Tour Photo Diary: On the Road With the Jim Jones Revue

On their second album, Burning Down Your House, the Jim Jones Revue serve up rattling piano riffs, hoarsely shouted vocals, and a furious, boogie-woogie energy that plays like a hell-raising mix of Jerry Lee Lewis and the MC5. In short, this is music that's impossible to listen to sitting down. After playing to packed crowds of true believers in their native London, the five-man outfit took to the road, where they've been spreading the gospel of old-school rock and roll. Here, lead guitarist Rupert Orton gives you an exclusive glimpse at their freewheeling life, from boot fittings in Northampton to sunlit nights in the Arctic Circle.
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    We like to wear Chelsea boots—the kind the Beatles and the Stones wore. The shoe industry in England is based in a place called Northampton, an hour north of London. There's just two or three places left in Northampton that still make handmade footwear. Alfred Sargent is one of them. That's Chay Cooper, one of the company's directors, measuring Jim's feet.

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    Alfred Sargent's sponsoring us, so all of us in the band are having a pair made. They take a few months to make, so we'll have them by September.

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    Nick Jones (drums) and I at the factory.

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    Me, our sound guy, Ben Perrier, and our keyboardist, Henri Herbert, outside our rehearsal studio in East London. We're just about to head off for Glastonbury.

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    Glastonbury is one of the biggest music festivals in the world. It has a capacity of around 160,000. When you're coming over the hill, it looks like a city.

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    This is us shortly after arriving, in a kind of holding area for musicians. There'd been a torrential downpour, and the holding area didn't betray how muddy it was beyond there. We kind of got a false sense of security.

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    You were just sinking into the mud every step of the way, two feet deep. Crossing a distance that would take you 10 minutes in normal conditions took 30.

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    This picture starts to give you some indication of what the weather was like. Very foreboding and dark. There was a kind of siege mentality. Outside, you had all this mud and all this rain. Once someone gets inside a tent, they just tough it out till the rain stops. That said, it was a great show. We got a fantastic response.

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    Almost all of us in the band use a pomade, and after lots of trial and error, we found the right one. It's an American brand called Murray's. Jim and I go to Afro-Caribbean hairdressers in London to buy it because almost no one else sells it. It's really heavy stuff, almost like glue. We leap around a lot on stage, and it's the only stuff that keeps my hair completely glued on during a set. When I'm on tour, I go through a tin a month.

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    Our new keyboard player, Henri Herbert. We're on our way to play a festival in Norway called Steinkjerfestivalen. Henri only started playing with us a few months ago. That stuff in his hair? It's grease.

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    Left: Every time we go to Norway the food has been absolutely brilliant. This was some kind of Thai-Norwegian hybrid stir-fry. The food you get in the U.K.? Not so good.

    Right:The thing of interest here is, this picture was taken at one o'clock in the morning. It's that close to the Arctic Circle. We'd be coming back from playing the festival at midnight, and there'd be all these people in the street getting really drunk. Normally you've got the cloak of darkness to hide a multitude of sins, but here, people are singing and shouting right in front of your face. It's surreal.

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    The crowd at the Steinkjerfestivalen.

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    Our drummer, Nick Jones, after the festival in Norway at about three in the morning. We figured he deserved a shout-out, given he's the guy who took most of these photographs.

By Christopher Ross

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