The Neon Warrior: Why Brad Jones could play a rave, your birthday party or with Justin Timberlake | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Neon Warrior: Why Brad Jones could play a rave, your birthday party or with Justin Timberlake

Why Brad Jones could play a rave, your birthday party or with Justin Timberlake

On the cover of his soon-to-be released album, No Strings, Brad Jones wears black sunglasses and his emergency orange baseball cap cocked about 50 degrees off center. It's also worth noting that his shoelaces are the same DayGlo tone of his hat.

And another thing: Brad Jones is 38 years old.

But 38 isn't too old to reinvent oneself, either with an admittedly goofy stage clothing style or musically, as Jones has done with his 14-track disc of electro-pop-meets-dance-party-meets-high-tops cuts which he recorded largely on his own. It's a highly accessibly club-friendly album that might surprise some who know Jones as the keyboardist for local jam band The Mostest. As he acknowledges, there's nothing like No Strings being made in Bend, but that might not make it, or Jones as a performer, any easier to classify.

"I would be good at a rave party, I could get up on the microphone with my keyboards and sing, but I'd also like to do a pop show. I could be an opener for Justin Timberlake, but I doubt that's ever going to happen," says Jones. He laughs, knowing this probably will never happen, but it seems he would love to warm up a crowd for the prince of pop.

While Jones might not be teaming up with the former Mouseketeer anytime soon, but in terms of local musicians, Jones is a veteran and the names that drop from his mouth during an interview back that up. He calls Floater front man Rob Wynia his best friend, played in Mountain View High School's jazz band with the Dirtball and hung out back in the day with a guy named Matthew Miller, who now calls himself Matisyahu. He also played in local bands, which included a stretch fronting the now-defunct funk rock crew Floor-ride, but as of late he's shifted his musical focus, creating beats for hip-hop and electronica acts when he's not working on his own project.

No Strings showcases a sound we don't hear much in Bend, given that we don't exactly have a "club scene," or regularly occurring raves, or anything like that. On the record, Jones shows off songs like "Do I Want" employing a robotronic backbeat that supports a highly annunciated rapping style. It might sound corny at first, but it's strangely catchy and hard not to want to dance to. Honestly. Even if you're exclusively a fan of, I don't know, Swedish death metal, you will not be able to stay still while listening to this record. Other cuts, like "The Catch" are trippy electronic instrumental numbers while the delectably poppy dance party returns for "Streetlights" as well as much of the record.

Friends are telling him it's his best effort to date and he also seems satisfied with his efforts. But again, this is a break, and perhaps a welcomed one at that, from the increasingly stale diet of jam bands, metal and rap typically offered in Bend.

"I think people in Bend like repetition. It gets to a point where you have to try something new or mix it up," says Jones.

It's a bold move, but Jones is unendingly confident in his new solo act, which he'll show off at the Annex on Saturday night. He says the project is already gaining some traction in towns like Corvallis and Chico, Cali. where he's already been steadily performing. The disc, Jones says, is also circulating among the LA music community.

There's no saying what that could mean for Jones and his orange hat. Yeah, what about that whole orange hat business? This question must be asked, even if it has nothing to do with the music at hand or anything else. It's just a question about hats, really. So, Brad, what's up with the hat?

He laughs. I'm not the first one to ask this. Apparently, I'm late to the party - his family has given him some ribbing about this.

"It's an image. When you get onstage you're a character, you're a different person," says Jones. "I'm just a normal cat and I like the neon colors for my live shows."

Brad Jones, The Mostest, Defekt and Manic

8pm doors, 9pm show. Saturday, November 21. The Annex (at Midtown), 51 NW Greenwood Ave. $5.
21 and up.

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