Webster defines virtuoso as “one who excels in the technique of an art; a highly skilled musical performer.” Tulsa defines it as “Joshua Jones.”
As a newly enrolled middle schooler, Joshua was tested by upcoming music teachers to see what instrument suited him best. He says, “the main thing they were looking at was your embouchure. Mine fit best with trombone, so starting in 6th grade, that’s what I played.” Music is ingrained in his genes as his mother was an award winning flute and piccolo player. After a full ride scholarship offer to OSU, she opted to stay local, settle down and have a family. But, the apple didn’t fall from the tree as Jones won first chair with trombone his entire 6th grade year. He moved on to tuba beginning in 7th grade, and continued on until sophomore year in high school. At age 13 he got his first guitar, and he quit tuba to dedicate practice sessions to a new instrument. That instrument that would change his life.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Biddle Tulsa Concert Photography
Joshua can remember his parents playing a variety of music in the house, but vividly says, “I can remember my parents listening to Kenny G, which wasn’t a bad introduction. He’s a phenomenal saxophonist, one of the best in the world in my opinion.” They started to work in some rock from their teenage years, and he was drawn to it. “I was 11 at the time and I heard “Nothin’ But A Good Time” by Poison and “Just Like Paradise” by David Lee Roth. I really liked the sound of the songs and the videos were really cool to me.” Admittedly, he was not familiar with who was behind the music and says, “I had no idea who was in either band, didn’t know Dave, didn’t know Van Halen, and had never heard of Steve Vai.” But it wouldn’t be until he saw a live performance that he was completely transformed. “My sister told my parents about this band that we had to go see. She said they were the next big thing. We went to Joe’s Crab Shack, and I remember being completely blown away.” The band was Crooked X, and he would never be the same. He recalls, “maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but I sincerely don’t think it is. I still haven’t seen a better show, and I’ve seen big bands in big venues.” But, one influencer was still to come.
It wasn’t until he watched “Live Without A Net” and was enveloped with the opening riff of “Summer Nights” that Eddie Van Halen really spoke to him. “I had heard Eruption and a few other tracks, but they didn’t connect with me at the time. That riff was it for me, and I still can’t get enough of him.” He digs the spontaneity and liveliness of his playing and says, “some come close, but Ed is hands down the best rock guitarist to ever live.” He unapologetically says Van Halen is his top choice, but does pull inspiration from the likes of Dimebag Darrell, Yngwie Malmsteen, Blues Saraceno, and Marshall Harrison. While they all perform the same function in playing guitar, their uniqueness sets them apart. “I don’t think it’s humanly possible to sound like anyone else on an instrument as expressive as the guitar.” He continues, “I’m a big believer in the Butterfly Effect, meaning, unless you lived the exact same life as someone else, you will never be them. So many people try to copy Ed’s tone and sound not realizing the sound lies within.” He’s a firm believer in individuality and says, “at the end of the day we all sound like ourselves, no matter what gear we use.”
Just as he found where his passion lies, others are now gaining their own through his tutelage. A self taught prodigy, he did consult You Tube on occasion for direction. Now, the student has become the teacher, and with a collective average of 83,000 views on his videos he says, “it’s fun for me. I usually start recording the video on the camera and the audio in my DAW." If there are any mistakes he keeps them because “I don’t like the sound of over production. The sense of organicness is lost if you try and edit out your mistakes.” He has gained attention from around the country with his playing leading to several exciting projects including a collaboration with Andrew Freeman and drummer Joel Maitoza. Performing their own rendition of the Montrose classic “Rock Candy” Jones says, “I had a hell of a time learning it and trying to capture the vibe of Ronnie Montrose. Dude is definitely no slouch!” He is really happy with the final product, and says everyone involved did a great job.
Another project to take off is an instrumental collaboration with Adam Hamilton. “Adam wrote and performed everything and just asked me to shred on all of them. How could I not accept that offer?” The tracks came together quickly and are so profound, they were picked up by ESPN X Games Broadcasts.
Joshua was introduced to the Tulsa music scene via Guitar Center. He would go in, pick a guitar, and spend hours playing. This would soon pay off. He says, “the guys I’m still in a band with today heard me playing and gave me an opportunity to tryout. I showed up to the practice spot, performed the requested songs, and got the gig.” The band is Poster Child and it is unequivocally a Tulsa favorite. The individuality he lives by is personified in the band.
Jones believes Tulsa is “a goldmine most people aren’t aware of.” He continues, “my cousin Scott Jones, who played with Caroline Spine, would always say that with all the places he had been on tour, there was just something special about Tulsa.” Content in where he is and what he’s doing, he strives for more. Eventually, he would love to concentrate on original material and share stages with people that share his passion, drive and determination for music. And while everyone has their own version of success, Jones believes, “at the end of the day if you’re playing music for a living and you’re happy, that’s success.”
With a creative mind, superior hands, and a humble heart, Joshua Jones has bestowed an exceptional gift upon Tulsa. A gift that will continue to give for generations to come.
*Please visit You Tube and search Joshua Jones Rock Candy and Face Melt3r Sports Metal to view music discussed in this article.