Darryl Jones has spent a lifetime creating an amazing footprint on American Jazz and Rock and Roll history, playing with the likes of Miles Davis, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Handcock, Eric Clapton, Charles Earland, Joan Armatrading , Philip Bailey, and Madonna, As an actor he has appeared in three films, "Bring on the Night" with Sting, "The Father Clements Story" with Laurence Fishburne and Louis Gossett, Jr. and "Village Of The Damned" with Christopher Reeve. Darryl also composed the original soundtrack for the film, "Love Jones."
Recently he was in Shreveport recording his solo project at the new Blade Studios. Filming Louisiana was able to catch up with him, while owner of Blade Studios, Brady Blade was laying down the drum tracks on what will be a highly acclaimed album.
So what brings you to Shreveport?
The fabulous, incredible Blade Studios. Brady has been a friend for a long time now and hes been telling me about the studio. I mentioned to him I was recording some music, and he said, :Well come on down. Of course having him on drums is just incredible. And the studio is amazing, with every amenity, every technological wonder that musicians know and love. And I am told there are a large number of great musicians, locally like a gentleman, Dave Moore played some incredible harmonica for us. Of course I should have known, being so close to New Orleans and the whole music scene.
What are you recording now in Blade Studio?
This is music that I have been working on writing and have been putting together for the last 10 years or so. I'm not done a record of my own, and so this is my freshman attempt. I grew up in a two radio household, my father was listening to early Miles, Oscar Peterson, Count Basey was one of his favorite. And my mom was listening to James Brown, Sly Stone Benton and Curtis Mayfield. So this dispersed music for my first record is really very much a product my childhood. There are definite jazz influences , but my music is definitely influenced James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, and Jimi Hendrix. When I first started to play, some of the music I was taught to play on bass, was Led Zeppelin, the Stones, and the Staple singers. So really it is an amountisation of a lot of that stuff; an influenced of all of those things.
How did you get your start? Did you go out and buy a bass?
My dad was a drummer, never professionally, but he played in high school, and he played in the service a little bit in jazz bands. So for years of him not really playing drums in the house, but using practice pad and just warm up his hands , I became interested. When I was seven or so, he started teaching me how to hold drum sticks and basically taught me how to read music. And then a couple of years later I saw a neighborhood friend, who lived a couple of doors down play in a talent show.. I remember I didnt even know, they were very secretive about it, and no one even knew that they even had a band. It was the guy who lived down the street from me, and the guys from my play leaders who were a little bit older than me, and at the end of this talent show, and the curtain opens and is this band, I know all of the guys that were playing. I had no idea that they were musicians. But the guy who was closest to me, Angus Thomas, was playing a guitar. I didn't even know it was a bass guitar. And it hit me like a shot. I decided and I am sure in that moment, that's what I wanted to do.
Was it a “if he can do it, I can do it moment?
Not so much that, but it was the response of the crowd. And I just thought to myself when I saw him doing it, that's it. That's what I want to do. The next time I saw him, I asked him to teach me to play. And he said “do you want to play the lead guitar, or the bass guitar? And I asked, “Well, what do you play?” And he said. Well I play the bass. And I said, then that's what I want to play as well. And that's how I became a bass player”
So how did your audition come about for the Stones? Did you have to go through a regular audition?
Two of the guys who got me interested in playing rock and roll are Charley Drayton and Steve Jordan, and they were both musicians for Keith Richards solo band project, the X-Pensive Winos. About six years before the Stones things happened, I met Keith Richards,. I was really taken by that record, Talk is Cheap, because it was rock and roll, but it was modern rock and roll, and funky, so it kind of changed my mind, because up until that point, I was kind of known as more of an electric jazz musician. I played with Miles, and a band called , Steps A Head, as well as those kinds of bands like Herbie Hancock, more known as an electric jazz band. At that time I just remember mentioning to those guys with Keith, I would love to play bass if anything opens up. A friend of all of ours, Jerome Smith, got that gig playing bass with the X-Pensive WinosWhinos. I remember thinking, well that's great, I've have a few really big breaks and was glad for Jerome .A few years later , someone called me on the phone, and said Bill Wyman is leaving the Stones. I didn't say anything and he said, Should I get Mick's management's number for you?. I said, well yes I think you should. He did so and I called and I said I heard there might be some auditions and if there is, I would love to get on the list. A number of months passed and I got a call from him.
When did you meet the Blade Brothers? How did that come about? I can see you would run in the same circles.
I think I met Brady first. I was on tour with the Stones a couple of tours ago and in in Sweden. He called me up and said I live here, lets go out and have some lunch and talk, and we did. And that's when I got to know him, and really just liked him as a person. Brady said, when I get ready to do something, I'm going to give you a call. And there's an artist he produced over there, and he produced a couple of record with her, Bridgette Demeyer she as going to work on a record, and I was in LA, she was recording in Los Angeles, and he said why don't you come up and work on this record? And that when we first worked together, 5 years ago. Brian I met I probably met in the jazz circles somewhere but I didn't play with Brian until a gig in Berlin about 5 years ago. One of the sax players, Tim Ries, who plays with the Stones has done a record of Stones songs but with Jazz arrangements called, The Rolling Stones Project, went on to do a world wide project as well with a much wider array of musicianss, such as Milton Nascimento and Eddie Palmieri We were doing gigs between Stones gigs and Brian came out and played in Berlin. And that's the only time I have played with Brian. Hes a fabulous musician, both he and Brady are, in their own way. Both are incredible.
During these interviews, I'm sure you are asked a lot of the same questions. What question would you like to be asked that no one has ever asked you before?
You know its funny because, I cant think of anything like that off the top of my head except That is really a good question! One thing I will say this, something that is a little bit disturbing to me, is questions where I feel like I have to defend the Rolling Stones. Why would anyone have to defend the Rolling Stones? I was in Japan they asked me what do you think about Charlie Watts trying to play hip hop on Bridges to Babylon and I thought that's really not a great question when you really look at the history of hip hop music , coming from James Brown or drummers like Al Jackson on Love and Happiness, Take Me To the River, by Al Green.
What do you consider your shining moment?
If I had to choose one thing, I would have to say playing with Miles Davis, that would be it. Because not that playing with the Stones, Herbie Hancock or Madonna weren't really incredible moments, its just playing with Miles, both prepared me for the other jobs and also having Miles Davis name on your resume. Is an incredible calling card. I'm told that when I went in to audition for the Stones, at the first audition, Keith asked one of the guys that works for them, Who are we having in today on bass? And he said Daryll Jones. What a minute I know Darryl Jones from Charlie and Steven's friend, Darryl Jones. Well I know him but who has he played with? Hes played with Miles Davis. Apparently Keith said, Well I guess we should have a listen then! So even for a person like Keith Richards, its impressive enough to garnish some kind of respect. Yes, I would saying playing with Miles Davis.
What is your favorite song and why?
I always like playing any ballad with Miles, there was a tune called and its funny that you mentioned that, because it the same reason I love playing Midnight Rambler with the Stones, because its a little bit unscripted. You have to listen to whats being played. You have to listen to a certain groove and Miles would play a particular melody and then it would lead us to a change, so it really meant you had to be paying attention and listening. And he would play the song so beautifully and the same thing is true with midnight rambler, its one of those songs that is unscripted. When Keith plays this one lick, we go into this change, and Mick sings this and then we go there. Its really an improvisation on stage, so everyone is forced to listen in a more deep way and that in itself creates a certain atmosphere on stage. So, Midnight Rambler with the Stones. And with Miles its the song about John McLaughlin's former wife, Nadia...
Is there an artist you haven't played with you would like to share a stage with?
I really feel like the most exciting thing for me right now is what I am working on, to be preparing to put my own band on stage and to lead that band, that's whats the most exciting right now. Obviously there are millions of musicians I haven't played with that I would love to play with, but in terms of a band? I'm exciting about getting my band up and out.
What else is on your musical bucket list? Or even acting?
I am very much interested in being involved in acting again, Its been a number of years since I have acted, I am very much into those character actors that get lost in the parts, they are not in the movie for the whole movie, they are there only for a couple of scenes. You think to yourself who was that? I remember watching Paul Sorvino or watching Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stones movie, Nixon, and I watched half the movie before I realized that was Paul Servino playing Playing Henry Kissinger, I love that kind of acting and those kinds of roles.
Well you know Louisiana is the place now to be now, we are filming everything, like True Blood, Treme, as well as top box office movies.
I wanted to be a part of Treme so much! I wanted it to be in a part of Chicago. And also I am interested .and have been talking to and interested in building guitars. I've had a signature model with a guitar company and we have now moved and we are looking for a new builder and manufacturer, but that's something I am interested in doing as well.
Will you be playing locally? I know there was a gig that was recently canceled? That would have been exciting times for Shreveport
You know we are going to do it, its not canceled its postponed So we are going to be back down here, I mean this studio I cant say enough about it. And also Shreveport looks like its a swinging town, and there's clubs opened all night, so yes we will be back here.