Canadian Musician - March-April 2022 - Page 53

PHOTO : PAT BLY / THE A GIRL WITH A CAMERA started to copy the songs that I would hear . Then I got to Canada between 12 and 13 and I got an acoustic guitar and I got my first bass guitar .
CM : When you ’ re touring with Tom Cochrane and Burton Cummings and playing some of the hits , do you try to stick to the recording or put your own flavour on them ?

Jeff Jones

As a teenager , Jeff Jones performed with Alex Lifeson and John Rutsey in the pre-Geddy Lee incarnation of Rush , before going on to co-found gospel rock band Ocean , which had a hit in 1971 with “ Put Your Hand in the Hand .” Later , Jones experienced even bigger success alongside Tom Cochrane in Red Rider and later the funk rock band Infidels . These days , Jones is the touring bassist for Tom Cochrane and Burton Cummings .
CM : Being the son of a professional jazz pianist , what led you to pick up the bass ?
Jeff Jones : Well , because my dad was a jazz musician , and we lived in Chicago at the time , I saw a lot of music and musicians at a very early age . Oscar Peterson used to occasionally come to our house for Sunday dinner on his way through . Somewhere my mother had a photograph of me , at five years old , sitting on the knee of the great Ray Brown . I loved him and he loved me , really a great man . My dad was friends with a lot of these people . So , I got to see them , and I got to see Count Basie , and I got to see The Sound of Music as a stage play before it was a movie … But as far as the bass , someone gave me a baritone ukulele while I was still in elementary school . I took it and I actually tuned it to G , D , A , and E like a bass and started copying songs from the radio . I caught some John Lee Hooker and then I moved on to Paul Revere & the Raiders , the less artistic stuff . I think one of the first songs I learned was “ Sunny ” and I just
Jones : It depends on the track , really . That ’ s how I sort of do everything . I ’ m a slave to the song . Certain hit songs , I try to get it nailed down pretty close . I don ’ t really deviate from that . The ones that I recorded , of course , I might extrapolate a little . But the ones that other people played that I am now performing , I tried to stay fairly true to them . But the thing about a voice or instrument – unless you ’ re Classic Albums Live and you ’ re studying every detail – even if you play or sing the same note that someone else played or sang , they sound different because of the way that you play .
More so with Tom , we have things that have morphed over the years . With Burton , I ’ ve been with him now over 20 years as well , and it ’ s been basically the same band . We ’ re pretty good at copying what we hear , but there ’ s a few places in The Guess Who material and in Burton ’ s material where we deviate slightly , and the bass lines are changed slightly or simplified in different ways because sometimes he ’ ll say , “ I wasn ’ t completely satisfied with the way we recorded that .” For example , “ Running Back to Saskatoon ,” that ’ s a big hit song and no offense to Jim Kale who played some great bass on a lot of records , he kind of walked a bit much through that song . To my ear , some of the notes didn ’ t belong . I stripped it down and made it more eighth-note rock . Right away , Burton looked at me and said , “ I wish we played it that way back then . I ’ m thinking a little bit more AC / DC and a little less walk-y .” That ’ s one that really comes to mind because we ’ ve had that discussion .
CM : Do you feel you have a signature tone ? If so , how do you get it ?
Jones : I don ’ t really think of it as a signature . Although , I guess at a time , there was certain songs with Red Rider , like “ Human Race ,” where the bass is really featured … But that sound , I had the Steinberger bass back in those days and that was kind of a signature for me for a lot of years . It ’ s a slightly different kind of instrument than most people use . It was a bit of a phase that people went through , it was like the flavour of the month , and then people stopped using it . I kept using it but I found that I could change it . The first one that I had , I recorded that song with it and the Neruda album . I later purchased