He was taking a panoramic photograph on his iPhone 5.
What do I know about Jack Jones?
I was sitting by the pool at the Flamingo and he walked by and tapped my little sister on the head, it was a family story that has lived on to this day, one of the highlights of our trip cross-country in 1966.
Yes, that long ago.
But it was still just as hot in the summertime in Las Vegas.
And here I am sitting next to the man himself. With no airs. A regular person. Warm and friendly.
So I ask him, does he live in the desert full-time?
When he’s not on the road. As a matter of fact, he’s got a new album coming out. A live one. Recorded in England. That wasn’t the plan, he just gave the crew a hard drive to record from the board…
A HARD DRIVE?
Baby boomers still refer to “tape.” That’s what happens when you’ve got canned music at the show, it’s on TAPE!
But “hard drive” fell off Jack’s lips like he said it every day.
So he gets home, pulls up the recording on his Mac, and realizes the vocal needs to be out front a bit more, so he adds some compression…
Wait a minute, you did it YOURSELF?
Yup, oh Jack was self-deprecating. Saying his skills were limited. But he himself turned this live “tape” into an album that will be on iTunes. Like his Universal product. His RCA albums? He now owns them. Credit an old business colleague who had the foresight to put this reversion clause into his contract. Jack now sells them on his website.
Do you sign them?
Who does fulfillment?
Jack and his wife do. That was what he was worried about most, that he’d appear small time.
I didn’t start the conversation with writing about it in mind. But the more Jack talked, the more fascinated I became. So I put it to him, and he was open but hesitant, anybody who’s been in the public eye has been burned by the press. I told him I wouldn’t burn him. And that’s when Jack told me his primary worry, since he was doing so much himself.
Oh, he’s got an agent and a manager, the bloke who promotes his shows in the U.K. That’s what happens when you’re established, you go with those who can get you the dough, who you trust. Jack said that acts his age are sold as breakage by the youngsters, you need someone who respects you and can get value, which this guy does.
Not that Jack is not involved. He goes to every sound check and ends up spending all afternoon. The wet behind the ears sound guys don’t think an old guy like him can know what he’s talking about. “Is the piano in stereo?” Jack’s been doing it so long he knows what’s right, and always confounds the young ‘uns with his knowledge.
And for forty five minutes before the show begins, there’s a video, that Jack made in iMovie, featuring not only his songs but his life, growing up.
He said it was just fun.
How long have you been doing this I asked…
Since the nineties.
He was on a PC, but he switched to a Mac because it was so much easier. But he started with a TRS-80, even taught himself to program, but never learned COBOL or Fortran.
Huh? Nobody knows those, other than people making their living coding.
And Jack goes on to say his father was always into video, and this got him into it.
And he’s into social media too. What he likes most about Twitter is the instant feedback. After the show is over, after he sells and signs CDs in the lobby, he checks his feed, to see what people have to say about his performance. That’s what he loves about the new era, the ability to know your fans, to not only interact with them, but to know what they want.
Not that Jack tweets that much. He’s more of a Facebook guy. He wishes he had more time.
But there was none of the baby boomer bitching, about the drop in record sales and the need to social network and be knowledgeable and dedicate time to efforts other than music.
We’re just one or two years and a couple of changes behind Jack. Who’s realized music is forever, and it’s all about the fans, and the best way to proceed is to be hands-on.
It was refreshing.