Jesus Jones return to play their second album Doubt in its entirety
If I’d thought about it, which I didn’t, I would have imagined I’d be making new music that sounded different. I wouldn’t have imagined that we’d be going round with, as I often call it “the mobile museum piece”. I would have found a little bit sad, but at this point I ease up about that because it does give people an awful lot of pleasure and it seems churlish to deny them that.
Would you have liked to have had social media first time around?
I think I’d love to have had it, but I would have been wrong. When I was first listening to music you had to tape Top of the Pops on cassette. It was incredibly frustrating but at the same time it made the reward that much greater. The mystery has been removed from rock music over the last 40 years.
I agree. It’s interesting when people say about Matt Damon, or whoever, “He’s really great, just a normal guy.” What did they expect – that he’d be 12 foot tall?
Wouldn’t it be nice if he was 12 foot tall and he could generate some incredible aura that you bounced into from 12 feet away? And that is pretty much how we viewed stars in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.
Are you jealous of kids these days?
I have to say, I’m very, very glad that I’m not trying to make a career in music now. In our day, getting a record deal was a massive ordeal, but now it must be so hard to make any kind of impression. You can be all over Facebook but actually getting known for it and that leading to you playing gigs where people come and see you, there seems to be such a gulf now.
You’re back with the original line-up. Is it like being back at school with your old mates that you just click with?
Absolutely. You go into these little roles: there’s the band scapegoat... We have these roles that we fit into and we’ve fitted into them again because it makes us laugh, because it’s fun, because it reminds us of old days. It bothers me a little bit that I only laugh as much as I do when we have rehearsal.
You’re playing Doubt, but is there anything else we should expect at the gigs?
We’re doing Doubt every song back to back, which we also did with Liquidiser a while back. It’s fascinating for two reasons: 1) because you’re taking an idea from the time of vinyl you know when you play through six songs, you turn the record over and you start again. Now we’re replicating that live so sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Also, there were times with Doubt that I was trying to balance the really poppy hits we had, like ‘International Bright Young Thing’, ‘Right Here Right Now’ and ‘Real Real Real’ with stuff that took us back to more pure ideas of what we were trying to do – to create music from noise. And now we realised some of the songs really aren’t going to work. I was thinking, I can barely stand to listen to this so god knows what the poor people paying to see it are going to think. So we’ve had to rework songs in ways that make them actually listenable.
Looking at your most popular songs on Spotify, of the top 10, eight are from Doubt. Do you agree with the votes – that there’s one million for ‘Right Here Right Now’ and only 225,000 for ‘Real Real Real’? Is ‘Right Here Right Now’ really four times better?
It’s funny that figure comes up, because Doubt sold four times as many albums as Perverse or Liquidiser, one of the two. Most of my favourite Jesus Jones songs are from Perverse, which is far and away our best album and there are some songs on Liquidiser that I absolutely love, like ‘All the Answers’, that for me is one of the best things that I wrote. But to be fair, with ‘Right Here Right Now’, when I was writing it I was thinking, “This is a good one, I know I’ve done a pretty good thing here.”