Mr Jimmy

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Mr Jimmy


Mr Jimmy first came together about three years ago, settling into their current line up earlier this year and taking their name from the character in the ‘Stones song You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

Music is collaboration, that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and [we know] that the world as we know it can’t stand long,” says James Field, double bass player with Melbourne roots act Mr Jimmy. This is the basic philosophy of a band inspired by The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Radiohead, who describe their sound as “the political straight-speaking of the son of an upper-middle class home”, amongst other things.

Mr Jimmy first came together about three years ago, settling into their current line up earlier this year and taking their name from the character in the ‘Stones song You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
As a band, we got started because Jason Freddi asked me to sit in on double bass on a recording he was making with his band, which was about to split as his musical collaborator was going overseas. Then there was a fortuitous meeting of musical personas with Yoni Molad and Jason realising some shared internal points of reference, i.e. The Grateful Dead,” James explains. “And Steve Pascoe, a good friend of ours, recently joined in on guitar.”
The members of Mr Jimmy have played in various bands since they were teenagers, with Jason performing solo and with The Swans Of Avon and The Freddi-Ogrin Band. Yoni and Steve played with both Love Theatre and DJ Abstrakt, while James played with Power And Greig, and Alex Rogowski (drums) played with Lucky Hunter.
For Mr Jimmy, the guys have drilled down on their deep love of counter culture rock and all the best sounds of the sixties and the seventies, from The ‘Stones to The Beatles, and Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
I guess aside from particular artists we’re drawing on a broad palette of styles, which makes us a kind of eclectic late-Dylan sounding rock ’n’ roll band,” James offers. “Blues is there, but so are country and folk styles. I guess we’re influenced by a period and its sound – sometime just before 1975.”
This heady mix of retro flavours has come together on Mr Jimmy’s debut album, Songs About Other People (launching at The Empress Hotel this Friday December 10). This is where the politically straight-speaking son comes in, as well as “the sincerity of a country-kid longing for a New York City high-rise, the earnestness of a writer on her first assignment, the daring of a man who shot a gun yesterday, the authenticity of Bob Dylan as a child” and “the sensitivity of lovers left behind.”
These are the voices that Mr Jimmy have pulled together on their album, which sounds like one of those post-modern novels about the interlinked minutia of the modern world.
There are quite a few story songs about struggles and leaving home, going out into the world and finding who you are, or getting beaten down, losing yourself, making a home and finding love, and watching other people lose it,” James agrees.
There’s some ‘human drama’ in the lyrics and some protests too about modern life – but addiction and renewed life are two themes that run through and kind of counterpoint each other.
There is some gravity and pathos in the music,” he adds, “that you just don’t really get a lot of outside of love songs or introspective self-investigations… There are some polemical songs against closed mindedness, and we hope that free spirits will like the art that we made on the record, and that we’re really enjoying playing live.”
The band describe the music as mixing their voices “to the tropes of the crucified carcass of Western World Music,” which Jimmy explains as a way of being new, when everything in rock is already old.
Musical traditions in the West have been pinned down repeatedly into commodified and repeatable idioms which lose their bare feet on the ground – everyone who plays music knows that. But traditions are always reforming and decomposing – in the tropes of the music that we play, we try to turn some of the well worn sounds of the rock ’n’ roll era back into the present. But we’re inventing,” he insists, “Not reinventing.”