Quentin Jones

Quentin Jones: Hit and Run

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Artist: Quentin Jones

Artist: Quentin Jones
Title: Hit and Run

Quentin Jones By Hank Bronson What can I say about Quentin Jones that will do him justice? Shall I say that this songwriter/performer is under-rated? Shall I say that he is an artist who captures my imagination with his cogent but vulnerable style? Shall I say that his music has a "Neo-Classic" flavor to it; that it is an eclectic blend of Rock, Pop, Jazz, Folk, and Classical music. And that his music contains multiple melodic and lyrical "hooks?" Shall I say that this artist has originality that defies any pigeon hole? Yes. I shall say these things. I shall say them because they are true. What I like most about Quentin is his unique songwriting style. However, this is the very thing, or so they say, that makes him a "hard sell." So, I ask myself, where does that leave an artist who does not utilize "acceptable" songwriting forms? Where does that leave a man who writes songs with poetic yet streetwise aggressiveness; songs that tell strange but sensitive stories with bizarre characters? Where does that leave a man who chooses to be an outsider? I, as a journalist can not answer these questions. Perhaps I am being presumptuous in the very asking of these questions. After all, who the hell cares? Well...I care. I first heard about Quentin Jones's performances by word of mouth from his fans on the streets of Hollywood. They spoke about this charismatic entertainer who comes off crazy, desperate, and almost "apocalyptic." His fans believe that he has a "message" to convey. They seem to want to describe what this message is as they struggle for the words to explain the intrinsic value of his music and lyrics. They have a heart-felt need to define a certain 'truth' about Quentin Jones's art, and they become visibly frustrated when they get tongue-tied. But whatever their explanations may be, they believe that Quentin is more than "just entertainment." And, they say,...he's funny. Not in the sense of being a "comedian," but in terms of the sense of humor in his songs. They believe that Quentin doesn't necessarily mean to be funny, but many times he can't help it. They say songs like "Hot Little Number," and "Society Of Crying Relevance," are but two examples (at this point of the conversations, what comes to my mind is the notion of 'art that conceals art'). I enjoy "deep" discussions about artists and their music, however, I usually respond to such conversations like this: There is no way anyone can understand the true nature of an artist's "message," unless you can physically enter the artist's mind and watch what he thinks as it happens. To be sure, this is impossible. In the final analysis, the artist's message is merely a product of his own "fictional dream." As our discussions progress, my opinions about artists and their art seem to uncomfortably contradict his fans' beliefs about Quentin. It is then that our "street conversations" lose momentum. His fans' eyes glaze over, they politely smile at me and walk away. Despite all the conceptual whirligigs of these philosophical discussions about Quentin, I know what his fans are trying to get across: Just because Quentin's songs are based upon fiction, does not mean that they are not true. So, after hearing so much about Quentin Jones, I went to one of the clubs in Hollywood where he was performing, to see for myself. The stage was dark. Quentin and his Band sauntered on stage to adoring applause. He seemed oblivious to the crowd as the band casually plugged into their amplifiers and the drummer tested his kick drum, snare, and toms. I wasn't impressed. Here was Quentin dressed in black, scraggly long hair, and dark glasses. Not terribly original. I've seen guys like him, talking to themselves, while walking down Hollywood Boulevard. He reminded me of a psychiatric out-patient who might be living in a halfway house. The sound man, sitting at his multi-track console in the back of the club, adjusted the balance of the P.A. system. Bamm!! In a synchronized split second, Quentin's band started cranking and driving like a Mack truck. Quentin came alive! He belted the lyrics of his opening song, "Painted Thieves," with a vocal tone reminiscent of a Harley Davidson. He stood relatively still. He didn't have to move. His music moved! The whole building moved! There he was, singing/belting, and suddenly, in the middle of the song, he broke into a quasi-rap, talk-sing lyrical cadenza, rolling out line after line which further developed the story power of the song. The crowd thickened into shoulder to shoulder standing room only. After about an hour, Quentin and his band took their first intermission. I approached Quentin, introduced myself and I asked for an interview. He looked exhausted and ambivalent as he turned away and headed backstage. Not a very stimulating interview, I thought. But then, what did I expect? I walked to the back of the club and stood alone. I was a little miffed at Quentin for actively ignoring me, and normally I would have left the club, gone home, gotten drunk and gone to bed. But I didn't. I stayed. Besides, I wanted to see his next set, so I decided that I would hang out and try to get my interview after the gig. Just then the waitress approached me and I ordered another double scotch on the rocks. After Quentin's last song, a bit of schmoozing and autograph signing, I went up to Quentin again and asked for an interview. Sweating and exhausted, he politely agreed. He took me to a quiet place in the dressing room, and we both sat down at a small table. I was on my fifth scotch, and Quentin was drinking coffee. I placed my cassette tape recorder on the tabletop between us and pressed "record." Quentin Jones was born in Palo Alto, California. His father unexpectedly ran off when Quentin was two years old. His father was later found murdered in Portland, Oregon under mysterious circumstances. According to the Multnomah County police department, Quentin's father was staying in a fifth story hotel room when a stranger broke down his door, beat him, and threw him out of the hotel window to the street below. The Multnomah County Coroner's autopsy read, "Severe traumatic injuries: Skull fracture and lacerated brain: Fractured ribs: Lacerations of liver and lungs: Posterior mediastinal hemorrhages." The police never found his father's killer, and since his father was not robbed, the police could not determine a motive for the murder. To this day his father remains a "cold case." His mother, a mediocre singer/actress in musical theatre, met and ran away with an alcoholic actor with the stage name, Brent Woodward. They both abandoned Quentin and his older brother when Quentin was three years old. Both Quentin and his brother were split up and placed in separate foster home families. Quentin was never to see his mother or his brother again. Through his long and arduous foster care life, Quentin was constantly shuffled from foster home to foster home; kicked out of this one, kicked out of that one. He was treated as a misfit and eventually declared incorrigible. Through his school years at El Carmelo Elementary in Palo Alto, he was constantly in trouble for "acting out" in class. Although he got the attention he craved from his classmates (they would laugh hysterically at his outbursts), he would get kicked out of class and sent to the principal's office virtually every day. He remembers the analogy that the principal, Mr. Ungerbach, would offer in order to make Quentin understand the futility of his disruptive behavior. The principal would explain that when people go to the zoo to see the monkeys, the people laugh at the monkeys' behavior. Quentin, with his head lowered would respond, "Yes, everybody laughs at the monkeys." Mr. Ungerbach would then add, with a self-righteous expression, "but the people don't respect the monkeys do they?" "No, they don't respect the monkeys," Quentin would reply. Leaning back in his swivel chair, hands clasped behind his head and belly sticking out, Ungerbach, face

1.1 Hit and Run
1.2 Painted Thieves
1.3 Thrill of the Hunt
1.4 Sweetskin Stepper
1.5 Beneath the Mask
1.6 Skin Tight Jeans
1.7 Society of Crying Relevance
1.8 Hot Little Number
1.9 Breakup Town

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