UPDATE: Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Since the early 1970s, Jones was a staple of the Cleveland music scene. He played guitar and wrote songs and sang in legendary bands such as Pere Ubu, Easter Monkeys and the Mirrors.
“There were six degrees of separation between Jim Jones and Cleveland music,” says longtime friend Char Rao. “He might not have known everyone, but everyone was somehow connected to him.”
That connection began in the late ‘60s, when Jones worked as a clerk in the now-closed Record Rendezvous on Prospect Avenue, says Michael Weldon, longtime friend and author of the B-movie bible, “Psychotronic Video.
“Jim didn’t just buy and sell records,” Weldon said. “He played exciting singles and albums for you in the store and explained new groups and sounds.”
The devotion to cool music new and old—Jones also loved Indian, experimental and classical music—broadened the sensibilities of Cleveland’s 1970s generation of musicians, Weldon said.
When Cleveland’s rock scene achieved national prominence, Jones found himself in the middle of it.
Pere Ubu guitarist Jim Jones died late Monday night. Details have not been released, but he’d been ill for years. Health problems lead him to leave the Cleveland post-punk band in 1996, and his condition had deteriorated, though friends say he’d looked good over the last year.
“Jimmy was the one guy who always got along with everybody,” says John Thompson, the former Discodrome record-shop owner, who was also part of Ubu’s tour support. “Everybody in the music scene knew him and loved him.”
James E. Jones, b. 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio. Graduated from Mayfield High School in 1968. He played baritone sax in the MHS Marching Band, alto sax in the concert band, and discovered an affinity for tape manipulation while in charge of the high school language lab. Jim attempted two quarters at Cuyahoga Community College in ‘69, but his interest in music won out. He formed the short-lived band, Lazarus, and worked as a clerk/buyer for Leo Mintz’s Record Rendezvous retail chain for the next fifteen years. Jim started his own record shop, Platter-Puss Records, in ‘84. He sold the business in ‘87 after joining Pere Ubu. Jim got his first guitar in 1965, and taught himself to play in a self-devised open tuning. He was/is profoundly moved by music in nearly all forms, especially Indian music (thanks to George Harrison), 20th century classical & experimental, 50’s thru 60’s pop and mood music, and of course “rock” in it’s many forms. Jim joined local “underground” band, Mirrors, in ‘74 as bass player. Mirrors shared gigs with Rocket From The Tombs and The Electric Eels (whom he later recorded with), and later transformed into The Styrenes. In ‘77 Jim quit The Styrenes and took some time off from work to become a member of the Pere Ubu road crew, doing the infamous Co-Ed Jail Tours of the US & Europe in support of The Modern Dance lp. Back from the tours Jim and fellow roadie, Pat Ryan, started a two-man experimental rock band called Foreign Bodies, which released a single. The next few years saw Jim honing his skills as a studio producer for a number of local Cleveland artists and bands, recording his own music, and composing electronic pieces for local theatre and dance companies. In 1980 Jim formed the raucous Easter Monkeys, and concomitantly became a member of Scott Krauss And Tony Maimone’s project, Home & Garden. Gigs were played and recordings were released by both bands. Having worked with David Thomas And The Pedestrians On The Variations On A Theme album in ‘84, Jim was asked to join David’s latest project, The Wooden Birds, in 1986. A year later that group (with the addition of Scott Krauss) became the revived Pere Ubu. Jim has recorded with the band since that time, but no longer tours. He currently appears and records with local bands Speaker\Cranker, Noble Rot, and KNG NXN as mainly a keyboardist. Jim has overseen operations of the US arm of Ubutique in Cleveland since 1990.