The 59-year-old sharp-tongued, Britpop-bashing music buff who infamously signed his job application form with “Melody Maker needs a bullet up its arse. I’m the gun – pull the trigger” reflects on ‘what makes a music journalist’.
“I don’t think there are any hard-attached rules. I joined Melody Maker in 1974 and that was without any training whatsoever”.
“They were looking for someone who could do a lot by music, but otherwise they were looking for someone who was under 21 and highly opinionated – and I was both at the time”.
Jones was appointed editor in 1984 before starting his own magazine, Uncut, in 1997. The consequence of all those years in the field of writing he has a very clear idea about the people he wants to work with.
“If I’m recruiting it would be somebody obviously who could write – but mainly I’d be looking for ideas and opinions”.
“They must know what they like, and just as importantly what they don’t like and why they don’t like it”.
“The writing I was always disappointed by usually came from people who had been through journalism school – It kind of sucked all sense of personality and individuality”.
“It was a deficiency in some of their writing, they could go around with some of the ‘lairiest’ bands around and come back and we’d go down the pub and they’d talk me through the events they’d just been part of and we’d be in absolute stiches. But when they come to write it up they revert back to their trained journalistic mode, and it was about as exciting as if we sent them to the Chelsea Flower Show”.
“I mean everything was spelt correctly and the punctuation was impeccable”
“But it was just dull fucking writing”.
In Jones’ opinion, the winning formula is someone who can make things up as they go along, and from his experience it works.
“It wasn’t my particular ambition to work for a music paper or be a writer, it just happened. I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity and even luckier not to be sacked after the first few weeks – But here I am thirty odd years later”.