Today we are speaking with Professor John-Paul "Jp" Jones who is the founder, guitarist, vocalist, producer & leader of his namesake the John-Paul Jones Group. A heavy blues recording artist signed to Eugene's Trick Bag Records. Professor Jones founded the group over twenty years ago. And it's still going strong. He stopped by to talk with us here at Music Republic Magazine about his upcoming release and share his passion for music.
Hi John-Paul or should I call you professor?
"Everyone calls me "Jp" so that will be fine."
Sure, thanks for chatting with us, please introduce yourself and tell us how you got into music?
"I have been into music for as long as I can remember, but my first paid gig was a little over 37 years ago."
What and who inspires your music?
"Life... the beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful interaction we as human beings have with each other and our environment is what inspires my music."
Musically however I will give you some names
● Miles Davis
● Dizzy Gillespie
● Frank Zappa
● Jimi Hendrix
● Rory Gallagher
● Robin Trower
● Peter Green
● Buddy Guy
● Jon Butcher
● Junior Wells
● Big Mama Thornton
● and just about everyone else.
Who would you like to collaborate with the most?
"Currently I would like to collaborate with Steve Winwood, Greg Rollie, Booker T. Jones, Mickey Guyton, Corey Glover and/or Pete Brown. I would love to write songs or place songs with independent film directors. Also on that list are Kevin Burt, Ernie Peniston, and the Dutch dance trio. "Let It Happen" would love for them to make a video to one of my songs. On another note... I would love to sit in a room and just talk guitars and music with Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill Buddy Guy, Jon Butcher and/or Rhonda Smith. I would particularly like to learn film and soundtrack music from Jon Butcher. He is a master at it."
2020 has been a tough year for all of us, tell us what you do during this period. What did you experience and learned throughout this period?
"Absolutely nothing... Nah Haha, 2020 saw major changes for me regarding music and life in general. I have type II diabetes, so due to my health, we decided to take precautions and postponed or cancelled all performance dates in 2020. During the down time I wrote and recorded at CopperTop Studio Hut songs and the results of that endeavor are on the upcoming album. I had to learn some new things during my self-imposed isolation. My live band changed members. However, since we were observing social distancing the new members (David Bruce - Drums & Steven Patterson - Bass) could not get together. So I holed up in the studio and sought outside support. I confirmed during this process that being an independent artist could also mean I can operate in the same efficient manner as a larger label imprint could."
"I learned how to expand and supplement my support staff with freelancers. And it's been wonderful. Without the time allotted by the pandemic it might have been business as usual and we may or may not have gotten an album completed. So, I worked with a remote session drummer Chris Barber who re-recorded my basic drum tracks in a studio in Sheffield England. I worked with the extremely talented mix engineer from Greece named Angeliki Mourgela who mixed the record in her studio in London. I tracked all the other parts at CopperTop Studio Hut here in Iowa. I also have lost friends to the virus. I have learned that life is IMPORTANT and FRAGILE. I cannot take it for granted. I have had to really take stock in my health. I have learned to create time with my family."
What do you miss the most about being able to tour, perform, and interact with fans?
"You said it right there... interaction between my musicians, creating moments spontaneously that are unique to the energy coming back from the crowd. That is what I miss the most. There is nothing more amazing than playing in front of others while interacting and having musical conversations on stage. To me playing with my band is as close to telepathy as you can get and it's a euphoric feeling."
What’s next for you?
"Well releasing the album "Broke In Bridge City" on February 5th, 2021. We will begin pre-production rehearsals in anticipation of some type of performance season. Covid willing H&J Entertainment will be producing two concert series which we will be a part of. The Patriot's Picnic Concert Series will be a series of concerts hosted at local VFW and American Legion locations around the Midwest. The focus is to bring a professional outdoor festival style concert free of charge to both the public and the facility. So we can promote awareness of the great work these facilities do."
"The second series is called the Iowa Soul Brothers Revue. Which will feature black artists native to the state of Iowa. The details are currently in development. The event(s) will feature International Blues Challenge winner Kevin Burt, Iowa Blues & Midwest Music Hall of Fame inductee Ernie Peniston & John-Paul Jones Group. The focus of this project is to reveal that yes, Iowas has always had black folks and we have always been part of the blues culture. It did not only come from NE of us (Chicago) Three different, completely authentic black blues artists on one stage and all from Iowa. Something you don't see everyday."
What is your favorite song to perform?
"Oh, every song on my setlist are my favorites, I never have a song on it that is not my favorite. However I will give you three. My favorite song. My favorite to play guitar too, and my favorite cover to perform. My favorite Original to sing has to be "Youth Is Wasted (On the Young)" it is an emotional song... and very personal. And when I get it right I hit a space that is euphoric for me. One of my favorite songs to play on guitar is probably an instrumental I wrote (not on this record) called "Father Money Mother Greed" It's a very challenging song and requires precision between guitar bass and drums. My favorite cover is a toss up between "Brown Sugar" by ZZ Top, "Oh Well" by Peter Green or "Moonchild" by Rory Gallagher."
Can you please recommend to us some of your best music releases?
"Well 1996's Jp's Eternia and 2000's Youth Is Wasted are two records that I still enjoy even though the recording productions are less desirable. One of my best releases is actually 2017's EP "A Tribute to Rory Gallagher Volume No.2 on that one I got close to the sound I was looking for.""
And also your latest release?
"I am particularly fond of the 2019 DVD release "The Best of 2018""
Any upcoming music releases?
"The current release I am MOST proud of though because I finally nailed the overall sound I have been searching for. "Broke In Bridge City" is to be released on CD & LP February 5th, 2021. Available at Blue Nexus Music Online and other retailers. Pre-Orders taken at https://bluenexusmusic.limitedrun.com. Singles from the Album will be released exclusively on Jango.com radio network."
Any words for the fans?
"I am so appreciative of everyone who has supported me over the years. I hope that support will continue and you will contact me at my website https://www.johnpaul jonesgroup.com and sign the guestbook. Stay positive, stay healthy and stay safe. Find us on youtube just look up John-Paul Jones Group TV and of course on all other social media platforms."
It’s our pleasure to have you here! We will be on the watch for your inspiring and thrilling journey ahead.
"Thank you and the staff of Music Republic Magazine for hosting this interview and allowing me time to chat with you about the upcoming plans in my future. I have had a great time. Thanks, have a great day and an even better year."
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