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He was born Irwin Thomas but Australian music fans know him better as Jack Jones.  I spoke to the singer recently about his current projects and his plans for the future and thought we should get the name thing sorted first. Does he prefer to be known as Irwin or Jack?  “Either or …” he replied. “Some people call me Irwin, some people call me Jack.  I’ll answer to both!” he laughed. So Jack it is then.  When we spoke, he was on the busy streets of Manhattan, New York… 23rd Street to be exact, trying to find a quiet haven amongst the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most exciting cities, so we could have a long distance chat. Jack was actually born in The Big Apple but, at the tender age of 10, his family settled in Australia and it is here that he made a name for himself as the vocalist for the very popular band, Southern Sons with hits like ‘’Hold Me in Your Arms”, “Always and Ever” and the catchy “Heart in Danger”.


These days, Jack divides his time between New York and Australia. “I’m spending 50% of my time here and 50% there,” he explains. And he seems to be enjoying it. “Yeah, it’s been great, a lot of fun. Being in New York has changed how I normally do things. I’m doing different kinds of shows here. They’re smaller, more intimate.  I’ve been doing some acoustic shows and doing some work with a friend of mine over here who builds guitar amplifiers. Being a guitarist, I enjoy that. And I’m doing some solo shows and some writing as well.  I’ve been coming back to Australia periodically and doing some gigs there too.”


Jack feels that playing to American audiences gives him a fresh perspective on his work. “Most of the audiences here don’t really know my music or what I’ve been doing so that’s been really great.  I’m loving that side of it. Everything seems new. They are willing to interpret the experience differently, just by the design of things, so there’s a lot more room to explore. So I’m happy.”


The singer has a few different projects going on to keep him busy, including a couple of collaborations as well as a solo record that should be released next year. In addition to all that, he is particularly excited about working on the show, ‘Sticky Fingers 40th Anniversary Plus the Best of The Rolling Stones’, celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Rolling Stones album of the same name. Jack will be coming to Australia next month to perform in two shows in Sydney and he can’t wait.  “We all get to take these Stones songs and interpret them and play with a great band and enjoy playing great music with a bunch of other people and celebrating this incredible band.”


Jack is one of four singers who will each be performing a selection of Rolling Stones numbers. The cast includes Simon Meli (The Widowbirds), Greg AGAR (Syndicate), Zkye and Evelyn Duprai. Under the creative direction of Joseph Calderazzo, they will be joined by a ten piece band which includes a brass section, each delivering their individual interpretations of songs from the album, track by track. The second set will feature other Rolling Stones classics such as Ruby Tuesday, Angie, Satisfaction and Jumpin’ Jack Flash, among others. One thing is for certain. They will not be short of music to choose from.  As Jack says, “There’s a huge back catalogue to interpret, that’s for sure.”  There are some great songs in there like Brown Sugar, Wild Horses. It’s pretty exciting. I’m happy to be coming back to do that.”


This is not the first time Jack has done a Rolling Stones tribute show. “I did one a couple of years ago,” he tells me. “also with Joseph and he gave me a lot of room to explore a lot of the songs so I’m very excited about coming back and doing that again. I get to play a bit of acoustic and jump up and down a bit. It’s fun. They’re great songs to work with and that’s a good start. Then you just have to be responsible with it and let it come through you somehow.”


The singer is full of admiration for Calderazzo’s work.  “Joseph has been doing some big shows and they’re always brilliant,” he enthuses “and being a Rolling Stones fan, with the 40th anniversary of Sticky Fingers, he decided to celebrate it so I guess that would be the inspiration behind it. It’s a way of celebrating the music of The Rolling Stones and we’re excited about that.”


“Unfortunately, we are only doing two shows in Sydney with this one.”  Jack explains. “But, who knows? We could be back in another ten years for the 50th anniversary!”


by Sharyn Hamey



Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2012  All rights reserved

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