One of the few folks who can actually claim to be a native Los Angeleno, Joan Jones
was born and raised in the heart of Hollywood. She was even the trumpet-playing mascot at the infamous Hollywood High. And those were the L.A. days, when clubs like the Whisky A Go-Go, the Starwood, Gazzarri's, and Madame Wong's were kicking, while artists like X
were coming into their own. That's the Hollywood that shaped Jones' musical world, along with old records by Stevie Wonder
, the Doors
, and Spike Jones
and new ones by Paul Weller, U2
, and Lucinda Williams
. With that mixed bag of tricks to pull from, no wonder Jones' own creations straddle and bend so many genres.
In 1987, Jones teamed with David Russo
to form an acoustic folk-rock band called Far Cry, which later became known as Sun 60. Together for nine years, they paid a good bit of dues on the L.A. club circuit before signing with Epic Records and releasing three albums between 1991 and 1996. Upon Sun 60's dissolution, Jones took some time to regroup, so to speak, and then dove into writing songs for a solo project. Producer Nick DiDia
stepped in to help the process along, and the final result was Starlite Criminal
, a wonderfully eclectic bunch of songs full of singable melodies and playfully twisted but ever so thoughtful lyrics. Following Hollywood Records' release of Starlite Criminal
in 1998, Jones hit the road opening for artists such as Fastball
, with a few Lilith Fair dates tossed in for good measure. Summer 2000 found Jones contributing music to an animated Internet show called The Prom Queens
on www.z.com while composing songs for her next solo album.