Former Thee Hypnotics singer Jim Jones is now fronting a piano-pounding, retro-R&B U.K. combo called the Jim Jones Revue.
His girlfriend, Jess, plays in an equally trashy outfit called The Kiss of Death.
So, when the couple got hitched last month in her folks’ hometown of New Rochelle, N.Y., they chose a perfectly appropriate honeymoon: A rock ’n’ roll road trip through the American South.
“We had an itinerary that we’d researched ourselves,” Jones says, proudly. “Ike Turner’s house in Clarksdale, Crown Electric where Elvis used to work in Memphis. Plus all the usual tourist stuff, like the Stax Museum and Sun Studios.”
There were some moments that Jones — who brings his group to town Sunday, backing its raucous self-titled debut — will never forget.
“We visited Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister in Faraday, La.,” he says. “You can walk through the house that they grew up in, and Jerry Lee’s bed is there and you can actually sit on it. And it was very cool to talk to his sister, who looks and sounds a lot like him, even though she’s a bit crazy and you can’t really get a word in edgewise.”
The Lewis clan even promised to send a wedding gift: authentic home-stilled moonshine.
But, the devil was in the details for the 1950s-minded Jones. While everyone in their tour group was looking at vintage photographs at RCA Studios in Nashville, Tenn., he says, “I was in there filming the ceilings, checking out how they had the acoustics set up.”
Also, he was impressed with Jack White’s Third Man complex, where a band can track a side live, photograph the cover and press it up on vinyl in one afternoon.
That was the same old-school way his JJR did business back in London, on scratchy vintage-equipment-tracked stompers like “Cement Mixer,” “Fish 2 Fry” and “Princess & The Frog.”
With his guitarist buddy Rupert Orton, Jones (yes, that’s his real name) had been considering a revivalist concept in his last post-Hypnotics group Black Moses.
But, when he met barrelhouse piano player Elliott Mortimer, he says, “we all got together and it just went ‘boom!’ straightaway. We didn’t have to have several rehearsals to figure out how to get a good sound.”
Fans like Nick Cave and Noel and Liam Gallagher swear by the Revue’s Cramps-frenetic live shows.
“Just like with all the early rock ’n’ roll that I love, we’re about capturing that lightning in a bottle,” Jones says. “And if we can capture it and then share it, our job is done.”
IF YOU GO
Jim Jones Revue
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.gamhtickets.com