|Rich Jones Interview
at short notice into The Professionals for the recent SNAFU tour, Rich
Jones, much travelled guitarist, songwriter and
graphic designer, chats to Phil
Singleton from his Toronto home
|Phil: One thing people may not
realise is that you designed the current Professionals logo, so it
seemed somehow fitting to see you in action with The Professionals. I
assume the gig came about because you know Tom Spencer from your Yo-Yos
Rich: Yes, exactly. Tom and I have been
friends since the 1990s when he was in the Yo-Yos. My band The Black
Halos were signed to Sub Pop and our A&R guy was asking me
about bands I could recommend, and I said Danny McCormack from The
Wildhearts has this new band, the Yo-Yos. We ended up going to the UK
from Canada cos The Black Halos played the Kerrang awards. The Yo-Yos
were playing that week as well, and they ended up signing with Sub Pop.
We ended up playing shows together, getting into all kinds of trouble.
We’ve been friends ever since and when I moved to England in the
mid-2000s, that's when
they called me to join the Yo-Yos. Tom and I have played on and off in
different bands together for two decades now. I was really happy for
him when the Professionals thing came together, he really deserves it,
he's one of those guys that deserves more success than he has had in
I guess it was sometime during September that I had a text from him out
of the blue, “Profs on tour in October - do you fancy it?” I wrote
yep! It wasn't like an audition or anything. I booked the flight 20
minutes later. Then they kept sending me songs to learn! There was so
much to learn in just two weeks. But we got together and it was a ton
of fun. I'd love to do it again. What a great experience. Not only was
it great to be back playing music after being away for so long through
Covid, but also to be playing music with those guys. I Didn't See It
Coming was a big record for me, it's such a great record. Out of all
those Pistols related things, for me that was the one. So getting to
play those songs with Cookie, I was like, come on, who am I? What is
this?! I felt I was pulling a fast one!
You did well to make it over from
Canada in the ever changing Covid climate. The band sounded fabulous by the
Not bad for 2 days rehearsal!
You must be good at your craft...
A part of it is that the Pistols were a
big band for me when I was younger, and Steve's playing had a big
influence on my playing so it was kind of natural. So of course I know
what's going to happen and what guitar solo to play. What was a real
revelation to me was Paul's drumming. I don't think I've ever played
with anyone like him. He's a really efficient drummer, that’s the best
way of putting it. He’s so tight and compact, he's always hard and
steady on the high hat, so when he does open up to a big cymbal crash
or something, it's so effective. When he opens up, it's like whoa! It's
a big part of that Sex Pistols sound.
I first met Paul properly when I was playing in Ginger Wildheart’s
band. We put together this concept for Ginger’s birthday show; we'd
have a core band then we would have different guests on different
instruments for a 30 song set. People would be coming on and off the
stage for different songs all night, it was really entertaining. I got
Ray McVeigh down to the rehearsals and he said he could probably get
Cookie down for a couple of songs. We started working on Pretty Vacant
and we thought it sounded pretty good, and then Cookie rolls up and
starts playing it. That's what it's supposed to sound like! It
transformed it, it was amazing.
Do you think you may hook-up with The Professionals again?
I think so, I hope so. We've talked
about it for the Stiff Little Fingers tour in March, but that's
bad timing, I'd booked a holiday, first holiday I've had in years and
years. The band didn't want me to change it. I think we probably will
do some more stuff and we've talked about maybe recording a couple of
songs. It's such a weird and uncertain time right now as well, even
just playing gigs - who knows? There's a lot of talk in the
band but there's the real world. I still stay in touch with them and
it’s all very friendly. I'd really like that if we can make it happen.
Talking about new material, Tom and Cookie have proved
I can tell Tom has taken on board the original Professionals and Sex
Pistols approach with his song writing. He’s not just trying to do his
own thing, it’s a case of this is what it should be. He’s done a
fantastic job. A lot of people are saying they are one of the few bands
that have got back together where the new stuff holds up
compared to the old stuff.
No one can argue with that. Covid permitting, Rich will be back in
action later in the year both live and on record with Michael Monroe’s
band and Canadian punks The Black Halos. And perhaps, fingers
crossed, with The Professionals.
Tour with SLF 10 March - 26 March 2022
and photographs ©Phil
Singleton / cookandjones.co.uk / www.sex-pistols.net 2022
All rights reserved. Not
reproduced without permission.
The Sex Pistols / Kick Down The Doors ©Phil Singleton /
cookandjones.co.uk / www.sex-pistols.net 2022