On May 23, 2006 John Jones (Producer - Engineer - Programmer - Musician) answered a few questions to Nuno's site about the work with Duran Duran (1988 to 1995)

 

This is how a road gets made" is a surprising track, reminds me of those records of people reading Jack Kerouac - pun intended on the road. How did you get there, to that idea, as opposed to a, lets say, "singing" piece?

I didn't really have much to do with that track actually. Rocks, (the bands awesome roadie) befriended me at AIR Studios and came to me with a tape asking for a nice clean mix of it. That's really all I did. I loved the poem and relished the chance to do something for them. They were in Studio 2 with Nile Rogers and they were not the favorite client in the studio.
The band credited me as Producer, which is odd considering all I did was mix it. I don't even know who recorded it...

 

 

You worked on Liberty, which I personally think is one of the most underestimated albums they've made. It was an attempt to something different - why do you think that happened; was it intended?

Well, I'd like to think that because they had met me and realized that we could program all the songs using MIDI and Sampling before recording the album that they could express themselves more than they had previously been able to do.
We really had a blast making that record... until the final mixes that is. No criticism of Chris Potter who was fantastic but the Genelec Speakers at Olympic really had us going until we went into the Mastering room and heard what it really sounded like. They had so much punch in the studio but out of it it was really soft and un-dynamic. It did not do justice to the many great songs on that album...or the mixes!
The falling out with Sterling wasn't very fun either.
On the bright side we did Burning The Ground during the Liberty sessions which is still my favorite of anything!

 

 

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You went on to the Wedding Album, the definite highlight of the 90's for DD. You could call it "home-made", right? What was the atmosphere behind that, and how do you think those low profile recording conditions contributed to the quality of the songs?

After the experience of Liberty the band got together at Warren's and jammed and wrote in his living room. After a few weeks I moved in with my gear and their gear and a bunch of great stuff we got from AKAI and DDR with the help of Thomas Nordegg.
We began recording the ideas and continued jamming and tweaking and months later we had most of the album. The fact that we didn't have an audience of hangers on had a huge impact on the bands focus. When we finally got working, usually quite late in the day, it was very fruitful. The low profile as you call it put all the pressure on the musical ideas and later the performance of them. We listened to a lot of music and we started a lot of ideas that we didn't finish. We worked on the ones that we all liked despite our knowledge that EMI were not very interested in any of what we were doing..

 

 

In 1993 you joined the band on stage in New York for the MTV Unplugged telecast. Can you please tell us more about this experience. It was easy to play that way?

That was a great couple of weeks. I had left London and moved to Los Angeles when Nick & Warren called about the MTV gig. I was thrilled to be asked to play. I didn't expect it. We rehearsed in LA and flew off to New York for the show. My memory is a little messy but I think Nick wanted the set that Nirvana ended up using after they told us we couldn't use it. Some of my new friends from LA came to NY for the show. My special guest was Julian Lennon. He was smiling at us the whole show long. Nick and I had a laugh with the Piano's and Organ's. Not quite acoustic those old B3's! I thought the band were pretty good but the atmosphere was a little strained owing to the minimal rehearsal.

 

 

Thank you - why do covers? what covers did they played that did not end up on the album.

Warren wanted to do a covers album to complete the Bands EMI deal.
EMI weren't even going to release "The Wedding Album" at that point. We had finished and mastered it in April 1992. By August we had started the covers to keep Warren and myself working.
It was just after a couple of songs that he and I started Come Undone. We called Capitol in LA and played them the riff and the drum loop on the phone. Three Days later Dave Richards was mixing it and the Wedding Album got a release date. That and the Florida radio station playing Ordinary World forced EMI to release the album... almost 8 months after it was 1st mastered.
So maybe no Covers album no Wedding Album or at least no Come Undone.

I can't recall all the not finished songs at the moment. I'll look into it. Once we had finished Come Undone I went off to work in Iceland and then Los Angeles... The band continued recording without me while they toured for the Wedding Album for almost a year before asking me to help put Thank You all together and finish it off, which we did in the South of France in the summer of 1994. Almost every track was recorded differently so my work was cut out. I went back to LA and did Lay Lady Lay and Take You Higher Again which Simon came over for... Mixing was another story as tracks went here there and everywhere before the band finally agreed to the final result. I wasn't very happy with it and I guess John wasn't either. That was about all for me with the band.

 

 

Your thoughts, please, on the recent classification of Thank You by the moguls at Q Magazine.

I hope people will finally listen to it and see that it's actually a pretty cool record with a couple of really great tracks on it. I think Perfect Day and Watching The Detective were brilliant! I think Lay Lady Lay could have been great if I hadn't had to do it by myself!

 

 

What do you think about their most recent album, Astronaut, and would you like to work with them again?

I think what they are doing now is very good. I'm sure they are developing together again as a band and that is a cool thing. I don't think there is much I could add to what they are doing. Where as Liberty was a lot more about computer music and someone like me was needed and The Wedding Album was an organic computer album and some of Thank You was a bit of computer malfunction meets overplaying, todays Duran Duran are a band again and don't need any more chefs.

Of course I would love to work with them again but I'm proud of what we did together and thankful I had the chance.

John, Thank you so much for your time and attention.

 

John Jones Official site - http://www.johnjones.com

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All questions by Paula Blank & Nuno

All photos John Jones

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