The idea of a band standing onstage playing a full set of songs by another artist is hardly a new concept. It’s called a “tribute band” and there are hundreds if not thousands of them putting on costumes and recreating the visual and musical aspects of any number of artists. Everyone from Motley Crue to Neil Young seems to have at least a handful of bands out there doing note-for-note renditions of their songs.
But what Remember Jones does with his Yas Queen show is something different altogether. Jones, a Jersey native who has enjoyed success with his own original material, has put together this show in order to cast his own theatrical spin on the musical legacy of Queen. It pays tribute to the band, but does so with an absolute style all its own. We had a chance to chat with Mr. Jones in advance of his performance at 8 p.m. Oct. 12, at SoundWaves at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
At The Shore: Tell us about what the audience can expect from the Yas Queen show.
Remember Jones: This is the only theatrical celebration of Queen that has a band this large. We’ve got about 25 people in the band. There are strings, organs, horns, a full rock band rhythm section and a 12-person choir. We’re really doing this as an over-the-top, fast-paced Vegas-revue style version of the music of Queen, which is not really being done anywhere else. So it separates us in a big way from all the other more traditional tributes to Queen. It’s really a kind of reinvention of the music.
ATS: Has Freddie Mercury been a big influence on you as a performer?
RJ: Yeah definitely. As a frontman whatever it is that I soaked in from these people (musicians) growing up, Freddie Mercury had it all. I grew up doing a lot of theater too so his theatricality was a big influence. I always did a lot of theater and I was in bands, so the combination of those two things for me that was what I was always aspiring to do. So there is a little bit of Freddie Mercury in me. But I’ve always loved all types of frontmen and frontwomen —people like James Brown and Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.
ATS: You seem drawn to dynamic frontmen and women. Who would you say is the ultimate in that category?
RJ: It’s tough to pick one because it’s all genre based. There are so many good metal frontmen and pop frontmen. I love Prince because he could just jump on any instrument at any time. But as an entertainer, I love Freddy Mercury the most.
ATS: Has any still-living performer just floored you recently with their performance?
RJ: The last person that really stunned me was Sharon Jones, because she obviously channeled Tina Turner and the rest of the soul sisters, but she also had that James Brown bandleader thing going. I just thought she was a powerhouse and so special and one of a kind.
ATS: You have managed to rise to the level of playing theaters fairly quickly, which is not easy in today’s music industry. What separates what you and your band do from other groups?
RJ: It might be the showmanship and attention to detail. We focus a lot on the nuances in what we do. For me personally it might be my theater background that helps drive that as well as the camaraderie with my band members. All of that helps drive the vision forward. But I don’t really know what it is. It’s like some weird witch’s brew!