Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2015 Contents A13
Monday, January 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
My name is Malo Jones and my
band, the Jonestown Band, has just
released our first rock music video,
Yo, Billy Got a Knife.
I m a "South" boy, born and
raised in Esperance. I live in Tucson,
pursuing a doctoral degree in school
psychology at the University of Ari-
My adolescence was defined in
Esperance. My neighbours, two hard
rock Indians, introduced me to rock
n roll. They sat me down to expe-
rience For Whom the Bell Tolls by
Metallica for the first time. Mind
Pres (Presentation College) was
the best...school on the planet and
my home away from home.
Pres was where I first picked
up an instrument, and
started nurturing the musi-
My mother was/is a devout
Catholic (and) even though I
am severely lapsed, more of
an agnostic, I have accepted
Catholicism as a
myself. Suzy, the female protagonist
in Yo, Billy Got a Knife, says "a decade
of the rosary with each and every
rising sun." My mother lived those
words. The Bible has enough melo-
drama, angst, and intrigue to inform
I have close friends who are reli-
gious, and prayer seems to give them
strength during times of trouble.
(But) it is arrogant to believe God
would attend to the financial or per-
sonal problems of praying middle-
class individuals while people half a
world away suffer from the
moment they are born.
An afterlife, as a
concept seems too
romantic, too Hol-
lywood. It is highly
likely we concocted
the afterlife to avoid
dealing with the pos-
sibility that we
aren t as spe-
cial as we
is an after-
life for the
few. Fellas like Lennon, McCartney,
Marley will live forever.
Graduate school is stressful, and
I have struggled mightily over the
past three years. My dog, Scruff,
doesn t give a...about any of that.
Watching his building excitement as
he recognises the pre-walk ritual just
about makes my day, every day. I
strap on my iPod and we hit the road.
For that 30 minutes to an hour, noth-
ing else matters.
There have been transformative
albums in my life, U2 s Joshua Tree
and Achtung Baby. Pearl Jam s Ten.
Almost anything by Marley or the
Beatles or the Doors. The John Mayer
Trio played a set during Mayer s Con-
tinuum tour (that) showed me how
incendiary the blues could be, and
inspired me to form a power trio.
How could I almost forget the Police?!
I listened to Bruce Springsteen s
Nebraska album driving back from
the Grand Canyon in the dark. I
never knew music could be so chilling.
Back in the day, everyone in
Trinidad with (rock) musical aspi-
rations wanted to be in Touchdown.
Gary Hector and Oddfellows Local
tore that...up with Arrest Arrest.
Youths had a new hero, a man singing
and writing his own songs. If any
local rock band ever "makes it," they
owe GH a huge debt.
I wrote Billy on vacation In
Trinidad. I was rehearsing solo on
the bass, and the riff came to me.
I can t remember exactly how the
first line came about. I wanted some-
thing urgent, immediate, told through
the eyes of someone witnessing Billy s
I ve been playing with drummer
Maggie Rickard and guitar player
Bill Sacks for about two years. Both
are far more experienced musicians
than I, and have an almost punk rock
approach that has pushed my writing
into a new direction.
The video was the vision of the
director and my friend, Carl Miller.
The glow paint Predator meets Tron
meets Mad Max meets El Dia de Los
Muertos idea is almost entirely Mag-
gie s vision. (But) J Ouvert was a huge
inspiration. I showed her pics of blue
The best thing about writing Billy
was it was a great moment for the
band, our first professional record-
ing together. The difficult thing was
the glow painting took hours, out-
doors, and it was chilly.
I m very driven and somewhat of
a perfectionist. So that practically
guarantees a steady diet of disap-
Many people associate Trinida-
dian-ness with the Carnival aspect
of our culture, but most of that stuff
bores me. Maybe it s age, maybe I
am too stuck up. As a kid I loved lis-
tening to Stalin and Shadow, looking
on as Minshall worked his magic.
Now? You couldn t pay me to attend
Trinidadian-ness, for me, is tied
up in our language. It is a beautiful
thing, and mutates so rapidly. Play-
ful, endlessly inventive, inappropriate,
non-PC, and encapsulates all we are,
the good and the bad.
Read a longer version of this fea-
ture at www.BCRaw.com
TRINI TO D BONE
As Told to BC Pires
Yo, Malo Got No Wife
Malo Jones, Trinidadian leader of Arizona's Jonestown Band, in body paint
inspired by J'Ouvert.
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