Alias Jones
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Alias Jones

Band Rock Jam


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Lyrical ambiguity in a Jazz framework ... or something like that. Meet Alias Jones"

Many of Cincinnati's local bands are in the frame of mind that in order to get recognition they must play as often as possible in the area, as well as abroad. This is not the case with Northern Kentucky locals Alias Jones, who, in the past two years, have barely managed to play 10 shows.

Their credentials though, include some of the better venues in the area such as Clifton's Mad Frog and Covington's Madison Theater. In a live setting, Alias Jones comes across as another of what have become known as "Jam bands," but their recordings speak differently than their live feel. On the recordings, the talents of this band shine as not just another Jam band, but something original, something unique, something Jam bands claim to be, with their bios saying things about "eclectic amalgams" and the like.

One distinct style that the band blends into their sound is Jazz which, according to guitarist Bob Dixon, "is definitely a result of mixed inspiration." Dixon uses a fat-bodied, hollow, Jazz-style guitar, and responds to a question of Alias Jones' music using Jazz as a mockery with, "We don't see our music as a mockery of Jazz. It's more like we're using a good framework to build our sound around. There are three of us in the band who study Jazz, so we are naturally influenced by it."

Lyricist and guitarist Neal Sharp does much of the band's songwriting, and until recently had done so with merely an acoustic guitar. The songs that followed this method are some of Alias Jones' best. But, according to Sharp, the method is evolving to be more inclusive.

"Actually songwriting lately has been much more collaborative," says Sharp. "The past five or six songs have just started with a few ideas that someone brings to the table, and we all elaborate off of that. We've found this type of songwriting to produce more unpredictable results. When I come up with ideas, they usually originate on my acoustic because it is the most convenient option."

Of his lyrics, Sharp says he doesn't limit himself. "Whether it's a pro or con for the band, there is no central theme or message in my lyrics. Some of our songs have very serious lyrics while others are downright ridiculous. It all depends on what feels right for that part in the music."

Upon first listening to a recording from this five piece, you are likely to assume that it has college radio appeal and roots in Indie Rock. But the influences of the band's members are the make-up of the original sound, which makes any description difficult.

"I always have trouble answering the question 'What do you guys sound like?' " explains drummer Mitchell Collings. "I reply, 'Rock, Indie Rock, Latin, Funk, maybe a little Jazz.' Music genres are too specific and we like to keep our options open. Most of our songs develop from ideas that never stop developing. Our open style allows for experimentation with many possibilities."

Pianist Andy Lenihan adds, "Music is expression through sounds and rhythm. In Alias Jones, I express my creative ideas through the flow of the chords and the melodies in the solos. Whatever sounds best goes."

At live shows, there is one song, which regulars to Alias Jones' shows await with anticipation, titled "Starbelly Sneeches." Bassist Keith "Sickboy" Roark explains, " 'Starbelly Sneeches' is our oldest song. It is actually two songs in the same key that had a similar feel so we put them together. The song was written because I have a seven-inch black star tattooed on my belly. I was inspired to get this tattoo by the Dr. Seuss book, Starbelly Sneeches. The moral of the book is not to judge based on appearances. I wanted to remind myself of this valuable lesson. The lyrics of the song are basically nonsense, but it is a fun song and people love to hear it."

Given the band's sparse live appearances, and with the formation of the new lineup after the addition of Dixon when a founding member left the band, this is still a very young band. Their potential soars though, and the release of their debut album is planned for sometime before the end of 2003, with a subsequent regional tour to promote the album and build a fan base. Several of the band's members are in college, but they hope to continue playing their music together beyond graduation.

- City Beat


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


In a world of mass-produced pop music and over produced rock ‘n’ roll, Alias Jones is a refreshing, group of talented musicians emerging from the midwest rock scene. An excellent team of songwriters, Alias Jones combines beautiful melodies, amazing solos and kitschy vocals with rhythms ranging from laid back Latin grooves to more straightforward funk and rock beats to create complex and intriguing songs. With varied influences including jazz, funk, jam, and many different styles of rock, Alias Jones is a very original yet, familiar band.
It all began in 2000, the dawn of the new millennium, when lead vocalist/guitarist Neal Sharp started playing with guitarist Jimmy Franxman and the two of them began looking for other musicians to jam with. Within a few months, Neal convinced Sickboy, a friend from his days at Northern Kentucky University, to play bass. Shortly thereafter, two of Neal’s work mates, Andy Lenihan and Mitchell Collings were recruited to play keyboard and drums respectively.The five musicians had become a band and now needed a name. After months of practicing with nothing to call themselves, they were given the moniker Alias Jones by a friend and fellow performer who had briefly used it in the past.
At the end of 2001, Alias Jones found itself looking for a new guitar player when founding member Jimmy Franxman moved to Oregon to pursue other interests.Friend and jazz guitar student Bob Dixon was brought in to open up the band’s style and take it in new directions. Alias Jones and its current lineup began performing in the summer of 2002 and since have become a well respected band known for their high energy shows and spontaneous improv sessions.
Guitarist Bob Dixon has a strong jazz background and a rare knowledge of the guitar that he uses creatively. His lead is placed perfectly and his solos are superb. His songwriting skills have played a large part in helping Alias Jones find their sound.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Neal Sharp has a more rock inspired guitar style. His vocals flow from heart wrenching to downright goofy giving the band just the right amount of pop appeal. A graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Neal also does all of the bands artwork.
Bassist Keith “Sickboy” Roark provides a stable base on which the music can shine. Whether adding emotion with melodic bass lines or adding that extra punch of funk, Sickboy keeps the band moving nicely. He also keeps the crowd moving nicely.
Drummer Mitchell Collings sets the pace with complex and energetic rhythms. A master of dynamics, Mitch is the energy behind the music. He has helped open the band to many different styles.
Pianist /keyboardist Andy Lenihan is the icing on the cake and further proof of the band’s talent. His melodies flow beautifully within the songs and his solos will make you cheer. Andy, as with the rest of the band, strives to play music that will entertain musicians.