Hair Metal Mansion

Hair Metal Mansion Interview with Rev Jones of Steelheart/Michael Schenker Group/Mountain

I am excited to bring you, another EXCLUSIVE Hair Metal Mansion interview!
This time, I had the chance to catch up with one of the most talented, hard working bass players out there today, wildman Rev Jones. Rev has played with a long list of different bands, currently he is with Steelheart, the Michael Schenker Group and Mountain.
Everything is covered, from his experiences with Steelheart, MSG, Kottak & Paul Gilbert, what's in the works for Steelheart, his instructional DVD and a whole lot more!
So here it is, the EXCLUSIVE interview with Rev Jones:
Hair Metal Mansion: Hey Rev, how's it going? To get things started here, I just want to thank you for taking the time out to do this interview, it's greatly appreciated.
Rev: All is good, just returned from doing the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP U.S> Tour, it was great. We ended it with a bang in Chicago opening for the Scorpions, sould out 6,000 people and there were so many people backstage including Wolf Hoffman from Accept and producer Dieter Dierks, what a way to end a tour...

HMM: Going back to where it all began, when did you first pick up a bass and who are some of your biggest influences?
Rev: I started playing when I was 15, and I've pretty much been on the road playing since. I have many musical influences, too many to name all of them, here is a couple of them; Tony Levin, Trey Gunn, Jaco and James Jamerson, Sly Stone, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Jim Croce, Prince, Buck Owens, The Beatles, Buddy Holly and the king Stevie Wonder. Other than musicians I'm influenced by anyone that is not scared to create outside of the box, like Andy Kaufman, Bill Hicks, Dali, Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller.

HMM: Before Steelheart, you have also worked with big name artists like the Michael Scenker Group, Mountain, Fuel, George Lynch, Paul Gilbert, Kottak and others. Tell me about your time with them...
MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - I was a member of MSG from 2001 thru 2006, it was overall a great time with the exception of the last month of 2006 when I quit the band. Schenker was going through a crisis that I could not involve myself with so I left. HE has since overcome that period and is doing great again, which is why I have returned to do the last 2 USA tours. I grew up listening to UFO and MSG, so it's always fun playing those songs with the person that wrote them...
MOUNTAIN - I'm still a member of MOUNTAIN, it is one band that I could never get tired of playing with. I think they were one of the coolest bands of the 60's and 70's, and I still feel that way. MOUNTAIN is like the american version of what CREAM was, and they have influenced many many great bands, one that comes to mind right away is GOVT MULE. I love jammin all the old MOUNTAIN songs, they never get old to me, plus playing with Leslie and Corky is always fun, no song has a set arrangement so everytime we play it's different, there is also never a setlist. I also do solo dates with Leslie West that are very similar, no planned setlist, there are a few songs we will play for sure, but some of the time he just starts a song and I join in. It keeps it fun...


FUEL - The tour I did with FUEL in 2004 was killer. Their bass player's wife was about to have a baby, so he needed to find someone to fill in for a couple of months and I just happened to be off exactly at that time, so I flew out and jumped on the tour. It was a little different because I had to learn the songs in the back of the bus traveling from Maine to Atlanta, and I stared the next day in front of 20,000 people, plus I agreed to use his basses and amps to make it easier for the situation. It was a great tour, I had a great time playing with them and hanging out with them, they are great guy. I still talk to Brett and Jeff every now and then...
KOTTAK - I played with Kottak for a couple of years 2005-2007, it was fun, I loved doing that kind of side thing totally different from any other band I was in. Playing with James & Athena Kottak was great. The only reason I stopped playing with them was schedule conflicts and I moved so it was harder to get together with them. They told me I couldn't quit unless I found an OKIE to take my place, so that's what I did. I had my friend Price Vernon take over the bass position, and he's still doing it now. I think they got a new album coming out...
OTHERS - I did have the pleasure of recording with PAUL GILBERT a few times, that was super cool. Anytime you get to jam with Paul it's great. This one time I recorded with him at his old studio in Vegas, I flew in about 7 at night and we just jammed on old Beatles and Van Halen songs until about 2 or 3 in the morning, good times. I did record with George Lynch on some demo stuff, but we didn't actually play together, so I don't have any story...


HMM: How and when did you first join up with the guys from Steelheart? How did that all come about?
Rev: Well I was in a band called BLACK SYMPHONY and we were looking for a new vocalist, a friend of ours Neil Zlozower suggested to us talking to Mili the singer from STEELHEART, so I gave him a call and left a message. The same day Mili seen an add we had ran looking for a singer and gave us a call, it was just an amazing coincidence. Well he came by and chatted with us, he wasn't looking to join a band he was just tring to meet some new players to maybe recruit into STEELHEART. We had a good time talking and stuff, then he left. About a year or so later he was putting the band back together to record and do a small tour, so he contacted me about playing, unfortunately I was not available to do the tour because I was on tour with MSG, but we stayed in touch. A couple months later I left MSG and gave him a call to see what was happening with the band, the bass position was still available if I wanted it, so I flew out to the studio and laid down some bass track, and everything worked out well.
HMM: Steelheart released "Good 2B Alive" back in 2008. That was your first time recording with them, right? What was the recording process like?
Rev: Yes it was the first time recording with them. I only played on like half of the album, they were already recording before I came into the band. A couple of the songs were already pretty much done so I just did my normal try a few basslines until finding the right one, but one of the songs was completely open for whatever would happen, and I'll tell you from the beginning of the recording of that song to the end result, it's hard to believe it's the same song, it's amazing how ideas come when you're recording. We also just finished recording a cover tune that will be released as a single pretty soon, I can't really say which song but it came out amazing. The process of recording it was very cool, we all came knowing the original but we wanted to change it up a bit, so we spent a day just playing it and rewriting it until we were happy, then the next day me and Mike (drummer) laid down the bass and drums, followed by Chris and Mili laying down the guitars, then once it was created Mili laid down the vocals, the outcome is a truly great version, I hope everyone enjoys it the way that we did.

HMM: With Steelheart, you have performed at festivals like Rocklahoma and most recently, Rock N America. How did that go & what were those experiences like?
Rev: Well all STEELHEART shows are great, but doing the Oklahoma shows were great to me for a couple of reasons. All my friends were there playing and I'm from Oklahoma so it is always great to play in your home area, which doesn't happen a lot.
HMM: Aside from Steelheart and Mountain, you also have another project called the Rev Jones Band. Tell me about that and who else is in the band and what is the status of it?
Rev: REV JONES BAND consists of myself, MIKE PIERCE (Black Symphony) on vocals, BILLY BOGGUS & KYLE LUNSFORD on guitar, and I use a couple of different drummers. We do some of my new songs as well as osngs from the bands I've played with like MSG, FUEL, JEFF MARTEN, BLACK SYMPHONY, we have also done several songs on tribute albums that we do live as well. WE usually book shows around Oklahoma during the time I'm not on tour. We are actually doing some shows in October and we have a REV JONES BAND album in the works, it consists of a few songs I wrote after leaving FORTE, a couple I wrote during the BLACK SYMPHONY period and a few new ones. None of those songs were released yet but I do a couple of them live with the REV JONES BAND.
We have already began recording them and we will hopefully finish before the summer. I'm not completely sure which songs I want on this release, so that is slowing me down a bit as well as finding time to just focus on that, with tours and other recording projects it is easy to get sidetracked. The music is very wide range, everything from oddtime KING CRIMSON type parts to accoustic BEATLES type parts, to boogie VAN HALEN type parts to heavy RAMMSTEIN type parts, with some mandolin and an occasional bass solo.
Pretty Much everyone that has heard it says it "sounds like Rev" and that's what I'm going for. I think after hearing these songs you can tell which parts of songs I wrote in all of the bands I've been in. WE have actually done a fe wcover songs for some tribute albums that will be coming out this year on VERSAILLES RECORDS, they sounded pretty interesting because they are from bands that play a different style than I usually do, so I approached them as if I wrote the songs not really changing the parts but more of playing them how I would have if they were mine. Another thing with the REV JONES BAND is that everyone sings so there is really no lead singer, I always loved that about bands like the BEATLES, DEEP PURPLE (Coverdale/Hughes), ZZ TOP, HEAD EAST, WEST/BRUCE/LAING, THE CARS, BEE GEES, KISS, CREAM and espcially THE EAGLES. They all had multiple lead singers so not oly did you get cool harmony vocals but sometimes it's nice to hear a different sounding voice on different parts of songs.
HMM: You are one busy guy! You also released an instrunctional DVD called "Bassline", talk about that a little bit and tell the fans where they can pick it up.
Rev: Well I actually filmed the "Bassline" DVD in 2007 while in Taiwan on business. The company paid me to do the DVD while I was there, I was not sure how it would turn out because nothing was planed out, I improvised the whole thing as if I was giving someone a lesson. It came out great, the production, packaging, editing, and most importantly the content all worked perfect. I show a lot of different stuff on the DVD, exercises, 2 handed tapping, and lots of basslines that influenced my playing. I sell the DVD on my website, so check it out,

HMM: Now going back to Steelheart, you guys are scheduled to perform at the Stockholm Rockout festival on October 16th.. with other bands like W.A.S.P., Kix, Ted Poley & Badmouth. Have you ever been to Sweden before and what can the fans expect from Steelheart's set?
Rev: Yes I've been to Sweden with MSG, it is a great country to play in, great fans. Out STEELHEART set will probably consist of a few old songs, 3 songs from the ROCKSTAR movie, and 3 or 4 new ones from the "Good 2B Alive" album. I never know exactly which songs until we get on stage, we just always are ready to play which ever Mili calls for. I'm also gonna be playing in Europe in November with MOUNTAIN, we are doing a couple of shows in Denmark and Sweden and we are also doing the Sweden Rock CRuise, then we go to Tel Aviv for 2 shows, that should be great.
HMM: Is there anymore new material in the works for Steelheart anytime soon?
Rev: Like I said, we recorded a couple of cover songs that should be released soon, and there is talk of some other STEELHEART recording soon. I think right now Mili is working on a few other things that are kind of not being talked about yet...
HMM: What are your thoughts on the rock scene of today compared to back then?
Rev: I don't know, I didn't think there is a rock scene now. When I grew up the scene was way different, you had to go out and really promote yourself to get people to your shows, then you had to really put on a good show to keep them coming back. Promoting back then consisted of making flyers yourself and going everywhere you could handing them out, or having a huge mailing list and spending a bunch of money mailing them to people, whatever it took. Now, bands have so many ways of promoting themselves, and it's really easy, and that's one of the problems, they don't have to work at it as much, so it doesn't really mean anything. It's like when I was starting out you had to have a lot of money to go record a demo, these days you can record a full albm in your bedroom for no money. So that also opens the door for crappy music. I don't like a lot of the new music that I hear and I blame that on technology, everything sounds like it was fixed in the studio, then you see the band live and you realize it was. Plus the crowds that go see a lot of the new bands only go to hear a couple of songs and to me that's stupid. That's why there are so many older bands touring still bringing out big crowds, the older crowds come to see the show, not just 1 song.

HMM: What has been the biggest highlight or most memorable moment of your career so far?
Rev: Well two come to mind. In 2006 while on tour with MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP, we played to around 100,000 people at Wacken Open Air in Germany. It was amazing! During my bass solo there were at least 60,000 people clapping their hands together keeping time for me as I played "Eleanor Rigby", and 2009 with MOUNTAIN playing at the 40 year anniversay of Woodstock. Those are two shows I'll never forget as long as I live.
HMM: Well Rev, thank you again for doing this interview. Before I let you go, I have one more question for you; what is on the horizon for you? And if there is anything else you'd like to add, feel free!
Rev: Everything....


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Awesome interview. Rev is a great guy. Really. He's genuine and down to earth. I wish him all the best.


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