Dennis Jones Band ready to party on New Year’s Eve

Published on March 25th, 2021

By Jim Dail

These days, it is not that easy to become successful in the music business when one considers how many artists are out there and the fact that many on the business side want a specific sound and even a specific look.

However, for the artist following the old-school method of getting out on the stage, writing his or her own songs and paying close attention to not only the craft that is being an entertainer and a musician at the same time, there is still success to be had.

A perfect example is the Dennis Jones Band, who will perform again this New Year’s Eve at the Old Town Theater in Temecula. The band is Jones on guitar, Sam Correa on bass and Michael Turner on drums.

If you ask Jones, he will tell you right away that it’s the song that is most important to him, not the guitar playing on it.

“Fifteen years ago, I wanted to be a songwriter first and a guitar second,” he said. “I love the guitar, and I’ve spent a long time playing with them and  tweaking them to get different sounds. But I am a songwriter first. I would rather have a good song without a solo then have a great solo on a crappy song.”

To Jones, a good song makes it possible to have a good solo, not the other way around.

“It would be like taking a great race car driver and putting him in an old beat-up Volkswagen,” he said. “I truly believe that let the song develop.”

He has been developing a few songs of late, getting ready to finish his latest album, which he hopes to release in March.

“It’s going good so far,” he said. “A month ago we started recording at the House of Blues studio, and we have all the basic tracks down. Now, we are just waiting to do some of the solos and vocals down.”

The album will be recorded live, for the most part.

“This time we went in and played live,” he said. “We did several live takes of each of the song. After about ten takes, we went back and picked the one that was best

“If there needs to be fine tuning, I will do it,” he said.

The old style method of live recording is, of course, the way many songs were recorded for decades.

“That’s the way those old blues guys did it,” he said. “All those great blues guys on Chess were doing it that way.”

After Jones wrote the songs, there was only one way to figure out for sure how they would work for an audience – play them at shows.

“I write the songs, we rehearse them then take them out to shows and see the reactions and get a feel for them,” he said. “That way I can see what tempo works and fine tune them.”

When it comes to writing them, it can be with any instrument, including the bass.

“Sometimes things that are more groove heavy I write on the bass and I show Sam and he takes it to the next level,” he said. “I can get it started that way, but he takes it and takes it to a higher level because he’s a lot better at it than I am.”

He’s also sure that he will be able to do the same things he does in the studio on stage.

“Some people go in and add echo and all kinds of different tricks, but for me I use whatever I have on the floor on the stage in the studio,” he said. “I can reproduce on stage everything I do in the studio.”

It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate what other people do in the studios.

“I’ve heard some bands do projects – and I love all the music because to me it’s all blues – but when I see what people put together like 32 tracks of guitars, things they can’t possible create live without fooling people, then it goes too far,” he said.

Of course, part of that could be his musical upbringing and appreciation for the old greats.

“Growing up with Motown and listening to Christmas CDs, for example, you can hear blues guys like James Brown doing the songs and they were incredible singers,” he said. “Those guys could sing anything. I think sometimes people get lazy. They know they can get by with the Milli Vanilli thing, but at some point it catches up with you.”

It’s a belief that a person has to have their own sound.

“Those old guys had their own style and voice,” he said. “You had to because if a person figured he could get by sounding like Ray Charles, the record company or promoter would shoot him down. They’d basically say ‘No, we have a Ray Charles already. Go back and give us who you are.’”

As for Jones, he has been reminded a few times that his voice has a similarity to the great Jimi Hendrix – and to an extent there is a slight similarity. But he’s not trying to be Hendrix.

“I can’t do anything about it because I couldn’t sing any other way if I wanted to,” he said. “Hopefully, people realize the songs are good, they are mine and they are not like Hendrix at all. I am developing my own style.”

Indeed, there’s very little in the way of cover tunes on the new record.

“I’ve been doing a Lil’ Dave Thompson song in my shows for about six or seven years, but while he did it more of a rock song, my version is more of a Texas shuffle,” he said. “It’s a tribute to him because he died in a car crash, so I wanted to put it on the record. But there’s no point in trying to do the song the way he did. If you do that, why don’t the people listening just go get his version instead?”

What is new is his DVD, “Live at the Temecula Theater,” which was recorded last year in the same venue in Temecula.

“It was a thought out, planned event for sure,” he said. “I got the idea the previous time I performed there and it took a year to decide what I wanted to do, and it was a lot of work.  I got the approvals, hired a camera crew and sound engineers, rented everything and brought it in.”

That’s not exactly the norm.

“When most artists go into a place like that to do a live show, there is a crew to take care of you,” he said. “I was wearing five hats that day. I think it came out well, but of course there are things you wish you would have done later. People seem to have liked it.”

Capturing the magic of a live show was important to Jones, but then again the show is always a special thing – and there’s no telling what the audiences will be like.

“I have a set list for every show, and I start with it and I start reading the crowd,” he said. “If they are partying and drinking then the set list is gone and I just keep the party going!”

It’s a lot about a good time.

“At a lot of my shows, there are a lot of really hot girls I love that they are there,” he said. “Sometimes I will look out and see a bunch of women out there dancing by themselves, and I will say ‘Why are all these girls dancing by themselves and there’s a bunch of guys standing by the wall?’ It’s fun to poke fun at people during the show. To me its about the show, all in good fun.”

And for Jones, that’s the whole purpose of being out on stage in the first place


Comment guidelines, edit this message in your Wordpress admin panel