For more than three decades, Rev Jones has been one of the most unique and sought-after bassists/vocalists in hard rock. And for his legions of fans worldwide, Bakwash is his riff-blasting, face-melting, long-awaited solo debut album.
Since first picking up a bass guitar in 1985 – and utilizing what BassPlayer.com calls “an array of techniques, both conventional and otherwise” – this native son of Oklahoma’s Tornado Alley has
recorded and toured with headliners that include Steelheart, Mountain, Michael Schenker Group, Fuel, Leslie West, Paul Gilbert (of Mr. Big), Jeff Martin (of Racer X) and George Lynch, as well as top indie shredders like Blasted To Static, Texas Hippie Coalition, Kottak,
Black Symphony. and Forte. “Whichever band he may share the stage with,” says Sugarbuzz Magazine, “Rev Jones will be the guy on stage who will give the audience an unforgettable visual and musical experience.”
How did you first get in to music?
Rev: Well I was a music fan from early childhood. My parents were both young so they had this great record collection which I pretty much listened to every day. There was everything from Buddy Holly, to the Who, to King
Crimson, to Pink Floyd, to Kenny Rodgers, to Bee Gees, to Yes, to Led Zepplin. In our house we were not prejudice against any music. I also started going to concerts with family members when I was really young, and continued to attend concerts well into my teens. Me & my buddies would go to every concert, even if it was Dan Fogelberg wewould go. Thats how I got hooked on music.
Who turned you onto rock/metal?
Rev: Probably my dad or my uncle.
How did you become a musician and what instruments are you proficient in?
Rev: So I kind of grew up being a big music critic since I knew everything about music. When I got in high school I started meeting people that were in bands, and I would be truthful with them about what I thought of their band, well they hated that. A few times they would say “if your so musically inclined why don’t you play in a band”. So that is where the thought first came across my mind. Then this band called FX played at my high school, they did Crue, Fastway, Priest, all the cool stuff of the era. And I ended up hanging out with them after the show on their purple school bus drinking some beers listening to their cool stories, it was awesome. I decided that night that I wanted to be in a band. And I never changed my mind. I’m still real good friends with all those guys, as a matter of fact the singer
for that band was Kerry Staton, who is the drummer in my current Rev Jones live lineup. I play bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, mandolin, chapman stick, ukulele, talking drum, and I sing.
What was the local scene in your area like in the beginning? Was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
Rev: I live in the middle of the USA in Oklahoma. Back when I was starting out late 80’s early 90’s it was awesome. We had created this amazing scene here, local shows had 250-800 people, there were like 20 or 30 great bands that should’ve been signed. Then the scene died. Some blame bands like Nirvana for it, but in reality Metallica is the one that should be blamed. When Metallica became mainstream there was no need for a metal club any more. Before that if you wanted to hear top 40 you went to the top 40 bars and if you wanted to hear metal or heavy rock you went to the local rock/metal club, after Metallica became huge you could go to the top40 bar and hear Metallica songs, so why go to the rock/metal club. As for the scene now 2018, there isn’t really that big of a scene. Favorite local bands back when I started in the 80’s = Pantera, Powerlord, Oliver Magnum.
As for 2018 there are a couple of good bands I’ve seen = Sign Of Lies, and Kirra.
How would you best describe your sound?
Rev: Heavy Rock with catchy riffs, intense vocals, pounding drums, and lots of Insane over the top bass & guitar
Is doing pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?
Rev: It depends if you have to sell them or you want to sell them.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
Rev: First music I remember buying with my own money was – KISS “alive 2” on 8-track, Queen “News of the day”,
ACDC “Back in Black”, Judas Priest “British Steel”.
What is the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
Rev: I’ve played so many big shows that they all kind of run together. But the one that sticks out as the Biggest would be Wacken Open Air in 2006, there were 100,000 metal fans in attendance, the night we played there was only 1 stage running and we were direct support for the Scorpions. So when we were on stage we had the whole crowd watching, singing, cheering, clapping, and head banging. That created one hell of a great memory!
As for the other question, in my 32 years of playing music I never recall being nervous before any gig. I get anxious but not nervous.
Favorite songs on the new finished album and why?
Rev: “Ring of Pain”… Its fun to play, cool riffs & grooves, and I love singing it.
Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?
Rev: “Bakwash”… The song is about playing in a band in clubs, so as Im singing the lyrics I realize I’m living it, so that adds a special feeling inside. Plus I wrote it a long time ago and never recorded it until now, so I always have flash backs to when I wrote it, which also touches something inside of me.
What was the process of putting the songs in order?
Rev: First I pick the opening song, then I pick a song that would flow right from the end of the first song. Then I find the next that will flow good, and repeat until I’m finished. I think an album that flows from start to finish is much better than a non-flowing album with most popular songs first. This album they kind of fell right in order.
Do you still buy cds or mostly use streaming sites?
Rev: Well it depends. First off I have to hear something I like enough to want to own it. Then it depends on the situation. But I prefer to have it on my computer. I have a few thousand cds in boxes in my closets and I don’t have
room for many more.
Which sites do you use?
Rev: I usually listen to music on my computer or iPad, but when I do stream online its usually Spotify Amazon, or
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
Rev: Dean = Basses
Phil Jones Bass = amps
Maxon – effect pedals
Kahler – Tremolos & Bridges
InTune – Guitar Picks.
Ernie Ball – Bass Strings
Ultimate Ears – In-Ear Monitors.
Sennheiser – Wireless Systems, Microphones
LM straps – Guitar Straps
Rock-n-Roll Gangstar – Stage Clothes
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
Rev: I’ve been very fortunate that I have worked with so many of the people I grew up admiring. But if I had to pick someone to work with it would be Stevie Wonder & Jeff Beck.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Rev: “If I only had a brain” from Wizard of OZ…albums to be buried with.
1. Queen “Night At The Opera”
2. King Crimson “Three Of A Perfect Pair”
3. Judas Priest “Sad Wings Of Destiny”
DIY forever or signing with a label at first opportunity?
Rev: Well having a label is only good if you have no money and wanna keep it that way. TRUTH! The only thing a label really does for a band in this day & age is
1. Distribute the album (make it available) = get it in stores, get it in online stores, get it on Digital Download services.
2. Promote the album (press releases, and advertisement) = getting copies to the press for reviews, getting it to radio
stations to play.
Any band can do the same thing, you just have to invest a small amount of money and hire a couple of people to work the album. First off find a distribution company like CD Baby and sign up to do a distribution deal. Then hire a PR person to work your album in the press and radio. Depending on your budget you can pretty much hire the same people the labels do. The difference is at the end of the year, “DIY” you will make all the money, “Label” you make pretty much NO money. I believe my answer is DIY!!!
Final thoughts, words of wisdom and shout outs?
Rev: I have a new album called “Bakwash” that was just just released in November 2018. It is my first solo album. It features myself (Rev Jones) on Vocals & Bass, Jim Dofka (Dofka, Leather Leone) on guitar, and Jeff Martin
(Badlands, MSG, Racer X) on drums. This album is full of heavy rock songs with catchy riffs, intense vocals, pounding drums, and lots of Insane over the top bass & guitar soloing. I’m very pleased with it, and I think everyone
that is into music from Rock to Metal should give it a listen, there’s a something for pretty much everyone on this album.
There is also a new Steelheart live DVD that just came out that features myself (Rev Jones) on Bass. It is called “Steelheart – Rock’n Milan” on Frontier Records. It was filmed in in Italy 2017 shortly before I left the band.