Zach Jones’ hooks behave like the true meaning of the word. They hook into your ears, your gait, your craw. Why? A well placed high-hat/falsetto break, a sneaky minor-seventh slipped into a bridge. Guy knows his way around a song.

Perhaps most fun is Jones’ refusal to settle on one style, wearing Prince’s pants on one tune and Paul McCartney’s on the next. His experience floating with his axe around the country with As Fast As was a natural ramp to confidence as a solo artist. He can move a room, but can he move Monument Square? Guess we’ll find out today for free at Alive at 5.

Surf Jones’ website at


How has (the new CD) “Fading Flowers” been received so far?

I’d never been as nervous to release a record before as I was with this one. “Fading Flowers” is the first album that really puts me out there. Not just as a name and face, but lyrically it addresses topics which I’m most often too shy to talk about in conversation, yet now they’re captured in songs for anyone who chooses to listen. The positive support I’ve received from fans and fellow musicians so far has been overwhelming, but it’s always a continuing struggle trying to stretch out and reach a wider audience.  


Your style covers a range of genres. Is there one you feel most comfortable executing?

I don’t really think about genre when I’m writing or playing. I just try to do what feels right and pleases my ears. I just hope if I continue to follow my instincts, eventually all the music I make will sound like Zach Jones, not a collection of music that covers multiple genres.  


What has been your biggest challenge in 2010?

I’ve been pursuing the rock and roll dream for most of my adult life now. There are different levels of success, but, ultimately all you really want is the ability to survive by doing what you love and afford to continue doing it. Making money as a musician who focuses on original music has always been a difficult thing. My biggest challenge of 2010 has been learning how to navigate the  current state of the music business and how to handle it without the steady support system of bandmates or management, which I had in the past with As Fast As.


What lyrical themes do you find yourself drawn back to?

In the past, I’ve fooled around with lots of different subjects. I’ve made up stories or I’ve tried to write from the point of view of a pre-existing or made-up character. I can see myself getting back to that a bit, but lately, everything I’ve written has been deeply personal. I’m at a point in my life where the only thing I’m really sure about pertaining to my future is music.

How does your solo experience compare with your work with As Fast As? Which do you prefer?

As Fast As was a unique combination of musicians. We weren’t just bandmates, we were, and still are, best friends. I miss that constant camaraderie socially and professionally, but there has been a lot of self discovery involved with this new project which has been very gratifying. I was lucky enough to have Andrew Hodgkins of AFA play drums on the entirety of “Fading Flowers” and Spencer Albee contributed as well, playing keys on a couple tracks.


Describe your perfect show. Has it ever happened? Which came closest?

The perfect show for me is any show I’m personally in the zone mentally, the rest of the band is firing on all cylinders and collectively we feel like we’ve communicated something to each and every member of the audience.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.