Online Exclusive: Me and Mr. Jones

By Garth Paulson

Being privy to beginnings can be a fascinating experience. It’s no wonder prequels are so successful, every comic book has to have an origin story or that a show like How It’s Made continues to keep viewers interested. We simply love to dissect, to take things we know as wholes and reduce them to their component parts. Fans of this process and classic rock were in for a rare treat Sun., Jun. 17 with Ken Scott’s illuminating talk “Me and Mr. Jones.”

A record producer and engineer who has worked on seminal albums by the likes of the Beatles, Jeff Beck, Lou Reed, Supertramp and Elton John, Scott was in town to impart behind-the-scenes wisdom on some of rock’s sacred cows. Though he touched on elements of his entire career-from getting a job at Abbey Road studios as a 16 year-old, to working with George Harrison weeks before his death-Scott primarily focused on his work with a gentleman named David Robert Jones, known better to most as David Bowie.

Scott produced four albums for Bowie, including career high points Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and relayed many stories about the creative and technical processes that went into finishing some of rock and roll’s masterpieces. Breaking down songs to their original tracks, Scott provided an interesting glimpse into how classics like “Life on Mars” and “Rock & Roll Suicide” came to be, granting the audience a whole new level of appreciation to these canonical songs.

Though the proceedings did verge on being overly technical at times and Scott is still clearly struggling to accept his position as the star after existing for so long as a backroom presence, “Me and Mr. Jones” was an undeniable success. The topic of Scott’s talk may be aimed at a rather particular audience, but for those who are interested in the peculiar beginnings of “Andy Warhol,” how the legendary bass line from Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” was recorded or the playfulness of the Beatles in the studio, “Me and Mr. Jones” was an informative and captivating look at the incubation of rock masterworks.

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