When I first met Ayron Jones, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard a buzz around the electric whiz kid guitarist and his band in the past, but was immediately blown away by his energy. Sitting down with him in a small cocktail lounge, his energy cut through the laid back ambiance like a knife.
Much like his extremely unique music, Ayron Jones is a blend of inner city roots, rock and roll, and an “I don’t give a rip” attitude. However, when we dove into the subject of his music, Jones flipped a switch. He’s passionate, deliberate and beyond confident in regards to the road he’s on. Coming off opening for BB King at the Moore, and heading to Capitol Hill Block Party next week, Ayron Jones and the Way have every intention of lighting the city of Seattle on fire.
“My music is a product of how I was raised,” says Jones. “I was surrounded by hip-hop, r&b, soul, and gospel… and all this music cultivated by black culture. But it was the 90’s so grunge, post-grunge era and rock was definitely in the forefront. So that sound is something I wanted to cultivate for a long time.”
Jones met Kai Van de Pitte, the newest member of their group, in a drum-off years ago against his drummer at the time. “My bassist, DeAndre Enrico, has been with me since the beginning, says Jones. He came from the underground Seattle music scene too and that’s how we hooked up.”
I sat down with Jones to cover his influences, his vision, and what makes him so unique.
Who is your biggest influence?
Stevie Ray Vaughn was the one that influenced me the most. As a guitar player, he wasn’t the most technical cat, but he could play and his sound was incredible. I definitely wanted to bring that showmanship and musicality to the stage.
How has growing up in the inner city, surrounded by the drug and gang culture, guided your music and your path?
I was abandoned by my mom and dad and raised by my aunt, who kept me very safe and out of that lifestyle because it could’ve easily been me. Where I grew up was a very diverse neighborhood across the board; I think that’s really what made me want to make a style of music that didn’t have restrictions or boundaries. Something that’s universal and that people can enjoy across the board. So I’ve been taking old school rock and mixed it with new school essence and attitude so cats across the board can get it.
What has it been like having Seattle legend, Sir Mix-a-lot as a producer/mentor?
Humbling, very much so. Having him as a life mentor has been very life-changing and influential in the way that I view the music industry and propagate change. It’s been amazing and he’s a friend more than anything else. He’s like a big brother to me. He teaches me how to be.
You have a year and half old daughter, Phoenix. What was your experience becoming a father and did it affect your music?
It gave me purpose. I had purpose in my music before but she makes it so I have a drive. I got so much more serious about that once I knew I was having a kid. It became my life’s goal to make sure she has a life that is going to show her that she can do anything and be anything that she wanted to be.
After our discussions of music and life, Jones invited me to see him jump on stage with his bandmates and friends that evening in pioneer square. One mark of an incredible artist is the sense that the recorded music can’t contain the feel and raw talent of the band’s live performance. I definitely felt that in this instance.
The sheer passion of Jones and his bass player D’andre immediately exploded through the room, shredding the guitar in a way that demands the memory of Seattle’s original 90s grunge bands. Rock and roll, Nirvana-esque with a strong blues undertone, it’s almost impossible to describe the refreshing blend of every genre that’s spilling out of Jones’s playing. He immediately transformed into a different person, like the Gods’ of rock and roll combined to take over the stage at that moment.
“We have an anthem,” says Jones. “It’s called ‘Boys from the Puget Sound,’ which embodies everything that we represent and the soul of our city.”
With regards to the Friday 12:45 a.m. show at the Capitol Hill Block Party, Jones describes his intention. “We were at Neumos last time with our fans and this time we’re in front of the city so it’s going to mean so much more. We want to make a statement so loud, hit it so hard, the city has no choice but to pay attention.”
After seeing the short example of what these guys can do, there’s no doubt in my mind that Ayron Jones and The Way will achieve that goal.
Follow news, music, and upcoming shows at www.ajandtheway.com.