Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Listening Party























By Mike DeCapite

Jim Jones, who died last week in his lounge chair, at the helm of his unparalleled archive of music and videotape and movies and memorabilia, in his house on Lake Erie, played with three of the best bands that Cleveland produced (or that produced themselves in spite of Cleveland)—Pere Ubu, Easter Monkeys, and Home and Garden—and he influenced most of the rest of them. Whether by way of the music he made or by way of the music and sensibility he introduced people to as resident DJ and clerk/consultant at Record Rendezvous, or one-on-one, through mix tapes and listening sessions at his home, Jones opened people’s minds. He was a connection to the wider world. I called this “Listening Party” because Jones was always having people over and setting them up with chili and whatever they needed to drink and putting them in that chair—the one he died in—and playing them records and showing them clips from movies and the Three Stooges and Ghoulardi and the early Stones or whomever and opening up the world. And he did this at Record Rendezvous, too: He’d stand at the turntable and play you things for as long as you’d stand there and listen. The last time I saw him he gave me a stack of CDs he’d burned for me, including Max Richter, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky score, a Captain Beefheart radio show, and Erik Satie, and we hadn’t even really been in touch in years. A full description of his career (Mirrors, Electric Eels, Styrenes, Foreign Bodies, Easter Monkeys, Home and Garden, David Thomas & the Pedestrians, Wooden Birds, Pere Ubu, and solo work, but minus his work with Speaker/Cranker and King NXN) can be found in an interview posted at Ubu’s website. I’ve never felt a more immediate or unmediated connection to a musician’s work than to Jones’s. He was the first person I met whose work made me think, “Wow, I want to make something that good.” I realize that by writing about him, I’m setting myself up as a prime target for a pie from beyond the grave, so I’ll end this quick and then duck. Nothing I can say about his work can convey the hundredth part of what I feel when I hear the songs posted below, but I’ll just embarrass everyone, me and Jones included, by saying it’s something blazing and senseless and pretty close to love.

Download:

"Emerald Necklace" mp3
by Foreign Bodies, circa 1980.
CLE magazine 3A flexidisc
out of print
all instruments: Jim Jones

"Marco Polo: City of Kin-Sai" mp3
by Home and Garden, 1984.
available on History and Geography
guitar: Jim Jones

"Underpants" mp3
by Easter Monkeys, 1984.
Splendor of Sorrow
out of print
guitar: Jim Jones

"Nailed to the Cross" mp3
by Easter Monkeys, 1984.
Splendor of Sorrow outtake
previously unreleased
guitar: Jim Jones

"Heaven/.357" mp3
by Easter Monkeys, 1984.
Splendor of Sorrow
out of print
guitar: Jim Jones

"Miss You" mp3
by Pere Ubu, 1988.
available on The Tenement Year
guitar: Jim Jones

"Forever Lost (Nocturne)" mp3
by Jim Jones, circa 1990.
News from the Firelands
previously unreleased
all instruments: Jim Jones

14 comments:

ETC said...

Don't you worry about no pie from beyond the grave. This is all good because it's thanks to your posting that -I not only got the sad news- I got to learn *who* the guitarist was on a most-beloved recording that blew my mind when I accidentally ended up w/a tape marked "Pere Ubu: Tenement Year" when I was young - a recording I never found anywhere else.

And now I would probably have never heard of Easter Monkeys if not for you. As I type I am thoroughly enjoying 'Nailed to the Cross'. So thanks. The music lives on. Superb.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I posted this at ClePunk.com the other day:

The other day I went into Dave's to pick up some detergent ("Stronger than dirt!") and what was playing on the store music, but "Pa Pa Oom Mow Mow"! Good one, Jim! Among the many mitzvahs that Jim Jones performed was playing an electric eels tape to Jon Savage, which led to Rough Trade releasing an eels 45, which led to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqj8ed_wJiQ, the latest in this guy's year-long campaign.
------------------------------AK

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Emerald Necklace,
this was posted on wikipedia's front page today:
# Frederick Law Olmsted planned for The Dorchesterway to extend his Emerald Necklace park system all the way to Boston Harbor?

Also, to be fair:

# (L)isted structures in the parish of Acton in Cheshire include an aqueduct (pictured), sundial, icehouse, clock tower, telephone box and a statue of a dog upsetting a food bowl.

..............................AK

Anonymous said...

You're more than welcome, Etc. Smog Veil Records has had an Easter Monkeys rerelease in the works for years. (To be fair, I believe it was Jimmy holding them up with his endless tinkering.) Petition them at http://www.smogveil.com/ecom/cart.php?target=help&mode=contactus

--Mike DeCapite

Anonymous said...

Jones can be seen playing guitar on "Waiting for Mary" with Ubu at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiK-Lvwanq0

Anonymous said...

And also on "Breath" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hYqvtHzr48&NR=1

Anonymous said...

There's another piece about Jones by M. DeCapite under New Work at www.sparklestreet.com.

Kevin said...

hell yo i used to do sound for the easter monkeys at gigs in cleve. jonesy was one of my best friends he has er had some of my paintings.i love him dead and alive! check me out at fa-qart.com kevin wendall

frankenslade said...

Sorry to hear that he's died. He seemed like a great, spirited member of Pere Ubu the times I'd seen him play. Cool to hear that he was actually this kind of guy in his everyday life. Thanks for the post and the tracks. I wasn't aware of some of these.

frankenslade said...

PS - Inspired by your words, I posted some of my own thoughts and a few tracks featuring Jones here:

http://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/index.php?title=he_was_a_lemggreatl_emg_man&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

The Archivist said...

Thanks for the words and music. Knew of Jim's work with Ubu and H&G - Easter Monkeys stuff was new to me. A great tribute.

bdr said...

Many thanks.

Mr. L said...

I hadn't heard. Loved Jim's playing...met him a few times on tours and he was always friendly.

kiely said...

i usta buy records from Mr.Jones when i was a kid and saw the Easter Monkeys regularly. he was a good man and helped shape my future.
i believe that we also have a common friend in Carrie Bradley who is married but i can't remember her new name ... saw her last week.