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Plays Music, Feels Better

Rob Front2.jpg

To say Rob Jones is passionate about music is like saying Johnny Cash liked to wear black. Rob is the Bass player for Ice House Road, but bass wasn't his first instrument, or second. For six years Rob was in the woodwind section of his Jr. and High school band, blowing the saxophone.

In ninth grade he was asked to join a band by his friend Richard Wyatt. And while he only played the sax, Richard somehow tricked Rob into playing keyboard. The band named itself "Cyprus" by spinning a globe blindfolded and plunking a finger down on the small Mediterranean island. Cyprus learned enough music to play out twice, but fizzled out before Rob reached 10th grade.

A few years later Rob joined another band that lasted just a bit longer. Rob doesn't even remember the name of the band, but he does remember loving the challenge of playing music he loved by the likes of KC and The Sunshine Band, Pablo Cruise, Steve Miller, and others. A high school dance and a few bar gigs (Drinking age was 16 in WVA back then) and the band was done, save for a Rob and a couple others. They found a female lead singer and formed a new band called The Chase Band, or TCB.

While in TCB Rob broadened his horizons just a bit and learned how to play rhythm guitar. He even bought a bass guitar from the band's bass player and learned the basics. The ability to play both keyboard and bass guitar would come in handy many years in the future, more on that later. TCB played a couple moose lodges, but love killed The Chase when the lead singer and the rhythm guitar player went off and got married. Rob decided to retire from music. That was the mid-seventies

December of 1979 found Rob in a hospital in Roanoke with a busted ankle. In the hospital was a pretty little CNA named Kim, she took a liking to Rob, and when the drugs wore off, Rob took a liking to Kim. The next spring Rob moved to Roanoke with Kim, where she introduced him to some friends that played music, and in 1981 a new band was formed. This time with Rob as the front man and keyboard player. Sharing lead singing duties with a female lead singer. Rapid Transit was the name, and once again, the band rapidly fizzled out due to lack of interest (not on Rob's part).

In 1982 Rob and former Transit guitarist, Scott Murray auditioned for Robert Salyer. Slayer, a multi talented lead guitarist was forming a band called XYZ, a nod to Rush's YYZ. The band played a lot of Rush songs along with any popular rock of the early '80s including, but not limited to Bryan Adams, Van Halen, and The Scorpions. Based in Roanoke XYZ played all around Virginia traveling as far as Richmond and playing cool places like Tobacco Road near Lexington.

This four year's of steady rocking was Rob's most successful attempt at a musical profession up till this point. Despite the success, Rob made a tough decision. With pressure from Kim, Rob left music to seriously pursue Love, and a career to support it. Rob doesn't regret leaving, in fact, Rob would say those years married to Kim were the best of his life. Years later, in the late 2000's, as cancer began to take Kim's life, she encouraged Rob to get back into music. She knew his passion for playing music had been largely unfulfilled for many years.

Rob joined a couple co-workers and friends and played all their favorite songs, mostly in their basement, but ventured out to do a few private parties. Once again, the band in the basement disbanded due to love, and a baby on the way for Steph, the lead singer and Scott, the drummer, but Rob's musical fire had been re-kindled and when he went, just to jam, with another co-worker he found something he had been looking for a long time. A band not likely to fizzle out anytime soon. Rob came in to his first couple of Ice House Road practices thinking he'd be playing keyboards. But the need for a bass player was just too great, and, remembering those basics of the bass learned back in the seventies, Rob told Bobby Sims and Adam Stoffel that he could play bass.

Rob now plays bass most of the time and keyboards some of the time with Ice House Road. Rob has even been known to play both at the same time. But that's not all Rob brings to the table for Ice House Road. Rob isn't known for strumming his bass quietly in the corner just following along and not rocking the boat. Rob will speak his mind on creative issues, business issues, and has provided most of the equipment Ice House Road uses as a PA system. He has a knack for finding, and putting to use, old amps, EQ,s crossovers, mixers, and other cool stuff that gives Ice House Road its sound at gigs.

Rob's favorite part of playing music, and when he feels most creative is when he and the band is feeding off each other. It almost doesn't matter if it's at practice, in the studio, or Rob's favorite, when there's a crowd of people wanting more. For Rob, playing music has helped him through the toughest period in his life, the passing of his loving wife Kim. Rob firmly believes in the power of music to help a person feel better, he's living proof.