Feb 282008

Rock Town Hall surely hopes that readers do not rely on us for the latest in rock news items, especially rock deaths. I’d hate to think anyone Townsperson’s missed a rock viewing while I miss a link that’s been buried somewhere in the RTH Basement. My thanks to the “basement dwellers” for passing along this link to a nice write up on Pere Ubu guitarist Jim Jones, who died recently. You may also be interested in this nice piece, written by the leader of Cobra Verde, if my rock nerd powers are fully functioning.

Jones joined Pere Ubu in 1987, for the recording of and touring in support of the strong comeback album, The Tenement Year. Shortly thereafter, the band’s recordings would lose the spark that I’d come to love, but they stayed strong as a live act over the next half dozen tours that I’d caught. Beside his snakey guitar parts, Jones added an enthusiastic, open, friendly vibe to the band that did not seem to be part of their overall band vibe. Judging by these pieces on him, it sounds like these qualities were part of his everyday personality. He sounds like a guy who would have been at ease around our virtual turntable.

I don’t have The Tenement Year handy in digital form, but here are two tracks with Jones from the last Pere Ubu album I’ve liked in too many years to date, Raygun Suitcase. This album saw the band coming out of a stretch of relatively poppy, overproduced albums and returning to their special blend of black-humored, disjointed garage rock. The next couple of albums I bought just seemed to lack any interesting form. Stuff happens.

Pere Ubu, “Electricity”

Pere Ubu, “Don’t Worry”

I’m no expert on the ’70s Cleveland/Akron scene, but because of my love for Pere Ubu I’ve done my share of reading and record buying around the extended Ubu family of musicians. In the early- to mid-70s, Jones played bass for The Mirrors, a “rival” band of Ubu predecessors Rocket From the Tombs. Here are a couple of tracks by The Mirrors, from a cool compilation of bands “left behind” from that fertile, mid-70s Cleveland/Akron scene, Those Were Different Times: Cleveland 1972-1976. (Both this album and Raygun Suitcase are available on eMusic.)

The Mirrors, “You Me Love”

The Mirrors, “Annie”

Finally, if you haven’t done so already, I suggest your read a lot more about the Cleveland/Akron proto-punk scene (as well as proto-punk scenes in Detroit and NYC), in Clinton Heylin‘s excellent From the Velvets to the Voidoids.

In other news of the dead…
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