More than a quarter of a century after they first started out, indie-dance act Jesus Jones are back on the road.
However, unlike many bands who have split and reformed before hitting the road again, the quintet from the musical backwater of Wiltshire have remained together through good times and bad – and are now heading back to Sheffield
Keyboardist Iain Baker – who doubles as the band’s manager – says: “When you say it, it feels like a quite unbelievable amount of time we have been together.
“And when we think about it, it makes us feel a lot older than we should be.
“However, because during that time we have had periods when we didn’t do as much, it doesn’t seem quite that long.”
And the band are back to the original line-up after drummer Gen – real name Simon Matthews – rejoined Iain, bassist Alan Doughty, guitarist Jerry DeBorg and frontman Mike Edwards at the start of the year for the first time since leaving the group in 1997.
His return followed the retirement of his replacement Tony Arthy to ‘focus on other business ventures’ – the only changes to the line-up since the band began in 1988.
Songwriter Mike says: “It makes us somewhat unique, among our contemporaries, to be exactly the same five guys as it was all those years ago.
“We’ve grown up together, and it’s a privilege to all be on the same stage, playing the songs which kick-started our entire career.”
Iain says: “There are two things that have meant we’re still together. One is we are still close and, two, we managed to have a large amount of success early in our careers.
“That meant we had to go through of lot of things together as friends. All of a sudden, we went from just being a band in relative obscurity to touring the world. It was quite an unreal situation, but we learned to stick together.”
It is that early success which will be celebrated when the band play Sheffield’s O2 Academy next month.
The band will be playing their number-one album Doubt in full for the first time.
The 1991 classic features Real Real Real and Right Here Right Now – both top-five hits in the US – as well as International Bright Young Thing, their biggest UK single which reached number seven 24 years ago.
Mike says: “We revisited our debut album Liquidizer for a one-off gig last year, and the entire process was not just great fun, it was a revelation.
“There were songs we’d almost forgotten about, that we learned not just to play again, but to love again.
“That’s why we decided to do Doubt in full – to get excited all over again. I can’t wait to get back on the stage.”
And Iain says: “Last year, we were invited back to the Bull and Gate in London, the venue were we first started, as it was closing.
“We thought how do we make this more special, so we played the first album in full.
“When you are starting out, you think it’s all about money and acclaim, but the more you get on, the more you realise its not. We can do things now because we want to.”
And Iain hopes fans will be excited enough to come and see the band perform.
He says: “Even though there is a sort of comparision where we are looking back, playing the second album, the one with the hits, the one people know, I am pretty sure people will want to come and see us live.
“The one thing that hasn’t changed is the live show. It seems glib to say we are as energetic as we were before, but it’s the truth.
“You forget all the other responspibilities in life and jump around on stage – that definitely happens with us.
“It’s part of the fun playing live. We get to chance to leap about.”
n Catch Jesus Jones leaping about at the O2 Academy, Arundel Gate, Sheffield, on Tuesday, September 9.
For tickets, visit www.o2academysheffield.co.uk