled Speaker/Cranker, which primarily featured his keyboard playing. Health problems began to plague Jones during this period, leading to quadruple bypass surgery in 2004. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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