In 1990, the 80s party sound was still in full force on the radio. College only a few years behind me, 32 years ahead of me to go live. Part of this “living” was driving around Arlington, TX with a friend in his Chevelle, radio up. It was late one evening when we heard what we thought to be the new Motley Crue on the radio and we both fell in love with the song.
Looking the next day, there was no new Motley Crue on the horizon and the mystery deepened as to who we heard sing such an amazing song. Now over those 32 years I know I’ve killed far too many brain cells to remember fully, but I do know I dug around trying to find this song. In time I found it was Joey C Jones and the song was Late Last Evening. The band, of course, was Shock Tu.
Over the years I did try to go out and see Joey and did so once at Dallas City Limits in the early 90s. Anyone from that time can tell you what an amazing place that venue was. As usual for a Joey C Jones show, it was a packed house and my friend and I were in the back, jamming to be sure. But it was Joey C Jones and the Gloryhounds, not Shock Tu, so no “Late Last Evening”.
I was such a rookie at the time.
I remained persistent in my search, however. Through the years I would check back in, determined to get a copy of this song. Keep in mind that in these prehistoric times you didn’t simply jump online and google your way. I believe it was on myspace I was able to find Orange Helicopter and wrote the band asking for a copy of this song.
Dave Crow, bass player for Orange Helicopter, passed me onto Joey and I was to meet them at Trees and see them perform. When over, I finally got a chance to talk with Joey. I imagine this is around 2004 timeframe but don’t hold me to that.
I gave Joey my address and he promised to come over and get me a copy of the song. Now while we couldn’t google our way around everything at the time, I did expect I suppose a CD or two to simply pull the mp’s from. Turns out it wouldn’t be that simple and a lifelong friendship was starting that day.
What I did get was a bunch of tapes and a loose collection of history he brought with him. I reconfigured my PC setup for direct tape input and started pulling Late Last Evening.
My 10 year, give or take, mission was finally coming true! (I’m an iceberg, I move slow) I was moments away from finally getting “that song” in my collection. Joey and I are jamming, computer pulling the tape to a digital format, and then “it” happened. At the start of the first chorus it simply faded. The song did an impersonation of an 8 track and went quiet. While it lacked the “click” of changing tracks, the gap was there just the same.
I looked at Joey. Joey looked at me. Im sure neither of us looked anything less than stunned.
“Do you have another copy”? I asked expecting 10 more to come out of nowhere.
“No, this is all I have” was his panicked answer.
I thought for a bit and said in my best Spicoli voice, “I can fix this”. While I may have lacked the awesome TV repair tools (I hope most get this reference) I did have an audio editor and time on my hands. I went to the next chorus, copied more than enough to cover the previous gap, and went to work. It took several attempts and the best I could do is missing half a beat on the way out of the “patch”. If you listen, maybe you can hear it also as this is what we used for all digital distributions later in life.
As I brought Joey into the digital world, we became close friends and I got to spend a lot of time with him. I soon asked him why he didn’t have a greatest hits CD.
It was at this time I learned having enough money to do a CD run for a friend would earn you “executive producer” on the cd label. But this was something I’d never done before and I love a challenge. Melodies for the Masses was born. Looking back there are a lot of things I’d have done differently, for sure. But you have to do something firs to give you that “said something” to look back on.
This effort was certainly “that something” of the time. While we were bantering around names I said something about “15 years of musical pleasure”. Joey fired right back “more like 15 years of pain”. So I wanted to call it “15 years of pain for your listening pleasure” but as you can see, we went with what he wanted.
Now, like many people who are still reading, you must share the same love for Joey that I have. While we all knew this ending was inevitable, it’s still a crushing blow to lose someone so full of life in every way. Memories are what we have left and will cherish for the rest of our own lives.
Like the time I had to go out of town and asked Joey to stop and feed my 140lb akita. When I came home, the akita was fine but there were bits of tupperware pieces all over the backyard.
“I wasn’t getting in the backyard with that beast!” he said when I called him.
There was no way I could blame him, however. Now I laugh every time I think of him throwing dog food in a tupperware bowl over my fence.
Or the time my fence fell down and i had to pull the rest of it and find someone to haul it off. Joey, wanting to repay favors he said, called some friends and I came home one afternoon and the mess was gone. Looking back, I have no idea what he DID with it, but it was gone.
Joey always wanted me to provide an intro for him and when I could, I most certainly did. Im not sure if he was expecting me to announce MYSELF as “JOEY C JONES” at the Ohio show, however.
“Hey Everyone – I am Joey C Jones and as you can see, the years have been hard on me!” I don’t think anyone believed me but I thought it was funny.
Pretty sure Joey did too.
The one thing we always said we would do is sing on stage together. It took over 20 years and a few misfires, but it did happen at the KNON Haltom City show. While we never wrote that “hit song” together, we did finally get to sing together on stage.
Like most who knew and loved Joey, I could go on forever in my stories through my brotherhood with him. But I’ll leave it here. I’ve already wiped away too many tears to count in writing this and if you know Joey, likely you too.
It’s going to take a while to get over this one. I have all my memories and I’ll pull them out over the coming weeks and try to laugh away some of the tears and pain by remembering how much he did love to laugh. How easy it came for him and how infectious it was.
So my trip that started out hunting down 1 song turned into so much more. While I may have been after “just one song”, I got a brother and a lifetime friend as well.
Rest in Peace, Joey C Jones.
Rest in Peace.