💿 Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal JEFF JONES, founding member of iconic HEAVY METAL band ST.ELMO'S FIRE! Welcome! Thanks very much for inviting me! It’s a real pleasure 💿 Can you tell us somethin’ about your early days? When is this all begun? Which bands have influenced you? Elmo as you may know started in the late ‘70’s. I formed it with a friend of mine in a garage in Sacramento, California. We did the usual gigs that every new band will do, you know, a lot of parties, clubs, all that kind of thing. But soon we started getting requests to play in San Francisco and became very popular in that scene.
We were opening for Y&T, Nazareth, Hellion, and other national acts that would come through town. In 1981 we did a 4 month tour in Canada.
By 1984 we moved to Hollywood and were signed to a recording contract in 1986. We released a total of 4 albums on several different labels after that. Influences? I would say Judas Priest had the biggest influence on me. British Steel is probably my favorite old metal album. Or Defenders of the Faith. Either one! 💿 On March 30th will be out your new full-length called “EVIL NEVER SLEEPS ”.
Can you tell us somethin ’about this platter and its composition process? We had the privilege to listening to this album in preview and we were really very impressed! First of all thanks for the compliment! “Evil Never Sleeps” is a serious look at the world today but presented in a futuristic sci-fi setting. The overall theme is about the very dangerous path the world is travelling. The dangers of evil men and evil forces that threaten us all. But it’s also about the choices that each person can make to resist it. The opening track “We Will Not Die” is a pronouncement that we can fight back against evil, no matter what forms it may take. Each song covers a different aspect of it. “Betrayer” is a message about evil in our institutions. The point of the record is that evil has no race, no color, no religion. As in the track “Soultaker” where it is a living tangible thing that can invade the mind of one individual or many. And that the good among us must stand up and fight. Good cannot rest because “Evil Never Sleeps”. Also “Evil Never Sleeps” is the most ambitious record I have ever done. Each part of it, from the writing to the recording and mixing was done very methodically. It took over a year to put together. Just the recording and mixing alone. When we started recording it in August of 2016 I had no idea it would take so long. But it was very satisfying to do. Mainly because the other guys in the band were so cool to work with. It was a real pleasure . I began writing it in late 2014 and had all the songs completed by mid 2016. I actually wrote over 30 songs but I decided the ones that ended up on the album worked the best together. They fit the theme of “Evil Never Sleeps”. I’m looking forward to releasing some of the others in the future hopefully. Two of the tracks, “Lord Of Thunder” and “Wasted” are older songs written in 1992 for the “Desperate Years” record. They’ve waited a long time to be heard! Basically, the process when I write is to do the music followed by the lyrics. I get a better feel of what the song should be about by listening to only the music. I do this by making instrumental demos of all the songs first before i write lyrics.
💿The real “news” in music industry is the return of vinyl; What’s your feeling about this classic format and the current music business? I believe that return of vinyl is the best thing to happen to the business in a long time. First let me say that the digital age in music has a lot of positive aspects to it. From the ability to discover new music and new bands, the convenience of having your entire music library on a mobile device, to the ease of downloading almost any song you want. Amazing technology. But it also has a dark side. It has made music very disposable, a cheap and under appreciated form of entertainment. Also the collector mentality is gone. Remember when you had to have every album of your favorite bands? It was cool to have and hold those real recordings and not an invisible Mp3 somewhere on a hard drive. Vinyl brings back the idea of collecting music in a tangible form. I think it makes the connection between the artist and fans stronger. In a way that is good for the music business and fans as well. Vinyl will never ,of course, be the major player it once was but it will help the music business survive into the future. And some audiophiles still believe that vinyl sounds better than CD’s. St. Elmo’s Fire had three albums released on vinyl as well as CD back in the day, “St. Elmo’s Fire” in 1986, “Warning From The Sky” in 1988, and “Powerdrive” in 1990. To me I thought our music sounded slightly better on vinyl. A fuller overall sound with more bottom end. 💿The new album is out via PURE STEEL RECORDS. Can you tell us somethin’ about the relationships with them? Pure Steel has been a pleasure to work with. Everyone there has been very supportive every step of the way. Our relationship actually goes back to 2014 when I signed with them.
They re-released our previous 4 albums “St. Elmo’s Fire”. Warning From The Sky”, “Powerdrive”, and “Desperate Years” on their Karthago Records label in 2015.
Those reissues were part of their “Heavy Metal Classics” series which were limited edition hand numbered collectible CD’s. They did a fantastic job! 💿Can you tell us somethin’ about your next live projects? Are scheduled any gigs? We don’t have anything lined up. Of course the band would love to come to Europe and perform “Evil Never Sleeps” live so if any booking agents out there reading this want to have us perform, look me up! 💿Lastly, Can you tell us somethin ’about the cover of “EVIL NEVER SLEEPS” Who made it? A really good job! I’m glad you like it! It’s interesting that you ask that question since we just talked about the resurgence of vinyl albums. I’m a strong believer that the cover should match the music from the artist. A lot of times bands will have a very generic type cover that may look cool but has no real connection with the music. In our case with the “Evil Never Sleeps” cover I wanted to convey the primary theme of the album, which is resisting evil forces in the world. It was designed with a vinyl release in mind and has a 3-dimensional look to it. Also I wanted to tie in a updated Elmo Guitarship, which was originally on the “Warning From The Sky” album. If you look closely there are actually 4 ships. Each one representing a band member. St. Elmo’s Fire versus Evil you might say. The Elmo Guitarship also appears in our video for “Hammer”. A track from the album. That song was written about a comic book character by the same name, created by my kid brother Kelley Jones who is a artist for DC Comics. He probably is best known for being the artist of Batman for the last 25 years. As well as Swamp Thing, Sandman and many others. “Hammer” deals with evil but in the pop culture genre Who made the album cover ? No one has asked me that so far. The truth is I did. I had a very strong vision of what the cover should be and I had a hard time getting a artist to capture my vision. So I designed it myself. And it was completely designed from start to finish on my LG smartphone.
💿Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on Hardrockheavymetal! It was my pleasure! Thanks for inviting me. And lastly I want to thank St.Elmo’s Fire fans everywhere for hanging in there with us all these years.
And I hope you like the album as much as we liked making it. If you do…. or don’t ..let me know. Always good to hear from you all...cheers!