John Bonham Quotes Interview

Chris Jones Interview

Information On Interview:

Chris Jones Interviewed by Mick bonham – 6 January 2002 – Guitarist with Way Of Life, and brother of Reg Jones.
Source: Mick Bonham Book


Q: When did you first meet John?

The first time I saw him was with a young band when he was about 15 years old. The next time was when he came for an audition at the Bear Club, Birmingham. He was successful and played that night.

Q: I heard that he became close to you, Reg and the family.

John lived at our house on and off for about two years, and was one of the family, becoming very close to my father. John had a suitcase of clothes he used to carry around to different gigs, but one day he lost it. Dad spoke with him and gave him a wad of cash to get some more. Dad and John were very close, and when Dad died John took the news very badly.

Q: What memories have you got of those early years, with Way of Life? I’d heard he could be eccentric at time.

Oh yes, he would have some strange ideas. The one gig he turned up with fur all round his drums, boasting to us that they were unique and no one would have drums like these. Problem was it turned out to be his mother’s genuine mink coat, which was her pride and joy. During his time with us we also did a few gigs with two drummers. The guy was Bugsy Eastwood, who later played with Dave Pegg and John Hill in The Exceptions. John and Bugsy would set up at the front of the stage, they got on very well together and we supported The Kinks at the Plaza, Handsworth.

Q: Dave Pegg told me the story about the speakers you and John made, with the help of Jacko’s [John’s dad] account at the builders merchants.

John and I built these 4x12 speaker cabinets, there were four of them, we built them out of marine ply and covered them with orange vinyl. John’s mate, an upholsterer, got the vinyl, and the other materials we put on Jacko’s account. They were sensational and we struggled to get them on some of the stages with the rest of the gear. Two of them have stood the test of time, and I still have them in my garage.

Q: John always liked to join in vocally in the early days, what do you remember?

People underestimated the vocal talent of Way of Life in those days. Several times we would have four part harmonies, Danny King had a great voice, and we had a great sound.

Q: When was the last time you saw John?

The last time I saw John was when he came to The Bromsgrove Baths, two months before he died. We had got a band together called Prima Donna, with a guy called Sean on the drums and Ace Kefford and myself. We invited John on stage and he played with us. That was the last time.