Interview: Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind
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As the tireless shapeshifter of modern rock & roll Jim Jones has been in and out of several bands reincarnating his musical philosophy through groups including The Jim Jones Revue, Black Moses and Thee Hypnotics. At it again, in 2014, just five days after The Jim Jones Revue had made their last appearance in London, the charismatic band leader established Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind. With regards to this constant turnover, he admits he is often asked why he “can’t just keep one band going”. However, he feels it is necessary to understand that “people have trouble keeping a marriage going, keeping a band on track for a long time is like having a marriage between five different people!” But it is also true he has “recently come to the realisation” that he should have maybe maintained the same name throughout the journey and just changed the members of the band like several other bands do, “to maintain that continuity, I guess”. Changing names can be very refreshing though, giving Jim a chance to experiment with varying concepts. He explains he called his new band “The Righteous Mind” for several different reasons, but mainly out of a moment of inspiration. “Actually I was just sitting there, writing this new song and working on a piece when I look up and there’s this social psychology book by that name, I just found it fitting.” The book, written by Jonathan Haidt, portrays the theme of “decent, good people” going to war with each other without really knowing why, a mood Jones was going for, to describe his venturing into new, dark and uncharted musical waters. This denomination also alludes to one of his musical inspirations, the American garage rock legends the MC5, “I feel like it is a reference to their very punk/underground spirit.” Jones explains he is highly affected by the politically influence of Marxism in the Black Panther Party that was also a major interest on the Detroit proto-punks. “To me they completely were the progenitors of rock, and because of what they stood for, “righteous” was always a term high on the menu.” In fact, as it can be gathered, the Righteous Mind feel very strongly about political conflict and the chaos in the world that surrounds us. Jones explains how, just recently, talking to a friend, he was “just swept over by this horrible feeling”, asking himself whether maybe the 20th Century was the most peaceful, socially tranquil period in time and, from here, everything goes downhill back into the medieval ages and violence and brutality.
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