This much I know Paul Jones
I was encouraged to sing from an early age – my mother played the piano and my father sang – and they discovered that I had a boy soprano voice. I joined the local cathedral choir and loved music but it was only a hobby until I was a student at Oxford University.
Back then, there was a lot of personal expense involved in going to university and my father took up that expense. In return, he wanted a successful young man.
When I dropped out of Oxford he was a bit cross. When I told him I was going to be a poet he gave me a five pound note and suggested I make my own way in the world.
In 1962 Brian Jones asked me if I’d like to be the singer in his new band. He told me he was going to become rich and famous and asked me if I’d care to become rich and famous too. I thought it was a fantasy and said no thanks as I believed he was being wildly optimistic to think he could make any kind of living from playing music. He got Mick Jagger to say yes instead. The next band that asked me to join them was Manfred Man. This time I said yes when I got the call.
The best advice I ever received is ‘don’t try to be anyone else’.
The trait I most admire in other people is doggedness and determination and a refusal to give up.
My idea of misery is having to survive without making my music and
my radio programmes.
My idea of bliss is being married to my wife Fiona Hendley. We met when we were both working at The National Theatre. I’d been asked to do my first musical ever, The Beggar’s Opera. The attraction was instant for me, it took her a little longer…
I don’t believe in fate or anything called luck. I believe in God and I believe that he directs and organises the footsteps of the righteous.
I had a late conversion. I was brought up as a Christian but rebelled from the age of 14 to 40 odd.
I always appreciated art and one day when I was looking at a painting by Caspar Friedrich, the spirituality in his work convinced me that there was a sphere of life I was denying. Then I thought, if I can recognise the spirituality in his work then it must be in me too and I was confronted by this whole new realm. It was around the time when I was falling in love with my wife and she was going through something similar.
My biggest challenge has been embracing Christianity, because I’d spent so long being a noisy and mouthy atheist I knew I was in for some humiliation.
I was never terribly good at sex and drugs and rock n roll.
When I went to the pastor of our church and told him I was going to
give up show business and become a librarian or something, he said mmm, don’t you think God would have been able to get a librarian on board if he’d wanted one of those? His advice was for me to carry on with what I was doing, but to do it differently. The thing about showbiz is that it can fall into the ‘me me me’ category. The great liberating thing for me about becoming a Christian was to discover everything is in the hands of God.
Prayer is constant in our lives. The wonderful thing is that it works, as long as it is sincere.
The thing that annoys me most about other people is when they disagree with me.
My worst fault is procrastination.
I have two grown up sons from a previous marriage. I love them very much.
When I’m not working, I enjoy listening to all types of music and spend hours walking in the beautiful Surrey countryside close to our home.
The lesson so far has been that you cannot change other people, but you just might be able to change yourself.
Paul Jones returns with The Manfreds to Vicar Street on September 6 and Cork Opera House on September 7