It has been about twenty years or so since Jesus Jones toured Australia and the guys are very excited to be doing it all over again, according to keyboard player, Iain Baker.
“We’re doing shows in Australia and then we’re flying straight to Japan to play a special one-off gig in Tokyo which we’re really looking forward to as well,” he told me when I spoke to him recently about the tour.
The band unfortunately won’t be visiting New Zealand this time around. Iain thinks that is a shame. ”We want to go back. We only ever played once in New Zealand which really isn’t enough. We’re looking at getting a few shows under our belt to show people that we are back out touring again. Once we do, hopefully other gigs will fall into place as well.”
While we haven’t seen the band on our shores for a while, the boys haven’t exactly been idle during that time. “The band, in a sense, never really split,” he explains. “We never really stopped doing anything. It’s just that, without a record label and without all the sort of organisation behind a band, you tend to just drift away from the public consciousness. And that’s what we did. We kept the band on ice really while we did other things. Jerry was involved in a number of bands. Alan, our bass player, moved to America and played in a number of bands out there.” And Iain? “I decided it was time for a bit of a career change. I kind of went off on a tangent and became a radio DJ, worked on alternative radio here and did voice overs so we’ve all sort of ploughed our own little path but Jesus Jones has always been something that has been a uniting sort of force for all of us. So we all just thought it was time to come out of hiding, I suppose,” he laughs.
They will be touring with UK band, The Wonder Stuff who they have toured with before. “They’re great. They gave us our first ever big break in the UK when we played with them in 1989. It was a thrill to play with them then and the thrill and the pleasure hasn’t diminished.”
A compilation is currently in the works, Iain tells me. “ We haven’t got a title for it yet but I think it’s going to be called ‘’Jesus Jones: The Collection” It was always an idea I had to see if I could get another compilation and maybe put some unheard material on there. We started picking at our own archives. There is quite a lot of stuff that people have never heard before. We told EMI ‘Look, we have lots of stuff in the archives. Is that something that would be interesting? And they said ‘Definitely’ so I’m in the process of talking to EMI about exactly what tracks are going to go on and hopefully there should be a brand new compilation out fairly soon. It will be a 2 disc thing. One will be hits and things and the other will be completely unheard stuff. “
These days, it seems, a lot of people are searching for more obscure material from their favourite bands and this fact has not escaped Iain’s attention. “This is one of the things that I’m starting to realise,” he agrees. “We’re quite active on Twitter and Facebook now and I’ve been quite actively involved in social media and social networking for years anyway and as soon as you get involved as a band on any of those sites, I’m always blown away by how many people come out of the woodwork and say Oh I’d love to hear that’ and there’s a real enthusiasm there. Sometimes things that, as a member of a band, you’d almost discounted. You just look at those tracks and think ‘Who wants to hear demos from whenever? ’ but there’s a real hunger for that sort of thing and it’s nice to think that hopefully we can satisfy some of that hunger. In the past, you used to find out that a band would be releasing a single in four months’ time and you wouldn’t find out what it sounded like until it was out. These days, as soon as a band decides to release something, it appears on an MP3 blog or a video clip of the band turns up on You Tube. There’s not much mystery involved in music anymore so it’s nice to dig things up and surprise people again.”
So is there any new material on the horizon? “Not yet there isn’t.” He admits “But it’s one of those things. We took so long to get off our backsides and get all of this together. Initially we thought well, we’ve got enough great stuff already. Let’s just resurrect a lot of those tunes. It’s one of those things. Without a record contract, without a reason to release an album, sometimes there doesn’t seem much point in writing new material. But it’s funny, as soon as we started talking about getting together to start doing gigs, and playing stuff from our old albums, the urge to record new material starts up again. But you can’t ever harness creativity.” He pauses for a moment, and then adds “Having said that, we haven’t actually started doing anything yet. But considering we haven’t recorded any new material for ten years, we feel really enthused and excited about doing that.”
“When I think back to all the things that were written the first time round with Jesus Jones, things like International Bright Young Thing… which is about touring and the experiences of touring. It was written looking out the window of a jumbo jet as we were flying around the world, thinking ‘’ísn’t it amazing that music is basically paying for us to do this?’’ Touring is one of those things that tend to crystalise a lot of ideas that you have so I wouldn’t be surprised if getting back out on the road, touring and playing in Australia and Japan and doing it again after so long, provides an extra creative push,” he muses. “I’m not promising that we’re going to write about Australia but it helps shape your ideas. “
As far as their stage show goes, Iain is confident that the fans will get everything they have come to expect from the band plus a few surprises. “Hopefully, we will be as energetic as we always were, the last time that people saw us. Maybe older and wiser but the only ways we are not particularly that much wiser is we still jump around on stage like we’re in our early 20s. It’s one of those places where you forget about everything that’s happened in all the years that passed and you just revert to exactly how you were. It’s a strange thing, as soon as you get back on stage, it’s just like it’s your first ever gig. That excitement always tends to be there. You hear a lot of bands say that it becomes a job or whatever but not really for us. It’s always stayed exciting. And to be given the chance to come back to places like Australia and Japan after so many years, that just makes it even more exciting.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2011. All rights reserved