Jim Jones â€“ not the monstrous "reverend" of Guyana â€“ was a centerpiece of the Cleveland underground rock scene for nearly forty years. Jones' most renowned accomplishment to outsiders, his role as guitarist in the seminal Cleveland-based post-punk band Pere Ubu, did not come until he was already well-established with local bands less known to the public outside of Cleveland. After starting his own, short-lived band Lazarus in 1969, Jones joined on as bassist with Mirrors in 1974, a group that could trace its artistic lineage to the Velvet Underground itself. Jones also served with Mirrors' sister group the Electric Eels, a true precursor to the form eventually known as "punk rock." After both groups split up in 1975, Jones migrated to the Styrene Money Band a.k.a. the Styrenes, the successor to the the Electric Eels, but had already left by the time the Styrenes relocated to New York City in 1979. Jones did not join the reconstituted Pere Ubu until 1987; in the meantime, he played in Foreign Bodies with Pat Ryan, Easter Monkeys, Scott Krauss and Tony Maimone's Ubu-spinoff, Home and Garden and several of David Thomas' side projects, not to mention composing original music for dance companies and producing records for other bands.
In 1996, Jim Jones' uphill bicycle race began; illness forced him to quit touring with Pere Ubu, although for some time he continued to record with them. Several benefit concerts were held in Cleveland over the years to help Jones pay his mounting medical bills; Jones' race against mortality ground to a halt on February 18. Few who have had more than a glancing contact with the Cleveland scene in the past forty years have missed an opportunity to run into Jim Jones. He worked at Record Rendezvous in Cleveland for 15 years, ran his own record store there in the mid-'80s and since 1990 was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Cleveland-based Ubutique. The varied rumblings of the wildly eccentric Cleveland scene of the 1970s affected much of the rock music, both underground and over-, that followed, and Jim Jones was an important gear that kept its wheels spinning -- he will sorely be missed.
Mirrors - She Smiled Wild
The Electric Eels - Refrigerator
The Styrenes - Radial Arm Saws
Easter Monkeys - Nailed to the Cross
Home and Garden - Monkey Town
Pere Ubu - Louisiana Train Wreck