“Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smilin’ face
On the cover of Rolling Stone.”
Those timeless words penned by poet Shel Silverstein and let loose by Dr. Hook singer Ray Sawyer in the ’70s still ring true; you know you’ve made it big in the music industry when you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone. Now a Provo, Utah, band featuring an El Dorado Hills expat is one step closer to making it big.
Jacob Jones, a 2001 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, plays keys for the band Fictionist, which recently advanced to the second round of Rolling Stone’s “Do You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star?” contest. The winner will make an appearance on the iconic publication’s cover.
The contest currently consists of a whittled down list of eight bands and solo artists. Fans vote for their favorites on the magazine’s website.
“They totally tricked us,” Jones said of Rolling Stone breaking the news to the band that they’d made it to round No. 2. “They Skyped us and said something like ‘We’re sorry, but you’re going to have to pack your bags … and head to New York!’ When we got there we had the chance to look at all the covers — The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. It would really be a dream for us to make it, too.”
Fictionist’s sound is a danceable mix of classic psychedelia and indie rock — sort of like Pink Floyd taking on Arcade Fire in the Thunderdome. Effects-drenched guitars and layers of keys ride high on the shoulders of a drum-and-bass duo that simultaneously provides the framework for solid rhythms while telling a story all its own.
While this might sound a bit cacophonous, the musicians comprising Fictionist have the rare ability to religiously stick to a central theme while reaching far and wide, resulting in a rich, harmonic wall of sound.
The band was born from early jam sessions between Jones and bassist/singer Stuart Maxfield, who became fast friends while studying jazz together at Brigham Young University in Provo. The pair had strong chemistry and decided to pool their resources and start a band with some of the most talented musicians they knew.
“I was already friends with our drummer, Aaron (Anderson),” Jones said. “He grew up in Carmichael and went through Rio Americano’s amazing jazz program. Stuart knew the other two guys … that’s where the lineup came from.”
Jones has been playing jazz since his days at Oak Ridge under the direction of music teacher Paul Varoff. A distinct jazz influence is evident in his work with Fictionist. He favors the Fender Rhodes tones from his Nord synthesizer.
The band has released two full-length albums to date — 2009’s “Invisible Hand” and last year’s “Lasting Echo.” Insisting that their mojo comes from live performances, both albums were recorded live in the studio (with a minimal amount of vocal overdubs). A consistent “tightness” in the band’s performance on each record is a testament to a dedicated rehearsal schedule and skilled musicianship.
“We try to be that live band that really delivers,” Jones said. “We had to try and capture that in the studio. It just wouldn’t have worked doing things track-by-track.”
Check out Fictionist online at rollingstone.com/choosethecover/artists/fictionist and rate them to give them a chance to move one step closer toward the dream.