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   CLIVE JONES: INTERVIEW by Giovanni Carta

Starting with rock legends Black Widow, Clive Jones has went on a music career extremely versatile...In this interview kindly released to our Giovanni Carta Clive tells us about his present and future projects...
We thank him for his great willingness.

1) In all these years your name was admired by numerous fans of different musical genres like progressive rock, glam rock and heavy metal. Few musicians can boast about followers so various, indeed your musical tastes now seems to orient once again to new kind of music... the main is the ambitious Metalheart project: what we'd have to expect by this experience?

With Metal Heart I will be combining good pop with heavy metal and progressive rock. It's just a fun project a bit like the Rocky Horror show, I'm even thinking of using Black Widow in the project plus friends like Death SS from Italy. There is also a part for my Dr Pesky character... just because i come from a progressive band does not mean I have to stay with that music... I learnt many years ago that I could write in many styles
 
I was brought up on 60s pop music, moved to Soul and then heavy metal. Now I like most types... it would be very shallow to only stick to one type of music all my life

2) With Agony Bag you have ironically defined yourselves like a trash metal bands, in the 1980 you have published a single decidedly eccentric like Rabies is a Killer and subsequently, after various years, Feelmazumba: we can consider the new Piss Out Your Trash (a title somewhat meaningful!) a continuation of the previous works or is it something totally different? Few musicians of the seventies have faced the eighties in a brave and reckless way like you have did... Why you've created Agony Bag?
 
I started the original Agony Bag with Clive Box from Black Widow. It enabled me to take over the lead vocals and front the band, plus write in my own style of music. The Feelamazumba album was a collection of songs that apart from Rabies is a killer had never been heard before.
I have always tried to write about different subjects to other artists, Feemazumba was made up of demo's and with a collection of musicians from other bands that I have worked in
 
The Piss out your Trash idea came about when I was contacted by Stephan Bender from Germany. I had met Stephan when I was on tour with Agony Bag (he was in a support band called Fame) and for 20 years he had kept in touch.
 
Stephan invited me to Germany to re-record some of the old songs with a new style to them, plus write some new songs. The results are amazing but because we are in different countries its taking a long time (we need about three more songs to finish the album)
 
The title came about because Stephan had a picture of himself when he was a child with his mother holding him while he was peeing in the road: the moment I saw it i thought what a great cover so thats where the title came from
 
Just to add a touch of eccentricity to the album one of the songs has been co-written by my dog "Ming". It's called Evil Clock and was written on the day of the 9/11 horror. Ming and myself watched the tragedy on the television and the song just happened (unfortunately Ming passed away last October). Before you ask... no, he did not write Rabies is a killer!
 
The album will also contain the first song I ever wrote, titled Madman's song. This did come out on the B/W anthology sung by Kay Garrett.

3) The birth of Agony Bag, more or less, coincides with the second great rock musical revolution, the beginning of punk, nwobhm, new wave... what you remember about those frenzied days? You've perceived the imminent change, you were been totally involved with it?

Agony Bag come out before punk became popular. It was'nt till later that we realized it was the same sort of thing we were playing... as it seems we were always doing it..
 
I guess it was the aggression in the songs and on the stage that fitted with the punk style, but I have to say to this day there has never been a band like Agony Bag... while the Sex Pistols were making headlines for swearing on the tv, Agony Bag was having sex on stage with girls and boys...
It makes me laugh when I see guys like Eminem pretending to use chain saws on stage: if that had been Agony Bag there would of been plenty of real blood for sure (mine proberly)...
We were four people that were very different to each other but when we came together it was dynamite...

4) Another your solo project, perhaps the less known, is Dr Pesky: the name derives from the Pesky Gee, the pre-Black Widow band that recorded an album of cover in 1969, but i suppose that Dr. Pesky's music is so much different... i've read somewhere that it's like a kind of crossover between Kiss and Alex Harvey?!?!

God help you if you ever met me as Dr Pesky! It's another side to me and unfortunately it might be the real me...
Yes, the name comes from Pesky Gee! It's great to keep that bands name alive after all these years... it was such fun...
 
Dr Pesky is a one man show like you have never seen before. He has his first release this year on an album to be released in Canada, a song I wrote a few years ago called Magic storybook... let's hope the Canadians never sit down and listen to the song in detail or they will never release it!
I wonder how you heard about this part of my music as i keep it very secret... I guess it's crazy pop music...
You think it's a cross between Kiss and Alex Harvey? No, tha'ts more like Agony Bag... Dr Pesky is more like Lily Savage and Margaret Thatcher  on speed...

5) Many Black Widow's songs, most on Sacrifice, reflected a strong interest to occultism quite unknown for the late '60s... as Black Widow live shows, rather ahead on their times, contained elements able to raise the scandal of the right-minded people: the attraction to occultism and demoniacal was more connected to the psychedelic and pop culture of those years or concealed a more deep interest to some peculiar topics? The end of Black Widow "satanic" image was due by changed line-up or by the necessity to experience other musical styles?

This is a bit difficult to answer: Black Widow's Sacrifice album was mostly written by Jim Gannon, althought the most popular song, Come to the sabbat, was co-written by myself.
 
The Black Widow story is quite well-known. Sacrifice is the number one Black Magic album, but it gave us many problems...
We could not go to the USA because Charles Manson did his black magic murders:our management took on Black Sabbath, a band we were continualy mixed up with... so this made it even more confusing...and no one would play our music. because it was connected to what the press thought was an evil subject...
 
Our management asked us to change and just become an ordinary rock band. Clive Box and myself objected to this. but the rest of the band. Jim and Kip. went along with this idea... it caused a split in the band: Clive Box was sacked by them, no one would listen to me and the band,  well, it dissapeared... but we did record quite a few good songs.
 
I tried to hold it together but I was left with a very difficult task and Kip and Jim, who had caused the changes, left... by that time the band's moment had passed...
 
Not a very good time in my life

6) Often happen to compare together bands like Black Widow, High Tide and Black Sabbath, generally regarded as the initiators of dark rock... It was really been a common and spontaneous artistic vision, indifferently by the obvious musical style's differences, or it was developed by chance? Which are the bands of those years that you've admired most?

Well, we all know the comparison to Black Sabbath...I do feel we helped their career, although they never admit it... but we have no hard feelings to them... they were all great guys. I remember meeting them for the first time in Germany at a music festival... they greated us like long lost brothers...  
I just wish they would give us a bit more credit. I know Ozzie's wife Sharon asked for no mention of us on there  DVD... that's a great pity but I think it comes from personal things that happened with her father and our manager, who worked together many years ago.  
 
As far as the black magic subject goes no-one else has come close...
 
Bands I've admired... well, I guess Arthur Brown who i speak to. We were going to record together with Standarte from Italy, but it has never happened so far....
 
King Crimson made a big impression on me... for the present... Death SS from Italy, who are based on Black Widow and who I've recently recorded with will be huge if given the right chance,  but then i love Dionne Warwick/ Dusty Springfield... So I guess my influences are very varied. 
 
I think it's important to be influenced by many different styles... From the 60s Phil Spector and the wall of sound /Ronettes / Crystals / Ike, Tina Turner /Darlene Love, gave me great idea's for songs and they were the start of really heavy music...

7) Your developing as saxofonist has been more influenced by jazz or blues? The instrumental balance of Black Widow, music's eclecticism ranging trough a wide range of musical style (from jazz to folk and classic) are all elements that has caractized your works...

As a saxofonist I was inflenced by many styles... jazz, blues... well, maybe...but my favorite guy is Junior Walker on the Motown label...What a great player and the king of Squeaks:, for many years I played with a band called Dirty Duvet. We had the perfect blend of sax and rock. It's not so easy to do but it worked for us...
 
8) The crossover between rock and horror culture now is mostly rappresented by extreme musical movements like black metal or by a particular kind of ambient-industrial music: the violence used by these peculiar musical styles to spread messages just not properly sharable (often fed by racialist and misanthropical feelings) probably it would not been conceivable in the '60s... what's your opinion about this interesting and much discussed phenomenon?
 
Black metal what's that supposed to be?
 
I did it all years ago with Black Widow...well, who knows I might do it all over again but when I do it i really do it...
 
I hope to do a new Black Widow album in the future, back to the black magic, back to how the second album should have really been. This time with great vocals...I've been working with Geoff  from Blac Widow for a few months and it's something we have been talking about doing...
 
Kay Garrett has expressed an interest also and I would love to work with Kay again... so who knows at the moment what I might do?
 
I might go in a different direction altogether, but whatever it is it will be fun/different /strange, Dr Pesky/ Black Widow / Agony Bag... Wait and see!
 

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