Johnny Jones

Photo by Jeanne Rice>Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Murder Ballads. I was a soundman at the old Foothill club in Long Beach, and this guy named Hal was the bartender. Hal was a bad, bad man. I used to use the cover of "Stagger Lee" from this album as a sound check until Hal had a serious meltdown one day. He broke a Budweiser bottle on the bar and told me he would gut me if I ever played the song again. He had cut his finger and stuck it in his mouth. I still remember his cold blue eyes and the little speck of blood on his bottom lip and the moment toward the end of the song when Blixa of the Bad Seeds begins shrieking. It was very surreal. This song is sort of a soundtrack to Hal for me, God rest his angry soul.

>The Cows, Cunning Stunts and Sexy Pee Story. My old band used to share a rehearsal building with the Cows when I lived in Minneapolis. They made great records and always did their own thing. They never tried to write or become something they were not. They never sold out. Now I see Metallica has a video compilation out titled Cunning Stunts. Coincidence? I think not. And they cry about Napster ripping them off. Show a little respect, jackasses. >Carl Orff, Carmina Burana: Prague Festival Orchestra & Chorus (Pavel Urbanek, Conductor). Coffee commercials and Michael Jackson have desecrated "O Fortuna." Although Carmina Burana celebrates pagan gluttony, it still kills me to see it associated with shit like that. This music is absolutely beautiful and perfect. It makes me believe in some sort of divine intervention every time I hear it. Orff composed this music at a time of so much turbulence in the world, with the Nazification of Germany and the outbreak of world war. He was a simple music teacher and scored this music from a manuscript of religious, political and sexual poems from the 13th century to find his own unmistakable style. And then Michael Jackson goes and uses it as backing music as he flies off in a spaceship to close his silly concerts. >Mike Martt.I heard a demo of his song "Friend Who Trips" once, and it never left my head. He and Steve Zepeda gave me my first break when I moved here from New York several years ago. Mike is gold. His songs sound like they could've been released 20 years ago or 20 years from now, like the work of Townes Van Zandt, Nick Drake, Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan. Mike taught me to strive to write timeless songs. >Kiss concert, Omaha, Nebraska, 1978. I was nine years old and persuaded my parents to take me. My father is a Baptist minister, so he wore his Sunday suit, and my mother and little sister wore their Sunday dresses. We looked as if we were going to see the opera, a family affair for my birthday. I knew my father would make us leave as soon as he saw what was going on, so I disappeared as soon as we got in. I went up front to the general-admission area and hung out with these longhaired guys with mustaches and cut-off AC/DC half-shirts. Kiss was amazing; I didn't think they were human. After the concert, I was sitting on the hood of this yellow Camaro with my new, older concert buddies. We were cool, trying to pick up chicks, drinking big cans of beer out of paper sacks and yelling really smart things like, "Rock-and-Roooooll!" and, "Paaarrrttty Haarrrdy!" That's when my dad found me (keep in mind that I was a nine-year-old boy and these guys were, like, 30 years old). I was spanked with a belt and grounded for months. Kiss became pornography in the Jones house, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life after that. >VH-1's Bands on the Run.I'm not much of a TV watcher, but in this case, I rarely missed an episode. It was really pathetic. This band Soulcracker from San Diego really got my goat. They should take all the Soulcracker footage and release it as a self-help video for musicians, who in turn could use it as a guide to show how you shouldn't conduct yourself if you wish to keep your musical integrity. Bands like Soulcracker are precisely what's wrong with music today, a cell of the 'NSync/Hootie/Britney cancer. >Fingerprints Records in Long Beach. Even though I've boycotted the Second Street business merchants for having me arrested for fliering on a public street (I had to pay a $300 fine; seems they were upset that I was luring people to support the evil downtown Long Beach business merchants), I still shop at Fingerprints. They support local music, and it's a great shop. >Long Beach. I miss New York City. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on something because there, you never have to worry about clubs being shut down because of the noise. I like noise. But when I step into the Space, the Blue Cafe, the Prospector or DiPiazza's Restaurant & Lounge and see all my beautiful friends, I forget all that New York shit. I know I'm exactly where I need to be. My friends are very noisy, and I love them.


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