Bill Jones

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Bill Jones' beginnings lay in the garage rock scene in Tampa, Florida, during the second half of the '60s. This was the milieu that produced a band eventually known as the Outlaws. It was not the first…
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Bill Jones' beginnings lay in the garage rock scene in Tampa, Florida, during the second half of the '60s. This was the milieu that produced a band eventually known as the Outlaws. It was not the first or last time this name was used by a rock band, but it was the last time a Southern rock band of any name scored commercial success during the initial period of activity in this genre. Some aspects of Jones' background seem consistent with the raging Southern rocker image, such as the fact that the father of the band's drummer, Monte Yoho, was the high school principal who kicked Jones out for wearing his hair too long. Other details are surprising: Jones played tympani in the high school orchestra, and was both an accomplished math major and tutor. Forsaking all for a music career, he dragged a massive B-3 organ around the nightspots of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Yrba City. While that instrument did have its place in Southern rock, crowding as many guitarists on-stage as possible was even more important. Instrumentally, this was the route Jones chose to take in an outfit whose actual music didn't seem to inspire much loyalty, if the rapid changeover in membership of the touring versions of the Outlaws is to be considered. Jones' activities prior to the Outlaws were not well-documented, other than an album in 1971 with a Tampa combo called H.Y. Sledge. He contributed heavily to the entire discography of the Outlaws, beginning with the band's Arista signing. A revival of the genre in the '90s might have made for an Outlaws' reunion, but Jones committed suicide in 1995, which was followed by the drug overdose of bassist Frank O'Keefe one month later.