11 Questions: Stone Jones
interview by Brent Cole
Looking back, I’m not even sure at what point Stone and I first crossed paths, but it was more than 20 years ago. Stone used to work at Cicchitti’s Pizza when it was next to my home away from home, the 3B Tavern, so I’d see him all the time as I grabbed a slice before a show. He’s one the most giving musicians in town, willing to drop anything that’s going on to help someone out. Ladies and gentlemen, Stone Jones.
Who are you and where did you come from (tell us about yourself?
I was adopted from a group home in Seattle in 1974 under fairly dubious circumstances (adoption sure was different back then!) Raised in Whatcom County, naturally I grew restless and decided to see a tiny bit of the world. Did that, got hooked on drugs, went to prison for a short while, got hooked on drugs again, came back, got clean, married “The One That Got Away” and fell in love with this place all over again!
You’ve recently retired from doing music at The Cabin (which has also been sold). What are your future plans and how will you be staying in music?
First, I’d like to thank John Wirts at The Cabin Tavern for letting me and Robby have our own musical playground for a few years, you’re all aces man!!! As far as the music goes, I have a myriad of things to keep me busy. ShadyTown Studio, my little home studio is starting to get a bit more business and I’m working part-time at a bigger studio in town. My musical P.I.C. Chrispy and I are beginning demo work on The ShadyTones first full-length, psychedelic country, “murder ballad” album. He and I along with Friend Holloway and Mark Rundell also have an insanely fun Psychedelic rock band called The Ellis Deviants, which has had a great summer and will soon be working up a bunch of new material. I’m enjoying being the newest member of Boris Budd’s Vapor Pencil Allstars and I’m really looking forward to having more time to dedicate to my OWN music. One of my other goals not musically oriented is to become even more active in the fight for medical cannabis and patient’s rights.
As a lifelong Bellingham resident, what is one thing from old school Bellingham you wish you could bring back?
Only ONE? Damn… Ok, got one… I came into the Bellingham scene in 1990, and I gotta say, we had it pretty damn good! We had three venues where even a beginning band could get a gig… Speedy O’ Tubbs, The Up & Up, and The 3B. The owners were ALL ardent supporters of local music, and if I could bring back one thing, the “Bellingham Tavern Trifecta” would be it.
If you weren’t living here, where would you live and why?
Well, the island of Kauai instantly springs to mind, but that would probably be more geared towards a full-retirement situation. Seeing as I’m not ready to retire completely quite yet, I would have to say Portland, Oregon. My wife and I both have family in the area, they have an awesome music scene, They have Jenny Don’t & The Spurs!!! They have a well-regulated medical/recreational marijuana system which would allow me to continue with my other passion, growing medical marijuana.
Having seen hundreds if not thousands of bands over the years, what are your top five?
Honorable mention: Stephen Ray Leslie & the Crooked Mile and Hot Damn Scandal at the last Subdued Stringband Jamboree.
5. Old Mutt
4. Scott Greene Band
3. Reverend Horton Heat (3B Tavern)
2. Southern Culture On The Skids (3B Tavern)
1. MONO MEN!!!
What has been your greatest heartbreak working and being active within the music scene?
The loss of Douglas Stranger… The easiest and hardest question to answer… Roger Hull and I recorded and mixed “Railroad Ave” with Douglas and over the course of that time we became very close. The local music community lost a shining light that day, and I lost a friend… The impact that Douglas had on the music scene here, and the people in it, isn’t always easy to see but it’s impossible to ignore. A bunch of us local singer/songwriter types got together over the course of a year and recorded a tribute album for him called At Eternity’s Gate. One listen to that double record and you will feel the love he inspired… That’s all I have to say about that…
My first memories of you are from the old days of working at Cicchitti’s next to the 3B. What is your favorite memory from that time?
I was 19, working in the best pizza joint in town, wedged smack dab between the Up&Up and the 3B! Life was awesome! I was playing drums in The Nowhere Garden, we had WeenieFest and Garage Shock! I was the “Little Kid” in the music scene and I had an amazing group of mentors; Ian and Patty Relay, Peadar MacMahon and Michael Costelloe, Chrispy, A-Dog and Ledge… ALL I have is favorite memories, man!
If you could have a beer with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
See question 6… A beer and a shot… Share a joint… play some guitar… I miss that guy every day…
What one thing within the music scene would you like to change?
Back in the 90s there was a sense of camaraderie between the bands that seems to be somewhat lost these days. Maybe it was because there were fewer of us then, hard to say. We all went to each other’s shows, a lot of bands shared members, and it wasn’t uncommon to end up filling in for your buddy ‘cause his OTHER band had a show! I will say, however, that there are certain people and venues that are helping to restore that feeling and promoting cross-genre shows. People like Robby Cleary and Venues like The Green Frog. It was so awesome to hang out with punk rockers at a country show! Did I already say “JENNY DON’T & THE SPURS?!?!!!”
It’s Sunday morning, what are you doing?
With music coming to a close at The Cabin Tavern, I’m not exactly sure… bong hits and coffee, most-likely! hahahahaha! Normally, I’d be answering emails, making Facebook events and getting ready for Acoustic Sunday. Now, hopefully, I’ll get to sleep in, do a little mixing in the studio… maybe even rehearse for an upcoming show! We’ll see how things shape up.
Any last thoughts?
I will always be a staunch supporter of local music, and you all can be too. Go to shows, buy the band’s CD, toss a couple bucks in the tip jar. If you can’t afford to do that a lot, do it once a month and do it well. Support your local music venues, buy a few beers. If you can’t afford the good beers all the time, drink a few tall-boys, even PBR makes the bar some money. And speaking of venues… In the wake of the Cabin changing hands, I hear there is a new venue opening its doors to local music! Talk to Robby Cleary, he’ll tell you all about it!
Published in the December 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine