Jim Jones in conversation talking about his life in music with David Eastaugh
Thee Hypnotics are an English psychedelic garage rock band, formed in 1985 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. The band are currently composed of frontman James "Jim" Jones, guitarist Ray Hanson, drummer Phil Smith and bassist Jeremy Cottingham. The band split in 1999, before announcing their reformation in January 2018.
The band recorded three studio and one live album for record labels including Sub Pop, Beggars Banquet/Situation Two, RCA Records, American Records. They were part of the early alternative rock and psychedelic rock London scene, and made an impact on the underground and alternative music scenes in the UK, Europe and the United States.
Co-founders Jones and Hanson were originally joined by drummer Mark Thompson and bassist Adam Sharam. Personnel changes ensued with others including drummer Chris Dennis (1987–88), bassist Will Pepper (1988–93 and 1994–95), Canadian drummer Phil Smith (1989–99) and bassist Jeremy Cottingham (1997–1999).
They released their first 7" single "Love In a Different Vein" in 1987 on Vinyl Solution. Thee Hypnotics subsequently signed to Situation Two a subsidiary of the independent record label, Beggars Banquet. The band cemented this union by scoring an independent chart hit with the 12" single "Justice In Freedom" and the follow up "Soul Trader". Their live album, Live'r Than God (1989), elevated the band out of the UK club scene, and they toured supporting both Gaye Bykers on Acid and Crazyhead, as well as on their own UK tour. In September 1989, Melody Maker noted that "Thee Hypnotics care only for their own generic past and frenetic present. The future doesn't even get a look in... Forget regression, this is reincarnation! Past, present and future!" Thee Hypnotics were asked to do a radio session for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel on 28 March 1989, and they recorded "Nine Times", "Love in a Different Vein", "Soul Trader" and "Let's Get Naked", and were previewed on MTV.
Thee Hypnotics began to attract attention in the United States, in particular Seattle where its own alternative rock scene was taking off. Sub Pop made Thee Hypnotics their first UK signing. Sub Pop's release of Live'r Than God! became the band's US debut, and encompassed not only a Powerhaus concert recording but also their singles to date. Thee Hypnotics shared pages with Mudhoney, Screaming Trees and Nirvana in the Seattle publication, Backlash. Seattle became a second home for the band and, after Mark Thomson was replaced by the Canadian drummer Phil Smith, the band made its US tour debut.
The Damned took the band out as their support act. The Lords of the New Church approached Thee Hypnotics lead singer, Jim Jones, to front the Lords but he declined. Subsequently, Stiv Batorswore a T-shirt with a 'singer wanted' advert and then sacked his band onstage. In 1989, Ray Hanson and Jim Jones joined Stiv Bators onstage at The Opera On The Green, Shepherd's Bush, London, as temporary Dead Boys, after Cheetah Chrome failed to secure a work visa.