Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I’m a little late to this party (or wake as the case my be) but I just found out that Pere Ubu guitarist Jim Jones passed away in February. I met Jim back in the mid-80’s when I still lived in Pittsburgh. Back then I used to go to Cleveland frequently, mostly to visit my friend Tom Dark. Tom, approximately my age and also the veteran of early 80’s hardcore bands, was a lot like me in that he befriended all the older guys in the scene. For me, that meant members of The Five, Carsickness and the Cardboards, for Tom it meant The Pagans and the Easter Monkeys, who Jones played guitar for. Tom’s long time housemate was Easter Monkeys singer Chris Yarmock, and it was he who first introduced me to “Jonesy” as they called him. I never got to see the Easter Monkeys, but I was excited for Jim when he joined Pere Ubu, and luckily I saw the line-up he was in quite a few times, on both coasts. I have a very clear memory of going to see Pere Ubu at the I-Beam on Haight street after I moved to San Francisco in 1988, mostly to catch up with Jim. He was always so friendly, which was great because a lot of the “Class of ’77” punks didn’t want much to do with us “hardcore kids” but Jim was no snob. He sent me a postcard from England (or “Jolly olde” as he called it) but I lost touch with him in the 90’s, and I’m sorry I did.

The only picture I could find of us was this one, but it’s significant to me for lots of reasons. First off, it was taken when I was actually moving from Pittsburgh to San Francisco in September of 1988, and it’s one of the only photos that documents the trip –I guess I thought film developing was expensive or something. It’s also the only photo I have of my pet rat Doyle, who actually died on the trip out, in the heat of the Nevada desert. The photo’s not even 20 years old, but I’m the only one in it that’s still alive, unless you count the posters of Iggy on Tom Darks bedrooms walls. Reminds me to tell myself that every day above ground is a good one. Rest in peace Jonsey, you were definitely one of the good ones.


Sam said...

i saw the easter monkeys on a trip to clevo w/erik & bill slam. they were opening for the stranglers at the agora. i got busted taping them and the agora took my tape.

i played gigs w/jim @ the banana when he was in tripod jimmy and later home and garden.

any day above ground is a good day.

RIP, jim

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