Since first picking up a bass in 1985, Rev Jones has
gone on to infuse some of the biggest names in hard rock with
incredible energy and musicality, utilizing an array of techniques,
both conventional and otherwise. Jones recently completed a tour
of Indonesia with Steelheart, one of his main gigs, and is planning
to embark upon a U.S. tour with another steady employer, guitarist
Michael Schenker. He’s also been playing bass with Leslie West for
several years, and recently wrapped up work on the Mountain guitarist’s
latest, Still Climbing.
Who inspired the two-handed tapping techniques you use?
My biggest influence is Tony Levin. His choice of notes—that’s
the cool stuff to me. With King Crimson, some of the bass lines seem
easy, but they’re very odd. He could have played [technical] parts to
blow everybody away, but instead just played
in a way that was quirky and musical.
How did Still Climbing come together?
The first song I recorded was “When a Man
Loves a Woman,” and it was just me, Leslie,
and a piano—no drums. I laid down the bass
in one take, thinking it was just a going to be
a scratch track, but that’s the bass that ended
up on the record. They went back and replayed
the piano to match the bass and then added
everyone else. There was no click—I was keeping
time. It really set the vibe.
How do you come up with your bass parts?
I like to play fills that are more like passing
phrases; they don’t jump out at you, but
without them, a song would sound empty.
Chuck Jacobs from Kenny Rogers’ band is
one of those guys you don’t notice unless
you decide to really listen to the bass part.
Some of those Kenny Rogers songs have
amazing bass lines. Jacobs has that older,
Nashville-style feel, but you can hear a
James Jamerson influence. He’s like a
country version of a Motown guy.
What’s your approach to playing
the classic material with Leslie,
whether it’s Mountain or West, Bruce
There are only a couple songs that
I sat and learned because they had to
be exact. Most of the time, I’m hearing
in my head what those guys would
have played. If I went and played on
something that Greg Lake played on, it
would sound just like I was playing his
bass parts, even if I didn’t learn the song
You claim your basses never go
out of tune. How is that possible?
I only give each string three-quarters
of a wrap around the tuning peg, so they
don’t stretch out. I usually don’t even
check my tuning during the show; unless
the tuning keys got hit, it’ll be in tune.
Can you offer any practice tips?
You don’t need a metronome to
develop your timing. It’s good if you’re
trying to speed something up or you’re
trying to learn some weird little parts,
but if you have to rely on a metronome
to practice, it’d be like somebody always
telling you, “Play that note, now play this
one,” without ever learning the notes
for yourself. Eventually they won’t be
there and you’ll be going, “Now what do
I do?” I never even owned a metronome.
Records were my metronome when I was
learning how to play.
Leslie West, Still
Guitars Custom Rev
Hollywood Z, Pace
Bass; Warr Guitars
touch bass (fretted/
Rig Phil Jones D-600
and D-200 heads; Phil
Jones C4 Red & C4
Black 4x5 cabinets
Vintage Jet Riser,
Stereo Chorus Pro,
AD-9 Pro Analog
Delay; TWA Great
Strings Ernie Ball
Hybrid Slinky Nickel
Round Wound (.045–
.105 and .032–.130);
Ernie Ball Flatwound
Picks Intune GrippX
Bass Bridges and
Sennheiser EW 300
IEM G2 wireless
system; Ultimate Ears
UE-10 in-ear monitors