This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."
In November, I posed the question to my readers: "What should I ask John Paul Jones?" A number of people said I should ask where he intended to tour in the future. That question came from all over. Folks in Mexico want him to come to Mexico. Those in New Zealand hopes he visits their part of the world.
I asked him such questions during the interview on Dec. 10, 2001. I asked about those individual places, and each time he said, "I'd like to, certainly." He said that he wanted "terribly to play Mexico and South America too, places I've never played before."
In the past, his solo tours were limited to parts of Europe and the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States and Canada. Jones indicated that he hopes he will cover new ground in the future, but he stated that it is not all up to him.
"People say, 'Do you do this for the money?' What money?" he said, laughing. "It's very expensive to tour." He used the term "budget touring" several times throughout the interview to refer to the ways in which he cuts down the substantial costs of the road. "I just can't play big enough places to pay wages," he said. "It's as simple as that. It costs a lot of money to go and get all this stuff on the road."
Jones used Detroit as an example. His 1999 and 2000 U.S. tours had overlooked this Michigan city, but he was finally able to perform in the Motor City on Dec. 1, 2001. He opened for King Crimson at the Royal Oak Theatre. "It was a killer show, really a great show," he told me. "I thought, man, now maybe they'll ask me back!"
He was, of course, joking about having to be invited back to Detroit. He explained, "I have all these good people at my site saying, 'Why didn't you come to Detroit?' I can't tell them that nobody wants me in Detroit. People think you can choose where you go."
At any rate, Jones should soon be touring to support the release of his new album, The Thunderthief. Although nothing official has yet been announced, the Led Zeppelin newsletter will alert you when new dates are available.
I've spoken with Hugh Manson, who makes Jones' electric instruments and looks over them on tour. He hinted to me that Jones may be bringing to his future concerts a new instrument built by Hugh's brother and partner, Andy. A triple-neck arch-top mandolin could pop up on the next tour. The instrument's curved top joins the three necks: a mandolin, mandola and a bass mandolin. Jones used it on his new album for an instrumental cover of the traditional folk song "Down to the River to Pray."