Friday, October 15, 2004

John Paul Jones working on projects including next solo album

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

This summer, I had the pleasure of once again meeting John Paul Jones. He was on tour with Mutual Admiration Society, as had been announced at his official Web site, I met up with Jones for the last two shows of the tour and was happy to spend some time with him backstage. He remembered me clearly from our four-hour interview in 2001, and when somebody backstage mentioned my name, he asked for security to let me in!

The concerts I saw were sensational. For me, the highlight was not that the band played two familiar songs from Jones' past; it was the top-notch playing of all six musicians at each show, along with the obvious camaraderie they all have for each other. There truly is no better name for the group than Mutual Admiration Society.

Jones raved about the tour when he returned to England. "The whole experience has been immensely enjoyable and I have found myself inspired by the great musicianship (and energy!) of my fellow bandmates," he wrote on his Web site Aug. 25. "It is a pleasure to work with people who are not only extremely talented but who have a great enthusiasm for any and every kind of music, and they can play it!"

The six-member touring group was a conglomeration of all three members of the modern bluegrass band Nickel Creek, fronted by Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Campbell, plus Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, who played on all of Jones' solo albums and tours since 1999. In my opinion, the star of the band turned out to be Nickel Creek's mandolin player, Chris Thile, who told the audience that he wants to take lessons from John Paul Jones on how to rock. But Jones countered that he, himself, needs to take lessons from Chris Thile on playing mandolin.

Jones' Web posting also thanks all the fans who turned up to support Mutual Admiration Society. He wrote: "It was so nice to be appreciated by Zep, Toad, and NC fans, rock and bluegrass fans alike. Diversity and the crossing of borders has for me always been one of the most interesting aspects of making music, (something those that know me may have already guessed!) but we need a ready, willing and open-minded audience to complete the experience, thank you for being just that."

Jones then said something really juicy (and The Lemon likes juicy): "I hope now to spend the next few months writing and recording for my next solo album and attempt to turn all this inspiration into hard currency whilst the fingers are hot and the brain is buzzing."

Since 1999, Jones has released two self-produced, full-length solo albums, setting the tone of his performing career as a multi- instrumentalist dabbling in hard blues-based rock, down-home folk, and everything in between. The first of these albums, Zooma, was all instrumental, but Jones sang on four songs of his 2001 follow-up, The Thunderthief. There is no official word yet as to the direction Jones' new album will take.

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