Ever since 1999, when the Rooster Man, aka Gavin Fox, long-time host of KLCC’s Saturday afternoon Blues Power program, was struck down by ALS, Skip Jones has kept the weekly Rooster’s Blues Jam alive. “Rooster hired me to be the house drummer in 1990,” says Jones, a regular at the Monday night jams at Taylor’s Bar. After years of hopscotching from club to club, the jam has enjoyed a stable venue for the past six years, Tuesday nights at Mac’s at the Vet’s Club, 1626 Willamette Street. Admission is free.
“We have a robust turnout, between 20 and 40 musicians every night,” says Jones, who shares hosting duties with Byron Case. “The quality of musicianship is amazing.” Musician signup is at 6 pm, and music starts at 7.
As a kid growing up on the San Francisco Peninsula, Jones began playing ukulele and piano at home, then got into drums and guitar, and joined a band in junior high. “I lied and said I could play bass,” he says. “We played for our parents’ lavish events.” In high school, his band, United Straights of America, played rec halls, high school dances and the county fair. He visited Eugene on a 600-mile solo bike trip during the 1976 Bikecentennial, then moved here three years later.
Aside from a mid-’80s tour on bass with Canned Heat, Jones has worked as an independent contractor with local bands and events. He started his own band, Spirit of New Orleans, six years ago. “I work parties, weddings, wineries, clubs and festivals,” he says. His wife Mari teaches school in Elmira. Their son Kenny goes to college in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.